Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Should I take a year out and apply to Oxbridge? Watch

    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Basically, I go to an absolutely awful College and didn't even consider Oxbridge because I never thought I'd get the grades. However, after my AS year I achieved ABBB which I was happy about. I have been predicted AAA for my A2 levels and achieved AA in my January A2 Exams.

    I'm already a year behind because I took a year out before going into A levels as I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Currently, I'm most likely going to end up at Queen Mary (uni of london) in Sept 2013, but is it worth taking another year out to go to Oxbridge? I want to be a solicitor so the Uni I go to is quite important.

    My GCSE's aren't amazing, but I did go to a school where only 50% of pupils received 5A*-C grades so in comparison to that they're ok.
    I got A*ABBBBC

    What do you guys think? I just don't want to go to Queen Mary always thinking I could have done better. Or maybe I should try for Kings' or Bristol in adjustment?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Keeping in mind that Oxford and Cambridge are pretty much the best universities you can get in to and if you did apply and get accepted, that'd be fantastic.

    I think you should talk to the career advisers at your college. They will tell you whether honestly you have a chance.

    But, personally, i think if you could get an A* you might, but without it i don't think so, unless you had a really strong interview or something. Most Oxbridge applicants have lots of As and A*s at GCSE from what i've seen.

    In my opinion, you should see whether you get an offer from any other unis, and spend a lot of time thinking about if you took a year out, how would you explain it? and theres always a chance you won't get accepted.

    I don't know you though, so you'd still be better off talking to someone at college.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Ibeatu)
    Keeping in mind that Oxford and Cambridge are pretty much the best universities you can get in to and if you did apply and get accepted, that'd be fantastic.

    I think you should talk to the career advisers at your college. They will tell you whether honestly you have a chance.

    But, personally, i think if you could get an A* you might, but without it i don't think so, unless you had a really strong interview or something. Most Oxbridge applicants have lots of As and A*s at GCSE from what i've seen.

    In my opinion, you should see whether you get an offer from any other unis, and spend a lot of time thinking about if you took a year out, how would you explain it? and theres always a chance you won't get accepted.

    I don't know you though, so you'd still be better off talking to someone at college.
    Thanka for your reply. Unfortunately, only a small amount of students at my college actually pass their a levels so my college has little experience with russel group universities. I think if I told them I was considering rejecting a russel group in the hope of Oxbridge they'd think I was nuts. Perhaps I shall just see what I can find in adjustment because queen Mary's offer is abb which I hope to beat! :-)
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    If you were to get A*AA then you could quite possibly get into Durham, Nottingham or Bristol for Law via adjustment. I don't think with the grades you currently have, taking a gap year to apply to Oxbridge would be wise. They would expect at least 1 A* at A2.

    Nice name
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by milliexo)
    If you were to get A*AA then you could quite possibly get into Durham, Nottingham or Bristol for Law via adjustment. I don't think with the grades you currently have, taking a gap year to apply to Oxbridge would be wise. They would expect at least 1 A* at A2.

    Nice name
    really? I'm around 2UMS of an A* in my A Level Law so with that in mind i may aim for that in June! I love Bristol and Durham although I didn't know Bristol participated in adjustment? Thanks for the advice though!

    and I know, your the first millie I've seen!:crossedf:
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by millie-rose)
    Thanka for your reply. Unfortunately, only a small amount of students at my college actually pass their a levels so my college has little experience with russel group universities. I think if I told them I was considering rejecting a russel group in the hope of Oxbridge they'd think I was nuts. Perhaps I shall just see what I can find in adjustment because queen Mary's offer is abb which I hope to beat! :-)
    Most top unis don't enter into adjustment. Before you enter into it, make sure there are unis in it you'd be happy with. Otherwise, the options are taking a year out and being happy where you are.

    If you get straight As you've certainly got a shot at quite a few of the Bristol/ King's range (though King's want A*AA), but nothing's guaranteed. You're risking your current place if you do... it depends upon how confident you are and how bothered you are :dontknow:
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    Most top unis don't enter into adjustment. Before you enter into it, make sure there are unis in it you'd be happy with. Otherwise, the options are taking a year out and being happy where you are.

    If you get straight As you've certainly got a shot at quite a few of the Bristol/ King's range (though King's want A*AA), but nothing's guaranteed. You're risking your current place if you do... it depends upon how confident you are and how bothered you are :dontknow:
    That's what I thought, but now I've spoken to people who have gone to Durham/Exeter and Kings through adjustment!

    Through adjustment I wouldn't have to risk my place at QM because you don't have to decline your offer, you can keep them waiting whilst you try other places.

    And true, I think I am quite bothered though because I wouldn't even think about going through all this trouble if I wasn't. I work really hard for my grades and I kind of want to go to a Uni that shows that. I know Queen Mary is a very good University, but none of my family seem to know it... so to them I'm just going any old place
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by millie-rose)
    That's what I thought, but now I've spoken to people who have gone to Durham/Exeter and Kings through adjustment!

    Through adjustment I wouldn't have to risk my place at QM because you don't have to decline your offer, you can keep them waiting whilst you try other places.

    And true, I think I am quite bothered though because I wouldn't even think about going through all this trouble if I wasn't. I work really hard for my grades and I kind of want to go to a Uni that shows that. I know Queen Mary is a very good University, but none of my family seem to know it... so to them I'm just going any old place
    What kind of solicitor do you want to be, out of interest?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I don't think taking a year out to solely go for Oxbridge would be wise. It's incredibly difficult to get a place, not only do you need mostly A's and A*'s at GCSE, you need to stand out exceptionally not only academically at A Level. I have a friend who achieved all A*'s at GCSE, and got AAA* at A level and was rejected by Oxford.

    It's a huge gamble to take a year out just for Oxbridge, especially when you admit yourself you come from a poor college (They really want to see private school applicants.)

    By all means, take a year out and apply once you have your grades! It's what I've done, but I warn you, over confidence can be completely shattering. I got AAA* at Alevel and was rejected by Leeds and Bristol. I have options between QMUL, Glasgow and York now.

    You could take a year out and apply to Oxbridge, (so you won't always wonder) but have a safety net of other universities with lower requirements.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AyeFaye)
    I don't think taking a year out to solely go for Oxbridge would be wise. It's incredibly difficult to get a place, not only do you need mostly A's and A*'s at GCSE, you need to stand out exceptionally not only academically at A Level. I have a friend who achieved all A*'s at GCSE, and got AAA* at A level and was rejected by Oxford.

    It's a huge gamble to take a year out just for Oxbridge, especially when you admit yourself you come from a poor college (They really want to see private school applicants.)

    By all means, take a year out and apply once you have your grades! It's what I've done, but I warn you, over confidence can be completely shattering. I got AAA* at Alevel and was rejected by Leeds and Bristol. I have options between QMUL, Glasgow and York now.

    You could take a year out and apply to Oxbridge, (so you won't always wonder) but have a safety net of other universities with lower requirements.
    Thanks for your reply. Wow! I'm so suprised Bristol & Leeds rejected you when you have such a high grades! Is this for Law?

    Where do you think you will choose now?

    And thanks, I think I will try adjustment to other Uni's and then if not perhaps take a year out anyway.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by millie-rose)
    Thanks for your reply. Wow! I'm so suprised Bristol & Leeds rejected you when you have such a high grades! Is this for Law?

    Where do you think you will choose now?

    And thanks, I think I will try adjustment to other Uni's and then if not perhaps take a year out anyway.
    No, it's for English Lit, which I presume is less competitive?

    I'm thinking York, but it depends on seeing them (try and visit the unis you're applying to before you make your choices. I didn't, and regret it now!)

    All the best!
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AyeFaye)
    I don't think taking a year out to solely go for Oxbridge would be wise. It's incredibly difficult to get a place, not only do you need mostly A's and A*'s at GCSE, you need to stand out exceptionally not only academically at A Level.
    This is (to put it mildly) wrong.

    (A) GCSEs aren't (at least for Cambridge, for courses other than medicine) important in and of themselves (and they're not the dominant factor at Oxford, especially once you've reached the interview stage). The GCSE averages are high because people who achieve high ums scores at A level and are intelligent and genuinely interested in their subject (these being the actual criteria) tend to be people who've achieved highly in their GCSEs.

    (B) Many Oxbridge tutors have come out publicly saying that they don't give a hoot what instruments you play or about anything similar. One reason for this is that a lot of people don't have the opportunity to do that kind of thing. Another is that being a great pianist doesn't say a whole lot about how good a student of your subject you'll be.


    (Original post by AyeFaye)
    (They really want to see private school applicants.)
    This one is a vicious lie that operates only to put off promising state school applicants. If you're going to make such attacks, provide evidence.

    If your friend didn't get into Oxford it's because he didn't show himself to be good enough through the tests, essays and interviews. Getting an A* doesn't say much when every other applicant has (at least) one, too.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    This is (to put it mildly) wrong.

    (A) GCSEs aren't (at least for Cambridge, for courses other than medicine) important in and of themselves (and they're not the dominant factor at Oxford, especially once you've reached the interview stage). The GCSE averages are high because people who achieve high ums scores at A level and are intelligent and genuinely interested in their subject (these being the actual criteria) tend to be people who've achieved highly in their A levels.

    (B) Many Oxbridge tutors have come out publicly saying that they don't give a hoot what instruments you play or about anything similar. One reason for this is that a lot of people don't have the opportunity to do that kind of thing. Another is that being a great pianist doesn't say a whole lot about how good a student of your subject you'll be.




    This one is a vicious lie that operates only to put off promising state school applicants. If you're going to make such attacks, provide evidence.

    If your friend didn't get into Oxford it's because he didn't show himself to be good enough through the tests, essays and interviews. Getting an A* doesn't say much when every other applicant has (at least) one, too.
    I don't think I'm making an attack, but you can't deny that places for Oxbridge are ridiculously competitive. You've claimed that GCSE's don't necessarily matter, nor do your extra curricular activities, or whether you go to private school or not. You have at least realised everyone has AAA* (or more).

    They are going to take the best possible applicants, which means to keep up with your competition (to even get to interview), you are going to need fantastic GCSE's and A Levels. You will need things that make you stand out not just academically. They will want the students who can cope with the prestige of such a university.

    I think it's naive to believe state school pupils are given equal consideration, especially since private school coach you specifically for Oxbridge entry. Most state school students have probably seen a single copy of the ELAT before they sit it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14069516 (Maybe worth looking at?)
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by AyeFaye)
    I don't think I'm making an attack, but you can't deny that places for Oxbridge are ridiculously competitive. You've claimed that GCSE's don't necessarily matter, nor do your extra curricular activities, or whether you go to private school or not. You have at least realised everyone has AAA* (or more).

    They are going to take the best possible applicants, which means to keep up with your competition (to even get to interview), you are going to need fantastic GCSE's and A Levels. You will need things that make you stand out not just academically. They will want the students who can cope with the prestige of such a university.

    I think it's naive to believe state school pupils are given equal consideration, especially since private school coach you specifically for Oxbridge entry. Most state school students have probably seen a single copy of the ELAT before they sit it.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-14069516 (Maybe worth looking at?)
    You're confidently putting forward nonsense on the basis of incoherent conjecture. It's harmful, and I'd request that you stop it.

    "[Y]ou are going to need fantastic GCSEs..."

    I'm taking law at Cambridge with A*A*AABBBC. Many others are in a similar situation. They don't care about GCSEs, because GCSEs don't show much. Anyone can do very well in GCSEs if they're trained properly and put in effort.

    Cambridge interview 95% of applicants, and place their emphasis on that, A level ums scores, and the essays and tests they have you send and do. This is not to say that it is not very competitive. Of course it is. But the idea that because it's competitive they must take into account things that don't clearly say anything about a candidate's capacity to do well in their course makes no sense, and in any event is contradicted by solid evidence.

    As I've said, tutors have publicly stated that they don't consider extra curriculars relevant, but even aside from that, you can't explain why people, like me, very often get in with poor GCSEs and no real extra curriculars (I mentioned none of my scant extra curriculars on my personal statement, precisely because they're not relevant).

    On the private school thing, you're making the mistake of assuming that it must be the fact that they went to the private school which is important. Actually, it's much more likely that it's because the private schools are producing the best people (and choosing the best people, through admissions tests) that more of them get in. As for their advantages in interview, through preparation, tutors recognise this, and take it into account; clearly they aren't going to expect the kind of poise and confidence one would expect of an Etonian whose parents are alumni of the college to which he's applying from someone from a state comprehensive.

    It would make absolutely no sense for tutors to prefer private school kids because they're from private schools. Firstly, many admissions tutors are foreign. Quite why they'd have any particular preference for upper class English people calls for explanation. Secondly, tutors have to spend time teaching their selected applicants in small groups. They'd obviously prefer to teach a thoughtful and intelligent person with a regional accent and a non-privileged background than a nice but dim public schoolboy -- that's just how academics are.

    I would suggest that you do research, in future, before giving bad advice to someone on a matter that could have serious effects on their life.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    You're confidently putting forward nonsense on the basis of incoherent conjecture. It's harmful, and I'd request that you stop it.

    "[Y]ou are going to need fantastic GCSEs..."

    I'm taking law at Cambridge with A*A*AABBBC. Many others are in a similar situation. They don't care about GCSEs, because GCSEs don't show much. Anyone can do very well in GCSEs if they're trained properly and put in effort.

    Cambridge interview 95% of applicants, and place their emphasis on that, A level ums scores, and the essays and tests they have you send and do. This is not to say that it is not very competitive. Of course it is. But the idea that because it's competitive they must take into account things that don't clearly say anything about a candidate's capacity to do well in their course makes no sense, and in any event is contradicted by solid evidence.

    As I've said, tutors have publicly stated that they don't consider extra curriculars relevant, but even aside from that, you can't explain why people, like me, very often get in with poor GCSEs and no real extra curriculars (I mentioned none of my scant extra curriculars on my personal statement, precisely because they're not relevant).

    On the private school thing, you're making the mistake of assuming that it must be the fact that they went to the private school which is important. Actually, it's much more likely that it's because the private schools are producing the best people (and choosing the best people, through admissions tests) that more of them get in. As for their advantages in interview, through preparation, tutors recognise this, and take it into account; clearly they aren't going to expect the kind of poise and confidence one would expect of an Etonian whose parents are alumni of the college to which he's applying from someone from a state comprehensive.

    It would make absolutely no sense for tutors to prefer private school kids because they're from private schools. Firstly, many admissions tutors are foreign. Quite why they'd have any particular preference for upper class English people calls for explanation. Secondly, tutors have to spend time teaching their selected applicants in small groups. They'd obviously prefer to teach a thoughtful and intelligent person with a regional accent and a non-privileged background than a nice but dim public schoolboy -- that's just how academics are.

    I would suggest that you do research, in future, before giving bad advice to someone on a matter that could have serious effects on their life.
    thanks for your input :-) what do you think I should do then?
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    What kind of solicitor do you want to be, out of interest?
    Sorry just seen this reply- I'm quite interested in Family Law. I see you are studying Law, do you also want to be a Solicitor?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Hello,

    It sounds like you're actually in a rather good position! You've got an offer from a good university and your hard work has paid off!

    Although our situations are by no means identical, I also couldn't decide whether to not to take a gap year to apply for Oxbridge! I was supposed to be going to Durham, but the thought filled me with dread, and when I got my results, I was desperate not to go. I went through adjustment (which is a really stressful process, not because it's hard to go through adjustment, but I was pressured to choose within 48 hours where I wanted to go!). In the end, I took a gap year and (re)applied to Oxford, and was this time successful because I had a bit more confidence in myself. I think sometimes it's just your state of mind that holds you back like that.

    I would suggest that you wait for your results.
    If you do better than expected - go through adjustment and see whether there's anywhere else you might like to go (but be careful!)
    If you think a gap year would be beneficial in terms of work experience, then reapply!

    It's better to wait another year than spend 3 years, maybe longer, thinking what if. Good luck.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by millie-rose)
    Basically, I go to an absolutely awful College and didn't even consider Oxbridge because I never thought I'd get the grades. However, after my AS year I achieved ABBB which I was happy about. I have been predicted AAA for my A2 levels and achieved AA in my January A2 Exams.

    I'm already a year behind because I took a year out before going into A levels as I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. Currently, I'm most likely going to end up at Queen Mary (uni of london) in Sept 2013, but is it worth taking another year out to go to Oxbridge? I want to be a solicitor so the Uni I go to is quite important.

    My GCSE's aren't amazing, but I did go to a school where only 50% of pupils received 5A*-C grades so in comparison to that they're ok.
    I got A*ABBBBC

    What do you guys think? I just don't want to go to Queen Mary always thinking I could have done better. Or maybe I should try for Kings' or Bristol in adjustment?

    Have you checked course requirements?

    It sounds to me like you're missing an A* grade.

    You'd be applying with grades though, so at least you'd know what you were in for.

    If you have something worthwhile to do for a year, then go for it, if not Oxford or Cambridge, you may end up somewhere between there and QMUL as a result.

    If you don't have something relevant and worthwhile to do for a year, then no, I wouldn't bother. They won't like it. They already won't like the gap between GCSE and A level, and you'd have to be careful of College choice with those GCSEs too - although not bad, some Colleges will not like "only" 2 A*/A.


    If I were you, I'd see what I could get in Adjustment. If I could do well (but obviously not Ox/Cam), then I'd accept. If not, I'd find work experience for a year and reapply.
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by millie-rose)
    Sorry just seen this reply- I'm quite interested in Family Law. I see you are studying Law, do you also want to be a Solicitor?
    I intend to go to the Bar.

    If you want to be a family solicitor, QM is plenty prestigious. You only really need to worry if you want the top commercial law firms.

    (Original post by millie-rose)
    thanks for your input :-) what do you think I should do then?
    Personally, I'd throw caution to the wind and reapply, but it really depends how confident you are of getting the grades. If I couldn't get an A* and make the leap to somewhere like Durham or Bristol etc, I'd probably stay at QM or just see what was in adjustment.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by FO12DY)
    Have you checked course requirements?

    It sounds to me like you're missing an A* grade.

    You'd be applying with grades though, so at least you'd know what you were in for.

    If you have something worthwhile to do for a year, then go for it, if not Oxford or Cambridge, you may end up somewhere between there and QMUL as a result.

    If you don't have something relevant and worthwhile to do for a year, then no, I wouldn't bother. They won't like it. They already won't like the gap between GCSE and A level, and you'd have to be careful of College choice with those GCSEs too - although not bad, some Colleges will not like "only" 2 A*/A.


    If I were you, I'd see what I could get in Adjustment. If I could do well (but obviously not Ox/Cam), then I'd accept. If not, I'd find work experience for a year and reapply.
    Thanks :-) it's looking like adjustment is my best bet
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    What's your favourite Christmas sweets?
    Applying to uni

    All the essentials

    The adventure begins mug

    Student life: what to expect

    What it's really like going to uni

    Graduates celebrate

    How to write a good personal statement

    Expert PS advice from the people who will read it

    Uni match

    Uni match

    Can't decide where to apply? Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Two students working together

    A-Z of universities

    Read our guides to unis and colleges from around the UK

    A student working on a computer

    Personal statement help

    Use our tool to get your ideal PS quickly!

    Hands typing

    Degrees without fees

    Discover more about degree-level apprenticeships.

    A student looking down a microscope

    Planning open days

    Find upcoming open days and get advice on preparing.

    Help out other students

    These questions still need an answer

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.