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    I have a few friends, including one whose sister goes to Oxford, who are telling me that it's impossible to even think of Oxbridge if you do nothing outside of the regular college work. But then on Oxford's site and 2014 prospectus they say that applications are purely academic and ECAs don't count unless they're directly relevant to the chosen course. Can someone clear this up?
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    (Original post by TSR561)
    I have a few friends, including one whose sister goes to Oxford, who are telling me that it's impossible to even think of Oxbridge if you do nothing outside of the regular college work. But then on Oxford's site and 2014 prospectus they say that applications are purely academic and ECAs don't count unless they're directly relevant to the chosen course. Can someone clear this up?
    Depends what subject, i.e. for maths they care less, but for medicine its seen as essential alongside good grades
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    (Original post by Robbie242)
    Depends what subject, i.e. for maths they care less, but for medicine its seen as essential alongside good grades
    I'm thinking of Maths or Computer Science. I've done a bit of programming in my own time which I hope would be beneficial.
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    They like "super curriculars" as opposed to extracurriculars ie things outside of school to do with your subject. If it were maths it would be reading around the subject, attending lectures, maybe doing a few courses, team maths challenge at school etc.


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    (Original post by spanish_sahara)
    They like "super curriculars" as opposed to extracurriculars ie things outside of school to do with your subject. If it were maths it would be reading around the subject, attending lectures, maybe doing a few courses, team maths challenge at school etc.


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    Foals fan? Surprisingly they're from Oxford, ha. Yeah, agreed with what you said!
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    Okay I have a couple of friends who both applied for Cambridge, one got an offer and one didn't though there grades and predicted grades are almost identical. The one who got in though does do loads of extra curricular activities though, he does extra courses over the summer, on the school council, takes part in everything!!
    So I think that extra curricular activities are important to put on your personal statement, but they should have some purpose, like doing a Latin summer course if you're applying for a classics course.


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    (Original post by nukethemaly)
    Foals fan? Surprisingly they're from Oxford, ha. Yeah, agreed with what you said!
    Really? Never knew that! They're not from the university though, I don't think?


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    (Original post by TSR561)
    I have a few friends, including one whose sister goes to Oxford, who are telling me that it's impossible to even think of Oxbridge if you do nothing outside of the regular college work. But then on Oxford's site and 2014 prospectus they say that applications are purely academic and ECAs don't count unless they're directly relevant to the chosen course. Can someone clear this up?
    spanish_sahara has this absolutely right.

    Therefore both your friends and the prospectus are correct.

    Oxbridge will take into account your opportunities to do related activities so this isn't a reward for the most well-heeled parents but they know that you can order books from the local public library regardless of your means.
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    (Original post by TSR561)
    I have a few friends, including one whose sister goes to Oxford, who are telling me that it's impossible to even think of Oxbridge if you do nothing outside of the regular college work. But then on Oxford's site and 2014 prospectus they say that applications are purely academic and ECAs don't count unless they're directly relevant to the chosen course. Can someone clear this up?
    (Original post by TSR561)
    I'm thinking of Maths or Computer Science. I've done a bit of programming in my own time which I hope would be beneficial.
    Hi. Delighted to hear you're thinking of applying to us for CompSci/Maths.

    Tutors make the admissions decisions based on your academic abilities and potential alone: extra-curricular activities do not form part of the selection criteria in any subject. But that's not to say we don't want to hear about your computing- and maths-related experiences. They can help us build an overall picture about you. When it comes to CompSci, we're very much looking for people with a proven flair for maths. We aren't looking for any specific knowledge of computing, but we looking for people with a genuine interest in the subject. It's a tough degree and we need to be confident you've got a level of enthusiasm and interest that's going to see you through three/four years.

    Having climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for your Duke of Edinburgh (for example) will undoubtedly make you a more interesting person, but it probably isn't going to make you a better (potential) computer scientist. It's extremely unlikely that having this on your CV would make the difference between you gaining a place or not. However, if you are achieving excellent grades in relevant subjects,and you have the time to excel in something else on the side, we will notice your ability to balance your time between studies and other activities.

    Use the Personal Statement on your UCAS form to tell us why you are committed to studying your chosen subject at university. As I mentioned above, we aren't looking for any specific computing knowledge, but we are looking for people with a genuine interest in the subject. Use something(s) related to maths or computing that you have done to demonstrate your passion for the subject, and help convince us of your commitment. We don't have a checklist of things we want you to have completed: we'd rather hear about what you've chosen to do, and what excited you about it. It doesn't have to be earth-shatteringly original, but aim to make us remember your application even after we have read a pile of others: then we'll be looking forward to meeting you at the interview. So yes, the calibre of candidates we are looking for are, as a general rule, exploring their subject outside of the normal school work.

    Having said this, your UCAS form is read by all the Universities that you apply to, and some of them will put considerably more emphasis on your extra-curricular activities that we do, and we will be aware of that when we read your form. When you apply to us you sit an aptitude test, and if you're shortlisted you then have several interviews (over a period of a couple of days). Many universities don't have the opportunity to do this, so rely on the personal statement more heavily.

    There's lots more information on what we look for in our candidates here: http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/admissions/ug...ked_questions# Hope that helps.

    PS if I remember correctly at least some of Foals met at Abingdon Boys School, which is a town just down the road from Oxford. I think a couple of them did get into Oxford Uni but didn't complete.
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    (Original post by spanish_sahara)
    Really? Never knew that! They're not from the university though, I don't think?


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    Nope, I think they just grew up there. Nonetheless, amazing band.
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    (Original post by nukethemaly)
    Nope, I think they just grew up there. Nonetheless, amazing band.
    Agreed


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    (Original post by hannxo)
    Okay I have a couple of friends who both applied for Cambridge, one got an offer and one didn't though there grades and predicted grades are almost identical. The one who got in though does do loads of extra curricular activities though, he does extra courses over the summer, on the school council, takes part in everything!!
    So I think that extra curricular activities are important to put on your personal statement, but they should have some purpose, like doing a Latin summer course if you're applying for a classics course.


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    The example of your friends does not in any way mean that it was their extacurricular activities which made the difference between an offer and a rejection. Their grades may have been almost identical, but one of them probably performed much better at interview than the other.
    In general extracurricular activities are pretty much irrelevant to an Oxbridge application. Academic activities outside of the curriculum, yes, but sport/music/DofE/council, no. (Though some courses eg Medicine may be exceptions.) However do still write about these activities in your PS as the other universities you're applying to will want to hear about these activities
 
 
 
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