Is it worth taking a gap year to reapply to Oxford?

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Ezekiella
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My younger cousin has offers from KCL and Queen Mary to do Management. She likes London (we're from Nottingham so she wanted a change of scenery and wants to work in London after she graduates) but she had her heart set on Oxford just because it was Oxford and seemed that much above all the other unis. She visited it on an open day and absolutely fell in love with the place and the fact Oxford students seem that much more serious about their studies (even at my uni - Warwick - not everyone takes their degrees entirely seriously). She's thinking of taking a gap year and reapplying to Oxford to do Economics and Management (she applied this year then got pooled and rejected).

What should I advise her? I'm a medic so don't really know if the difference is all that major.

Has anyone reapplied to Oxford before, and were they successful? I think she wants to take a gap year anyway. She loves London though so surprised she's thinking of turning down her offer.
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charliekeki
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I thought Oxford didnt encourage gap years unless you are planning on doing an engineering subject where a year out in industry before your course. Although if you have A-level results much higher than their offer maybe they would but when I spoke to the admissions woman earlier this year she strongly discouraged it.
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Veeee
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(Original post by Ezekiella)
My younger cousin has offers from KCL and Queen Mary to do Management. She likes London (we're from Nottingham so she wanted a change of scenery and wants to work in London after she graduates) but she had her heart set on Oxford just because it was Oxford and seemed that much above all the other unis. She visited it on an open day and absolutely fell in love with the place and the fact Oxford students seem that much more serious about their studies (even at my uni - Warwick - not everyone takes their degrees entirely seriously). She's thinking of taking a gap year and reapplying to Oxford to do Economics and Management (she applied this year then got pooled and rejected).

What should I advise her? I'm a medic so don't really know if the difference is all that major.

Has anyone reapplied to Oxford before, and were they successful? I think she wants to take a gap year anyway. She loves London though so surprised she's thinking of turning down her offer.
I cant advise on the specific merits of a gap year, but if you would like to pm me then I would be happy to help you/your cousin in any way I can.

I have an offer from Oxford to do BA Economics and Management, and also applied to a few management degrees in London, so seems like we have a fair deal in common.
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Ezekiella
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(Original post by charliekeki)
I thought Oxford didnt encourage gap years unless you are planning on doing an engineering subject where a year out in industry before your course. Although if you have A-level results much higher than their offer maybe they would but when I spoke to the admissions woman earlier this year she strongly discouraged it.
Her AS level grades are OK (AAAB), but she didn't really "get" the interview, apparently.

Why do Oxford discourage gap years? Would she be looked down upon as a reapplying student planning to take a gap year?
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Goods
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(Original post by Ezekiella)
My younger cousin has offers from KCL and Queen Mary to do Management. She likes London (we're from Nottingham so she wanted a change of scenery and wants to work in London after she graduates) but she had her heart set on Oxford just because it was Oxford and seemed that much above all the other unis. She visited it on an open day and absolutely fell in love with the place and the fact Oxford students seem that much more serious about their studies (even at my uni - Warwick - not everyone takes their degrees entirely seriously). She's thinking of taking a gap year and reapplying to Oxford to do Economics and Management (she applied this year then got pooled and rejected).

What should I advise her? I'm a medic so don't really know if the difference is all that major.

Has anyone reapplied to Oxford before, and were they successful? I think she wants to take a gap year anyway. She loves London though so surprised she's thinking of turning down her offer.
It would be grades dependant. She would need to have A*'s at A2. Also it depends if she can find something meaningful to do for a year, from what i've been told they don't look particularly kindly on people who just wait around in gap years.
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Ezekiella
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(Original post by Goods)
It would be grades dependant. She would need to have A*'s at A2. Also it depends if she can find something meaningful to do for a year, from what i've been told they don't look particularly kindly on people who just wait around in gap years.
From what I've heard she wants to try travelling/voluntourism and set up her own business. What do they usually see as "meaningful?"
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Goods
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(Original post by Ezekiella)
From what I've heard she wants to try travelling/voluntourism and set up her own business. What do they usually see as "meaningful?"
Anything other than staying at home waiting to re-apply That sounds really good!
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charliekeki
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(Original post by Ezekiella)
Her AS level grades are OK (AAAB), but she didn't really "get" the interview, apparently.

Why do Oxford discourage gap years? Would she be looked down upon as a reapplying student planning to take a gap year?
Yes, They said they only accept students that have taken gap years in "exceptional circumstances". I'm not sure what that means but they said that a year out can dramatically affect your ability in subjects like Maths and Sciences etc. They said they rarely accept students from gap years, what's scary is that she said they only accepted two last year that went on a gap year and they both had 4 A*. I think gap years are a great thing to do though, if i was her i would go to one of those other universities and to take a year out since you only live once!
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Ezekiella
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(Original post by Goods)
Anything other than staying at home waiting to re-apply That sounds really good!
Should I tell her not to take the voluntourism thing too far, though, if she does re-apply? She's really keen on travelling and my aunty and uncle are quite well off, but I'm not sure if spending a gap year just having what some see as a really long holiday on your parents' money is the best of ideas
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curved
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Yeah or some work experience wouldn't go amiss like something related to her degree if she doesn't already have some!
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mirazia
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Oxford is legally obligated to tell her why she was rejected. Perhaps if you ask for that info, you can judge based on that whether to reapply? For example, if its something to do with her interview, she may stand a chance next year. However, if she did badly in their aptitude exam, or her grades are not up to parr, it might be wise to move on. A gap year should be fine as long as it is a) productive and b) she does something relating to her degree
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Ezekiella
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(Original post by charliekeki)
Yes, They said they only accept students that have taken gap years in "exceptional circumstances". I'm not sure what that means but they said that a year out can dramatically affect your ability in subjects like Maths and Sciences etc. They said they rarely accept students from gap years, what's scary is that she said they only accepted two last year that went on a gap year and they both had 4 A*. I think gap years are a great thing to do though, if i was her i would go to one of those other universities and to take a year out since you only live once!
Was that the general admissions tutor or just one for a particular college/subject? (I didn't apply to Oxford so I don't really know how different their admissions system is.) They don't really seem to mention gap years on their site, though Magdalene just says it might be OK to defer your offer which is slightly different.
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BJack
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(Original post by charliekeki)
Yes, They said they only accept students that have taken gap years in "exceptional circumstances".
I don't know where you got this from, but I know plenty of people at Oxford who took perfectly unexceptional gap years.
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Noble.
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(Original post by charliekeki)
Yes, They said they only accept students that have taken gap years in "exceptional circumstances". I'm not sure what that means but they said that a year out can dramatically affect your ability in subjects like Maths and Sciences etc. They said they rarely accept students from gap years, what's scary is that she said they only accepted two last year that went on a gap year and they both had 4 A*. I think gap years are a great thing to do though, if i was her i would go to one of those other universities and to take a year out since you only live once!
Hmm, the first thing you say about gap years having to be under "exceptional circumstances" doesn't seem to be the situation really. I study maths, which is arguably the biggest "no gap-year" subject, and I had a gap year which wasn't for anything special and it wasn't even mentioned at interview, nor was it even explained really in my personal statement. The only thing that happened was that when I got an unconditional offer one of my future tutors decided to send me a lot of work that he thought I'd get started on during my gap year (:lol:)
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nexttime
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(Original post by charliekeki)
Yes, They said they only accept students that have taken gap years in "exceptional circumstances". I'm not sure what that means but they said that a year out can dramatically affect your ability in subjects like Maths and Sciences etc. They said they rarely accept students from gap years, what's scary is that she said they only accepted two last year that went on a gap year and they both had 4 A*. I think gap years are a great thing to do though, if i was her i would go to one of those other universities and to take a year out since you only live once!
Where did you get this from? Was it subject-specific?

I know about 10 people who took gap years in my year at Merton alone (about 10%), plus a load more from my subject. That figure of 2 in an entire year is highly, highly unlikely.

My tutor does say he dislikes giving deferred offers so i can imagine its more strict there, but that is something entirely different of course.

(Original post by Ezekiella)
Was that the general admissions tutor or just one for a particular college/subject? (I didn't apply to Oxford so I don't really know how different their admissions system is.) They don't really seem to mention gap years on their site, though Magdalene just says it might be OK to defer your offer which is slightly different.
Pretty sure there is no problem in taking a gap year. Taking a productive gap year may even improve your chances, as i understand it.

However, do remind her that E&M has the toughest competition ratio of any big course at Oxford, and that KCL/QM are good universities. The preference needs to be really strong to justify spending an entire year of life trying to get in when the odds are actually very unlikely, even if she gets A*s at A-level and even if the gap year is used well. That's the unfortunate reality!
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by nexttime)

However, do remind her that E&M has the toughest competition ratio of any big course at Oxford
it has been suggested on here before that E&M attracts a lot more speculative applications, particularly from overseas, than is true of any other course, such that they're necessarily very ruthless in determining who makes the cut for interview - calling only a third. But a candidate called for interview has a 1/3 chance of admission, which compares pretty favourably with courses across the board. And this lass has gotten that far once already, been interviewed and pooled.
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nexttime
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
it has been suggested on here before that E&M attracts a lot more speculative applications, particularly from overseas, than is true of any other course, such that they're necessarily very ruthless in determining who makes the cut for interview - calling only a third. But a candidate called for interview has a 1/3 chance of admission, which compares pretty favourably with courses across the board. And this lass has gotten that far once already, been interviewed and pooled.
I've yet to see any hard evidence of that, although it is probably true yes.

Subject is still worth noting regardless.
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by nexttime)
I've yet to see any hard evidence of that, although it is probably true yes.
I think it's the sensible extrapolation from the data made available. The fact is that 9% of all applicants are admitted, and that is the figure popuarly siezed upon, but a peculiarly low percentage of candidates are interviewed: 29%. The yield from interviews is 1 in 3, such that if you are called for E&M interview you are at that stage statistically more likely to be admitted than if called for Geography.
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
I think it's the sensible extrapolation from the data made available. The fact is that 9% of all applicants are admitted, and that is the figure popuarly siezed upon, but a peculiarly low percentage of candidates are interviewed: 29%. The yield from interviews is 1 in 3, such that if you are called for E&M interview you are at that stage statistically more likely to be admitted than if called for Geography.
The interview to offer ratio is even lower for medicine, but we know from other sources that medical applicants tend to have higher GCSEs and a-levels than other subjects. Plenty of other subjects interview 3 per place. All those figures show is that E&M interviews on the low side but in the normal range of applicants per place as other subjects. I don't see how you can infer anything about quality or competition from this.

I maintain that whilst you may be right, the extent is completely unknown and the evidence we have still suggests that E&M is competitive and this is worth considering this when deciding whether to reapply.
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tooambitious
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(Original post by cambio wechsel)
I think it's the sensible extrapolation from the data made available. The fact is that 9% of all applicants are admitted, and that is the figure popuarly siezed upon, but a peculiarly low percentage of candidates are interviewed: 29%. The yield from interviews is 1 in 3, such that if you are called for E&M interview you are at that stage statistically more likely to be admitted than if called for Geography.
Isn't it an Oxford policy to interview roughly 3 people per place?
I've been told it is
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