The "I'm an American considering applying to Oxford" thread

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fluteflute
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This thread is a place for any Americans interested in applying for an Oxford undergraduate degree to chat or ask questions related to applying from the US, applying with US qualifications (e.g. SATs, APS), fees and funding, and anything else.

Note that non-Americans might not read this thread, so we have better places to post for:
Don't hesitate to create a new thread in the Oxford forum if you don't think your question fits in this thread or in one of the places above. You'll also find threads there for all applicants to chat in, e.g. applicants for entry in autumn 2014. Go chat!
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Nerdgirl1996
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Hey guys! I'm applying to Oxford in a bit and I'm quite worried because I didn't do too well on the SAT. I had to get an appendectomy a week before the exam and this resulted in less than satisfactory scores. I met the requirement for Critical Reading, but Math and Writing didn't go too well. However, all my other scores are excellent and I'm taking a lot of AP exams and did well on my SAT Subject Tests. I think my personal statement is quite good as well (but I can't say that for sure, obviously). Will this one mistake be a huge detriment to my chances of being called in for interview? I'm applying for Law, btw. Thanks!
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Bax-man
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(Original post by Nerdgirl1996)
Hey guys! I'm applying to Oxford in a bit and I'm quite worried because I didn't do too well on the SAT. I had to get an appendectomy a week before the exam and this resulted in less than satisfactory scores. I met the requirement for Critical Reading, but Math and Writing didn't go too well. However, all my other scores are excellent and I'm taking a lot of AP exams and did well on my SAT Subject Tests. I think my personal statement is quite good as well (but I can't say that for sure, obviously). Will this one mistake be a huge detriment to my chances of being called in for interview? I'm applying for Law, btw. Thanks!
An appendectomy might count as a mitigating circumstance - it could be worth emailing a few colleges and / or university admissions to find out.
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mishieru07
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(Original post by Bax-man)
An appendectomy might count as a mitigating circumstance - it could be worth emailing a few colleges and / or university admissions to find out.
This - I'm sure colleges would be sympathetic to someone who had to undergo surgery!

Also, would it not be possible to resit your SAT test? Or is it too late to apply for a test date that ensures you get your results on time? It might be worth asking a couple of colleges whether they could make SAT scores conditional in your case - this will give you some leeway in resitting.
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Nerdgirl1996
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(Original post by mishieru07)
This - I'm sure colleges would be sympathetic to someone who had to undergo surgery!

Also, would it not be possible to resit your SAT test? Or is it too late to apply for a test date that ensures you get your results on time? It might be worth asking a couple of colleges whether they could make SAT scores conditional in your case - this will give you some leeway in resitting.
I am planning to take it again, but not till January. Could we actually ask colleges to make it conditional, or do they just decide?
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mishieru07
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(Original post by Nerdgirl1996)
I am planning to take it again, but not till January. Could we actually ask colleges to make it conditional, or do they just decide?
You could email them and ask - there's absolutely no harm in doing so. Worse they can tell you is no. If they do say no (which I think is unlikely), I'm afraid you'll just have to bump up your test date. Given that you've already studied for the test once, it shouldn't be too bad!

If I were you, I would try to get SATs out of the way ASAP while the information is (vaguely) fresh in your head - memorizing the vocabulary was horrible for me.
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Nerdgirl1996
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Hi everyone,

I am applying to Oxford for 2014 entry and study at an American school. The American entry requirements for Oxford are a grade 5 in three relevant AP exams. I'm going to apply for Law, and so far I've taken AP World History, AP European History, AP English Language, and AP Macroeconomics. Would these be considered relevant? Also, I'm not fully confident that I'll get 5s in every single one of these, so I'm going to take more exams next year. I've definitely decided on taking AP Government, AP Microeconomics, and AP English Lit, but I planned on taking a bunch of others as well, such as Environmental Sci, Statistics, and Human Geography. Is there really no point in taking these because they would not be considered relevant? Or would taking a greater number of APs strengthen my application?
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Nerdgirl1996
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(Original post by mishieru07)
You could email them and ask - there's absolutely no harm in doing so. Worse they can tell you is no. If they do say no (which I think is unlikely), I'm afraid you'll just have to bump up your test date. Given that you've already studied for the test once, it shouldn't be too bad!

If I were you, I would try to get SATs out of the way ASAP while the information is (vaguely) fresh in your head - memorizing the vocabulary was horrible for me.
I'm just worried that if I rush it, I'll mess up. Actually vocab wasn't a problem for me at all. I didn't study vocab at all, and I got a perfect on that part. It's math that tanked my grade!
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Plantagenet Crown
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You might as well give it a go, you've got nothing to lose.
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Nerdgirl1996
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Did you send in your official score reports to the university through CollegeBoard (APs, SAT etc.) or would merely entering your scores into your UCAS application suffice?
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dvdhsu
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(Original post by Nerdgirl1996)
Did you send in your official score reports to the university through CollegeBoard (APs, SAT etc.) or would merely entering your scores into your UCAS application suffice?
During the application stage, you only need to enter the marks via UCAS. If you receive an offer, then you will have to confirm your AP and SATs.

My college, St. Hugh's, didn't want the scores sent via CollegeBoard; they instead asked for the original certificates / score reports, so I sent them my SAT answer sheet, and AP score list (which the CollegeBoard sent me in July). For SAT II's, since they never mailed me my results, I just printed out the unofficial one from online.

Since APs are moving to online reporting as well this year, I'm guessing colleges will start requesting actual reports from the CollegeBoard. The online reports don't look very authentic.
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Hedgeman49
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(Original post by Nerdgirl1996)
Hi everyone,

I am applying to Oxford for 2014 entry and study at an American school. The American entry requirements for Oxford are a grade 5 in three relevant AP exams. I'm going to apply for Law, and so far I've taken AP World History, AP European History, AP English Language, and AP Macroeconomics. Would these be considered relevant? Also, I'm not fully confident that I'll get 5s in every single one of these, so I'm going to take more exams next year. I've definitely decided on taking AP Government, AP Microeconomics, and AP English Lit, but I planned on taking a bunch of others as well, such as Environmental Sci, Statistics, and Human Geography. Is there really no point in taking these because they would not be considered relevant? Or would taking a greater number of APs strengthen my application?
Take the most you can without compromising on quality. I'd say fewer APs with more consistent top grades looks better than taking loads with a mixture of grades.
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Nerdgirl1996
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(Original post by dvdhsu)
During the application stage, you only need to enter the marks via UCAS. If you receive an offer, then you will have to confirm your AP and SATs.

My college, St. Hugh's, didn't want the scores sent via CollegeBoard; they instead asked for the original certificates / score reports, so I sent them my SAT answer sheet, and AP score list (which the CollegeBoard sent me in July). For SAT II's, since they never mailed me my results, I just printed out the unofficial one from online.

Since APs are moving to online reporting as well this year, I'm guessing colleges will start requesting actual reports from the CollegeBoard. The online reports don't look very authentic.
Okay, thanks! So then we would just have to use the 'send to colleges' service on CollegeBoard?
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nirvana1234
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(Original post by dvdhsu)
During the application stage, you only need to enter the marks via UCAS. If you receive an offer, then you will have to confirm your AP and SATs.

My college, St. Hugh's, didn't want the scores sent via CollegeBoard; they instead asked for the original certificates / score reports, so I sent them my SAT answer sheet, and AP score list (which the CollegeBoard sent me in July). For SAT II's, since they never mailed me my results, I just printed out the unofficial one from online.

Since APs are moving to online reporting as well this year, I'm guessing colleges will start requesting actual reports from the CollegeBoard. The online reports don't look very authentic.
Does Oxford give you due dates to send the scores by? Thanks
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mishieru07
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(Original post by Nerdgirl1996)
I'm just worried that if I rush it, I'll mess up. Actually vocab wasn't a problem for me at all. I didn't study vocab at all, and I got a perfect on that part. It's math that tanked my grade!
Haha I'm the opposite - I found Maths easy (that said, I come from an education system where Maths is much harder). I think for Maths, the key is just being super careful. Practice makes perfect so if you keep plugging away, I'm sure you'll do great!
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oeoyeleye
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Hi, I just finished my freshman year of high school, if you're not familiar with the American schooling system, that means I just finished the first of four years in high school, so i woukd be applying to Oxford in three years. I'm interested in Oxford for either PPE or History and Politics. I would probably be applying to no specific college. Given that the American system is much more broad, I want to be as prepared as possible when the time comes. I'm studying for the SAT/SAT II's, as well as taking AP tests related to the courses I'm interested. I have two questions, I'm not familiar with the TSA, so how should for it? Second, besides doing the suggested readings on Oxford's page, how should I prepare for the interview, should I be granted one. Thanks.
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1160552
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(Original post by oeoyeleye)
Hi, I just finished my freshman year of high school, if you're not familiar with the American schooling system, that means I just finished the first of four years in high school, so i woukd be applying to Oxford in three years. I'm interested in Oxford for either PPE or History and Politics. I would probably be applying to no specific college. Given that the American system is much more broad, I want to be as prepared as possible when the time comes. I'm studying for the SAT/SAT II's, as well as taking AP tests related to the courses I'm interested. I have two questions, I'm not familiar with the TSA, so how should for it? Second, besides doing the suggested readings on Oxford's page, how should I prepare for the interview, should I be granted one. Thanks.
1) I have no clue how your education system works but I think it probably is a little early to be thinking about preparing for TSA when your priorities should be domestic exams. Though preparing earlier isn't a bad thing.
2) I did not do TSA so I would not know. However, all Oxford aptitude tests are meant to be ones you cannot prepare for in the conventional way. The only real way I think truly helps is thinking deeply about your subject and reading lots.
3) when I was preparing for my Oxford interview I simply read lots of books and made sure to debate with people either online or in school about the topics which helped me look at things differently and think more deeply and pragmatically which helped during the interview and all since.

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oleanderbuds
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Hello! Okay, so I'm an American high school student about to embark on the treacherous college application process. Oxford is currently my first choice school, and I've researched the application process quite a bit although there are a few specific questions that I still have specifically about UCAS and about taking the TSA as an international applicant. I know that I want to study the PPE course (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and I am undecided as of yet as to which college I will apply to.

I have all of the international qualifications listed on their website, which include:
  • A 2210 on the SAT (750 Critical Reading, 690 Math, 770 Writing)
  • The following scores on the following SAT subject tests: 800 in Literature, 740 in Math II, 740 in World History.
  • A 5 on the AP U.S. Government and Politics exam
  • Although I don't yet have the scores for these, I took the following AP tests in May and feel that I did fairly well on them: Art History, Calculus BC, English Language and Composition, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics & World History
  • I'm planning on taking the following AP courses senior year: English Literature and Composition, European History, Comparative Government & Biology


So, I know I'll be a competitive applicant. I also know that in addition to scores I'll need a personal statement, recommendations, my high school transcript, the TSA test and potentially later an interview. Now, on to my specific questions:

  1. How do I send/verify my SAT and AP scores with Oxford? I understand that there is a slot on UCAS where you can fill in your scores, however how can they verify that? There is no code on the college board to send my SAT or AP scores to Oxford so I'm not sure how they would know that I actually did how I say I did.
  2. I know that the UCAS deadline is October 15th, however I'm retaking the SAT on October 5th (to be more competitive for merit financial aid awards for U.S. schools) - would Oxford accept those scores, as many American universities do for early deadlines, even though they would come out after the deadline?
  3. Everything that I've read about the TSA test says that it's administered by your school and that the school has to enroll you to take the test. Is this true also for international PPE applicants? I haven't read anything about it for U.S./international students and I'm unsure as to whether that's how it works for me as well. ALSO: Has anyone here taken the TSA and can offer any thoughts/advice on it?
  4. I know that when you're admitted to UK universities you're given a conditional acceptance based on how well you do on your A-levels. What would my offer be conditional on? My high school course grades? The results of my AP tests taken senior year, even though I'll already have ample AP qualifications?

I'm meeting with my high school counselor tomorrow and I'll pose these questions to her as well, although she's utterly hopeless/incompetent so honestly I'm not expecting much help. I'll also contact someone from the university sometime in the near future with similar questions, although I know they don't do admissions the way we do so does anyone know who I could call specifically about international undergraduate admissions? Thanks so much in advance, and if you have any general advice for an American applying to study in Oxford, it would be much appreciated.
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egrefen
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(Original post by oleanderbuds)

  1. How do I send/verify my SAT and AP scores with Oxford? I understand that there is a slot on UCAS where you can fill in your scores, however how can they verify that? There is no code on the college board to send my SAT or AP scores to Oxford so I'm not sure how they would know that I actually did how I say I did.
  2. I know that the UCAS deadline is October 15th, however I'm retaking the SAT on October 5th (to be more competitive for merit financial aid awards for U.S. schools) - would Oxford accept those scores, as many American universities do for early deadlines, even though they would come out after the deadline?
  3. Everything that I've read about the TSA test says that it's administered by your school and that the school has to enroll you to take the test. Is this true also for international PPE applicants? I haven't read anything about it for U.S./international students and I'm unsure as to whether that's how it works for me as well. ALSO: Has anyone here taken the TSA and can offer any thoughts/advice on it?
  4. I know that when you're admitted to UK universities you're given a conditional acceptance based on how well you do on your A-levels. What would my offer be conditional on? My high school course grades? The results of my AP tests taken senior year, even though I'll already have ample AP qualifications?

  1. Good question. Up until now I've just gone on what's been on the student's form. I guess we just trust you?
  2. Pass. Contact admissions: https://uni-of-oxford.custhelp.com/app/home/p/27/
  3. There are four testing centers in the US http://www.admissionstestingservice.org/find-a-centre/. Your admissions tutor should register you for this.
  4. This will depend on the college and subject tutors. You may be given an unconditional.
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Poppyxx
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(Original post by oleanderbuds)

  1. How do I send/verify my SAT and AP scores with Oxford? I understand that there is a slot on UCAS where you can fill in your scores, however how can they verify that? There is no code on the college board to send my SAT or AP scores to Oxford so I'm not sure how they would know that I actually did how I say I did.
  2. I know that the UCAS deadline is October 15th, however I'm retaking the SAT on October 5th (to be more competitive for merit financial aid awards for U.S. schools) - would Oxford accept those scores, as many American universities do for early deadlines, even though they would come out after the deadline?
  3. Everything that I've read about the TSA test says that it's administered by your school and that the school has to enroll you to take the test. Is this true also for international PPE applicants? I haven't read anything about it for U.S./international students and I'm unsure as to whether that's how it works for me as well. ALSO: Has anyone here taken the TSA and can offer any thoughts/advice on it?
  4. I know that when you're admitted to UK universities you're given a conditional acceptance based on how well you do on your A-levels. What would my offer be conditional on? My high school course grades? The results of my AP tests taken senior year, even though I'll already have ample AP qualifications?

I'm meeting with my high school counselor tomorrow and I'll pose these questions to her as well, although she's utterly hopeless/incompetent so honestly I'm not expecting much help. I'll also contact someone from the university sometime in the near future with similar questions, although I know they don't do admissions the way we do so does anyone know who I could call specifically about international undergraduate admissions? Thanks so much in advance, and if you have any general advice for an American applying to study in Oxford, it would be much appreciated.
1. From what I've read from US applicants on here - you put your scores on your UCAS form, and if you get a place at Oxford you'll be asked by your college to verify those scores.

2. No idea

3. There are centres that hold the TSA all across the world. One of my fellow PPEists was in Colombia on the TSA date on his gap year, he sat it in the British Embassy.

http://www.admissionstestingservice....take-the-test/

I don't think it's hard for your school to register, so maybe you can persuade them to. There's still plenty of time.

4. It could be conditional on proof of your SAT whatever scores. Or it might be unconditional - which is the offer students get if they have already achieved the entrance requirements.

Sorry not a lot of help - there are some US posters on here who are at Oxford/ have gone through the process. DC Dude is one I know of.

Also, email Oxford admissions. They will bound to have come across most of your queries before.
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