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    I'm an American, and I was just wondering if it's wiser for an American to take a year or two of college in America before going to Oxford, considering that it's only 3 years. I read on a different website that the shorter studying period puts Americans at a disadvantage. Is that true?

    If it would be wiser to take a year or two of college in America, how would that change the application process? Would I be treated as a graduate? What if I go to a community college?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated!
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    (Original post by ivanatahan)
    I'm an American, and I was just wondering if it's wiser for an American to take a year or two of college in America before going to Oxford, considering that it's only 3 years. I read on a different website that the shorter studying period puts Americans at a disadvantage. Is that true?

    If it would be wiser to take a year or two of college in America, how would that change the application process? Would I be treated as a graduate? What if I go to a community college?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated!
    It's really up to you. Most of the Americans I knew came directly after high school, and didn't seem to have any issues academically. I suspect the general issue is that the US system seems to favour more breadth in exchange for less depth compared to the UK system. However, you could probably remedy this on your own by doing further readings/ taking APs etc.

    If you do take one to two years of US college, whether that be a traditional 4 year college or community college, you are obliged to declare this on UCAS. In general, I believe tutors will take this into account, and may hold you to a higher standard than school leavers (eg if you've already taken some college level modules in your chosen subject). Also bear in mind that Oxford does not allow for transfers, and you'll have to start over from Year 1. That can add up to quite a lot of money if you went to a private US college without any scholarship or financial aid before applying.

    The other route you can consider is to do a 2nd BA or Masters after getting a US degree.
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    (Original post by ivanatahan)
    I'm an American, and I was just wondering if it's wiser for an American to take a year or two of college in America before going to Oxford, considering that it's only 3 years. I read on a different website that the shorter studying period puts Americans at a disadvantage. Is that true?

    If it would be wiser to take a year or two of college in America, how would that change the application process? Would I be treated as a graduate? What if I go to a community college?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated!
    Made an account specifically to answer your question. First piece of advice is to avoid student room at all costs until after you have applied and are looking to waste the time away between interviews and decision day. As soon as I am able to answer any questions you have, I'll be deleting my account too!

    I did not apply to Ox coming out of high-school, but ended up being unhappy with my university in the states so did apply during my sophomore year. My elder brother, who attended 'the other one,' actually told me during the summer when I was thinking of applying that his director of studies at Cambridge told him that Oxbridge prefers Americans spend a year or two in an American university first in order to replicate the English A level system of specialization. This is one reason for why Americans are so prevalent among graduate students at Oxbridge but less so for undergrads.

    Attending college in America before applying to Ox puts you neither at an advantage nor a disadvantage; the application process remains largely similar except you will include your college coursework and marks on your UCAS form, and you will likely be asked about you unique circumstances in interview: 'why are you leaving America... ect.' It does offer you the opportunity to spend more time selecting your course, which American high-schools are not as conducive to. You would not be treated as a graduate; you will still apply as a first-year student for a three year course. Only students who have completed a bachelor's degree in America and are applying for an additional bachelor's at Ox are granted senior status (two year course).

    I would not recommend attending community college, as Ox will hold a four-year bachelor's degree in higher regard than two years at community college. Although not explicit, I'd imagine that the academic level of your undergraduate institution will also matter in the application process, as they will place a great deal of emphasis on the undergraduate transcript at your American university as that is both the latest and most advanced work you've done. Not at all saying that community colleges have a lower academic standard, just that a four-year college may be more representative of that which Ox seeks. I would also note that it is a rather dangerous status to select your university and/or plan on leaving that university for Ox. Obviously admission standards are exceptionally high and even one/two fantastic years of university in America will not guarantee admission which is contingent on a whole host of elements including entrance examinations, reference and interview. As such, I don't think it would be wise to count on Ox as in the event it doesn't work out, it'd be a shame to feel as though you'd wasted two years. So choose something you are keen on and keep Ox in the back of your mind in case it's something you'd still like to pursue one/two years from now!

    Please take all this with a grain of salt. I am in no way an Oxford admissions expert, and wouldn't want you to strategize based solely on individualized experience. Don't be afraid to reach out to a tutor with questions either--you will find they have a far greater reservoir of knowledge from which to draw! Best of luck!
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    I have to disagree with pfst, I'm an American first year, and I know a few other Americans in my year, and none of us attended American university before coming to Oxford.What you really need is some higher depth of knowledge in your chosen subject than would be expected of a typical high school graduate who had taken the AP exam. You could gain this by attending a year of college, but it would be much more convenient just to do some extra personal study.
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    Hrunting offers some good advice, but I would like to elaborate on my point. We are not, in fact, in disagreement. Of the 40(ish) Americans who attend Oxford undergrad each year, I would estimate 39-40 matriculate straight from high-school. As such, it seems that this is the only option. When I was reaching out to various figures when considering my application, because it was quite unheard of for an American college student to apply to begin an undergraduate degree at Oxford, some said that it would not be possible (including one Oxford fellow who said I should wait until graduate school). Therefore, the point of my comment and the reference to my brother's director of studies' passing comment about preferring Americans spend a year at an American college is just to warn ivanahatan and any others who read this that they may confront that 'unknown scenario' and rather vague advice and to encourage them to apply anyway.

    To summarize, most Americans will apply and matriculate straight out of high-school. That said, if you have missed that opportunity (either because you didn't apply this year or are already in an American college--as seems the case with ivanahatan), then there is still the option of applying as an undergraduate to Oxford. And although I am sure most do well straight from high-school, there are some at Cambridge who actually prefer taking American undergrads after they have spend time at an American university. Hope this clears things up.
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    Thank you for your advice! I actually haven't graduated high school as I'm only a junior. I was wondering because Oxford is my dream and I'm really anxious to go, but I want to be sure that I'm doing things right and that I'm not missing anything. I'm excited to apply this October and would love to leave as soon as I can. I'd also like to know if Americans who study at Oxford would be successful in finding work in the US, or should I stay in the UK/EU (I'm not necessarily against that, as I know Polish and Ukrainian, should Ukraine enter the EU)?

    This is slightly off topic, but I live just outside of Chicago, and if I need to take any entrance exams (for PPE), do I have to travel to New York to take them?
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    I can't speak with certainty regarding post-graduation employment, but I am of the opinion that as so few Americans attend Oxford, it is a very marketable qualification. In other words, I think it a positive to apply for jobs in Chicago, for instance, as the only student from Oxford when they will likely see a high number of applicants from Northwestern, UChicago etc. It helps you stand out, particularly within global industries. Another thing to think about are the number of vacation days given to employees in America versus the UK. In the U.S., most employees are only allowed between one and two weeks of vacation, while British companies give between 3-5. You may choose to hold a first job in the UK before negotiating more vacation days into your contract at an American company, should you still wish to return to the U.S. following graduation.

    Finally, you should not have to travel to New York to sit an admissions exam. I experienced similar concerns. While the Admissions Testing Service (ATS) only has a limited number of centers listed online, you can sit the exam at any testing center that is approved by the ATS. I would recommend petitioning your school to register with ATS as you have plenty of time to do so. If they are unwilling, I would recommend reaching out to various high-schools in your area, particularly schools from which students often apply to Oxford as they will likely already be registered to give the exams. If you ask nicely, they will allow you to sit the exam even though they are listed as a 'closed center.' If you ask really nicely, they will register you with the ATS and all you have to do is show up for the exam. Good luck!
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    That sounds very pleasing. As an American, what would you suggest I do to prepare myself before applying? I'm aiming for PPE, as mentioned before.
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    As a junior, I'd focus primarily on your schoolwork, SATs and APs, ensuring you earn top results on each. APs are especially important for Oxford; I think a majority of successful applicants have more than just the 3 required for entry. Once you have sat those exams, I would shift your focus to outside readings. You may want to read newspaper sources such as WSJ and NYT daily and I would identify some political and philosophical topics of interest and read a few books on those as well. This will help you for both your entry exam and your interview, as while the topics of each will be largely out of your control, you will still have more knowledge and topics from which to draw in both.

    Then as the summer moves on I would identify a few colleges of interest and begin working on your personal statement for UCAS. This would also be a good time to look at some past exam papers on the Oxford website for the entry exam, seeing if your knowledge matches well with that which is asked year to year. Ultimately, there's not much to do other than revise for your exams and be interested in the subject. This interest will lead to intellectual curiosity which in turn will lead to your pursuing the topic through other avenues (readings, individual analysis, conversations with peers). Once you have this going for you, it's just a matter of showing Oxford how much you care about the subject and how this infatuation has manifested itself through your individual exploration of the topics inherent in PPE.
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    Your post seems to have disappeared, but if I remember correctly, it had to do with articulation. Yes, articulation of your thoughts is very important, especially with regards to the interview process. As APs and American high-school grades aren't quite as comprehensive as A levels, it seems that Oxbridge relies heavily on the interview process for international candidates to distinguish between applicants. Not sure if there is any validity to this, but I saw a post a while ago that a higher proportion of international applicants are invited to interview, but then a lower percentage are accepted of interviewed applicants. Not sure if that's correct, but I do believe that the interview is the most important part of the application process for all applicants, and even more so for international applicants. Once you get to interview, it seems that nothing to that point matters quite as much as how you perform compared to the other applicants invited to interview for your particular subject.

    As you'll be applying for PPE, I think you should work on articulating your thoughts when discussing politics and philosophy. The best way to do this is to watch videos of discussions on the topic, read (as mentioned in my previous posts), and engage in conversations with your peers. You may also want to set up some mock interviews with a few of your teachers. Each of these should prepare you well for the interview, which is effectively a mock tutorial; you can also watch some youtube videos of the format for Oxbridge interviews.
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    I deleted my post initially because I felt like it was an unnecessary question after doing some research. Thank you, though, you gave me more information than I had before!
 
 
 
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