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    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    He should do what he feels is best but imo to be able to say you studied at Oxford is worth the increased work load, Durham is pretty much another run of the mill (although excellent) university.
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    A degree from Oxford is of course highly respected, but my view (and I don't think this is controversial) is that a degree alone is insufficient to be employable. Extra-curricular activities are very important and while I know Oxford does have many opportunities for this, your son may not necessarily enjoy his experience. If he isn't enjoying his experience then he may not be motivated to do academic work and fall behind. University should be enjoyable and you should grow as a person alongside studying for your degree. I am a completely different person (for the better) compared to when I started at university nearly six years ago.

    In my opinion if his heart is not set on Oxford then he probably should not attend. It would be a great shame if he were to drop out of any university because he was not motivated enough or not enjoying it. Durham is still an excellent and highly respected university so if he applies himself and does more than just studying for a degree he should be fine. One has to remember that most people do not go to Oxford and most people can still pursue their intended career path.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    Your son is right on this. If he believes he'll have no time to live a life outside of his books and end up with a 2:1 when he could study and enjoy his life elsewhere and end up with a 1st then he should most definitely go elsewhere.

    On a side note, keep in mind that when the going gets tough and he's studying in the library at Durham for example, it will still be very hard work and probably won't feel any less strain than what he could imagine at Oxford.
    Chemical engineering is hard work whether it's Oxford or Durham and there's always the time to enjoy yourself; Even at Oxford.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    i 100% agree with him, as long as he qualifies his degree to get his desired job the type of university shouldnt matter ...durham is an amazing university too !
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    This is, of course, your son's call but I would say that there is little evidence to suggest that Oxford students enjoy their time at University any less than Durham students. Yes, he would have to produce more course output at Oxford than Durham would demand but if he enjoys his subject this shouldn't be too off-putting. Having hit all those weekly deadlines and done all the self-directed learning Oxford demands will have enhanced his skills levels and therefore improved his employment prospects without, in the view of most Oxford students that experience it, being crushing or compromising the ability to have fun and engage in extra-curricular activities. What Oxford students do less of than elsewhere is aimlessly watching daytime TV - that's not a huge sacrifice.

    One thing that I would argue shouldn't sway the decision much is some sense that the Oxford degree is somehow going to open more doors than Durham's on the basis of the identity of the university alone. In the 21st century relatively few employers are dazzled by the name of any University. What they are interested in is the ability and potential of each applicant. The tutorial experience at Oxford really helps students develop skills of organisation and initiative and improves rigorous real-time thinking. This is all catnip to employers. I should be clear that there are plenty of opportunities to develop these traits in Durham but it is also possible to avoid doing so, whereas in Oxford it's pretty much inescapable.

    It's important to say that there isn't a bad option here. If your son is nervous about the Oxford experience and wants to play safe by accepting the Durham offer instead, he'll have both a great experience and a great education. He'll never know whether both would have been better still or worse at Oxford so he can't ever regret his choice. Of course the same will be true of he makes the alternative choice.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    It's up to him, tbh. Not sure there's a "right answer".

    His viewpoint is a valid one, it just depends what he personally wants.
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    Totally has to be his decision. If he feels he would prefer a better balanced learning approach (Oxford is very intense, shorter terms, and yes more work) then considering his other options is a positive.

    I can sympathise entirely with his reasoning if he has been flat out for A levels for the past two years, but I would also say that in some respects the learning at university is different, often more engaging, and educational fatigue is less prevalent.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    Your son is thinking very short term here.

    Going to Oxbridge will confer benefits for the rest of his life, that no other unis even comes close to - in terms of job, social and further education opportunities.

    Also, as long as meet the minimum of a 2:1, employers dont care whether you have a 2:1 or a 1st. Most will actually be more impressed by a 2:1 at Oxford than a 1st at Durham.

    The key point is that uni is only 3 years and will be over before he realises, and going to Oxford will hugely beneficial for the rest of his life, and he will very likely still be able to socialise and enjoy himself at Oxford.
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    Oxford is for people who are academic, rather than people who are intelligent. And while it's true that the two often go hand in hand, someone who struggles a lot to get A*'s and is worried about the workload is not as acadmic as someone who can get A*'s with less effort. Your son sounds intelligent as he is thinking ahead and considering many options. These are the sorts of skills that get you a job and promotions - much more so than where you got your degree from.

    In the real world, no one cares about how academic you are. They just want to know if you can do the job and how well you can do it. It's not like at work you'll be attending lectures and sitting exams. After a year no one is going to care where you got your degree. They are instead going to be judging you on your performance only.
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    I've just done two years at Oxford, and I can tell you that there is plenty of time to enjoy yourself. Mine was a less intensive course than some, but my friends reading other subjects also had a total blast.

    Things to keep in mind - Oxford terms are only eight weeks long. It's short bursts of intense activity, and then rests to do whatever you want.

    - the reputation of the place is not to be underestimated.

    - and also...yes, you might have to write an essay a week, but it's only hard for the first few weeks as you organise yourself. You get into the groove of producing good work quickly, and it becomes normal. Few other universities do this, and it sets you up for a great future because you're able to think and produce quickly, to a high standard.

    - every college has constant events and activities, so even if he has to work hard at certain times to keep on top of it, there are always plenty of things going on when he'll have more time.

    - he seems to have worked hard to get good grades so far, so he'll be able to cope. He should trust that.

    - Oxford is a fantastic experience.
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    Yeah but what if he gets a 2.1 from Durham? It's not like Durham is wayyy easier to get a first from than ox..
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    With a non-vocational degree such as Philosophy, you need to go to the highest rank uni possible. With Oxford on the table, this is a no-brainer. There are not many people hiring philosophers these days, if you see my point? You need the best links to career advice, placements, internships etc. Oxford would be far superior. I say that as a Philosophy graduate (2.1) from a mid 30s ranked uni who is going back to retrain in another field entirely. Basically, you either do a vocational degree and don't concern yourself with uni rank OR you do an academic degree and ignore uni rank at your peril.

    As his parent, I'd say you should try to give him a realistic view of the working world, the current climate for graduates (esp arts grads) and encourage him to make the best decision for the long term - not just his short term desire for less pressure. Best of luck whatever route he chooses.
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    (Original post by Death Grips)
    Going to Oxbridge will confer benefits for the rest of his life, that no other unis even comes close to - in terms of job, social and further education opportunities.
    Your university does not define your life, its the decisions you make before, during and after that impact everything. University is a tool to use as you see fit.

    (Original post by Death Grips)
    Most will actually be more impressed by a 2:1 at Oxford than a 1st at Durham.
    Most wont care where you achieved your degree. If you leave university thinking you have it in the bag just because you went to a top university, chances are your going to have a reality shock when it comes to getting employment.
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    (Original post by uniqsummer)
    Your university does not define your life, its the decisions you make before, during and after that impact everything. University is a tool to use as you see fit.

    Most wont care where you achieved your degree. If you leave university thinking you have it in the bag just because you went to a top university, chances are your going to have a reality shock when it comes to getting employment.
    Reminds me of the saying students define the university, not the other way round.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    In some sense, your son has a fair point. I've often thought that, had I been at any other uni (bar Cambridge), I would have got a First without too much trouble.

    That said, your son's acting like no one at Oxford manages to have any fun at all! The vast majority of us have ample time for clubbing, drinking, sports and/or other extra-curricular activities. Oxford is very much what you make of it, in that respect. I don't know anyone who did 'straight'/single-honours Philosophy in my year but I can't imagine the workload being so insurmountable that your son would be chained to a desk for three years and not have a good time whilst at Oxford.

    As Chief Wiggum said, there are no right or wrongs here: it's literally a matter of preference. Does your son have any particular career ambitions for after his degree? For instance, if he wanted to do GDL and then become a barrister, studying at Oxford would probably be advisable. That said, there are few careers where attending Oxford over Durham would make a difference.

    Other things to bear in mind might be bursaries that would be given to your son (if applicable) and how those differ between the two universities; living costs of the two cities, and finally, the course content/structure and examination procedures. Would your son work better having exams at the end of first and third year (I assume there are no second year exams for Philosophy at Oxford but I may be wrong), or would he prefer constant deadlines that actually bear towards his overall classification, throughout the three years? I personally would not have found the latter any fun, but everyone's different.

    Finally, is going to Durham something that your son might regret later on? Would he always wonder 'what if?' if he didn't take up the place at Oxford? I personally am a massive prestige whore and so are many members of my family. So I'd much rather have been amongst the very low-achievers amongst the best in the world, rather than a high achiever amongst any other category. But that's just coz I'm a prestige whore and I like a good challenge

    Some food for thought above but ultimately just to reiterate: there's no right or wrong in this situation. It's literally what your son feels he would prefer. For most jobs, the difference between Durham and Oxford is negligible :yes:

    Hope this helps a bit :yep:
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    The key is 'reputedly'. There's no doubt that Oxonians get a heavy workload but your son got the offer because those expert tutors believe he has the aptitude to succeed. I here student-life at Oxford is brilliant and the possibility of a tough workload shouldn't put him off. The 'experience' is supposed to be quite similar at Durham (where a first class degree certainly isn't guaranteed without hard work) anyway.

    He'll have a very long summer holiday to enjoy himself. Furthermore, Oxford terms are quite short - he'll have plenty of time to enjoy himself and at the end of it he'll have a degree from one of the greatest universities on Earth. If he chooses to go elsewhere I suspect he'll spend a lot of time wondering how things might be different if he'd taken the Oxford offer.

    Of course, it's his choice.
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    (Original post by Crumbofcomfort)
    My son has an offer for Philosophy, conditional on three As, which he should get.
    Only one problem - he's very daunted by the workload he'll have at Oxford.

    He's worked flat out for the last four years, got all As or A*s at GCSEs and AS level,is now predicted A*s for A2 -but he wants to ease up a bit and even have time to enjoy himself a little.

    He's not against hard work but, as he says, 'Why work flat out at Oxford, with a workload that's reputedly several times more than elsewhere, and end up with a 2:1, when I could go to Durham, work a bit less hard, enjoy myself a bit and get a first?'

    Any thoughts?
    I would be hesitant to suggest a first from Durham is going to be any more advantageous than a 2:1 from Durham, or a 2:1 from anywhere else for that matter. First class degrees rarely make a significant difference during the recruitment process, particularly once one has sat through an interview. A first class degree is also hardly a guarantee, even with oodles of hard work one can miss out for one silly reason or another.

    Moreover, a 2:1 from Oxford is likely to be favoured over a 2:1 from Durham for its rigour, though it's not likely to be the deciding factor in any employment process. That is unless your son intends to go into law, consultancy, banking, the media etc.

    The three years spent at university will change your son's life. It's an investment, and he has to decide on the dividends of that investment and whether they're worth the effort.

    I'm doing a humanities subject at Oxford and I can tell you that the work load is manageable and I have loads of time to go out and enjoy myself. However, I'm also getting something done of which I am proud. No-one will ever be able to tell me that I am not driven, that I do not work hard, that I am not clever, and that I have not achieved anything. That for me is worth every penny of the £9000 that I am spending and worth every word of the 30 essays that I produce a year.
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    (Original post by RomanKing)
    Your son is right on this. If he believes he'll have no time to live a life outside of his books and end up with a 2:1 when he could study and enjoy his life elsewhere and end up with a 1st then he should most definitely go elsewhere.
    This is such a false dichotomy! It's such crap that Durham is the greener patch of grass with hundreds of societies and easy first class degrees. Oxford is a place where you can grow and do a tonne of extra-curricular things along side your degree and have a total blast at the same time. Your rhetoric really saddens me. So many people shy away from Oxford because of ill-evidenced assumptions.
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    (Original post by uniqsummer)
    Your university does not define your life, its the decisions you make before, during and after that impact everything. University is a tool to use as you see fit.


    Most wont care where you achieved your degree. If you leave university thinking you have it in the bag just because you went to a top university, chances are your going to have a reality shock when it comes to getting employment.
    I agree with everything you say, except the bit in bold. Quite honestly, some (but not all) employers do actually care about where you achieved your degree, and all things being equal, certain institutions will have an edge when it comes to recruitment for certain industries (eg consultancy, banking, law).
 
 
 
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