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Successful Oxbridge Applicants: Did you feel as if you were Oxbridge-material? watch

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    I'm in year 11, I'm predicted between 10 and 12 A* for GCSEs. I've been really interested in politics for years, and have a reputation for knowing a lot about politics in our year, I'm the "politics kid". I'm also near top of the year at economics, history, RS and capable at maths. For my A-Level options, I'm pretty much already predicted at least AAA and probably A*AA, so right now it looks like I'm in a good position for PPE at Oxford, which is my ideal.

    But I go to a grammar school where like 15-20 other people will be getting similar grades. I don't know loads extra about politics than some other people, and the truth is I don't feel nearly as capable to get into Oxford. I don't feel like I read loads all the time, I'm not particularly a genius and definitely don't feel like a cut above the rest, and in all honesty I feel as if I were to apply to Oxford in a couple years time, I'd not be good enough to get in.

    So I'm just wondering, to successful Oxbridge candidates, did you have any sense whatsoever of their ability to get into Oxbridge? How confident were you in your skills and knowledge, how relative to your year did you fare, and is the fact that I don't feel like a potential Oxbridge student just down to me being in year 11, or does it hold any weight at all? Were you actually sure you won't get into Oxbridge, and it was a happy surprise, or what? Many questions I know, but just a general gist of all this would really help.
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    Bump? Lol? I mean Oxford takes in the cream of the crop, so do those applying, or did those who got in feel like nationally they had a chance against the other hundreds of applicants? Was/is anyone expecting to get in?
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    Being the arrogant little **** I was, I thought I stood quite a good chance of getting into Oxford when I applied (well until my final interview, after which I decided I had blown any chance I had potentially had :eek: ). I was a very big fish in a very small pond, with my Greater London (rather dubious) comprehensive school. So at the time of applying, I was quite self-assured regarding my abilities and, whilst most of my school weren't that optimistic about my chances, once I got my offer, everyone was confident that I would meet the offer and sail on through Oxford fairly straightforwardly to get a good degree classification.

    That said, both myself and my school were rather naive about the competition (by which, I mean the other candidates who applied to Oxford, and those who also got an offer). Firstly, I missed the grades for Oxford due to a combination of bad A Level teaching, but mostly my own complacency. Oxford took me anyway, thank goodness :king1: But then, within a few weeks of my being at Oxford, it became clear that I was nowhere near as clever as the other people, or as knowledgeable as I had once considered myself to be. I went from being a very big fish in a very small pond, to being a tadpole in an ocean! :eek:

    Whilst I think it's a tad odd that you claim you are "pretty much already predicted at least AAA" for your A Levels when you haven't even done your GCSEs yet, I think feelings of inadequacy are common when applying. Equally, these feelings of inadequacy don't go away once you're at Oxford. The vast majority of the people who get in suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their Oxford undergraduate degree :yes:

    So don't let those feelings put you off. If you like the look and feel of the place and course content/structure and think you can hack the TSA and do well at A2s and interviews, by all means give it a shot :yes:
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    I actually did. I felt very confident about getting in, but I think it's because academics have always been the best/only good area of my life and I wasn't used to my plans going wrong. I think it would have been a shock for me if I hadn't been accepted once I decided to apply, but I was shocked when I ended up with a C in AS level music so I viewed all academic goals as being on a par with each other - it confused me when anything academic ended up going wrong.

    I think I mostly had confidence because I had no idea just how much people wanted to get into Oxford and Cambridge, though. I wasn't on TSR at the time of actually sending my application off (or I was but I'd never been in the dark corners of the forums where people whisper about Oxbridge and Russell Group universities and 'are my GCSEs good enough?'). I was also the first person in my family to ever apply to university so I was a bit naive. If I had been on TSR or at a school/college where Oxbridge was made a big deal of I would probably have been less confident about my 'worthiness' of a place, as I know a lot of Oxford and Cambridge students are (even if they were confident at the time of applying, they sometimes feel less confident once they meet their offer and find themselves studying there). The key is to apply anyway and try and forget about all the hype. Try and avoid putting Oxbridge on a pedestal and that will ease the stress on you. If you get in then it's great, but if not there are other universities well worth going to. Things are only intimidating if you put them at the top of a mountain.
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    I'm currently in my third year of high school and have chosen triple science, engineering, French and geography as my options and have been predicted a*,a*,a*,a. I plan to take maths, higher maths and physics at a-level and I really would love to study somewhere like Oxford at an engineering course and specialise in civil engineering in my third and fourth years. Does anyone have any kind of advice of what I could do to start preparing for a chance to go to a uni like Oxford (I know it's a while off)


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    (Original post by CJKAllstar)
    I'm in year 11, I'm predicted between 10 and 12 A* for GCSEs. I've been really interested in politics for years, and have a reputation for knowing a lot about politics in our year, I'm the "politics kid". I'm also near top of the year at economics, history, RS and capable at maths. For my A-Level options, I'm pretty much already predicted at least AAA and probably A*AA, so right now it looks like I'm in a good position for PPE at Oxford, which is my ideal.

    But I go to a grammar school where like 15-20 other people will be getting similar grades. I don't know loads extra about politics than some other people, and the truth is I don't feel nearly as capable to get into Oxford. I don't feel like I read loads all the time, I'm not particularly a genius and definitely don't feel like a cut above the rest, and in all honesty I feel as if I were to apply to Oxford in a couple years time, I'd not be good enough to get in.

    So I'm just wondering, to successful Oxbridge candidates, did you have any sense whatsoever of their ability to get into Oxbridge? How confident were you in your skills and knowledge, how relative to your year did you fare, and is the fact that I don't feel like a potential Oxbridge student just down to me being in year 11, or does it hold any weight at all? Were you actually sure you won't get into Oxbridge, and it was a happy surprise, or what? Many questions I know, but just a general gist of all this would really help.
    (I'm an offer holder for Cambridge) I went through a bit of a tough time during GCSE years/AS year (depression & anxiety, mostly, not included on extenuating circumstances on my app btw for various reasons) and basically convinced myself I was incapable of going to oxbridge. I'd always banked on applying to do English Lit and History at Oxford, but I hated both Oxford and the course by the middle of year 12 and had never considered applying to Cambridge because of a family trauma that occurred in the city. I go to a private school (on a full scholarship) and so my GCSE results (8 A*s, 2 As) were absolutely nothing special; I was one A* shy of being amongst the top in my year, but I missed that A*, so I wasn't good enough. At AS I initially struggled because I'd never worked at GCSE, so it was much harder. At about halfway through year 12 I'd convinced myself I was going to go to some second rate uni and that I'd hate oxbridge more than anything.

    After a talk about oxbridge at school near the end of year 12, however, something clicked in my mind (I honestly don't know what, to this very day) and I booked myself an open day at Cambridge the day after that. I loved Cambridge, and I loved the new course I had chosen (Linguistics), and I really wanted to go, but I'd told myself I a) wouldn't have the academic or extra-curricular profile, and b) wouldn't be able to do the interview due to those aforementioned anxiety problems. Then I got my AS results - AAAAA. The best in my whole year group (closest to me was AAAA and AAABB). It was a huge boost of confidence so I decided to apply to Cambridge, but then I started doubting myself again. One of those As was only borderline (I got exactly 160/200 UMS, which is literally the boundary for an A) and it was in one of my 'best' subjects - cue absolute mental breakdown around mid-November when I still hadn't been invited for interview and I figured that I was basically not good enough.

    Somehow, though, I got an interview! And somehow I managed to perform well despite anxiety (it kinda went away when I started talking tbh because I love my subject) and somehow I managed to get an offer. I'm now predicted A*A*A* (A*A*A on UCAS, but my teacher upped it internally) and I feel as if I'm actually on track for that because I have something to work for (and I only need A*AA for my offer).

    Basically, I never ever believed I was good enough for oxbridge, but that didn't make it impossible! My advice, however, is to wait until you start your A Levels before being particularly confident in any of those predicted grades for A Level you've been given. It's a totally different ball game. If you're performing on those grades when you get there, you might as well apply - it's only 1/5 choices, and you'll never know if you do not try. Don't romanticise oxbridge, but don't write yourself off already.
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Being the arrogant little **** I was, I thought I stood quite a good chance of getting into Oxford when I applied (well until my final interview, after which I decided I had blown any chance I had potentially had :eek: ). I was a very big fish in a very small pond, with my Greater London (rather dubious) comprehensive school. So at the time of applying, I was quite self-assured regarding my abilities and, whilst most of my school weren't that optimistic about my chances, once I got my offer, everyone was confident that I would meet the offer and sail on through Oxford fairly straightforwardly to get a good degree classification.

    That said, both myself and my school were rather naive about the competition (by which, I mean the other candidates who applied to Oxford, and those who also got an offer). Firstly, I missed the grades for Oxford due to a combination of bad A Level teaching, but mostly my own complacency. Oxford took me anyway, thank goodness :king1: But then, within a few weeks of my being at Oxford, it became clear that I was nowhere near as clever as the other people, or as knowledgeable as I had once considered myself to be. I went from being a very big fish in a very small pond, to being a tadpole in an ocean! :eek:

    Whilst I think it's a tad odd that you claim you are "pretty much already predicted at least AAA" for your A Levels when you haven't even done your GCSEs yet, I think feelings of inadequacy are common when applying. Equally, these feelings of inadequacy don't go away once you're at Oxford. The vast majority of the people who get in suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their Oxford undergraduate degree :yes:

    So don't let those feelings put you off. If you like the look and feel of the place and course content/structure and think you can hack the TSA and do well at A2s and interviews, by all means give it a shot :yes:
    i agree with all of that except the tadpole bit. they are freshwater creatures and would not be found in an ocean.

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    Yes.
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    (Original post by the bear)
    i agree with all of that except the tadpole bit. they are freshwater creatures and would not be found in an ocean.

    :beard:
    That did occur to me but I was hoping no one would notice. You foiled my plan!



    :lovehug:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    That did occur to me but I was hoping no one would notice. You foiled my plan!



    :lovehug:
    :kiss:

    :auto:
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    So basically if yes: you're either a total genius or were less exposed to all this Oxbridge hype found on TSR and...everywhere else, but if no: doesn't reduce your chance at getting in, but you're probably not likely to be near the top at Oxbridge...well Oxbridge is Oxbridge, I'd be happy being mediocre there at best XD. I still hope to apply though, but I know people who've got into Oxbridge, it's hard to not compare yourself against them lol. I know I'm only in year 11, but in less than 2 years, how much can one possibly become Oxbridge material? Either way, I suppose it's worth a shot...
 
 
 
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