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    Hello,
    I am interested in studying history or law (or history and politics etc) at university. In my AS levels I am expecting AAAA (history, biology, psychology and geography) and a B in general studies, although I'm uncertain about my history grade as I had 2 bad exams.
    My dilemma is that I can't choose between studying history or law at university, I have read around both subjects and have an interest for both of them. My current position now is that if I get 4 As I will apply for Oxbridge history, if I drop an A I will apply for law at universities such as Durham (not London universities though, I can't afford them). I am not interested in studying history elsewhere, however.
    Now, I am extremely worried that If I do attempt to study history at Oxbridge and fail to gain an offer, which ~60% of applicants do, I will be forced to take a year out and apply to universities for law next year. This will occur as I will have to focus my personal statement on history, and so universities which I apply to for law will outright reject me, and understandably so.
    I have heard that Cambridge have an internal system whereby you send in a different personal statement to the one sent to all other universities, but after searching I can find no word of this anywhere.
    Can anyone offer me some advice on how to handle this? I do wish that the application system didn't force you to focus on one subject. Also, if you're wondering why I am not interested in history at other universities, a sibling of mine studied history at Oxford and is doing very well for himself. He has shared his concerns that a history degree from other universities simply doesn't carry the same weight, especially internationally. Furthermore, I'm a bit of a snobby prick.
    Thank you,
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    (Original post by Oddwatermelon)
    Hello,
    I am interested in studying history or law (or history and politics etc) at university. In my AS levels I am expecting AAAA (history, biology, psychology and geography) and a B in general studies, although I'm uncertain about my history grade as I had 2 bad exams.
    My dilemma is that I can't choose between studying history or law at university, I have read around both subjects and have an interest for both of them. My current position now is that if I get 4 As I will apply for Oxbridge history, if I drop an A I will apply for law at universities such as Durham (not London universities though, I can't afford them). I am not interested in studying history elsewhere, however.
    Now, I am extremely worried that If I do attempt to study history at Oxbridge and fail to gain an offer, which ~60% of applicants do, I will be forced to take a year out and apply to universities for law next year. This will occur as I will have to focus my personal statement on history, and so universities which I apply to for law will outright reject me, and understandably so.
    I have heard that Cambridge have an internal system whereby you send in a different personal statement to the one sent to all other universities, but after searching I can find no word of this anywhere.
    Can anyone offer me some advice on how to handle this? I do wish that the application system didn't force you to focus on one subject. Also, if you're wondering why I am not interested in history at other universities, a sibling of mine studied history at Oxford and is doing very well for himself. He has shared his concerns that a history degree from other universities simply doesn't carry the same weight, especially internationally. Furthermore, I'm a bit of a snobby prick.
    Thank you,
    Nonsense. Quite apart from anything else, international marketability will depend on a great deal more than which university you attended, whatever subject you read. Your sibling's assertion that his Oxford history degree is 'worth more' than a history degree from somewhere else is just that - the fact of the matter is that he can't know this to be the case. Employers do look for more than the name of the university you attended when considering your CV.

    If you want to read history, read history. It doesn't have to be Oxford, and you might be surprised to find how many history graduates (of many different universities, by the way) there are lurking as senior executives in all sorts of fields. It is an excellent foundation for becoming a lawyer, or an accountant, or for getting into a whole host of graduate schemes - and this has little if anything to do with whether it's Oxford or somewhere else.

    If you are thinking that a law degree will put you on a guaranteed path to fame and riches, think again. I know someone who graduated this summer with a first in Law from Cambridge who still hasn't secured a pupillage. It happens. There are far more law graduates out there than there are training places for them. So, if you are interested in law for its own sake by all means apply for it, but you need to consider how you would feel if you were not able to get a training contract afterwards.

    You will have to make a choice at some point about which subject to read at university, and it might as well be now. If you are really unsure, don't apply this year. Or, if you do apply this year, you'd be well advised to focus on one subject; if and when it comes to it you really don't want to go, take a gap year and reapply.

    Clearly, if your history AS grade is down on what you were hoping for/expecting before the exams, you will need to think about what that might mean if you apply to Oxford. The main test there is the HAT - which you will have to sit for single or joint honours - and a good result in that can override a less good AS grade. Other unis won't have that extra information to go by. Durham certainly used to have very high expectations of their history applicants, so a lower grade than an A might be an issue (but then again might also be an issue if you were applying for law).

    I've not heard of Cambridge allowing separate PSs - Durham does, because they are about the only very highly ranked university that is interested in your extra-curricular life. In any case, any university that did accept an additional PS can still see the original one you submitted via UCAS, so it would still be clear to them that you are not wholly committed to one subject or the other. Not a great place to be in two very competitive subjects.
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    (Original post by Minerva)
    I've not heard of Cambridge allowing separate PSs - Durham does, because they are about the only very highly ranked university that is interested in your extra-curricular life. In any case, any university that did accept an additional PS can still see the original one you submitted via UCAS, so it would still be clear to them that you are not wholly committed to one subject or the other. Not a great place to be in two very competitive subjects.
    Just to add to all the excellent info, Cambridge has its Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) which includes an (optional) section for a PS specific to Cambridge.
    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/saq


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    (Original post by jneill)
    Just to add to all the excellent info, Cambridge has its Supplementary Application Questionnaire (SAQ) which includes an (optional) section for a PS specific to Cambridge.
    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying/saq


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    Indeed, but of course my point still stands - the OP's commitment to their course choice would look a bit ropey if they used this opportunity to write a PS for a mainstream course/subject quite different from the one they're using their other four choices to apply for.

    Oddwatermelon
    What this option at Cambridge does allow you to do is to make a case for being considered for a course that isn't offered elsewhere, for example an unusual joint honours combination, while applying for single honours in one of the subjects elsewhere. In that scenario you don't want to use up too much if any space in your UCAS PS writing about the second subject, so it is helpful to have the option to write a supplementary PS.
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    The SAQ for Cambridge is designed for applications for courses that aren't common elsewhere (like nat sci or HSPS or MML or Anglo saxong & celtic). In those cases it would be very likely that applicants might be applying for other subjects at 4/5 choices and want to add in additional information for their Cambridge course.

    That isn't the case for history.

    I'd suggest either rethinking and applying for just one subject at all of your choices or make some plans for a gap year (and what you'll do following the gap year if you decide to reapply to oxbridge).
 
 
 
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