paxman
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I'm in year 12, going into year 13, and considering applying to Oxbridge, most likely Oxford, to study history.
I'd always planned to take a gap year, planning to work in Spain for a few months to fund travelling in South America for a few months after that. I had never considered that taking a gap year would be a problem but upon talking to a few admissions officers I get the impression that neither uni is overly keen on them, though many still seemed to be saying slightly different things as to whether asking for deferred entry weakens your application. I understand the argument that they cannot guarantee your application will be as competitive as the next cohort but what proportion of students who apply for deferred entry get offered a place this year instead?
Also how common is it for oxbridge students to have taken gap years? And do many struggle with the intensity of an oxbridge degree having been outside of an academic environment for so long? Would be great if anyone at oxbridge who has taken a gap year could give their thoughts.
Thanks
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by paxman)
I'm in year 12, going into year 13, and considering applying to Oxbridge, most likely Oxford, to study history.
I'd always planned to take a gap year, planning to work in Spain for a few months to fund travelling in South America for a few months after that. I had never considered that taking a gap year would be a problem but upon talking to a few admissions officers I get the impression that neither uni is overly keen on them, though many still seemed to be saying slightly different things as to whether asking for deferred entry weakens your application. I understand the argument that they cannot guarantee your application will be as competitive as the next cohort but what proportion of students who apply for deferred entry get offered a place this year instead?
Also how common is it for oxbridge students to have taken gap years? And do many struggle with the intensity of an oxbridge degree having been outside of an academic environment for so long? Would be great if anyone at oxbridge who has taken a gap year could give their thoughts.
Thanks
Perfectly normal at Cambridge, no issues with it, except perhaps for Maths, where the absence of maths practice for a year is sometimes a worry.
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Protoxylic
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Not a problem, I know lots of people in my year of study who did go on a gap year.

The exception being Medics.
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alow
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I'm a Cambridge NatSci and took a gap year. It's not uncommon.
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BJack
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(Original post by paxman)
Also how common is it for oxbridge students to have taken gap years? And do many struggle with the intensity of an oxbridge degree having been outside of an academic environment for so long? Would be great if anyone at oxbridge who has taken a gap year could give their thoughts.
Gap years are quite common. People take them for all sorts of reasons – already planned, change of heart about subject choice, not getting in first time round – and it doesn't, in general, seem to make any difference to how well people cope with the course. The course intensity is a big step up whether you've come straight from school or taken a gap year.

I came to Oxford after breezing through school, never having had to particularly try to get top grades. Suddenly finding that I needed to actually work hard to even understand enough of the material, never mind getting very top scores, was a big shock and I don't think it would have been any better had I not taken a gap year. The best preparation, I would say, would be working hard in school because you find your subjects interesting, not because it's all that's keeping your head above water.
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boomin
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,,
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alow
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(Original post by boomin)
Would you mind sharing any advice on doing this? What you did you do? How you think they (admissions) felt about it? Do you feel ahead/behind of others in the course as a result? Can I also just ask if you're bio/phys and did you apply deferred or was it reapplying?

I'm planning the same thing myself for phys NatSci after being pooled & rejected this year.

A lot of questions I know, sorry! Very much appreciate your help!!
I did A Level FM on my gap year. I don't think the admissions people cared too much as it wasn't like I was sitting around doing nothing for a year. I was a bit ahead at the start because of the FM modules I chose. I'm a Phys NatSci, now doing chemistry in Part II. It was neither, I applied for Cambridge for the first time during my gap year.
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UniAdmissions
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(Original post by paxman)
I'm in year 12, going into year 13, and considering applying to Oxbridge, most likely Oxford, to study history.
I'd always planned to take a gap year, planning to work in Spain for a few months to fund travelling in South America for a few months after that. I had never considered that taking a gap year would be a problem but upon talking to a few admissions officers I get the impression that neither uni is overly keen on them, though many still seemed to be saying slightly different things as to whether asking for deferred entry weakens your application. I understand the argument that they cannot guarantee your application will be as competitive as the next cohort but what proportion of students who apply for deferred entry get offered a place this year instead?
Also how common is it for oxbridge students to have taken gap years? And do many struggle with the intensity of an oxbridge degree having been outside of an academic environment for so long? Would be great if anyone at oxbridge who has taken a gap year could give their thoughts.
Thanks
Hi Paxman,

Taking a gap year is quite common and it's even sometimes a requisite (I speak from known experience: a college in Cambridge accepted my partner on the condition that he took a gap year).
Taking a year's break is not a bad thing and will add to your experience in life and maturity.

In order to make up your mind, you might want to check out this blog that explains what studying History on Oxbridge entails. We also have a number of useful articles about studying history.

Hope this helps, and don't hesitate to ask if you have any question!

UniAdmissions
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roflcakes1
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Gap years are really common - perhaps more so for Oxbridge, because a lot of people apply after they've got their A Level grades confirmed, normally because they were higher than expected so their university expectations are raised, or because they want to re-apply after not getting in the first time (although this is anecdotal evidence). I don't think a gap year is a problem, but in some cases a deferred entry may be.

I think it's important that you contact the college you're applying to. If you can, find out who your director of studies would be for your subject at that college (you can normally find out through staff pages on the college website), and contact them directly. Tutors have the ultimate say over who they accept, and different tutors have different opinions about deferred entry. I know for my subject at Oxford, my tutor is very wary in accepting students on deferred entry, and would accept a student for normal entry over a deferred entry student if they were of the same calibre. This is because the colleges only take (for some subjects) e.g. 3-4 people per year, and when the sample size is that small, it's much more of a risk to take deferred entry without knowing the competitiveness or standard of the next cohort applying. So it's always worth asking - I'm not sure how common this view is amongst Oxbridge tutors. Are there any reasons you have against applying on your gap year rather than the year before?
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Doones
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(Original post by UniAdmissions)
Hi Paxman,

Taking a gap year is quite common and it's even sometimes a requisite (I speak from known experience: a college in Cambridge accepted my partner on the condition that he took a gap year).
Taking a year's break is not a bad thing and will add to your experience in life and maturity.
It's only a "prerequisite" if they don't happen to have spare places this year but decide to offer you a place for next year. And that usually only happens in the Pool.

A gap year is not a "prerequisite" for ANY course at Cambridge.

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TheTechN1304
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I took a gap year and still got into Oxford. I don't think they're against them at all. For STEM subjects they are sometimes a bit iffy, but usually it shouldn't be a problem
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._.maddie._.
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Why are they more against gap years with STEM subjects? I want to apply Oxford for maths, and think I'd like to take a gap year.

If you apply in your gap year rather than for deferred entry, would you have to take the extra exams (STEP or MAT for maths) during your gap year. or could you do them during year 13?
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the bear
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they forced me to take a gap yah because of my age :rolleyes:
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Doones
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(Original post by ._.maddie._.)
Why are they more against gap years with STEM subjects? I want to apply Oxford for maths, and think I'd like to take a gap year.

If you apply in your gap year rather than for deferred entry, would you have to take the extra exams (STEP or MAT for maths) during your gap year. or could you do them during year 13?
It's really only Maths they are sometimes concerned about. And yes you would have to sit MAT for Oxford.

If you haven't already done STEP then it would be part of a Cambridge offer. If you already have a good score they *might* still ask you to do it again.

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Stoke123
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No problem at all except for maths.
As long as you inform them how productive your gap year was, perhaps relate to the 'History of civilzation or Architecture' in the region since your interested in history, then it's green lights to their eyes.
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RichE
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(Original post by ._.maddie._.)
Why are they more against gap years with STEM subjects? I want to apply Oxford for maths, and think I'd like to take a gap year.

If you apply in your gap year rather than for deferred entry, would you have to take the extra exams (STEP or MAT for maths) during your gap year. or could you do them during year 13?
I think it's fair to say Oxford is neutral towards gap years when it comes to maths. The exact wording of the policy on deferred entry can be found at

https://www.maths.ox.ac.uk/study-her...tudy/our-offer

reads

"Deferred entry applications in Mathematics, its Joint Schools, and Computer Science will be considered from applicants who have planned structured activities in their gap year; activities might include technical employment relevant to Mathematics, Statistics or Computer Science, teaching abroad or a gap year programme. If uncertain, applicants should raise any questions with the tutors at their chosen/allocated college; tutors may discuss details of the gap year during interviews. After discussion with the candidates, some deferred entry applicants may be offered an immediate place instead. There is no policy for making more demanding offers to candidates seeking a deferred offer. Tutors will typically set successful gap year applicants academic work to be completed during the year or the summer before their first term in Oxford."

Twenty years ago there may have been a skepticism towards gap years, but that's really a thing of the past.
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nexttime
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(Original post by Protoxylic)
The exception being Medics.
Really? Its very common.

If we include outside of Oxbridge, its probably one of the subjects where the lowest number of people are school-leavers due to a) age restrictions b) the number of people that get rejected then reapply c) the average affluence of applicants d) the need for extensive work experience e) the vocational course drawing people later in life more readily than other courses.
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Doones
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(Original post by nexttime)
Really? Its very common.

If we include outside of Oxbridge, its probably one of the subjects where the lowest number of people are school-leavers due to a) age restrictions b) the number of people that get rejected then reapply c) the average affluence of applicants d) the need for extensive work experience e) the vocational course drawing people later in life more readily than other courses.
I have a feeling Protoxylic meant Mathmos...
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mathsinsider
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Perfectly normal at Cambridge, no issues with it, except perhaps for Maths, where the absence of maths practice for a year is sometimes a worry.
Section 9, page 5 of this doc from Cambridge lists each college's attitude to a gap year for maths applicants: https://www.maths.cam.ac.uk/undergra...sionsguide.pdf
Queens' college actually encourages a gap year.
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