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    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?
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    As far as I'm aware (I didn't apply to Oxford, I applied to Cambridge) your GCSEs are absolutely fine and aren't that important compared to the rest of your application anyway.
    They take factors such as your background into account, again, my knowledge is of Cambridge but I'm assuming Oxford has a similar system. At Cambridge they put flags on your application for things such as living in an area with low progression to higher education, if particularly few people from your school have gotten into Oxbridge recently etc. These things are holistically taken into account when assessing your application.
    Also, don't worry about wasting a choice, most universities will give an offer to anyone predicted the required grades or more. In my opinion 2 of your unis should be competitive/the very upper limit of your grade ability and the others should be easier places to get into that you still really like. The important thing is to have a good insurance choice. When you finalise your 5 you should have an idea what your firm and insurance choices will be depending on which universities you get offers from.
    Again, I know about Cambridge not Oxford but assuming they're similar, if you're worried about living costs, Cambridge has the lowest accommodation costs of anywhere I've looked at and they offer lots of financial support.
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?
    if the Bs are in the subject you're applying for, don't even bother. If they're in a different subject Oxford won't care AT ALL. I'd be more worried about you not getting at least 1 A* at A level ybh.
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    (Original post by LaM19)
    As far as I'm aware (I didn't apply to Oxford, I applied to Cambridge) your GCSEs are absolutely fine and aren't that important compared to the rest of your application anyway.
    They take factors such as your background into account, again, my knowledge is of Cambridge but I'm assuming Oxford has a similar system. At Cambridge they put flags on your application for things such as living in an area with low progression to higher education, if particularly few people from your school have gotten into Oxbridge recently etc. These things are holistically taken into account when assessing your application.
    Also, don't worry about wasting a choice, most universities will give an offer to anyone predicted the required grades or more. In my opinion 2 of your unis should be competitive/the very upper limit of your grade ability and the others should be easier places to get into that you still really like. The important thing is to have a good insurance choice. When you finalise your 5 you should have an idea what your firm and insurance choices will be depending on which universities you get offers from.
    Again, I know about Cambridge not Oxford but assuming they're similar, if you're worried about living costs, Cambridge has the lowest accommodation costs of anywhere I've looked at and they offer lots of financial support.
    Thank you that helps a lot, I do really love the look of Cambridge also, but it's much further away from where I live and I think I'd get a little too homesick. I will definitely make sure I get a good insurance choice in case all else fails!
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    (Original post by CollectiveSoul)
    if the Bs are in the subject you're applying for, don't even bother. If they're in a different subject Oxford won't care AT ALL. I'd be more worried about you not getting at least 1 A* at A level ybh.
    Bs are in chinese and maths, so not hugely important for history but maths is core so I do worry about it, I'm really not a mathematician. I could probably get bumped up to an A* in history if need be, my teacher has said if I put the work in I'm capable so I will talk to him about that, Thank you
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    Thank you that helps a lot, I do really love the look of Cambridge also, but it's much further away from where I live and I think I'd get a little too homesick. I will definitely make sure I get a good insurance choice in case all else fails!
    I think Cambridge require an A* at A level for history too. Cambridge generally requires A*AA for arts and humanities and A*A*A for sciences whereas Oxford is usually about a grade lower. I believe this is because Oxford has a lengthier interview process and places more importance on their admissions test and aptitude tests that Cambridge does. Part of the reason I chose Cambridge is because I prefer higher grade requirements as I'm confident in that area but I was unsure about how interviews and admissions tests would go. So your sort of application is probably better suited to Oxford anyway.
    My insurance choice is Bath because it has excellent work experience opportunities for physics. I don't think they do humanities at Bath though (which is why it isn't Russel Group). If you're up north like me you may want to look into the likes of Manchester (I love Manchester, gutted it has the same entry requirements as Cambridge for my course so couldn't be my insurance) or Sheffield. They're both great unis in student friendly cities and have good train links.
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    Oxford does take into account GCSE's(heavily in comparison to cambridge), but they'll take your background into consideration(so if your GCSE's are great for your school it'll be ok)
    You have 4 other choices anyway
    PLUS
    you will never know unless you try. You don't want to live a life of regret thinking what if I applied
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?
    Please don't be deterred by worrying about the possible disadvantage of your background. As has been mentioned, Oxford does use a system which takes some aspects of disadvantage into account - here's a link that explains how it works. My suggestion would be to treat Oxford exactly as you would any other uni choice. Make a visit on an Open Day and see if it feels right for you. Apply if it does, don't if it doesn't.

    You might also be interested in the Foundation Year course at Lady Margaret Hall, which is a fully funded post-A Level year designed for high achieving students from under-represented backgrounds. There's a TSR thread here and other details here.
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    (Original post by OxFossil)
    Please don't be deterred by worrying about the possible disadvantage of your background. As has been mentioned, Oxford does use a system which takes some aspects of disadvantage into account - here's a link that explains how it works. My suggestion would be to treat Oxford exactly as you would any other uni choice. Make a visit on an Open Day and see if it feels right for you. Apply if it does, don't if it doesn't.

    You might also be interested in the Foundation Year course at Lady Margaret Hall, which is a fully funded post-A Level year designed for high achieving students from under-represented backgrounds. There's a TSR thread here and other details here.
    Thank you that's really reassuring to hear, I will take a look at the links!
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    You have to be smart, and you also have to be lucky. And if you apply, you might get in, but if you don't apply, you definitely won't. Talk to your school, and see what they advise. In your shoes, I'd have a go.
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    with the GCSEs it really depends how you compare to others at the same school - Oxford will consider context. if you got those results and everyone else in your year struggled to get 5 A*-C, it will look more impressive than if you went to some super posh school where everyone else gets 20 A* 😂

    I really believe that Oxford won't advantage or disadvantage your application because of your background. they judge you based on your merits as a candidate and not demographics you can't control

    if I were you, I'd go for it! you'd hate to spend the rest of your life wondering 'what if' and if you don't make it, you still have 4 other choices. you have so much to gain!

    best of luck with it all
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?
    Things like that generally put you in a slightly more advantageous position for any university application, not just Oxford/Cambs.

    PS: Great username
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    (Original post by Blue_Cow)
    Things like that generally put you in a slightly more advantageous position for any university application, not just Oxford/Cambs.

    PS: Great username
    Thank you! Haha bidoof is basically a portrayal of me and my frizzy hair
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?
    Your grades and predictions are fine and we (and the other colleges) would welcome an application from you. PM us anytime if you have any more queries.
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    (Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
    Your grades and predictions are fine and we (and the other colleges) would welcome an application from you. PM us anytime if you have any more queries.
    ^^and that right there is why it's Oxford for the win. The best quote I heard at application time was a tutor who said 'we don't about about any of the other things you have done or where you are coming from- we just want you to love our subject as much as we do'.
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    If you've got the predicted grades to apply for oxford then you'll get offers for less picky unis relatively easily, I wouldn't worry about having a "wasted" choice. Your background is irrelevant. Give it a bash.
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    (Original post by bidoof55)
    I'm in year 12 right now and looking at history courses, the subject is my favourite and always has been, I love the paper choices and course structure for Oxford and I really like the whole feel of Oxford when I've been there previously. I go to a grammar school and am predicted AAA, and I got 6A*s 2As and 2Bs at GCSE.
    My family isn't very well off and whereas most people at my school go on multiple holidays a year, I sometimes struggle with affording school textbooks etc, I live in a really bad area and no one in my family has ever been to university before. I'm struggling to believe I would have a chance at a place like Oxford because it feels so far from anything I know, am I unlikely to be accepted because of my background? I know they say they are trying to get more lower class students but realistically, (especially because of my two Bs at GCSE) will I be at a disadvantage? Will it be better to not use a uni choice on it if I'm unlikely to get it?

    I'm just like you and stress about this quite a lot. My careers teacher actually sat me down and showed me the GCSE's of a girl who got into for History at Oxford. She got 4A*'s, 4A's, 2B's and a C. Not everyone who gets into Oxford will have a large amount of A*'s.

    I've been to quite a few events at both universities and honestly, they do want applicants to have the grades, but they also value how you show them you're interested in your subject and of course performing well in entrance exams.

    I recently went to an event at Brasenose College and my teacher asked the GCSE question on my behalf, and he did admit it's considered but not everything revolves around it.

    Additionally, your GCSE's are superb and considering your context, they're bloody amazing.

    I would focus on maybe getting a subject up to an A* (I had long talks with all of my teachers and managed to get History up). Prove to your teachers, you will put in the work and show them your commitment. An AAA prediction is still good- 2 girls in my year applied for History and English which were AAA courses and offered AAA.

    Also, regarding school textbooks, I have a couple of pieces of advice.

    1). Look at getting the 16-19 bursary fund (one of my friends did and she uses the money for textbooks, stationery and train tickets for open days / taster days)

    2). If you don't mind used textbooks try Ebay. I actually got a Business textbook for £15 with postage, which is normally £25.99, on an app called Depop

    Best of luck to you!
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    Bit late to the party but for anyone else reading this the History faculty only uses your top 8 GCSEs when working out your contextualised GCSE score. Source: http://www.keble.ox.ac.uk/admissions...k/history-2017

    Obviously this may be different for other subjects and all of your GCSEs are visible to admissions staff, but the cGCSE score remains the most important GCSE metric for History.
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    From what I have heard they take into consideration your grades compared to your area/ school for example if you got all A’s and go to a not so great school, you would stand out more than a student who got all A’s and went to a good school. This may not be the case but it is what I have heard. So if I’m your case your school/area isn’t that great it shouldn’t be a problem and may possibly work to your advantage
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