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    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
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    Firstly, take a step back and think of where YOU will be the happiest studying?


    Stress of A levels, UCAS, visiting uni’s etc can get you in a tailspin and now you have 2 offers from fantastic uni’s ..step back and congratulate yourself for getting those offers! Then you really need to take the stars out of your eyes about Oxford and concentrate solely on where you will be the happiest studying for the next 3 years of your life. Get a piece of paper and right down the pros and cons of each Uni without thinking of prestige, grades etc and this will give you a clearer picture of how you feel.

    You have a while yet before you have to firm any choice so take this time to reflect and not be dazzled about grades and reputation but on what feels right for you. Once you remove the pressure on yourself and reflect quietly you will be able to come to a considered decision that suits you and you only...not what parents want or what friends think but on what you decide,

    Then you will be in a better position to make your firm choice and feel better for it without putting yourself in a spin by all the hype, peer pressure, etc.

    I wish you all the best because whichever Uni you choose, at least you have great choices!
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    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
    First of all, if you do reject Oxford for the correct reasons, it isn't dumb at all. Honestly, you still have time and those are only mock grades; you still have time to get to a place where you can achieve AAA in your exams.

    If you love the course at Oxford and everything else that goes with an "Oxbridge" education, I would say firm it and give it a shot; with the knowledge that Nottingham will be an insurance that you'll be happy to go to. AAB is a fine safety net; honestly if you get an ABB I think it would be considered a near miss and Nottingham may still consider you for entry. (Of course this is all speculation at this point)

    Also the tutors at Oxford believed that you can cope with studying there so I wouldn't worry about keeping up with everyone else. You are not going to Oxford to compete with anyone but to learn and grow.

    I hope this helps and good luck with your studies!

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    Universities seem to give out conditionals to ensure they get bums on seats in the autumn. Accept your Oxford offer, and insurance Nottingham ( or anyone else with a slightly lower offer) without the unconditional. You will still get a place somewhere, don't undersell yourself for no real reason except that it is the easy way out. Life is about striving and harder things will come along in life where you can't take the easy way. You may do better than you think in the summer.
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    How did other people do in mocks? Some schools deliberately mark you down to encourage you to work harder.

    If you haven't done so already I would specifically ask your teachers whether to reject this offer. You may find their assessments becoming more honest.

    Otherwise, it's a risk but that risk has benefits - its up to you. Nottingham may of course let you in anyway if you got e.g. ABB - a practice that is more common in recent years.
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    I',m concerned about similar things RE the Ox workload. It is true that it will take up more time than other unis. But you'll also be in a highly inspiring environment, and an environment where people do tend to do really well academically. Don't underestimate yourself - Oxford or not - most people have a great deal of potential within!
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    Hi - this is a super difficult decision.

    Firstly - Oxford is a wonderful place and you've done exceptionally well to get an offer, but you should never feel like you have to accept it. If you decide it's not where you want to be, you absolutely don't have to come. That said, it sounds like you really like the sound of the course and it would be a real shame to turn it down and then get the grades if you feel the system would work for you, because it is something really special. The teaching is incredible, and the small groups mean you get a far more personalised learning experience than is possible anywhere else. Not to mention the unique resources and opportunities available.
    As far as regards the workload, it is tough - they set a lot, sometimes too much, and I've had a fair few late nights BUT a) Hard as it is, it's been worth it and b) nobody coasts, that's a myth. None of my friends got straight A*s, a couple even got a B at a-level and were let in in spite of that on the benefit of the doubt (this is rare, but proves it's not all about perfection)! The work is hard enough that everyone struggles, but that's okay! No-one expects complete perfection at uni the way they do at A-level. The tutors do push you, but they'll also keep an eye out for your well-being in a way which isn't possible in places where you're taught in larger groups. Plus, the difficulties at university are not the same as at a-level. I really, really struggled to drag myself through A-level, university's been a definite improvement because I don't have the stress of conforming to arbitrary mark-schemes. You may find university more stressful than a-level, but that isn't a given.

    If it helps, I have a friend who was given an AAB offer from Nottingham and was eventually accepted with BBC... This with no extenuating circumstances from a high-performing private school. The headline offer and the grades they accept may well be different, very good universities often offer very low grades in clearing, I really never knew how many clearing choices there usually are, take a look. Obviously you don't want to rely on this, but it's something to think about.

    Obviously it might be worth considering taking the Nottingham unconditional if you're concerned about your grades, but you have a little time before you have to decide. So take your time and try and concentrate on upping your grades for now, before you decide if you want to take the risk.
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    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
    Thanks for your post which illustrates the dilemmas that unconditional offers can cause if applicants are pre-qualification.

    You don't say what your UCAS track window is for reaching a decision. This will vary according to how long it takes to get five replies (if you have made five university applications):

    https://www.ucas.com/connect/blogs/r...tions-answered

    If your decision date is late (especially if it falls after you have sat your A-levels), you may wish to wait until then unless there is a downside to doing so.

    We would also suggest talking over your decision with teachers as others have advised.

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    If your struggling with A levels, then you will really struggle when you go to Oxford... Either wait it out, and see how you get on, or take the unconditional.
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    As someone Nottingham born and bred I can tell you that it is indeed a good city for students here. However as a hopeful oxbridge applicant I can also appreciate the situation you are in. Like what others have said, these are two fantastic Uni's in their own rights so just think about where you'd be happiest I guess. Would you rather have Oxford's bigger work load or Nottingham's bigger social scene.
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    I say don't underestimate your potential. You have to believe in yourself, I struggled with the workload during year 13 but came out with good grades. If Oxford think you are an acceptable candidate then you should believe what they say, a lot of people will be in the same boat. Whatever you choose, just believe that you can get the grades.
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    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
    If this was me, I'd choose Nottingham, because you loved the uni, the course, the city and everything there, and it'd take the stress from you. I made the mistake of going to a higher ranked uni instead of a uni which had the perfect course/perfect city/perfect everything and I REALLY regret it. I REALLY wish I never came here.

    So from my experience, I advise Nottingham. Status isn't everything and even then, Nottingham is still a really good uni.
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    I'm going through something a bit similar myself. My best advice would be to see where you would thrive and really enjoy yourself for the next 3 years. Right now that may seem like Nottingham, but if you take perspective it may not.

    You're at the very end of a 13 year journey, and almost everybody gets burned out by this point. A large portion of people lose focus of why they loved their courses or education in general when they began. It seems that all you're working towards are a few letters. It's exhausting and it's not doing you any good. It sounds counter productive, but I would honestly take a few days off and just remind yourself why you worked so hard in the first place. By the simple fact you got an offer from Oxford I'm sure that you're intelligent, hardworking, and truly passionate about your course. Take a few days off; read books on your course because you want to. Immerse yourself in lectures that have nothing to do with your A levels. Go back to the very beginning and remember the motivation that you had when you began your A levels. Only then can you make this decision.

    Once you're not quite as stressed I'd suggest speaking to yourself honestly why you applied to these places. Did you only apply for Oxford for the name? Are you only making Nottingham seem so amazing because you're afraid to become excited for Oxford and not get the grades? Do you like the tutor system? Do you do well in an environment that assigns a lot of essays? This process can take a few days, and it would really help to visit the places again to get a feeling for the environments once you've gotten in. To make this decision you need to get rid of the biases of both universities: the 'prestige of Oxford and the 'safety' of Nottingham. Do you really like the place? Or are you forcing yourself to fall in love with a university because it's the logical decision?

    I once heard about a study that said if you make big decisions (like buying a house, going to uni) based on your intuition you'll be happier. Go with your gut. But not a gut that is blinded by stress or guilt about letting go of an amazing opportunity.

    And finally with the grades. You must have gotten amazing grades to get in. You can get them again. Getting lower grades in mocks is actually better than getting A*s all around. You now know exactly what you need to improve on. You can and you will do it if it's something you want.
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    The only person who can make the decision is you.
    No matter what anyone on this forum tells you, At the end of it all you shall be spending 3 or more years at Uni and the baton lies in your hands.
    All I'd recommend as everyone else has stated is AVOID THE LEAGUE TABLES at all costs.
    There's a current stigma that you must go to Uni's that are ranked in the top 20 etc and it's a total load of BS.

    Oxford may be one of the best Universities in the world, but it may not be the best University for you.

    Why did you apply to the course?
    What do you love about the course?
    How is the teaching at Uni's?
    What will be the course content?
    Is there anything specific I want to get into?
    Ask yourself these questions and find out which university will work best with you to strengthen your passion for the subject of your choice.
    Finally, the decision you come to, don't even bother about Grades as mocks mean sod all.

    I was encouraged by my friend who told me before the mocks to Fail often, Fail hard but Fail Forward.
    Don't let the fear of failure shadow your capabilities. Use failure as the force to push you towards you goal.

    Goodluck.
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    Do not underestimate yourself - you made it through a gruelling admissions process and managed to pull through it. I'm sure any student capable of getting an offer from Oxford is more than capable to meet the grades. I feel like you lack real confidence in your ability, appreciate that you can do it. Many students suffer poor results in their mocks but after all, these are just mocks and you have more than enough time to improve. I personally believe in you so I hope you can do the same.

    However, having said that, I wouldn't advise putting yourself in a position mentally that you cannot handle. At the same time, however, I do think that the unconditional offer is a temptation that is a wrong choice. Even if you do accept the unconditional, you're still going to have to work hard. Sure, not as hard as you might want to, but you should because university is going to get a lot harder - honestly, if you cannot make your A levels count then ponder how you're going to do at university? I don't question that at all, however, because I am more than sure that you're capable.

    At the end of the day, you got an offer from one of the best universities in the world. Those grades are more than achievable, it just depends on whether you're willing to go the extra mile.
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    As others have said, you need to think about where you would be happiest. What would be your decision if you hadn't had the unconditional from Nottingham, but instead had the same offer as you have from Oxford? If your answer is that you would put Oxford as your firm (for the right reasons, of course), then do the same now. If worst comes to worst, there's always clearing/retakes to fall back on. Another thing to consider is whether you can visit the two universities again before you make your final decision (depending on how much time you have before the offers expire).
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    I know a good amount of people with pretty low mock results who went onto do a lot better. I was getting straight Ds in A level biology mocks but managed to get a B in the actual thing that counted.

    If your only reason for dropping oxford for nottingham is that nottingham would be easier, then pls stahp. I get that things get stressy but you do not need to doubt yourself so hard. AAB is fine as a safety net if your teachers seem reasonably sure that you'll get the grades.

    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???
    A.) The majority will almost certainly have not "breezed through effortlessly"
    B.) Everybody finds A level hard to some degree

    The real question here is just which uni do you feel is going to suit you better? Imagine Nottingham wasn't an unconditional and see how you'd feel about it then.
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    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
    Ignore the "unconditional" aspect. If you prefer Nottingham's course (not their offer) then firm them. If you prefer Oxford's course firm them. Nottingham may well accept ABB anyway if insured but there's no guarantee - worst case you go somewhere via Clearing. There are always plenty of places available at other good universities.

    Also, if you do go to Oxford and find you *really* struggle then you can always transfer elsewhere. But note, nearly all first years find it tough at the start but most settle in and find a way of working during the year.

    "Unconditional if Firm" is basically bribery by the university to try to prevent you from going elsewhere.
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    going to oxford is worth giving your left arm for.

    Just find a way to be better organised and managable revision time table.

    In 20 years time, you would regret turning down oxford for a second tier university
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    (Original post by fallingleaves6)
    Hi, I applied to Oxford on the off chance, not really ever thinking I’d get a place, but somehow I have a place at Lincoln to study CAAH (Classical Archaeology and Ancient History). I need to get AAA in the summer to get in, but I’m really struggling with all my subjects at the moment - I got BCC in my mocks and although my teachers seem to think I can get the grades with hard work, I’m really feeling overwhelmed right now with all the coursework and essays to do. I just don’t see how I’m going to get these grades.

    I also have an unconditional offer from Nottingham, which I really love - the Uni, the course, the city, everything! And it’s so tempting to just firm Nottingham and take some of the stress off, because then it doesn’t matter what I get in my A Levels (although I’ll still work hard)

    But then - surely I’m being an idiot to even think of turning down Oxford? So many people don’t even get this far, it seems stupid to turn down one of the best universities in the country and in Europe.

    I do love the course at Oxford, and the college and the teaching and everything looks so so amazing, but even if I somehow make the grades and get in I feel like I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else as I’ll have scraped in while they probably breezed through effortlessly, plus if I’m struggling at A Level how am I going to cope at Oxford???

    But if I turn down Oxford I know I’ll probably come in for some major regret down the line, and have that ‘what if’ in my head.

    My current solution is to have Oxford as my first choice and Nottingham as my second - the offer is only unconditional if it is put as my first choice - if it is put second then it becomes AAB. But that’s not much of a safety net - what happens if I get ABB? Or lower? ABB is technically within Nottingham’s range on their website but its not the offer they gave me so I’m not sure they’d accept it.....

    I know this is long and rambling, but please help!
    Wait until the last possible days to see where your grades are at, then make a decision on UCAS.

    Sometimes Oxford accepts people with a grade lower, but I'd say this happens probably 8% of the time.

    ABB for an AAA is practically impossible.

    So, as I say, if you're really struggling, I'd take the time.

    If you want to go to Oxford, but you're worried about grades then just work harder.

    Also why not firm Ox and insure Notts? I think AAB is a fair net? A lot of people I know had a one grade lower insurance
 
 
 
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