Dont know if i should apply to oxbridge for medicine Watch

donkey.kong
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Hi all

I had a chat with one of the oxbridge tutors at my sixth form and she said i have a very good academic profile, but that i should really pick up some hobbies before applications must be sent off.

I have three 9s (equivalent to A*s) and 7A*s at gcse, and am predicted A*A*A* for maths chemistry and biology at a levels.

But, I am lacking severely in extracurricular activities, and ive only had work experience in a care home for 3 months and am going to be shadowing a GP for 2 weeks in the summer.

I dont really do any sports, nor do I do music, and i have found that these two activities are prevalent in medicine personal statements, especially in those of people applying to oxbridge - im talking county and national level sports events and grade 8 in at least one instrument, along with several weeks worth of shadowing different wards in hospitals.

The thing is, my parents never pushed me into sports or music, whereas Ive found that the people who get offers from oxbridge have been doing these things for 10 or so years. There is no way i will get to this level in 3 months. Im a state-school student too.

What im trying to say is: is there any chance of me getting into oxbridge when im competing with people who've had completely different backgrounds to me?
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DoctorMo
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I have applied to Oxford in the past and am now working as a GP. My advice, yes its a fantastic opportunity. Oxford will be looking for lots of extra curricular activities, which is something you need to build on. Take my 2 pence, save the space on your UCAS application for another Medical school, as Oxford can be difficulty to settle into as a Univeristy if you find it is too different to your 'personality'
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donkey.kong
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(Original post by DoctorMo)
I have applied to Oxford in the past and am now working as a GP. My advice, yes its a fantastic opportunity. Oxford will be looking for lots of extra curricular activities, which is something you need to build on. Take my 2 pence, save the space on your UCAS application for another Medical school, as Oxford can be difficulty to settle into as a Univeristy if you find it is too different to your 'personality'
Thanks for the feedback. Do you mind me asking which uni you went to?

I wouldnt say its different to my 'personality'. It just frustrates me that academically i am capable of studying at oxbridge (im actually leaning towards cambridge) but the fact that my parents were simply too busy to send me to these extra curricular activities from an early age will hinder my application a lot.

It doesnt help either that i have had to travel to a different city since secondary school to get a decent education, leading to fewer possibilities of being able to stay after school.
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DoctorMo
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Thanks for the feedback. Do you mind me asking which uni you went to?

I wouldnt say its different to my 'personality'. It just frustrates me that academically i am capable of studying at oxbridge (im actually leaning towards cambridge) but the fact that my parents were simply too busy to send me to these extra curricular activities from an early age will hinder my application a lot.

It doesnt help either that i have had to travel to a different city since secondary school to get a decent education, leading to fewer possibilities of being able to stay after school.
So i actually went to Birmingham Univeristy, 400+ people in each year group and a wonderfully diverse city.
Cambridge would be my prefence over Oxford, as it seem more easier to settle into naturally for some reason.
And remember extra curricular could me as simple as 'gardening'. as long as the activity highlights your personal stenghts, thats what they are looking for
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Royal Oak
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Hi all

I had a chat with one of the oxbridge tutors at my sixth form and she said i have a very good academic profile, but that i should really pick up some hobbies before applications must be sent off.

I have three 9s (equivalent to A*s) and 7A*s at gcse, and am predicted A*A*A* for maths chemistry and biology at a levels.

But, I am lacking severely in extracurricular activities, and ive only had work experience in a care home for 3 months and am going to be shadowing a GP for 2 weeks in the summer.

I dont really do any sports, nor do I do music, and i have found that these two activities are prevalent in medicine personal statements, especially in those of people applying to oxbridge - im talking county and national level sports events and grade 8 in at least one instrument, along with several weeks worth of shadowing different wards in hospitals.

The thing is, my parents never pushed me into sports or music, whereas Ive found that the people who get offers from oxbridge have been doing these things for 10 or so years. There is no way i will get to this level in 3 months. Im a state-school student too.

What im trying to say is: is there any chance of me getting into oxbridge when im competing with people who've had completely different backgrounds to me?
Extra-curriculars will form a very small part of your PS (if any) and other things are far more important. A large part of extra-curriculars is to show that you can do other things in your free time. It's not just going to be medicine, medicine, medicine and then burnout. You don't have to be a grade 8 musician or on the verge of being picked for the olympic squad. You have a summer to easily pick up a hobby if you want. It may be as beneficial for you as it is for your personal statement.

Ultimatley though, how you reflect on the things you have done is more important.
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Someone123123
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Hi all

I had a chat with one of the oxbridge tutors at my sixth form and she said i have a very good academic profile, but that i should really pick up some hobbies before applications must be sent off.

I have three 9s (equivalent to A*s) and 7A*s at gcse, and am predicted A*A*A* for maths chemistry and biology at a levels.

But, I am lacking severely in extracurricular activities, and ive only had work experience in a care home for 3 months and am going to be shadowing a GP for 2 weeks in the summer.

I dont really do any sports, nor do I do music, and i have found that these two activities are prevalent in medicine personal statements, especially in those of people applying to oxbridge - im talking county and national level sports events and grade 8 in at least one instrument, along with several weeks worth of shadowing different wards in hospitals.

The thing is, my parents never pushed me into sports or music, whereas Ive found that the people who get offers from oxbridge have been doing these things for 10 or so years. There is no way i will get to this level in 3 months. Im a state-school student too.

What im trying to say is: is there any chance of me getting into oxbridge when im competing with people who've had completely different backgrounds to me?
Running?
Social sports? (as in, you don't play in a team, but like to play with friends or at least attend training - this is definitely acceptable)
Reading novels?

It really can be anything - as long as you can justify what you gain from it in PS if space allows or in interviews
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nexttime
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(Original post by DoctorMo)
Oxford will be looking for lots of extra curricular activities...
They really don't. Not unless their admissions tutors are just constantly lying all the time. Google 'Oxbridge extracurricular activities' and you will get various official sources stating how they are not interested in activities not related to the subject. Medicine is the slight exception is that they do look at voluntary work, work experience, but to a much lesser extent compared to other med schools... so in a way the opposite of what you say is true.

(Original post by donkey.kong)
Thanks for the feedback. Do you mind me asking which uni you went to?

I wouldnt say its different to my 'personality'. It just frustrates me that academically i am capable of studying at oxbridge (im actually leaning towards cambridge) but the fact that my parents were simply too busy to send me to these extra curricular activities from an early age will hinder my application a lot.
And that's precisely why Oxbridge doesn't value extracurriculars. Its not the US!

(Original post by DoctorMo)
So i actually went to Birmingham Univeristy, 400+ people in each year group...
Oh god sounds horrible :p:

Oxford can be difficulty to settle into as a Univeristy if you find it is too different to your 'personality'
Cambridge would be my prefence over Oxford, as it seem more easier to settle into naturally for some reason.
What does that even mean?

I'll point out that Oxford med school has the highest student satisfaction of any med school for each of the most recent 9 years of data (whereas Cambridge does below average) and that both Oxford and Cambridge among the very lowest drop out rates in the country. So pretty contrary to your impression (or is that imagination?).
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donkey.kong
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(Original post by nexttime)
They really don't. Not unless their admissions tutors are just constantly lying all the time. Google 'Oxbridge extracurricular activities' and you will get various official sources stating how they are not interested in activities not related to the subject. Medicine is the slight exception is that they do look at voluntary work, work experience, but to a much lesser extent compared to other med schools... so in a way the opposite of what you say is true.



And that's precisely why Oxbridge doesn't value extracurriculars. Its not the US!
The reason I've had this impression that extracurricular matter is because the Oxbridge tutor at my college has sent me some personal statements of successful medical Oxbridge applicants and they all have done a multitude of activities...ALL of them!!! My college sends 2-4 medical applicants to Oxbridge every year but id say at least 40 apply (she has told me that most of the students she has spoken to want to do medicine). Mind you, my college is very large (~2300 students per year)

Academically, Cambridge asks for A*A*A, and so naturally many applicants applying will have predicted grades A*A*A and A*A*A* so I think for medicine Cambridge is having to differentiate by other means.
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nexttime
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
The reason I've had this impression that extracurricular matter is because the Oxbridge tutor at my college has sent me some personal statements of successful medical Oxbridge applicants and they all have done a multitude of activities...ALL of them!!!
Yes, that's what Oxbridge students are like. But correlation =/= causation. Most Oxbridge medics (and most medics in general) are from wealthy, academically high-achieving families so do tend to play instruments etc. But at no point will the tutors be looking at what grade of instrument you are etc. That's both contrasting to everything said publicly by the universities, and totally illogical.

Academically, Cambridge asks for A*A*A, and so naturally many applicants applying will have predicted grades A*A*A and A*A*A* so I think for medicine Cambridge is having to differentiate by other means.
Yes. Like BMAT. Like interview (and also UMS in the past). Not by who can play the didgeridoo.
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donkey.kong
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(Original post by nexttime)
Not by who can play the didgeridoo.
Lmaoooo knocking some sense into my head

Oxbridge do have a high intake of private school students, so it makes sense that many applicants will be wealthy.

I think im starting to become blindsided by the minor details when, like you said, the BMAT and interview should determine whether or not I'm cut out for medicine
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Doones
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Lmaoooo knocking some sense into my head

Oxbridge do have a high intake of private school students, so it makes sense that many applicants will be wealthy.

I think im starting to become blindsided by the minor details when, like you said, the BMAT and interview should determine whether or not I'm cut out for medicine
In 2017 63% of Cambridge medicine offer holders were from state schools. Oxford is similar.


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donkey.kong
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
In 2017 63% of Cambridge medicine offer holders were from state schools. Oxford is similar.


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Compared to 93% of below-16 year olds and 82% of 16 year olds and above being state-educated. But then again, I'd argue that the worst state schools are much worse than the worst independent schools, and the best state schools are comparable to many average independent schools.
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Doones
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Compared to 93% of below-16 year olds and 82% of 16 year olds and above being state-educated. But then again, I'd argue that the worst state schools are much worse than the worst independent schools, and the best state schools are comparable to many average independent schools.
I think you'll find that ratio is quite different for medicine. e.g. what's the ratio at Bristol?

And your post implied the majority at Oxbridge are from private schools, which simply isn't the case.

And both Cambridge and Oxford have very generous bursaries.
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yusyus
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
In 2017 63% of Cambridge medicine offer holders were from state schools. Oxford is similar.


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doesn't that mean state school pupils are pretty underrepresented then?
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donkey.kong
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
I think you'll find that ratio is quite different for medicine. e.g. what's the ratio at Bristol?

And your post implied the majority at Oxbridge are from private schools, which simply isn't the case.

And both Cambridge and Oxford have very generous bursaries.
Okay I get where you're coming from. Oxbridge have been increasing their uptake of state school students, and I have just looked at the Bristol uni statistics and I agree: medicine does tend to have a higher proportion of privately educated students in other unis too.
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Doones
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(Original post by yusyus)
doesn't that mean state school pupils are pretty underrepresented then?
Not really. Only 70% of AAA+, and 65% of A*A*A*+ students are from state schools. So 63% is slightly, but not hugely, below par.
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Chief Wiggum
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Hi all

I had a chat with one of the oxbridge tutors at my sixth form and she said i have a very good academic profile, but that i should really pick up some hobbies before applications must be sent off.

I have three 9s (equivalent to A*s) and 7A*s at gcse, and am predicted A*A*A* for maths chemistry and biology at a levels.

But, I am lacking severely in extracurricular activities, and ive only had work experience in a care home for 3 months and am going to be shadowing a GP for 2 weeks in the summer.

I dont really do any sports, nor do I do music, and i have found that these two activities are prevalent in medicine personal statements, especially in those of people applying to oxbridge - im talking county and national level sports events and grade 8 in at least one instrument, along with several weeks worth of shadowing different wards in hospitals.

The thing is, my parents never pushed me into sports or music, whereas Ive found that the people who get offers from oxbridge have been doing these things for 10 or so years. There is no way i will get to this level in 3 months. Im a state-school student too.

What im trying to say is: is there any chance of me getting into oxbridge when im competing with people who've had completely different backgrounds to me?
I wouldn't worry too much about lacking "high level extracurricular activities".

Helping at a care home is good. Any chance of doing that on a more long-term basis than 3 months? Might look good.

Work experience at GP is also good. Also try to get some hospital work experience. But it's not amount "how many weeks" you have. It's about how you reflect on what you saw, and how well you can talk about it.

Extra-curricular activities can play a role in medical admissions (and indeed there are points for "activities outside medicine" even for Registrar job applications when you're a qualified doctor). I imagine Oxbridge would be less bothered than other universities.

But it can be good to have ways to illustrate teamworking skills, leadership etc. There's also a big emphasis on "preventing burnout" etc these days, so it's useful if you can say that you do something to help de-stress, and keep perspective etc.

I don't think you're going to be disadvantaged because you don't have Grade 8 in a musical instrument. But if you were asked what you do outside studying, and you had nothing to offer, it might raise an eyebrow with some.

Do you play a sport even socially? Just anything to say that you do to relax would be fine.
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nexttime
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(Original post by donkey.kong)
Okay I get where you're coming from. Oxbridge have been increasing their uptake of state school students, and I have just looked at the Bristol uni statistics and I agree: medicine does tend to have a higher proportion of privately educated students in other unis too.
For reference, Oxford medicine is 66% state school (marginally higher than Cambridge). Overall medicine is 71% state school.
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just go for it, it's one choice out of your four and by the sounds of it you're a clever person so you should be all right if you pick your other 3 universities well. Just make sure you get a good ukcat so you have other options in case the bmat doesn't go well- the entrance tests are basically the most important thing after they've checked your grades are fine.
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