Should I reject oxford? Watch

lili2000
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So I’m currently on a gap year and after receiving my grades I’ve been encouraged to apply to oxford. I didn’t know where to put down as my final choice so just put oxford down for the sake of it not thinking I’d get in.

Long story short, I’ve had an offer. And I feel so selfish considering there are so many people just like me and better than me who weren’t offered a place who wanted it so badly, but I just don’t think it’s for me. I recently went to visit a friend at her college at Oxford and I hated it. I really don’t like the idea of a collegiate system, I don’t like how much academic pressure there is and I don’t like the environment in oxford. I think it’s a beautiful city but I am a big city lover and I’ve had offers from places like London, Manchester and Edinburgh which I can see myself being so much happier at.

However, career prospects are really important to me. I understand that attending Oxbridge allows you to stand out from the crowd a lot in terms of employability, but will going to a different uni hinder my chances of succeeding later in life? Am I being stupid rejecting oxford if attending means that I’ll get the career that I want even if my time in uni isn’t that enjoyable? I want to do a masters anyway (potentially at oxford or a like university) so will it really make a difference having an undergraduate degree from here or not? Please can someone help me
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pswpsw
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why apply if you dont like it in the first place?? the offer could’ve gone to someone else who really wanted it more...
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cheesecakelove
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(Original post by lili2000)
So I’m currently on a gap year and after receiving my grades I’ve been encouraged to apply to oxford. I didn’t know where to put down as my final choice so just put oxford down for the sake of it not thinking I’d get in.

Long story short, I’ve had an offer. And I feel so selfish considering there are so many people just like me and better than me who weren’t offered a place who wanted it so badly, but I just don’t think it’s for me. I recently went to visit a friend at her college at Oxford and I hated it. I really don’t like the idea of a collegiate system, I don’t like how much academic pressure there is and I don’t like the environment in oxford. I think it’s a beautiful city but I am a big city lover and I’ve had offers from places like London, Manchester and Edinburgh which I can see myself being so much happier at.

However, career prospects are really important to me. I understand that attending Oxbridge allows you to stand out from the crowd a lot in terms of employability, but will going to a different uni hinder my chances of succeeding later in life? Am I being stupid rejecting oxford if attending means that I’ll get the career that I want even if my time in uni isn’t that enjoyable? I want to do a masters anyway (potentially at oxford or a like university) so will it really make a difference having an undergraduate degree from here or not? Please can someone help me
You want to make sure that you make the most of your time at university, and you want to select what will be the best environment for you. If Oxford doesn't fulfil that and you have interest in another university, then don't force yourself to go to Oxford when you know you would be happier with different teaching and systems. I would however think things through carefully before you make your decision.

Career prospects will largely come down to the individual - if you work hard, get the grades, get some extra-curriculars and work experience done, you can boost your prospects after graduation. A lot of people do succeed without going to Oxford.
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lili2000
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(Original post by wailzy)
so you applied to one of the most vigirous selection processes in the world, only to be offered a place and reject it? Why apply to begin with. This is very illogical, you either want to go to Oxford or you dont. Why are you asking people on the internet to make that decision for you?
I applied to medicine the year before but due to a bad experience with work experience I decided not to proceed with that degree so withdrew my application. From personal experience, the oxford admissions process isn’t a patch on that of medicine so it didn’t seem like that big of a deal. I was on my gap year and only working at the time (I’m spending half my year working and the other half travelling) and I love academia so I thought I should just apply. I actually enjoyed the admissions tests and the interview and I wanted to see just for myself to know if I would get an offer or not. It’s only since visiting that I’ve realised it really doesn’t fit my personality. The reason I’m asking the internet is because I want advice. The university experience is very important to me and I want to have fun but ultimately my career is more important, and I worry that if I do reject oxford for another university that I’ll never match my potential that I could have reached having gone to oxford. I never thought I’d get an offer and my boredom and curiosity led me to apply
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lili2000
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(Original post by pswpsw)
why apply if you dont like it in the first place?? the offer could’ve gone to someone else who really wanted it more...
Everyone around me was encouraging me to apply. I had nothing to lose and due to being on my gap year I was bored anyway and thought I may aswell apply just to see the outcome. I know the place could have gone to someone who wanted it more but is that not the same as saying to someone who didn’t reach their conditional offer for oxford that they should have worked harder because ‘the offer could have gone to someone else who really wanted it more’? I feel bad that the offer could have gone to someone else but I never thought I’d get in anyway as it seemed so out of reach for me but now that I’ve looked into it more I don’t think the university suits me
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FloralHybrid
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(Original post by lili2000)
Everyone around me was encouraging me to apply. I had nothing to lose and due to being on my gap year I was bored anyway and thought I may aswell apply just to see the outcome. I know the place could have gone to someone who wanted it more but is that not the same as saying to someone who didn’t reach their conditional offer for oxford that they should have worked harder because ‘the offer could have gone to someone else who really wanted it more’? I feel bad that the offer could have gone to someone else but I never thought I’d get in anyway as it seemed so out of reach for me but now that I’ve looked into it more I don’t think the university suits me
You’ve just said yourself you don’t think the university suits you. There’s your answer.
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lili2000
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(Original post by cheesecakelove)
You want to make sure that you make the most of your time at university, and you want to select what will be the best environment for you. If Oxford doesn't fulfil that and you have interest in another university, then don't force yourself to go to Oxford when you know you would be happier with different teaching and systems. I would however think things through carefully before you make your decision.

Career prospects will largely come down to the individual - if you work hard, get the grades, get some extra-curriculars and work experience done, you can boost your prospects after graduation. A lot of people do succeed without going to Oxford.
Thank you so much for your reply and thank you for reading as to why this is a difficult position for me. I’m definitely going to look into everything far more as I still have a little while yet but it’s almost as if my heart is telling me to go somewhere else as it’ll be the university experience that I’ve always wanted, compared to my head telling me to go to oxford because of the prestige. I’ll figure it out eventually haha
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lili2000
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(Original post by FloralHybrid)
You’ve just said yourself you don’t think the university suits you. There’s your answer.
Yes but my issue is regarding career prospects. I come from quite a deprived area and my family have struggled a lot financially which makes it hard for me to put into perspective the real world of work. I’m just so scared that I’ll reject my oxford offer and then end up regretting it 10 years down the line when I’m not in the position that I could have been having gone to oxford
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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What subject have you been made an offer for? Tbh the days where an Oxford degree helped massively with employment prospects are long gone (if they ever existed?)! There are very few subjects where having an Oxford degree is going to sway things (a notable exception being law). So if you really think it's not the right place for you, then don't firm it. Do take time to make an informed decision but don't let this whole "the place could have gone to someone who really wanted it" malarkey affect your decision :nah:
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Neilos
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Would you say that being unhappy in your environment would have much of a negative impact on you being able to get the high grades that would no doubt be required, alongside the word 'Oxford', to make you stand out?

In your shoes I'd reject, because for me the answer to the above would be yes, and I'd prefer to spend my final years with few responsibilities in the happiest place I could. I'm also thinking that a Masters from Oxford/Cambridge, sat on a top degree from another well-regarded university, wouldn't look much worse than one from each Oxbridge university.

Obviously, you're probably very different to me, so what I'd do is irrelevant. But that's the best advice I can manage.
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DontJudgeImANerd
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Why did you apply if you don't like the collegiate system that they use?

If you don't like the University, then don't go. You don't want to spend 3/4 years of your life at a University if you won't enjoy it, you don't just go for the degree, you also go for the experience, meeting new people etc.

As for career prospects, yes, it is true that employers will prefer Ox-Bridge graduates to others, but you need to realise that you'll still have good career prospects depending on what area you want to go into (not everybody else applying for the job will be an Ox-Bridge graduate!) lots of successful people have been educated elsewhere. It'll come down to what degree you get, most employers will prefer a first from say, Manchester, than a 2:1 or 2:2 from Oxford.

Your other Unis are very good ones too, you'll have no problem getting a job if you get a good degree from any of them.
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OxFossil
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If yoiu go somewhere you really dislike, with a teaching system that doesn't suit you, you're unlikely to do as well as you might in a more suitable environment. I'd have no qualms about turning down the place.
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YaliaV
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It doesn’t seem like you have a clue what you want to do. You will have to be careful; I know someone who dropped out of several application processes and they were still drifting aimlessly years later. I’m sure you can understand why dropping out smacks of arrogance to a lot of people.
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MartinDM
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It doesn't matter that other people got rejected. It matters that you have received an offer. That means that you have a talent and you are good enough. Don't even wonder about this, I can't be helpful about the other things you have said. If you didn't like it, don't go. But take into consideration that Oxbridge will provide you with the best job possible. Well, there is always an option for you to go to another university that you like and then to have your postgraduate studies in one of the best universities.
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Themysticalegg
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I would say based on what you've said I would reject it. As you may not do very well and 3/4 years is a big chunk of your life... coming from someone who hated their degree for 3 of the 4 years and I will be doing a Masters in a different subject entirely. (The year I enjoyed was working in industry)

Also, what subject have you applied for? (Sorry if I've missed this in the thread.)

Unistats is a good source of information for courses, the statistics Unistats has includes information on employment prospects.
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trythis
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(Original post by lili2000)
So I’m currently on a gap year and after receiving my grades I’ve been encouraged to apply to oxford. I didn’t know where to put down as my final choice so just put oxford down for the sake of it not thinking I’d get in.

Long story short, I’ve had an offer. And I feel so selfish considering there are so many people just like me and better than me who weren’t offered a place who wanted it so badly, but I just don’t think it’s for me. I recently went to visit a friend at her college at Oxford and I hated it. I really don’t like the idea of a collegiate system, I don’t like how much academic pressure there is and I don’t like the environment in oxford. I think it’s a beautiful city but I am a big city lover and I’ve had offers from places like London, Manchester and Edinburgh which I can see myself being so much happier at.

However, career prospects are really important to me. I understand that attending Oxbridge allows you to stand out from the crowd a lot in terms of employability, but will going to a different uni hinder my chances of succeeding later in life? Am I being stupid rejecting oxford if attending means that I’ll get the career that I want even if my time in uni isn’t that enjoyable? I want to do a masters anyway (potentially at oxford or a like university) so will it really make a difference having an undergraduate degree from here or not? Please can someone help me
I can offer a personal perspective of this - I had an offer from Cambridge and I chose to reject it in favor of Edinburgh. A couple of reasons for that - the high cost of attendance of Cambridge, not liking the degree modules, having a bad experience at my interview, etc. Two years later and I'm really happy I took the decision to reject the offer.

My experience so far:
- Having less academic pressure has meant I've been free to pursue extracurriculars / things that interested me more. In first year I had a part-time job related to my course, and learned a language: in second year I tutored some modules in my department, worked as a consultant, and spent a large chunk of time learning another new language. Doing this while maintaining 1st class in all my modules isn't something I would have had time for at Cambridge.

- For me the module structure at Edinburgh was much better. When I applied to uni I thought that my interests were in one part of my subject, but it turns out they're in another area entirely. Edinburgh's degree has a lot more flexibility than Cambridge's so I've been able to take a lot more modules that interest me.

- Careers-wise I haven't had any issues: as mentioned above it's very much an individual thing. You can go to Cambridge for 3 years and do nothing to prepare for work, and maybe the name of the uni will get you interviews. But I've had the time to get a bunch of experience related to my course, and I've got recruiters contacting me for full-time work even though I haven't finished uni yet.

I hope that's provided another perspective - I can honestly say that choosing Edinburgh over Cambridge was a great decision for me. I'm having an amazing time here! I think the advice I'd give is to go where you'll be happy, knowing that it won't matter that much in the long term
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ConicalFlask
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I had a similar situation, where I only applied because other people told me I should and I wasn't sure whether I should take the offer or not. In the end I did tak it, though I'm still not completely sure whether that was because I wanted to, or because other people convinced me to.

One thing to consider is that you could take the Oxford offer, then leave and go to another university if you don't like it, but it would be difficult to get a second offer from Oxford if you reject it and then change your mind. However, since you've already had a gap year, another year out is probably the last thing you want to do.

In the end it's you decision - if you think you'd have a better time somewhere else than at Oxford, then reject the offer.
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random_matt
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I hear ya, the collegiate system is garbage in my opinion, never believed in segregation.
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boom88
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(Original post by lili2000)
career prospects are really important to me.
Depends on what you want to do. For careers in law, politics or academia, Oxford might be more important, but you other unis are good too. Bear in mind that (1) Oxford is incredibly expensive (2) you can still go there for a masters.
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ConicalFlask
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(Original post by boom88)
Depends on what you want to do. For careers in law, politics or academia, Oxford might be more important, but you other unis are good too. Bear in mind that (1) Oxford is incredibly expensive (2) you can still go there for a masters.
As a city, Oxford is expensive (though not that much more than other touristy places), but an actual degree at Oxford costs the same as any other Russel group university. Accommodation costs are often lower as you onyl pay for your room when you're living there, not through the holidays, many colleges have some sort of self catering facilities, and food in the dining hall is generally subsidised. In addition, there is the Oxford bursary for students on low income, as well as many other support funds that vary from college to college.

Don't be put off Oxford purely because of the cost because that's not going to be drastically different from any other university.
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