Oxford rejection because of subjects? Watch

JosephCiderBwoy
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So yeah, blahdy blahdy blah I was rejected yeah yeah that's all in the past, I can genuinely say I'm over it. However, I hadn't previously considered whether Oxford and Cambridge were more likely to accept based on A-Level combinations. So I study Maths, French and Music at A-Level and had applied for French and Beginner's Italian, and as mentioned, I was rejected. I'm waiting on specific feedback, but I'm certain that what brought me down compared to the other applicants was how I'm not a reader. I read, of course, but I'm not the kind who reads instead of watches TV. I think I wasn't engaging enough. I got good test scores though which is what they heavily depend on, but I'm wondering whether my subject combination at A-Level wasn't what they were looking for, and whether they'd have preferred, idk, French, English and History, perhaps?
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PQ
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Did you mention that you don’t read much at interview?
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
So yeah, blahdy blahdy blah I was rejected yeah yeah that's all in the past, I can genuinely say I'm over it. However, I hadn't previously considered whether Oxford and Cambridge were more likely to accept based on A-Level combinations. So I study Maths, French and Music at A-Level and had applied for French and Beginner's Italian, and as mentioned, I was rejected. I'm waiting on specific feedback, but I'm certain that what brought me down compared to the other applicants was how I'm not a reader. I read, of course, but I'm not the kind who reads instead of watches TV. I think I wasn't engaging enough. I got good test scores though which is what they heavily depend on, but I'm wondering whether my subject combination at A-Level wasn't what they were looking for, and whether they'd have preferred, idk, French, English and History, perhaps?
I dont think it was your A level combinations. There are many more applicants than places so somebody has to lose out. My daughter was rejected - shouldnt have been but she was. Interestingly she applied for a masters ( after getting a first in Maths) and was offered places at both Cambridge and Oxford. Turned both down.
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JosephCiderBwoy
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(Original post by PQ)
Did you mention that you don’t read much at interview?
I was asked if reading was one of my past times and I answered honestly. I said I wasn't an avid reader, but that I did enjoy reading from time to time. Obviously not the lifestyle I'd be able to lead at Oxford :'D
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JosephCiderBwoy
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(Original post by squeakysquirrel)
I dont think it was your A level combinations. There are many more applicants than places so somebody has to lose out. My daughter was rejected - shouldnt have been but she was. Interestingly she applied for a masters ( after getting a first in Maths) and was offered places at both Cambridge and Oxford. Turned both down.
I do fully understand that it had way more applicants per place, but some of my friends who were rejected (whom I thought would get in) had atypical combinations
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PQ
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I was asked if reading was one of my past times and I answered honestly. I said I wasn't an avid reader, but that I did enjoy reading from time to time. Obviously not the lifestyle I'd be able to lead at Oxford :'D
I think that's much more likely to have been an issue than your A level subjects
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ageshallnot
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I was asked if reading was one of my past times and I answered honestly. I said I wasn't an avid reader, but that I did enjoy reading from time to time. Obviously not the lifestyle I'd be able to lead at Oxford :'D
Did you see the look on the interviewer's face when you said that??? 😨
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nexttime
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I was asked if reading was one of my past times and I answered honestly. I said I wasn't an avid reader, but that I did enjoy reading from time to time. Obviously not the lifestyle I'd be able to lead at Oxford :'D
I mean, university language courses, and in particular Oxford's, focus heavily on foreign literature. That probably wasn't the best way to phrase it!

I do not think your subjects were a particular factor.

I think you should wait for your feedback.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I was asked if reading was one of my past times and I answered honestly. I said I wasn't an avid reader, but that I did enjoy reading from time to time. Obviously not the lifestyle I'd be able to lead at Oxford :'D
The modern languages course at Oxford is quite literary from what I hear, so this probably was a bit of a red flag for them - if you don't really read that much then a course which is focused on reading literature in the original language might not be the best fit for you, and they may have sensed that and felt you wouldn't have thrived on the course as a result.
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JosephCiderBwoy
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(Couldn't be bothered to reply to everyone) I did realise from the beginning of my application that it would be a heavily literature-based course. However, it's not like I never read anything. I read much more than when I was in my earlier teens, and I now see the pleasure in it. I would be prepared to read a tonne of French if I had to. I guess it's just that it was never a massive part of my life during childhood, so it means I would probably be less equipped for the course than others. I was good at Literature at school, and so I've never struggled with it. Any way, I was just initially wondering whether they discriminate based on A-Level combinations.
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999tigger
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
(Couldn't be bothered to reply to everyone) I did realise from the beginning of my application that it would be a heavily literature-based course. However, it's not like I never read anything. I read much more than when I was in my earlier teens, and I now see the pleasure in it. I would be prepared to read a tonne of French if I had to. I guess it's just that it was never a massive part of my life during childhood, so it means I would probably be less equipped for the course than others. I was good at Literature at school, and so I've never struggled with it. Any way, I was just initially wondering whether they discriminate based on A-Level combinations.
Just sounds like you didnt prepare enough and gave them enough ammunition to show you werent the type they were looking for. Other students will have deal with that issue differently, enthused about what they were reading, related it to the course an engaged them in conversation.

Notwithstanding it could all have been great, but they thought others were better.
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JosephCiderBwoy
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Just sounds like you didnt prepare enough and gave them enough ammunition to show you werent the type they were looking for. Other students will have deal with that issue differently, enthused about what they were reading, related it to the course an engaged them in conversation.

Notwithstanding it could all have been great, but they thought others were better.
I feel I had sufficiently prepared. I'd read every book mentioned on my personal statement, had gone over the top grammar etc. In terms of preparation during my life, as in reading and enjoying literature, I guess one could say I'd not prepared. But this time last year I'd not even considered Oxford. If I wasn't what they were looking for, then that is their issue, certainly not mine. They chose to interview me so I at least showed some potential.
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Vinny C
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Subjects? Oxford? In spite of their claims, they are far from objective. If your background fits and daddy has a nice Mercedes you are in. If however from a council flat and arrive on the train... looking like Paddington bear out of marmalade. If not privately tutored for the stock answers... forget it!
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999tigger
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I feel I had sufficiently prepared. I'd read every book mentioned on my personal statement, had gone over the top grammar etc. In terms of preparation during my life, as in reading and enjoying literature, I guess one could say I'd not prepared. But this time last year I'd not even considered Oxford. If I wasn't what they were looking for, then that is their issue, certainly not mine. They chose to interview me so I at least showed some potential.
Interview prep would have most likely been spotted by an interviewer. If you want to say its their problem not yours that you didn perform as well as you might have at interview, then fair enough. You are the one that highlighted the point. It may be just that ohers performed better. Many people cant get the grades to apply or an interview.
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Anonymouspsych
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
So yeah, blahdy blahdy blah I was rejected yeah yeah that's all in the past, I can genuinely say I'm over it. However, I hadn't previously considered whether Oxford and Cambridge were more likely to accept based on A-Level combinations. So I study Maths, French and Music at A-Level and had applied for French and Beginner's Italian, and as mentioned, I was rejected. I'm waiting on specific feedback, but I'm certain that what brought me down compared to the other applicants was how I'm not a reader. I read, of course, but I'm not the kind who reads instead of watches TV. I think I wasn't engaging enough. I got good test scores though which is what they heavily depend on, but I'm wondering whether my subject combination at A-Level wasn't what they were looking for, and whether they'd have preferred, idk, French, English and History, perhaps?
One of the main things Oxbridge rejects fail to realise is it's not about what you did wrong necessarily. You have to remember this is a playing field with many many other people with very limited places so most people have to be rejected. You just happen to be part of that group :/
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astro67
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I would be prepared to read a tonne of French if I had to.
That really isn't likely to put you ahead of someone with a similar level of attainment and aptitude but with a personal desire to read the material. If that's how it came across at interview, it's unlikely to have helped. Impossible to say whether it was actually critical to the decision since we know so little about the application as a whole and nothing about the competition. Personally, I think you were right to be honest about the situation when asked and it may be that the university's decision saved you from what might have been a bit of a slog as a degree. If, instead, you end up studying a syllabus that excites you more (possibly with more emphasis on cinema and contemporary culture, say) then this could be very much in your interests.
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JosephCiderBwoy
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(Original post by Vinny C)
Subjects? Oxford? In spite of their claims, they are far from objective. If your background fits and daddy has a nice Mercedes you are in. If however from a council flat and arrive on the train... looking like Paddington bear out of marmalade. If not privately tutored for the stock answers... forget it!
I strongly disagree. I agree that in the past, poorer communities had less access to Oxbridge and uni in general, but now there are lots of outreach programmes such as UNIQ and Sutton Trust. It is far less nepotist
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Vinny C
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(Original post by JosephCiderBwoy)
I strongly disagree. I agree that in the past, poorer communities had less access to Oxbridge and uni in general, but now there are lots of outreach programmes such as UNIQ and Sutton Trust. It is far less nepotist
I am from the past.
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