Is it worth applying to Oxbridge despite already holding a place at a top university? Watch

KermitTheFrog
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So this summer I did my A Levels in Maths, Economics, Geography and EPQ, achieving A*A*A & A* respectively. This meant I was accepted to study economics at Leeds starting in September 2020.

I never applied to Oxbridge, despite having done well in my GCSEs (10 A*s and 3As), because I simply didn't believe I would enjoy it there. I visited Leeds and loved it, so decided quite early on that Oxbridge just wasn't for me.

However, on receiving my results I've suddenly become really confused. I just don't know what to do. Most people I speak to tell me it's worth declining my place and giving Oxbridge a go, just to see what happens. But I'm happy with my place in Leeds, but then again, I don't know if I'll regret not applying to Oxbridge in the future.

Having a good time at uni is massively important to me. The social side of Leeds was a big pull for me, as well as the fact it's in a big city and has really good societies and student satisfaction. To add to that, I don't know if the intensity of Oxbridge would suit me.....

As you can tell, I'm pretty confused, and don't know what the best thing to do is. If I were to decline my place I would need to do so very soon so as to be able to apply in time for this year's application deadline. So I need to decide soon!! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
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Anannaislam
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Its what you feel has the best course for you I guess
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Alayna1234
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The thing is if you decided to apply again this year, you could apply to Leeds again, and if you’ve already gotten an offer you probably will again from them but maybe this time from oxbridge too and then you can make your decision then.

Perhaps visit oxbridge
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the bear
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if you get a good degree from Leeds you would be able to secure a well paid career. although Cambridge and, to a lesser extent, Oxford are the ne plus ultra of academic achievement they place high demands on their undergraduates. if you feel comfortable with Leeds then why not go there ?
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by KermitTheFrog)
So this summer I did my A Levels in Maths, Economics, Geography and EPQ, achieving A*A*A & A* respectively. This meant I was accepted to study economics at Leeds starting in September 2020.

I never applied to Oxbridge, despite having done well in my GCSEs (10 A*s and 3As), because I simply didn't believe I would enjoy it there. I visited Leeds and loved it, so decided quite early on that Oxbridge just wasn't for me.

However, on receiving my results I've suddenly become really confused. I just don't know what to do. Most people I speak to tell me it's worth declining my place and giving Oxbridge a go, just to see what happens. But I'm happy with my place in Leeds, but then again, I don't know if I'll regret not applying to Oxbridge in the future.

Having a good time at uni is massively important to me. The social side of Leeds was a big pull for me, as well as the fact it's in a big city and has really good societies and student satisfaction. To add to that, I don't know if the intensity of Oxbridge would suit me.....

As you can tell, I'm pretty confused, and don't know what the best thing to do is. If I were to decline my place I would need to do so very soon so as to be able to apply in time for this year's application deadline. So I need to decide soon!! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
If you like the social scene in Leeds and that is important to you, stay in Leeds. In Oxford the pressure is high, and you will have much less time to devote to going out frequently. This is not the first time I have heard "most people" think students with high attained A level grades should decline their place and re-apply to Oxbridge.

However it is not as easy as all that. The grades are just the first rung on the ladder. Having good grades does not guarantee you an interview, or indeed a place. "Most people", whoever they are, will not be at Oxford, doing the essays, paying the fees etc. It's what you want that counts.
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Muttley79
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(Original post by KermitTheFrog)
So this summer I did my A Levels in Maths, Economics, Geography and EPQ, achieving A*A*A & A* respectively. This meant I was accepted to study economics at Leeds starting in September 2020.

I never applied to Oxbridge, despite having done well in my GCSEs (10 A*s and 3As), because I simply didn't believe I would enjoy it there. I visited Leeds and loved it, so decided quite early on that Oxbridge just wasn't for me.

However, on receiving my results I've suddenly become really confused. I just don't know what to do. Most people I speak to tell me it's worth declining my place and giving Oxbridge a go, just to see what happens. But I'm happy with my place in Leeds, but then again, I don't know if I'll regret not applying to Oxbridge in the future.

Having a good time at uni is massively important to me. The social side of Leeds was a big pull for me, as well as the fact it's in a big city and has really good societies and student satisfaction. To add to that, I don't know if the intensity of Oxbridge would suit me.....

As you can tell, I'm pretty confused, and don't know what the best thing to do is. If I were to decline my place I would need to do so very soon so as to be able to apply in time for this year's application deadline. So I need to decide soon!! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
Leeds is a good university and being happy is very important. Personally I'd not bother applying - Oxford is not for everyone and, trust me, you won't regret going to uni now
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Student 1011
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I guess I am in a similar situation to you in that my predicted grades were better than expected and so I declined my place to attempt to go to Cambridge. IMO you should only decline if you really really want it, mainly because regardless of what your grades are, the chances of you getting an offer are still relatively low. The UCAS offer rate calculator should give you a vague idea of your chances, so I am essentially risking a year of my life on roughly a 40% chance of admission. To me that's worth it, but if it was more like 15-20% then I would probably have just taken my place this year.
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Martins1
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I think it really depends on whether you'll enjoy the experience as a whole at Oxbridge. I hear all the time that coming to Oxbridge is essentially giving up a good social scene for the sake of (what is perceived as) a better education.

But personally I think the Oxbridge social scene is fantastic and I love Oxford way beyond the course and its intellectual rigour. Personally, I don't believe I would enjoy Leeds as much socially or academically. My point, therefore, is that you should not rule out Oxbridge's social scene without considering whether you would enjoy it.

The social scene in Oxbridge as opposed to somewhere like Leeds, as far as I'm aware, is that it is a lot more intense. Since we have to work harder, we tend to play harder too. I often find myself busy with back to back events all day every day for a week. That said, like the workload, it's more than manageable. I'd say the night life is better at Oxford than Cambridge, but probably nowhere near as popular as at Leeds - but it's still definitely possible to go out 2-3 times a week if you want. A lot of the social scene also revolves around extra curricular and perhaps a more eclectic set of activities - people are interested in anything and everything, which means a lot of people spend time on, say, classical music, or whatever they're passionate about. For me that makes the social scene far more enjoyable.

If you think that would suit you, I recommend giving Oxbridge a visit (there's an Oxford open day in 2 days btw). To be honest I recommend giving it a visit anyway. It's better to have ruled out Oxbridge definitively than to always be thinking "what if".

But I strongly recommend against applying just because other people think you should. If you wouldn't like the course, the intellectual rigour or the intense social sphere, don't apply.

I have many friends who were dead set on Cambridge because of its reputation who, since getting in, hate it. I also have a friend who loved Leeds but applied to Cambridge too - he got into and now loves studying at Cambridge, and regrets nothing.
Last edited by Martins1; 4 weeks ago
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2500_2
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(Original post by KermitTheFrog)
So this summer I did my A Levels in Maths, Economics, Geography and EPQ, achieving A*A*A & A* respectively. This meant I was accepted to study economics at Leeds starting in September 2020.

I never applied to Oxbridge, despite having done well in my GCSEs (10 A*s and 3As), because I simply didn't believe I would enjoy it there. I visited Leeds and loved it, so decided quite early on that Oxbridge just wasn't for me.

However, on receiving my results I've suddenly become really confused. I just don't know what to do. Most people I speak to tell me it's worth declining my place and giving Oxbridge a go, just to see what happens. But I'm happy with my place in Leeds, but then again, I don't know if I'll regret not applying to Oxbridge in the future.

Having a good time at uni is massively important to me. The social side of Leeds was a big pull for me, as well as the fact it's in a big city and has really good societies and student satisfaction. To add to that, I don't know if the intensity of Oxbridge would suit me.....

As you can tell, I'm pretty confused, and don't know what the best thing to do is. If I were to decline my place I would need to do so very soon so as to be able to apply in time for this year's application deadline. So I need to decide soon!! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
It's not quite as black and white as you're seeing it - if you do really well in your degree you could look at Oxbridge for postgraduate.
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Quick-use
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I think there are various pros and cons.

To be quite frank, I don't think you'd necessarily receive a better education at Oxbridge. Quite a lot of my friends who went to either Oxford or Cambridge said that all they did was independent study and that they weren't really taught anything. Sadly, this is true for most 'elite' universities (including LSE and the like). And, although they can enjoy the brand having graduated now, I'm not sure it was worth the pain, sweat and tears. Of course, some might have relished the opportunity to study there, but quite a lot of my friends often say how they wish they had gone elsewhere and had had actually been taught something / given spare time to enjoy themselves.

That said, being forced to do independent study will make you a very proficient independent thinker and will give you the tools to succeed in further education (Master's or PhD) should you choose to take the route.
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StevenPinder!*7
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(Original post by KermitTheFrog)
So this summer I did my A Levels in Maths, Economics, Geography and EPQ, achieving A*A*A & A* respectively. This meant I was accepted to study economics at Leeds starting in September 2020.

I never applied to Oxbridge, despite having done well in my GCSEs (10 A*s and 3As), because I simply didn't believe I would enjoy it there. I visited Leeds and loved it, so decided quite early on that Oxbridge just wasn't for me.

However, on receiving my results I've suddenly become really confused. I just don't know what to do. Most people I speak to tell me it's worth declining my place and giving Oxbridge a go, just to see what happens. But I'm happy with my place in Leeds, but then again, I don't know if I'll regret not applying to Oxbridge in the future.

Having a good time at uni is massively important to me. The social side of Leeds was a big pull for me, as well as the fact it's in a big city and has really good societies and student satisfaction. To add to that, I don't know if the intensity of Oxbridge would suit me.....

As you can tell, I'm pretty confused, and don't know what the best thing to do is. If I were to decline my place I would need to do so very soon so as to be able to apply in time for this year's application deadline. So I need to decide soon!! Any advice would be appreciated, thanks
I dont go to Oxbridge (not nerly smart enought) but i do have some freinds how graduated from Cambridge! They loved it and said the whole experience was really unique, very diffrent to what you would get from an non Oxbridge uni. They only graduated a few years ago but are already incredibly successful and both credit Cambridge for a lot of that success. They also told me its not as posh as it once was hehe
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Oxford Mum
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(Original post by Martins1)
I think it really depends on whether you'll enjoy the experience as a whole at Oxbridge. I hear all the time that coming to Oxbridge is essentially giving up a good social scene for the sake of (what is perceived as) a better education.

But personally I think the Oxbridge social scene is fantastic and I love Oxford way beyond the course and its intellectual rigour. Personally, I don't believe I would enjoy Leeds as much socially or academically. My point, therefore, is that you should not rule out Oxbridge's social scene without considering whether you would enjoy it.

The social scene in Oxbridge as opposed to somewhere like Leeds, as far as I'm aware, is that it is a lot more intense. Since we have to work harder, we tend to play harder too. I often find myself busy with back to back events all day every day for a week. That said, like the workload, it's more than manageable. I'd say the night life is better at Oxford than Cambridge, but probably nowhere near as popular as at Leeds - but it's still definitely possible to go out 2-3 times a week if you want. A lot of the social scene also revolves around extra curricular and perhaps a more eclectic set of activities - people are interested in anything and everything, which means a lot of people spend time on, say, classical music, or whatever they're passionate about. For me that makes the social scene far more enjoyable.

If you think that would suit you, I recommend giving Oxbridge a visit (there's an Oxford open day in 2 days btw). To be honest I recommend giving it a visit anyway. It's better to have ruled out Oxbridge definitively than to always be thinking "what if".

But I strongly recommend against applying just because other people think you should. If you wouldn't like the course, the intellectual rigour or the intense social sphere, don't apply.

I have many friends who were dead set on Cambridge because of its reputation who, since getting in, hate it. I also have a friend who loved Leeds but applied to Cambridge too - he got into and now loves studying at Cambridge, and regrets nothing.
This is an excellent post. The Oxford social scene is different because there are unique events that do not happen anywhere else. e.g Corpus tortoise race, Turl street arts festival, formal hall, May Day etc. You need to go to an open day to experience the pros and cons of Oxford yourself. Certainly my sons never regretted a moment.
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