Leif1001
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Hi! I study Psychology, English Lang/Lit, Sociology and want to apply to study English Literature at University. I got 87AA66666B in my GCSEs, ABB (A in English) in my AS and I’m predicted A*AA at A Level. I know my grades aren’t as high as the typical Oxbridge profile, however I’ve had a lot of complications with teachers throughout my education, such as for year 12 my English Lang teacher left after Christmas, because of attending a below national average school. I know ‘I have quite a bit of contextual info’ (lol I know that doesn’t make sense) such as a below £25K household income, first to attend uni in my family (NCOP) and 1s for every category on my postcode. My family, friends and teachers seem to think it would be a great idea to apply to Oxbridge, and I really want to. However, I’m scared that my grades aren’t good enough and that it would be a waste of time. I have a strong personal statement, reference and a lot of extra/super curriculars that I’ve done. So what do you think?

(I know this whole paragraph is a mess, I just wanted to put everything in here)
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RhynieChert
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you should absolutely go for it, you really have nothing to lose by applying - check carefully though when choosing a college as a few don't accept the combined Lang/Lit a level

you may also want to email admissions tutors of any colleges you are thinking of applying for to get reassurance that it is worth applying but I suspect that most will say to go for it, the only way to be guaranteed you won't get in is by not applying

as for which uni to go for really it should depend only on which course you prefer more - do as much research as possible before you choose
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RhynieChert
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actually I would probably recommend Cambridge over Oxford as they interview more candidates so you're less likely there to be deselected before getting a chance to show what you're made of, and if you do make it to Cambridge interview stage even if you aren't made an offer it's likely you would then be eligible for adjustment as you'd hit the contextual markers so if you do get the A level grades you'd get an extra shot at it
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username4957576
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
actually I would probably recommend Cambridge over Oxford as they interview more candidates so you're less likely there to be deselected before getting a chance to show what you're made of, and if you do make it to Cambridge interview stage even if you aren't made an offer it's likely you would then be eligible for adjustment as you'd hit the contextual markers so if you do get the A level grades you'd get an extra shot at it
what about the argument that those with better GCSEs should attempt Oxford instead of Cam?
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by Psychotic Psycho)
what about the argument that those with better GCSEs should attempt Oxford instead of Cam?
this applicants GCSEs aren't particularly high? and tbh neither Oxford nor Cambridge put that much stock in GCSEs grades. for this person I think their chances are probably not that high of getting an offer unless they do very well at interview/admissions assessment so they want to maximise the chances of at least getting an interview and then if they do get the grades have the chance of still getting in
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username4957576
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
this applicants GCSEs aren't particularly high? and tbh neither Oxford nor Cambridge put that much stock in GCSEs grades. for this person I think their chances are probably not that high of getting an offer unless they do very well at interview/admissions assessment so they want to maximise the chances of at least getting an interview and then if they do get the grades have the chance of still getting in
that was actually really good advice! i wasn't challenging you, just asking a question. Does Cambridge always go into Adjustment though? and how much more are they likely to offer an interview than oxford?
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by Psychotic Psycho)
that was actually really good advice! i wasn't challenging you, just asking a question. Does Cambridge always go into adjucement though? and how much more are they likely to offer an interview than oxford? (figures?)
Cambridge run an adjustment scheme for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds who apply but are rejected after interview - you aren't guaranteed a place through adjustment even if you're eligible but it is a second chance

for English Cambridge interview 70-80% or higher, Oxford 60%
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username4957576
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
Cambridge run an adjustment scheme for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds who apply but are rejected after interview - you aren't guaranteed a place through adjustment even if you're eligible but it is a second chance
What if you are predicted 3 As instead of the min requirement A*AA? Should you still take a chance with Cam over Ox?

Can I pm you for further advice?
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Plantagenet Crown
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I personally much prefer Oxford: in my opinion it’s prettier and the city itself is bigger and there’s more to do.
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by Psychotic Psycho)
What if you are predicted 3 As instead of the min requirement A*AA? Should you still take a chance with Cam over Ox?

Can I pm you for further advice?
would depend on your reference - if your teachers are under predicting due to being cautious but state in your reference that you're actually expected A*s then predictions of 3As aren't too big of an issue. honestly this is an issue that varies by college, if this is your situation I recommend emailing admissions tutors of colleges you're interested to see what their policy on candidates predicted below the minimum is, whether they auto reject or if a good ELAT can still get you an interview

you can pm me if you like - for reference I'm currently a natural sciences student at Cambridge so English I'm not an expert on but I have done a lot of work with admissions at my college so I have good knowledge of the process
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Leif1001
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
you should absolutely go for it, you really have nothing to lose by applying - check carefully though when choosing a college as a few don't accept the combined Lang/Lit a level

you may also want to email admissions tutors of any colleges you are thinking of applying for to get reassurance that it is worth applying but I suspect that most will say to go for it, the only way to be guaranteed you won't get in is by not applying

as for which uni to go for really it should depend only on which course you prefer more - do as much research as possible before you choose
Thank you for your advice!!! I know I don’t have a particularly high chance of getting in because of my GCSEs. I was hoping that because my grades at AS and my predicted grades are significantly higher then it would make up for not having extremely high GCSEs
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Martins1
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Personally I would suggest applying to the one you prefer. If you don't mind, then apply to the one which places greater emphasis on the admissions process because that should hopefully offset your slightly weaker grades - generally, Oxford places more emphasis on this, as far as I'm aware.
If your predicted grades are triple A, I think it would be beneficial to apply to Oxford too because otherwise you're predicted below the Cambridge offer.
That said Oxford state that they interview 60% of candidates, as opposed to Cambridge's 80%. Make of that what you will.
Otherwise, make sure your reference and UCAS form detail all of your circumstances to ensure you're treated fairly!
(Btw I study humanities at Oxford, but not English)
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Leif1001
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(Original post by Martins1)
Personally I would suggest applying to the one you prefer. If you don't mind, then apply to the one which places greater emphasis on the admissions process because that should hopefully offset your slightly weaker grades - generally, Oxford places more emphasis on this, as far as I'm aware.
If your predicted grades are triple A, I think it would be beneficial to apply to Oxford too because otherwise you're predicted below the Cambridge offer.
That said Oxford state that they interview 60% of candidates, as opposed to Cambridge's 80%. Make of that what you will.
Otherwise, make sure your reference and UCAS form detail all of your circumstances to ensure you're treated fairly!
(Btw I study humanities at Oxford, but not English)
That’s why I was thinking of Cambridge because they’d rather see a trajectory in grades apparently. I’m predicted A*AA so I think I meet both offers?
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by Leif1001)
That’s why I was thinking of Cambridge because they’d rather see a trajectory in grades apparently. I’m predicted A*AA so I think I meet both offers?
i agree i think for you cambridge is the more natural choice if you like both courses and unis
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vicvic38
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
actually I would probably recommend Cambridge over Oxford as they interview more candidates so you're less likely there to be deselected before getting a chance to show what you're made of, and if you do make it to Cambridge interview stage even if you aren't made an offer it's likely you would then be eligible for adjustment as you'd hit the contextual markers so if you do get the A level grades you'd get an extra shot at it
Don't listen to this :aetsch: Tab. Oxford is running the same scheme from next year and it isn't a reason to choose to apply to one and not the other. You should visit both cities, consider the course at both universities and see which you like best.

Cambridge has 4 applications per place for English, so they accept 25% of applicants. They don't have interview stats. Oxford interviews 60% of their applicants. 24% are successful. Oxford interviews are also a hell of a lot more fun, as you get room and board for a few days. So they are less stressful, and you have more chance to meet other applicants.

The Entrance requirement at Oxford for English is also AAA, not A*AA like it is at Cambridge. All Oxford Colleges also accept combined LangLit. Your GCSEs are as good as mine were, and I study Maths at Oxford.

You'll meet better people at Oxford, as well.

The adjustment scheme at Cambridge (as it will be at Oxford,) is for candidates that are of the standard, but JUST don't get in. The college will contact you if a space becomes free to give it to you. It is NOT ADJUSTMENT. It is a callback/second chance scheme.
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Don't listen to this :aetsch: Tab. Oxford is running the same scheme from next year and it isn't a reason to choose to apply to one and not the other. You should visit both cities, consider the course at both universities and see which you like best.

Cambridge has 4 applications per place for English, so they accept 25% of applicants. They don't have interview stats. Oxford interviews 60% of their applicants. 24% are successful. Oxford interviews are also a hell of a lot more fun, as you get room and board for a few days. So they are less stressful, and you have more chance to meet other applicants.

The Entrance requirement at Oxford for English is also AAA, not A*AA like it is at Cambridge. All Oxford Colleges also accept combined LangLit. Your GCSEs are as good as mine were, and I study Maths at Oxford.

You'll meet better people at Oxford, as well.

The adjustment scheme at Cambridge (as it will be at Oxford,) is for candidates that are of the standard, but JUST don't get in. The college will contact you if a space becomes free to give it to you. It is NOT ADJUSTMENT. It is a callback/second chance scheme.
the adjustment scheme at Cambridge is for ALL applicants rejected after interview who meet three widening participation criteria - you don't have to meet a certain standard to be eligible but obviously the better you do at interview the more likely you are to get in during the adjustment selection pool once you have your grades.

really you should choose based on course as there are slight differences between the English courses - I recommend you do more research on both
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vicvic38
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(Original post by RhynieChert)
the adjustment scheme at Cambridge is for ALL applicants rejected after interview who meet three widening participation criteria - you don't have to meet a certain standard to be eligible but obviously the better you do at interview the more likely you are to get in during the adjustment selection pool once you have your grades.

really you should choose based on course as there are slight differences between the English courses - I recommend you do more research on both
Yes I think this is probably the most important thing.

(Original post by Leif1001)
That’s why I was thinking of Cambridge because they’d rather see a trajectory in grades apparently. I’m predicted A*AA so I think I meet both offers?
I still strongly recommend making some effort to get out to both cities if you can. You should really have a feel for both places before making a decision on which one is for you. Try using cheap transport like mega-bus or national express coaches. Oxford has a YHA Hostel, where you can stay for £20 a night.

You could also try contacting the admissions offices, and see if they would be willing to chuck some money your way for tickets (hint hint try St Johns here in Oxford, they have more money than they know what to do with.) Both Universities have a LOT of money.
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Leif1001
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Don't listen to this :aetsch: Tab. Oxford is running the same scheme from next year and it isn't a reason to choose to apply to one and not the other. You should visit both cities, consider the course at both universities and see which you like best.

Cambridge has 4 applications per place for English, so they accept 25% of applicants. They don't have interview stats. Oxford interviews 60% of their applicants. 24% are successful. Oxford interviews are also a hell of a lot more fun, as you get room and board for a few days. So they are less stressful, and you have more chance to meet other applicants.

The Entrance requirement at Oxford for English is also AAA, not A*AA like it is at Cambridge. All Oxford Colleges also accept combined LangLit. Your GCSEs are as good as mine were, and I study Maths at Oxford.

You'll meet better people at Oxford, as well.

The adjustment scheme at Cambridge (as it will be at Oxford,) is for candidates that are of the standard, but JUST don't get in. The college will contact you if a space becomes free to give it to you. It is NOT ADJUSTMENT. It is a callback/second chance scheme.
As a place, I prefer Oxford. However I’d be extremely grateful to go to either. I feel as though I’d have a slightly better chance at Cambridge - Oxford explicitly say that they put heavy emphasis on GCSEs whilst Cambridge say that post-16 results are a far better indicator which will make up for a less stellar performance at GCSE. But like you said, you have similar GCSEs to me and you’re at Oxford? If you don’t mind me asking: what did you get in your GCSEs, AS and A Level? It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me
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RhynieChert
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(Original post by vicvic38)
Don't listen to this :aetsch: Tab. Oxford is running the same scheme from next year and it isn't a reason to choose to apply to one and not the other. You should visit both cities, consider the course at both universities and see which you like best.

Cambridge has 4 applications per place for English, so they accept 25% of applicants. They don't have interview stats. Oxford interviews 60% of their applicants. 24% are successful. Oxford interviews are also a hell of a lot more fun, as you get room and board for a few days. So they are less stressful, and you have more chance to meet other applicants.

The Entrance requirement at Oxford for English is also AAA, not A*AA like it is at Cambridge. All Oxford Colleges also accept combined LangLit. Your GCSEs are as good as mine were, and I study Maths at Oxford.

You'll meet better people at Oxford, as well.

The adjustment scheme at Cambridge (as it will be at Oxford,) is for candidates that are of the standard, but JUST don't get in. The college will contact you if a space becomes free to give it to you. It is NOT ADJUSTMENT. It is a callback/second chance scheme.
just asked Brasenose admissions on here and while they're looking into it Oxford aren't running adjustment for 2020 entry
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vicvic38
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(Original post by Leif1001)
As a place, I prefer Oxford. However I’d be extremely grateful to go to either. I feel as though I’d have a slightly better chance at Cambridge - Oxford explicitly say that they put heavy emphasis on GCSEs whilst Cambridge say that post-16 results are a far better indicator which will make up for a less stellar performance at GCSE. But like you said, you have similar GCSEs to me and you’re at Oxford? If you don’t mind me asking: what did you get in your GCSEs, AS and A Level? It’s okay if you don’t want to tell me
Ok, So I got 5A*, 3A and a B. I generally consider the 9 to be A*. So I would consider my results to be 5x8, 3x7, 1x6. I got AA in my AS results (as I only sat maths and Further maths (old spec)) and I got A*A*AA (maths, fm, Physics and Literature.)

Its also important to consider context. You say your school was below average? That will count greatly for you, as your results (having 10 GCSEs rather than my piddly 9) are good. Any difficulties (like teachers leaving) should be put into your reference. They just use your GCSEs to place you in your cohort, and for most tutors (outside medicine) they have little bearing.

I'd also keep in mind (Cambridge could do this as well) that Oxford has specific systems where a student who has attended a school that is not great (had an "education indicator", mine was one) is basically guaranteed an interview unless they have a very specific problem with your application (predicted grades not high enough, ELAT score too low, personal statement literally just "I am a fish" over and over again.) Once you get to interview, I reckon if you don't get into Oxford, then you wouldn't have gotten into Cambridge, GCSEs be damned. The factors that would keep you out of interview at Oxford, would keep you out at Cambridge.

Don't compromise because you think you're not good enough. A good ELAT score will far outshine GCSE grades.
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