Esimm03
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Hey,
So I've been contemplating applying to oxford since I started the sixth form, I'm currently studying Geography, English Lit and History, alongside an EPQ and Level 5 TEFL on the side, I want to go onto do a degree in Geography or Environmental Sciences.

I would consider myself an average student, I had been getting Bs and Cs in in-class tests before, however recently I've had a spurt of motivation (similar to one I had before GCSES that got me from grades 43333333 to 88866655 in the final exam) and I'm now getting As in my exams, I just sat my UCAS exams last week and so far have achieved grades AA (waiting to hear back about English), I think I have the ability to pull off straight As with maybe an A* in there for geography.

I'm a little bit reserved about applying, I'd love to go, but I'm aware that competition is fierce and I don't want to waist an application on applying if I'm unlikely to ever have a chance of getting a place on a course. Fortunately, I signed up for the Oxbridge applicant's program at my sixth form when I joined last September, so I have access to mentoring and help if I decide to apply (my dad studied Maths at Wadham too, so I can get help from someone who has done this before).

Is there anyone on here in a similar situation, or was and applied? did you get in? do you guys think its worth a shot? and what sort of things could I do to help stand out from the crowd (I did my TEFL for this reason, going to join the RGS and enter the young geographer competition)?

Thanks
Ethan
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apolaroidofus
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If you have a passion for geography and want to study at Oxford there's no reason you shouldn't apply. But your chances are probably quite slim without a high proportion of A*s at GCSE. I don't know a lot about Oxford geography though, so it may be that GCSEs aren't as important as they are for other subjects. You might want to ask yourself why you were predicted 4s and 3s at GCSE. Is it because you had other circumstances/simply did no work? Or is it because you were struggling with the content and had to work extremely hard to get the grades that you did? If the answer to the latter is yes, maybe Oxford isn't quite the right place for you.

If you do decide to apply, you'll need to have a very strong personal statement so definitely get involved with the activities you mention above and read as much around the subject as you can. I believe there's a year 12 resources thread split into subjects so it's worth checking that out.

You might also want to consider the current situation; lots of year 13s will be deferring/reapplying. Oxford are not allowing deferrals for general COVID reasons (and I think it would be ridiculous to turn down an offer from Oxford just for a part of the teaching being online for a part of the degree) so I suspect that few offer holders will be declining their offers and reapplying. However, Oxbridge rejects from this cycle may decide to decline their other offers and have a go at reapplying, so the competition this year will be fierce. This puts you at an even lower chance of success, and it is a very draining process to end with a rejection.

The only thing I can tell you for sure is that you won't get in if you don't apply. I'd always urge people to give it a shot.
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Esimm03
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(Original post by apolaroidofus)
If you have a passion for geography and want to study at Oxford there's no reason you shouldn't apply. But your chances are probably quite slim without a high proportion of A*s at GCSE. I don't know a lot about Oxford geography though, so it may be that GCSEs aren't as important as they are for other subjects. You might want to ask yourself why you were predicted 4s and 3s at GCSE. Is it because you had other circumstances/simply did no work? Or is it because you were struggling with the content and had to work extremely hard to get the grades that you did? If the answer to the latter is yes, maybe Oxford isn't quite the right place for you.

If you do decide to apply, you'll need to have a very strong personal statement so definitely get involved with the activities you mention above and read as much around the subject as you can. I believe there's a year 12 resources thread split into subjects so it's worth checking that out.

You might also want to consider the current situation; lots of year 13s will be deferring/reapplying. Oxford are not allowing deferrals for general COVID reasons (and I think it would be ridiculous to turn down an offer from Oxford just for a part of the teaching being online for a part of the degree) so I suspect that few offer holders will be declining their offers and reapplying. However, Oxbridge rejects from this cycle may decide to decline their other offers and have a go at reapplying, so the competition this year will be fierce. This puts you at an even lower chance of success, and it is a very draining process to end with a rejection.

The only thing I can tell you for sure is that you won't get in if you don't apply. I'd always urge people to give it a shot.
Hi,

With GCSEs it was just because It was a mix of me being lazy (expecting to do well without working) and my Dyslexia (meaning I hadn't found my way of learning yet) the mocks acted as a kick up the butt, making me realize I wasn't going to do well unless I actually did something, so in February I just began to work harder, found the ways I learn best and haven't slacked since then really, I presume the low grades I had been achieving in my levels were down to getting used to the new style of working, so now hopefully (fingers crossed) this is my level of working.

Personal statement wise, I'm planning on writing it a number of times, I haven't given it much thought yet, as I wanted to get the Lucas exams out of the way, but I'm going to start dedicating more time to it now, one thing I'm going to try and emphasize is that I used the lockdown as an opportunity to work on my grades and do my TEFL (might try and fit some more things in if I can), so hopefully that might set me apart and prove I can work under pressure.

I agree with you, I'd rather apply and know I didn't get a place, than spend my university time somewhere else wondering what would have happened

Thanks again
Ethan
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LordFahid
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No point in applying with those GCSE's you will certainly get rejected. Average applicants will have at least 5 9's.
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Rorty
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As long as your grades might realistically be of a standard to meet the stated requirements, you can count on a strong reference and you understand that many very qualified applicants are rejected every year then you should apply.

Weaker GCSE results obviously won't help, but many many people are offered admission every year on the basis that they have shown a very strong upwards trajectory by achieving (or being predicted to achieve) an appropriately strong set of A Level grades.

You have five choices. There is very little harm in using one of them for the course would most want to study.
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apolaroidofus
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(Original post by LordFahid)
Average applicants will have at least 5 9's
Statistics or it didn't happen.

I'd also ask you to consider that (assuming this is true, which I doubt it is) this is only the average applicant. This doesn't mean that anyone with less than 5 GCSEs at a 9 will be instantly rejected and in many cases, it's likely that this is coincidental (stronger applicants will tend to have stronger GCSEs) as opposed to being the determining factor.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Esimm03)
I'm a little bit reserved about applying, I'd love to go, but I'm aware that competition is fierce and I don't want to waist an application on applying if I'm unlikely to ever have a chance of getting a place on a course. Fortunately, I signed up for the Oxbridge applicant's program at my sixth form when I joined last September, so I have access to mentoring and help if I decide to apply (my dad studied Maths at Wadham too, so I can get help from someone who has done this before).
If you like the course, and meet the entry requirements (including predicted grades), apply. For 2021 entry, there is no admissions test. I would hope that they would perform more interviews to compensate for this, although whether they'd be able to be in-person is another question.

You won't be wasting an application, as you would have a chance. You do have five choices, and only go to one, so you should aim high with one or two of them. Good luck.
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LordFahid
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(Original post by apolaroidofus)
Statistics or it didn't happen.

I'd also ask you to consider that (assuming this is true, which I doubt it is) this is only the average applicant. This doesn't mean that anyone with less than 5 GCSEs at a 9 will be instantly rejected and in many cases, it's likely that this is coincidental (stronger applicants will tend to have stronger GCSEs) as opposed to being the determining factor.
No those aren't official but Oxford openly admit they strongly consider GCSEs and considering the op is only getting A's at A level it doesn't look likely that they will get in at all. But by all means do apply you will still have 4 other choices.
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apolaroidofus
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(Original post by LordFahid)
No those aren't official but Oxford openly admit they strongly consider GCSEs and considering the op is only getting A's at A level it doesn't look likely that they will get in at all. But by all means do apply you will still have 4 other choices.
Yes I know that Oxford do consider GCSEs to be an important part of the application but they're in no way the be all and end all. This article by Alan Rusbridger is very insightful into the admissions process and actually goes to show that grades aren't necessarily a make or break factor (eg the school/background you come from can be the deciding factor to admit you over another candidate, especially when it comes down to the post-interview pooling process, or 'horse-trading' as it is sometimes referred to) https://www.timeshighereducation.com...ord-admissions
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LordFahid
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(Original post by apolaroidofus)
Yes I know that Oxford do consider GCSEs to be an important part of the application but they're in no way the be all and end all. This article by Alan Rusbridger is very insightful into the admissions process and actually goes to show that grades aren't necessarily a make or break factor (eg the school/background you come from can be the deciding factor to admit you over another candidate, especially when it comes down to the post-interview pooling process, or 'horse-trading' as it is sometimes referred to) https://www.timeshighereducation.com...ord-admissions
Academic grades are by far the most important thing they consider when applying to Oxford but obviously they aren't the 'be all and end all'. The op has very low grades for the average successful applicant so their chances are very low but not impossible.
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liverninthered
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(Original post by LordFahid)
No point in applying with those GCSE's you will certainly get rejected. Average applicants will have at least 5 9's.
Don't make up statistics without evidence. The student will not "certainly get rejected". You have no idea about the school they attend (GCSEs are contextualised, not scored in isolation) nor the quality of the rest of their application.
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LordFahid
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(Original post by liverninthered)
Don't make up statistics without evidence. The student will not "certainly get rejected". You have no idea about the school they attend (GCSEs are contextualised, not scored in isolation) nor the quality of the rest of their application.
Ok they are very very likely to get rejected, is that better? I'm being real with op, no point getting their hopes up when they are very likely to be rejected.
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apolaroidofus
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(Original post by LordFahid)
Academic grades are by far the most important thing they consider when applying to Oxford but obviously they aren't the 'be all and end all'. The op has very low grades for the average successful applicant so their chances are very low but not impossible.
I'd argue that while they're the most important thing while shortlisting for interview, the interview itself is the most important factor in determining which students will receive offers - a student can be as clever as you like but they'll never get in if they aren't going to be receptive to the tutorial system.
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apolaroidofus
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(Original post by liverninthered)
Don't make up statistics without evidence. The student will not "certainly get rejected". You have no idea about the school they attend (GCSEs are contextualised, not scored in isolation) nor the quality of the rest of their application.
PRSOM
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LordFahid
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(Original post by apolaroidofus)
I'd argue that while they're the most important thing while shortlisting for interview, the interview itself is the most important factor in determining which students will receive offers - a student can be as clever as you like but they'll never get in if they aren't going to be receptive to the tutorial system.
Yes but my main point is that the op is unlikely to make it through the shortlisting process. Oxford admit that they mainly use GCSEs in the shortlisting process. Like I said before by all means apply but don't get your hopes up as you will be very disappointed IF you don't get in.
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username5288074
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I don't imagine vastly more people will be interviewed this year.
Given the GAT has been cancelled, GCSEs and predictions will be even more important for shortlisting.

Unless OP went to an underperforming school, it doesn't look good.

That being said - if it's where you want to go, you lose nothing in the application. If it's where you want to go, the only way to have a nonzero chance is to give it a go.
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apolaroidofus
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(Original post by LordFahid)
Yes but my main point is that the op is unlikely to make it through the shortlisting process. Oxford admit that they mainly use GCSEs in the shortlisting process. Like I said before by all means apply but don't get your hopes up as you will be very disappointed IF you don't get in.
Yes but the same could be said for students with all A*s (who have been rejected from Oxford countless times - case in point, UnJaded Jade). The advice is never to get your hopes up when applying to an institution like Oxford or Cambridge (no matter how qualified you are)
And when you say 'Like I said before' you mean this?
(Original post by LordFahid)
No point in applying with those GCSE's you will certainly get rejected. Average applicants will have at least 5 9's.
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username5325486
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(Original post by Esimm03)
Hey,
So I've been contemplating applying to oxford since I started the sixth form, I'm currently studying Geography, English Lit and History, alongside an EPQ and Level 5 TEFL on the side, I want to go onto do a degree in Geography or Environmental Sciences.

I would consider myself an average student, I had been getting Bs and Cs in in-class tests before, however recently I've had a spurt of motivation (similar to one I had before GCSES that got me from grades 43333333 to 88866655 in the final exam) and I'm now getting As in my exams, I just sat my UCAS exams last week and so far have achieved grades AA (waiting to hear back about English), I think I have the ability to pull off straight As with maybe an A* in there for geography.

I'm a little bit reserved about applying, I'd love to go, but I'm aware that competition is fierce and I don't want to waist an application on applying if I'm unlikely to ever have a chance of getting a place on a course. Fortunately, I signed up for the Oxbridge applicant's program at my sixth form when I joined last September, so I have access to mentoring and help if I decide to apply (my dad studied Maths at Wadham too, so I can get help from someone who has done this before).

Is there anyone on here in a similar situation, or was and applied? did you get in? do you guys think its worth a shot? and what sort of things could I do to help stand out from the crowd (I did my TEFL for this reason, going to join the RGS and enter the young geographer competition)?

Thanks
Ethan
Oxford does focus on GCSE’s a lot more than Cambridge, so it is slim you’d get an offer. Good luck
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mnot
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(Original post by Esimm03)
Hey,
So I've been contemplating applying to oxford since I started the sixth form, I'm currently studying Geography, English Lit and History, alongside an EPQ and Level 5 TEFL on the side, I want to go onto do a degree in Geography or Environmental Sciences.

I would consider myself an average student, I had been getting Bs and Cs in in-class tests before, however recently I've had a spurt of motivation (similar to one I had before GCSES that got me from grades 43333333 to 88866655 in the final exam) and I'm now getting As in my exams, I just sat my UCAS exams last week and so far have achieved grades AA (waiting to hear back about English), I think I have the ability to pull off straight As with maybe an A* in there for geography.

I'm a little bit reserved about applying, I'd love to go, but I'm aware that competition is fierce and I don't want to waist an application on applying if I'm unlikely to ever have a chance of getting a place on a course. Fortunately, I signed up for the Oxbridge applicant's program at my sixth form when I joined last September, so I have access to mentoring and help if I decide to apply (my dad studied Maths at Wadham too, so I can get help from someone who has done this before).

Is there anyone on here in a similar situation, or was and applied? did you get in? do you guys think its worth a shot? and what sort of things could I do to help stand out from the crowd (I did my TEFL for this reason, going to join the RGS and enter the young geographer competition)?

Thanks
Ethan
Geography is one of the Oxford courses which is very reachable (why do I say this, 35% of applicants get offers, this is quite high relative to Oxford norms, additionally I don't think they require an admissions test).

That said the average student who enrols on this course has
9 A*s at GCSE
A*A*A at A-level

Honestly I think with your number of A*s/9s will struggle to get to interview and hence are unlikely to get an offer as your GCSEs & A-level predications seem low.

You could consider Cambridge which have less weighting on GCSEs.
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LordFahid
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(Original post by apolaroidofus)
Yes but the same could be said for students with all A*s (who have been rejected from Oxford countless times - case in point, UnJaded Jade). The advice is never to get your hopes up when applying to an institution like Oxford or Cambridge (no matter how qualified you are)
And when you say 'Like I said before' you mean this?
(Original post by LordFahid)
No those aren't official but Oxford openly admit they strongly consider GCSEs and considering the op is only getting A's at A level it doesn't look likely that they will get in at all. But by all means do apply you will still have 4 other choices.
"But by all means do apply you will still have 4 other choices"
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