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International applicant - Oxford or Cambridge? watch

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    I'm from the USA. I would like to study modern languages (probably a combination of Arabic and French). In addition to several American universities, I also want to apply to Oxbridge. I'm leaning toward Cambridge because of the flexibility of its course, but I've heard rumours that it's basically impossible for international students to get into Cambridge immediately after high school. Is this true? Would it be more prudent for me to apply to Oxford in order to have a realistic chance of acceptance? I think I could be happy at either, and I don't want to apply to one that is nigh impossible to be accepted at.


    For those of you familiar with American qualifications, these are mine...
    SAT I - 2330 (770 math/760 reading/800 writing)
    SAT II - 800 Spanish, 800 US History, 800 Math Level II
    AP exams - 5 US History, 5 Chemistry, 5 Biology, 5 English, 5 Calculus BC.
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    (Original post by Briefingsworth)
    but I've heard rumours that it's basically impossible for international students to get into Cambridge immediately after high school
    Where did you read that? That's definitely not true!

    (awesome scores btw! )
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    Everyone has a pretty slim chance of getting into either, so just go with your gut and pick one.
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    1-in-4 isn't that slim, especially compared to the 1-in-10 that's more typical of top US universities...
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    (Original post by Zhen Lin)
    1-in-4 isn't that slim, especially compared to the 1-in-10 that's more typical of top US universities...
    probably has something to do with their slightly larger population....
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    Imperial and LSE are much 'worse' rates than Oxbridge (again, something like 1-in-10 for the most competitive), yet for (generally) similar courses. The acceptance rate is hardly what matters - it's the candidate!

    Anyway, I don't think it particularly matters where you apply as long as you are informed about everything. Hearsay is generally rubbish that has spread from one bitter, if unlucky, person!
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    Do you not have an AP or SAT II in French?
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    (Original post by henryt)
    Imperial and LSE are much 'worse' rates than Oxbridge (again, something like 1-in-10 for the most competitive), yet for (generally) similar courses.
    Er, yes ... but most of these candidates would actually prefer to go to Oxford, Cambridge or somewhere else (whereas, overwhelmingly, Oxbridge candidates apply there as a first choice) so the real ratio of those that would choose, say, Imperial is much less than that. And the courses at both Imperial and LSE are rather specialised - neither is a general university.
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    If I remember correctly, the Oxford course is very different to the Cambridge course. I think you should decide where you apply based on whether you like the structure of the course.
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    Briefingsworth, both Oxford and Cambridge are very selective as you must know. The minimum requirements just to be able to apply are so high, that acceptance rates look more favorable than they really are.

    Anyway, I'm sure you will study the specific programs in both to see which one you like.

    However, to put my two cents in, I think Oxford has more of a "wow effect" internationally than Cambridge. You may not find this important, and you're totally justified, but it's just one more element that may or may not help you choose.

    Great SAT scores by the way. Congratulations.
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    (Original post by Briefingsworth)
    I'm from the USA. I would like to study modern languages (probably a combination of Arabic and French). In addition to several American universities, I also want to apply to Oxbridge. I'm leaning toward Cambridge because of the flexibility of its course, but I've heard rumours that it's basically impossible for international students to get into Cambridge immediately after high school. Is this true? Would it be more prudent for me to apply to Oxford in order to have a realistic chance of acceptance? I think I could be happy at either, and I don't want to apply to one that is nigh impossible to be accepted at.


    For those of you familiar with American qualifications, these are mine...
    SAT I - 2330 (770 math/760 reading/800 writing)
    SAT II - 800 Spanish, 800 US History, 800 Math Level II
    AP exams - 5 US History, 5 Chemistry, 5 Biology, 5 English, 5 Calculus BC.
    There's no requirement/bias towards gap years at either, except when specifically mentioned in the course description or by a certain college. For example, most Math students are discouraged from taking a gap year between studies, except at Queens in Cambridge?

    With MML, I don't think it matters either way. I don't think SAT scores matter that much either, but AP certainly will. So apply where you want to, but read up the specifics on your chosen college/departments website.
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    (Original post by SunderX)
    With MML, I don't think it matters either way. I don't think SAT scores matter that much either, but AP certainly will. So apply where you want to, but read up the specifics on your chosen college/departments website.
    AP French and AP Spanish are offered as senior (Year 13) classes at my school, so I'm taking them right now but I won't have scores to send in because the tests aren't until May. Will that hurt me? I've taken as many AP courses as possible thus far, and I'm enrolled in 8 more this year.

    Thanks for everyone's input

    I'm definitely leaning toward Cambridge because of the flexibility of its program...I just don't want to end up applying somewhere where I have about a 0% chance of getting in.
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    The majority of applicants will not have their final exam results either, so you're no worse off.
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    (Original post by Briefingsworth)
    AP French and AP Spanish are offered as senior (Year 13) classes at my school, so I'm taking them right now but I won't have scores to send in because the tests aren't until May. Will that hurt me? I've taken as many AP courses as possible thus far, and I'm enrolled in 8 more this year.

    Thanks for everyone's input

    I'm definitely leaning toward Cambridge because of the flexibility of its program...I just don't want to end up applying somewhere where I have about a 0% chance of getting in.
    Personally, I think the exam system in the US is a bit lousy. Students apply to universities before they even sit their final exams, so their applications are based solely on predicted grades, teacher impressions and personal statement puffery. Then, when universities give offers, they're usually unconditional and they can basically just cruise through their finals without a care.

    Meanwhile, UK universities give offers based upon past academic performance - offers are conditional upon applying for certain grades, which means people actually work their arses off to meet them, and some even fail to meet the conditions.

    Somehow, that doesn't seem fair :P.

    It's likely that if successful, you'll be given an offer based upon particular AP grades that you have to meet to get in. They usually expect top grades in subjects relating to your chosen field.
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    That's not entirely right. Applicants to US universities will usually have done the admissions exams (SAT) and in some cases even some APs and have the grades before applying. The offer is technically not unconditional - they reserve the right to withdraw it if they determine that your academic performance has declined significantly. (Applicants are required to submit additional school reports midway through the year and after they graduate.)
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    (Original post by Zhen Lin)
    That's not entirely right. Applicants to US universities will usually have done the admissions exams (SAT) and in some cases even some APs and have the grades before applying. The offer is technically not unconditional - they reserve the right to withdraw it if they determine that your academic performance has declined significantly. (Applicants are required to submit additional school reports midway through the year and after they graduate.)
    True, but the SAT can hardly be considered a rigorous academic exam. It requires barely any prior study or knowledge except for, well, studying specifically for the SAT, vocab, etc. Plus, they can be retaken loads of times, as is not the case with say, IB.

    Universities do reserve the right to withdraw offers, but they seem to do it only under very serious circumstances - such as failing the IB diploma or flunking a class. Hence even if you get a grade lower than expected for AP, chances are it won't impact your admission at all, whilst in the UK you might be packing your bags somewhere else.
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    Indeed. I wonder why they don't just waive the SAT requirement (at the very least, the subject tests) for people who have taken APs or other higher exams.

    But anyway, why are we discussing US admissions?
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    Because they suxxors

    Anyway, to the OP good luck with your application. I'm also the international Cambridge Uni Student Union (iCUSU) publicity officer, so if you have any questions you can send a message or contact the admissions department in Cambridge on the cam.ac.uk website.
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    (Original post by Briefingsworth)
    I'm from the USA. I would like to study modern languages (probably a combination of Arabic and French). In addition to several American universities, I also want to apply to Oxbridge. I'm leaning toward Cambridge because of the flexibility of its course, but I've heard rumours that it's basically impossible for international students to get into Cambridge immediately after high school. Is this true? Would it be more prudent for me to apply to Oxford in order to have a realistic chance of acceptance? I think I could be happy at either, and I don't want to apply to one that is nigh impossible to be accepted at.


    For those of you familiar with American qualifications, these are mine...
    SAT I - 2330 (770 math/760 reading/800 writing)
    SAT II - 800 Spanish, 800 US History, 800 Math Level II
    AP exams - 5 US History, 5 Chemistry, 5 Biology, 5 English, 5 Calculus BC.
    Not sure where you get that impression from... Students from our high schools in Canada received more acceptances to Cambridge than they did for Oxford...
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    (Original post by arod)
    Not sure where you get that impression from... Students from our high schools in Canada received more acceptances to Cambridge than they did for Oxford...
    I will second that. I went to high school in Canada and will be going to Cambridge.
 
 
 

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