Anonymousamie
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In my opinion, I’m an ‘average’ student. My GCSE grades last year were 7-9s, except a 6 in mathematics, but most people I spoke to achieved similar results. Anyway, from the start of Year 12 I was determined to study every. single. day because that one B was really bugging me. So, here I am now, predicted A,A,A next year. That’s not to gloat, as we haven’t had a chance to do any mocks yet and our Drama exams may or may not be happening (the main performance is in December, so if there’s a second wave, who knows?), plus I’m pretty sure you need A*s for Oxbridge, right?

I don’t want this to be long because I’m tired and it’s probably pretty dull, so here’s a summary. For two years, I’ve been set on applying to Cardiff and York. Cardiff because it’s the only university I’ve visited (lmao) and I fell in love, and York because I believe it still has a brilliant reputation and I’ve just been on family day trips there when I was younger, so it’s (sorta) familiar.

About a month ago, my History teacher (I’m hoping to do a degree in History) emailed some feedback and added at the end: ‘after reading your work this year, I’ve always noticed your high quality writing and it just occurred to me, have you considered applying to Oxbridge?’, or something along those lines.

Me, being a socially awkward idiot, replied: ‘Oh! Wow, I’ve never really considered it before and I really appreciate your comment. To be honest, I nearly choked on my water whilst reading it, so I think that proves my shock!’...I also mentioned how finance was an issue and distance too - WHY did I reply like that? Imagine me in an interview, oh lord...

Anyway, he never responded and I don’t blame him, so I just let it slide after bringing it up with my dad, who burst out laughing (also don’t blame him). My point in writing this post is that I’ve always wanted an ‘ordinary’ life, and that’s not to say Oxbridge students live some lavish and prestige lifestyle, but I’ve always struggled with feeling out of place, so I imagine being there will only strengthen such sentiment.

In fact, this week I’m starting counselling in the hope that I can overcome my social anxiety and general fears for the future, but it dawned on me this evening that I might be disappointing my teacher.

As you can see, he didn’t directly recommend that I apply and, if I’m honest, I sense that he was trying to spark conversation because I’m not the most talkative person in our class (I joined in September), but now that I know he MIGHT think I’m capable of being accepted to Oxbridge, I feel this immense amount of pressure to get an A* in his subject. In reality, because I’ve always struggled with exam stress like most people and I’m really bad with timing, I picture myself getting a B at best.

So yeah, he did add ‘no pressure, just a thought’ at the end of the email, but I keep overthinking it and don’t want to be a failure. Thanks for any advice.
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Anonymousamie
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Final thing sorry (I always forget something), I read on the Cambridge website (I think? I’m so disorganised agh) that you have to take a test if you apply for History, which I imagine is also the case at Oxbridge or whichever way around it was. Already feeling stressed by mock exams aha makes me automatically want to avoid applying if it means taking even more tests and, if by some miracle I was invited to be interviewed, I know I’d crack under the pressure and try to present myself perfectly, when they want to see the real you - flaws or no flaws. So, as you can see, I’m very pessimistic, but I’m also trying to be realistic and ask for the truth.
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lovecore
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I semi-regret not applying in Year 13 but am also semi-glad. Depends how much work you're willing to put into your degree and whether you're very passionate about a certain subject. It's a very good fit for some people and not a good fit for others. I personally like to do a lot of self-guided independent learning and like having free time to take in my own direction so I now realise I probably wouldn't be happy there. There are lots of other paths to prestige and a good education if you're willing to get creative.

Maybe have a further look at an Oxbridge course that might fit you, do the reading they recommend (which will also prepare you for other universities) and if you're still intrigued, apply. Nothing wrong with having a go, and the experience will probably ready you for university in general. If you fail to get in it'll make you into a well-rounded person, if you do get in and change your mind you can choose not to accept your place on results day. But don't rely on stereotypes about what an Oxbridge student is supposed to be like, they're both big institutions trying to find a diverse range of students so you definitely will find others from your background.

I relate to not wanting to let a teacher down, but remember you're only around these people for a few years and will likely never speak to them again (especially if you're shy haha). Your decisions will stay with you for the rest of your life, but your teacher will probably only remember you occasionally as an anecdote. It's your education and your life, not his, and you should make the choice for yourself - that's one of the big steps to overcoming social anxiety. Good luck, not specifically for Oxbridge but for making the right choice for you!
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gjd800
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They probably do think you are capable, and if you are capable, and it is something you fancy, then what have ye got to lose by trying?
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Peterhouse Admissions
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Hi there Anonymousamie! First of all, where you choose to apply to university is your decision and your decision only. You should not feel guilty for applying where you would like to study or not taking suggestions made by someone else!

That said, we would recommend you do your research before choosing to apply to any university (or not apply). Make sure you have a look at the course content for History: what are the compulsory modules? What optional papers can you take? How are you examined? The latter sounds like it might be important for you, as coursework and dissertations (long essays written over the course of a term or even a year) might work better for you than three hour exams. I'd recommend you look at the course content for both York and Cardiff because you're already keen on them, but I'd also recommend you look at the Oxford and Cambridge courses as well. You'll also need to think about what sort of university environment you want: a big city or a campus? A smaller town? What sort of accommodation would you like? These things are secondary to the course, though.

Oxford and Cambridge are often made out to be the be all and end all - they aren't. They are very good universities, but so are the ones you're interested in. If you've done your research and decided you don't want to apply because neither is right for you, then that's more than ok. You'll do far better (and more importantly, have a far more enjoyable time) if you're at a university you actually want to go to. But do make sure that you look into all of your university options and ensure you're making an informed decision. There are lots of online Open Days happening over the summer and in September, as well as opportunities to hear from current students via university websites and social media.

Finally, I'm not saying that you should or should not consider applying to Oxford or Cambridge. Your grades are in the right area to make an application but the decision to do so is yours and yours alone. If you would like any more help or advice, please feel free to reply to this or PM us!
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Anonymousamie
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
Hi there Anonymousamie! First of all, where you choose to apply to university is your decision and your decision only. You should not feel guilty for applying where you would like to study or not taking suggestions made by someone else!

That said, we would recommend you do your research before choosing to apply to any university (or not apply). Make sure you have a look at the course content for History: what are the compulsory modules? What optional papers can you take? How are you examined? The latter sounds like it might be important for you, as coursework and dissertations (long essays written over the course of a term or even a year) might work better for you than three hour exams. I'd recommend you look at the course content for both York and Cardiff because you're already keen on them, but I'd also recommend you look at the Oxford and Cambridge courses as well. You'll also need to think about what sort of university environment you want: a big city or a campus? A smaller town? What sort of accommodation would you like? These things are secondary to the course, though.

Oxford and Cambridge are often made out to be the be all and end all - they aren't. They are very good universities, but so are the ones you're interested in. If you've done your research and decided you don't want to apply because neither is right for you, then that's more than ok. You'll do far better (and more importantly, have a far more enjoyable time) if you're at a university you actually want to go to. But do make sure that you look into all of your university options and ensure you're making an informed decision. There are lots of online Open Days happening over the summer and in September, as well as opportunities to hear from current students via university websites and social media.

Finally, I'm not saying that you should or should not consider applying to Oxford or Cambridge. Your grades are in the right area to make an application but the decision to do so is yours and yours alone. If you would like any more help or advice, please feel free to reply to this or PM us!
Thank you so much, this really lifted me up . Yes exactly! I’d much prefer to apply to somewhere where we are examined primarily through dissertations and coursework because I’ve always been a fan of research and feel more at ease when we have a longer period of time to focus on it! If I’m honest, I need to double check the modules, but based on how we are examined, so far Gloucestershire and Lincoln have sparked my interest.

The same two universities also appeal to me because the location seems to be quite small and a lot of reviews recommend Lincoln in particular for the sense of community that it proves but, as you’ve noted, such factors should come secondary to the actual course.

Thank you, I suppose because I’ve suffered with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember, I’ve never, ever pictured myself going to Oxbridge - I know that’s wrong because I’m stereotyping and practically worshipping it’s existence, but I guess I’m trying to be realistic too?

Thanks so much, I’ve checked out a few open days so far and they’ve been great, so I’ll be sure to hunt down some more this week! You’re right. I guess there’s no harm in researching around Oxbridge a little more because I’m basing my opinions on the views of others, rather than my own, and for all I know, one of them might end up surprising me.

Thanks again!
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Anonymousamie
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
Hi there Anonymousamie! First of all, where you choose to apply to university is your decision and your decision only. You should not feel guilty for applying where you would like to study or not taking suggestions made by someone else!

That said, we would recommend you do your research before choosing to apply to any university (or not apply). Make sure you have a look at the course content for History: what are the compulsory modules? What optional papers can you take? How are you examined? The latter sounds like it might be important for you, as coursework and dissertations (long essays written over the course of a term or even a year) might work better for you than three hour exams. I'd recommend you look at the course content for both York and Cardiff because you're already keen on them, but I'd also recommend you look at the Oxford and Cambridge courses as well. You'll also need to think about what sort of university environment you want: a big city or a campus? A smaller town? What sort of accommodation would you like? These things are secondary to the course, though.

Oxford and Cambridge are often made out to be the be all and end all - they aren't. They are very good universities, but so are the ones you're interested in. If you've done your research and decided you don't want to apply because neither is right for you, then that's more than ok. You'll do far better (and more importantly, have a far more enjoyable time) if you're at a university you actually want to go to. But do make sure that you look into all of your university options and ensure you're making an informed decision. There are lots of online Open Days happening over the summer and in September, as well as opportunities to hear from current students via university websites and social media.

Finally, I'm not saying that you should or should not consider applying to Oxford or Cambridge. Your grades are in the right area to make an application but the decision to do so is yours and yours alone. If you would like any more help or advice, please feel free to reply to this or PM us!
Thank you so much, this really lifted me up . Yes exactly! I’d much prefer to apply to somewhere where we are examined primarily through dissertations and coursework because I’ve always been a fan of research and feel more at ease when we have a longer period of time to focus on it! If I’m honest, I need to double check the modules, but based on how we are examined, so far Gloucestershire and Lincoln have sparked my interest.

The same two universities also appeal to me because the location seems to be quite small and a lot of reviews recommend Lincoln in particular for the sense of community that it proves but, as you’ve noted, such factors should come secondary to the actual course.

Thank you, I suppose because I’ve suffered with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember, I’ve never, ever pictured myself going to Oxbridge - I know that’s wrong because I’m stereotyping and practically worshipping it’s existence, but I guess I’m trying to be realistic too?

Thanks so much, I’ve checked out a few open days so far and they’ve been great, so I’ll be sure to hunt down some more this week! You’re right. I guess there’s no harm in researching around Oxbridge a little more because I’m basing my opinions on the views of others, rather than my own, and for all I know, one of them might end up surprising me.

Thanks again!

(Original post by lovecore)
I semi-regret not applying in Year 13 but am also semi-glad. Depends how much work you're willing to put into your degree and whether you're very passionate about a certain subject. It's a very good fit for some people and not a good fit for others. I personally like to do a lot of self-guided independent learning and like having free time to take in my own direction so I now realise I probably wouldn't be happy there. There are lots of other paths to prestige and a good education if you're willing to get creative.

Maybe have a further look at an Oxbridge course that might fit you, do the reading they recommend (which will also prepare you for other universities) and if you're still intrigued, apply. Nothing wrong with having a go, and the experience will probably ready you for university in general. If you fail to get in it'll make you into a well-rounded person, if you do get in and change your mind you can choose not to accept your place on results day. But don't rely on stereotypes about what an Oxbridge student is supposed to be like, they're both big institutions trying to find a diverse range of students so you definitely will find others from your background.

I relate to not wanting to let a teacher down, but remember you're only around these people for a few years and will likely never speak to them again (especially if you're shy haha). Your decisions will stay with you for the rest of your life, but your teacher will probably only remember you occasionally as an anecdote. It's your education and your life, not his, and you should make the choice for yourself - that's one of the big steps to overcoming social anxiety. Good luck, not specifically for Oxbridge but for making the right choice for you!
Thanks so, so much for your response. Just out of curiosity, which university offer did you end up accepting? To be honest, I’m extremely passionate about History, but it can be challenging at times and I’ve had doubts here and there, and feel as though I’m swaying towards Sociology.

I completely agree! I’m sure it’s the case with every university anyway, so I can’t escape it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of group work and prefer working independently immensely, so if Oxbridge means I can’t do so, then it’s definitely a no-go.

That’s true, thank you! I’ve faced rejection before with minor things, like Head Girl and job interviews, but if I apply then at least I won’t have regrets about completely overlooking the option! Thank you again, you’re totally right. I guess deep down I’m hoping to prove my full potential, but it depends on where I can see myself, rather than where my teacher can.
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UniOfLincolnStudent
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
Thank you so much, this really lifted me up . Yes exactly! I’d much prefer to apply to somewhere where we are examined primarily through dissertations and coursework because I’ve always been a fan of research and feel more at ease when we have a longer period of time to focus on it! If I’m honest, I need to double check the modules, but based on how we are examined, so far Gloucestershire and Lincoln have sparked my interest.

The same two universities also appeal to me because the location seems to be quite small and a lot of reviews recommend Lincoln in particular for the sense of community that it proves but, as you’ve noted, such factors should come secondary to the actual course.

Thank you, I suppose because I’ve suffered with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember, I’ve never, ever pictured myself going to Oxbridge - I know that’s wrong because I’m stereotyping and practically worshipping it’s existence, but I guess I’m trying to be realistic too?

Thanks so much, I’ve checked out a few open days so far and they’ve been great, so I’ll be sure to hunt down some more this week! You’re right. I guess there’s no harm in researching around Oxbridge a little more because I’m basing my opinions on the views of others, rather than my own, and for all I know, one of them might end up surprising me.

Thanks again!


Thanks so, so much for your response. Just out of curiosity, which university offer did you end up accepting? To be honest, I’m extremely passionate about History, but it can be challenging at times and I’ve had doubts here and there, and feel as though I’m swaying towards Sociology.

I completely agree! I’m sure it’s the case with every university anyway, so I can’t escape it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of group work and prefer working independently immensely, so if Oxbridge means I can’t do so, then it’s definitely a no-go.

That’s true, thank you! I’ve faced rejection before with minor things, like Head Girl and job interviews, but if I apply then at least I won’t have regrets about completely overlooking the option! Thank you again, you’re totally right. I guess deep down I’m hoping to prove my full potential, but it depends on where I can see myself, rather than where my teacher can.
Hi Anonymousamie,

I am delighted to hear that you are considering studying medicine at the University of Lincoln. I have just completed my third year at the University of Lincoln and I really enjoyed my time there. You are right that Lincoln does have a real community feel, the city is really lovely too. A smaller University such as Lincoln can often offer more one to one support, our lecturers always got to know us on a first name basis which was nice too. We are in exciting times at Lincoln, we are in the process of building our brand new medical school building. Hopefully this will be complete by the end of 2021 and will provide some fantastic purpose built facilities for students to study medicine. The degree is run in partnership with the University of Nottingham and uses staff from each University.

Best of luck deciding where to study, to chat to some of our other current students click here.
Jack
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Muttley79
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
Final thing sorry (I always forget something), I read on the Cambridge website (I think? I’m so disorganised agh) that you have to take a test if you apply for History, which I imagine is also the case at Oxbridge or whichever way around it was. Already feeling stressed by mock exams aha makes me automatically want to avoid applying if it means taking even more tests and, if by some miracle I was invited to be interviewed, I know I’d crack under the pressure and try to present myself perfectly, when they want to see the real you - flaws or no flaws. So, as you can see, I’m very pessimistic, but I’m also trying to be realistic and ask for the truth.
Please don't feel guilty - it's YOUR degree. Go somewhere YOU can see yourself being happy - Oxbridge is not the best place for many people. Just having great grades is not a reason to apply.

Your teacher may be disappointed but [and I'm a teacher] that's just tough - it's your life and you know yourself best. Be proud of applying to your choices.
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Anonymousamie
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(Original post by UniOfLincolnStudent)
Hi Anonymousamie,

I am delighted to hear that you are considering studying medicine at the University of Lincoln. I have just completed my third year at the University of Lincoln and I really enjoyed my time there. You are right that Lincoln does have a real community feel, the city is really lovely too. A smaller University such as Lincoln can often offer more one to one support, our lecturers always got to know us on a first name basis which was nice too. We are in exciting times at Lincoln, we are in the process of building our brand new medical school building. Hopefully this will be complete by the end of 2021 and will provide some fantastic purpose built facilities for students to study medicine. The degree is run in partnership with the University of Nottingham and uses staff from each University.

Best of luck deciding where to study, to chat to some of our other current students click here.
Jack
Thank you Jack! Haha I wish I was smart enough to study medicine. Sorry if I forgot to mention, but I'm hoping to do History! Thanks, I'll check the link out later.
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CambridgeMum
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
Thank you Jack! Haha I wish I was smart enough to study medicine. Sorry if I forgot to mention, but I'm hoping to do History! Thanks, I'll check the link out later.
worth keeping in mind that Oxford tend to require higher GCSE grades than Cambridge, who tend to then make slightly higher conditional offers.
but, check these stats for your particular course before making a decision.
from experience there is so much luck involved in a successful application that you should make sure you maximise the things you can control.
having said all that, go where you will be happiest, don't try to please anyone else.
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UniOfLincolnStudent
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
Thank you Jack! Haha I wish I was smart enough to study medicine. Sorry if I forgot to mention, but I'm hoping to do History! Thanks, I'll check the link out later.
Hi Anonymousamie,

Really sorry about that I was just reading a thread about medicine and must have got confused! I have a friend who does History at Lincoln and he really enjoyed it. No problem

Jack
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nexttime
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
In my opinion, I’m an ‘average’ student. My GCSE grades last year were 7-9s, except a 6 in mathematics,
Lol that is vastly above average - nationwide only 20% of grades are 7 and above. If you managed all bar one in that group you were likely approaching or in the top 10% in the country. And you say you've improved since then!

Be proud!

...I also mentioned how finance was an issue and distance too - WHY did I reply like that? Imagine me in an interview, oh lord...
Why would finance be a problem at Oxbridge? Its much cheaper than most southern unis, with excellent financial support for those who qualify.

My point in writing this post is that I’ve always wanted an ‘ordinary’ life, and that’s not to say Oxbridge students live some lavish and prestige lifestyle, but I’ve always struggled with feeling out of place, so I imagine being there will only strengthen such sentiment.
I mean, if you are a hard working person why would you feel out of place at Oxbridge? Surely you'd feel more at home around people who are also hard working academic types? That was certainly my experience - no longer did I have to pretend I cared about the latest football results and who had a fight with who! Was great to be around people like me: mostly huge nerds
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sweeneyrod
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(Original post by nexttime)
Why would finance be a problem at Oxbridge? Its much cheaper than most southern unis, with excellent financial support for those who qualify.
Cambridge in particular; if you are eligible for the full maintenance loan I'm pretty sure you'll be financially better off at Cambridge than any other uni, unless you would be living at home elsewhere.
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londonmyst
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There is nothing for you to feel guilty about.
You have made the uni selection decisions that you believe are right for your own education, lifestyle and future plans.
Applying to Oxbridge is a long term ambition that many hard working students have since early childhood, that some high achieving students decide to give a go as teenagers or older and a few students are pressured into by other people.
Good luck!
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lovecore
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(Original post by Anonymousamie)
Thank you so much, this really lifted me up . Yes exactly! I’d much prefer to apply to somewhere where we are examined primarily through dissertations and coursework because I’ve always been a fan of research and feel more at ease when we have a longer period of time to focus on it! If I’m honest, I need to double check the modules, but based on how we are examined, so far Gloucestershire and Lincoln have sparked my interest.

The same two universities also appeal to me because the location seems to be quite small and a lot of reviews recommend Lincoln in particular for the sense of community that it proves but, as you’ve noted, such factors should come secondary to the actual course.

Thank you, I suppose because I’ve suffered with low self-esteem for as long as I can remember, I’ve never, ever pictured myself going to Oxbridge - I know that’s wrong because I’m stereotyping and practically worshipping it’s existence, but I guess I’m trying to be realistic too?

Thanks so much, I’ve checked out a few open days so far and they’ve been great, so I’ll be sure to hunt down some more this week! You’re right. I guess there’s no harm in researching around Oxbridge a little more because I’m basing my opinions on the views of others, rather than my own, and for all I know, one of them might end up surprising me.

Thanks again!


Thanks so, so much for your response. Just out of curiosity, which university offer did you end up accepting? To be honest, I’m extremely passionate about History, but it can be challenging at times and I’ve had doubts here and there, and feel as though I’m swaying towards Sociology.

I completely agree! I’m sure it’s the case with every university anyway, so I can’t escape it, but I’ve never been a huge fan of group work and prefer working independently immensely, so if Oxbridge means I can’t do so, then it’s definitely a no-go.

That’s true, thank you! I’ve faced rejection before with minor things, like Head Girl and job interviews, but if I apply then at least I won’t have regrets about completely overlooking the option! Thank you again, you’re totally right. I guess deep down I’m hoping to prove my full potential, but it depends on where I can see myself, rather than where my teacher can.
I ended up accepting SOAS, it's not the best university in the country by any means haha but it is a specialist school for what I study (Chinese) so there is some degree of prestige still there.
I don't mean there's much group work at Oxbridge, I mean you're guided on a very specific path of study that ends up being time-consuming, so it's harder to read up on your own interests unless your time management skills are great.
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