Unsure about oxbridge application?

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mardlingja
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I'm unsure about whether I should apply to Oxbridge or not in the autumn. I got 11 grade 9s at GCSE (although in 2020 so I didn't sit them) and am predicted As and A*s at A level.

However I'm worried that I won't fit in with the posh people at Oxbridge (stereotypes I know) and also unsure about whether the tutorial system will suit me. I don't know if I should just apply anyway to see if I get in or just leave it and have more time to apply to other unis in January. Any advice? Thanks x
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sophieerayner
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It is of course up to you at the end of the day but you are definitely capable of applying. I think first of all, see if you like the course. If you do not or prefer others then you may not want to apply anyway. If you do (and you may have already looked), then think about why you would want to apply. Is it because people expect you to? Because it's prestigious? Or because you genuinely love your subject and academia? The first thing to get clear is, if you apply, are you applying for the wrong reasons. The next thing is, if you don't apply, are you not applying for the wrong reasons. Of course some stereotypes are going to be true but still ignore stereotypes! Do not let them put you off. There will be a range of people at Oxbridge- some will fit the stereotypes but many will not! When it comes to the tutorial/supervision system, think about why you think it may not suit you. And unlike stereotypes, this is a perfectly valid reason to not want to apply. Is it pressure to talk 1 or 2 on 1? Figure out what it is and then go from there. At the end of the day, like you said, you could apply and then decide later but remember it is a long and arduous application process.

The primary factor that should be driving your decision is your love for your subject, academia and if you think you will thrive in a hard yet rewarding working environment.

Hope that helps
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nexttime
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(Original post by mardlingja)
However I'm worried that I won't fit in with the posh people at Oxbridge (stereotypes I know) and also unsure about whether the tutorial system will suit me.
Whilst I will not claim to have been under-privileged in any way, I did go to a distinctly average state comp and below average sixth form, with you know the occasional knife incident... I really couldn't tell who was private school and who wasn't, and the number of people who fit sort of your more extreme Oxbridge stereotype - very posh accent, spends a lot of money routinely - was really small, count on one hand kind of thing. Yes there are very few kids from genuinely poor backgrounds and they might swear less/use longer words that you're used to? But honestly, not a consideration.

In fact I vastly preferred my Oxford peers to those from sixth form, as a whole group. They were far nerdier, far more enthusiastic about their subjects, and generally able to talk about way more than just football and drink, which was what my school friends were like.

Tutorial system is a much better question - one to one teaching is unusual now, but two to one or three to one multiple times per week is normal. It does mean you've got that constant pressure to keep to your deadlines and not fall behind. Great for education of course, but quite a different experience to other unis, I hear, where you might get like one essay per term and the end of year exam and that's it, otherwise you can sit in lectures and 30 person seminars and hide (or possibly just skip both!).

I don't know if I should just apply anyway to see if I get in...
I think you should give it every thought before you apply, and if you don't want to go there, don't apply!
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OctoberRain7
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"Posh" people are a minority at Oxford, most people who I've met have been pretty down-to-earth and chill from a variety of backgrounds. For example, I'm from some random NI state school and any expectation that I'm "posh" goes away after about thirty seconds of conversation. I'm not sure what you think wouldn't suit you about the tutorial system but they tend to work for most people, and tutorials are fairly common across different unis, but you can definitely ask if you have any concerns about it.
If you're passionate about your subject and want to spend three or four years studying it intensely around some amazing people, Oxbridge might be something you want to consider. Most people who apply don't think they're going to get in and I wasn't sure how keen on it I was myself until I visited Oxford the first time for interview. It's up to you of course - even if you can get in a different uni might suit you better.
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mardlingja
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(Original post by OctoberRain7)
"Posh" people are a minority at Oxford, most people who I've met have been pretty down-to-earth and chill from a variety of backgrounds. For example, I'm from some random NI state school and any expectation that I'm "posh" goes away after about thirty seconds of conversation. I'm not sure what you think wouldn't suit you about the tutorial system but they tend to work for most people, and tutorials are fairly common across different unis, but you can definitely ask if you have any concerns about it.
If you're passionate about your subject and want to spend three or four years studying it intensely around some amazing people, Oxbridge might be something you want to consider. Most people who apply don't think they're going to get in and I wasn't sure how keen on it I was myself until I visited Oxford the first time for interview. It's up to you of course - even if you can get in a different uni might suit you better.
Thanks!
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Muttley79
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(Original post by mardlingja)
Thanks!
Talk to your school - are they supporting you?

It is true that private school students are still over-represented at Oxford.

Which degree? It does depend on what you want to study - look carefully at the course.
Last edited by Muttley79; 1 month ago
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viennas
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(Original post by mardlingja)
I'm unsure about whether I should apply to Oxbridge or not in the autumn. I got 11 grade 9s at GCSE (although in 2020 so I didn't sit them) and am predicted As and A*s at A level.

However I'm worried that I won't fit in with the posh people at Oxbridge (stereotypes I know) and also unsure about whether the tutorial system will suit me. I don't know if I should just apply anyway to see if I get in or just leave it and have more time to apply to other unis in January. Any advice? Thanks x
One of the nice parts about Oxbridge is that the different colleges all have different cultures and personalities. There's such a mixture of people, you'd definitely fit in. When I was applying I worried as well about how insanely condescending and stuck-up everyone would be, but as you said, it's just a stereotype. 99% of people are normal and decent. It's a very unique environment, and you'd be surrounded by other people with genuine passion for their subjects. As for the tutorial system, it's very different to a lot of other universities, and is definitely down to personal preference, but I personally think it's a great academic opportunity that you don't really get anywhere else - having 1:1 interactions with renowned, world leading experts in your field. Ultimately, it's up to you, but with those grades you have a good shot at getting into Oxbridge, and I think you'd enjoy it.
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mardlingja
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(Original post by Muttley79)
Talk to your school - are they supporting you?

It is true that private school students are still over-represented at Oxford.

Which degree? It does depend on what you want to study - look carefully at the course.
Yeah, my school is part of a scheme with oxbridge as an outreach programme and I will be getting support with a personal statement etc.

I want to study history and really like the look of the course at Cambridge as it has lots of choice, not so keen on Oxford x
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mardlingja
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(Original post by viennas)
One of the nice parts about Oxbridge is that the different colleges all have different cultures and personalities. There's such a mixture of people, you'd definitely fit in. When I was applying I worried as well about how insanely condescending and stuck-up everyone would be, but as you said, it's just a stereotype. 99% of people are normal and decent. It's a very unique environment, and you'd be surrounded by other people with genuine passion for their subjects. As for the tutorial system, it's very different to a lot of other universities, and is definitely down to personal preference, but I personally think it's a great academic opportunity that you don't really get anywhere else - having 1:1 interactions with renowned, world leading experts in your field. Ultimately, it's up to you, but with those grades you have a good shot at getting into Oxbridge, and I think you'd enjoy it.
Thanks for your advice!
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by mardlingja)
Yeah, my school is part of a scheme with oxbridge as an outreach programme and I will be getting support with a personal statement etc.

I want to study history and really like the look of the course at Cambridge as it has lots of choice, not so keen on Oxford x
Great that you will have some support with your application, and that you've taken a liking to the history course at Cambridge! As has been said, the "posh people" thing is (for the most part) a hyped-up media stereotype: plus some of the very posh, privileged people at Oxbridge are among the nicest people you could ever meet. So there's no need to feel threatened or worried by them! :nah:

What about the teaching structure (it's called supervisions at Cambridge) are you not too sure about? I don't think I've seen you specify about this anywhere on the thread :nah:

Make sure you sign up for the open days! They'll almost certainly be virtual due to covid, but it's still a good chance to get a feel for the vibes of the place
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veneti54
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(Original post by mardlingja)
I'm unsure about whether I should apply to Oxbridge or not in the autumn. I got 11 grade 9s at GCSE (although in 2020 so I didn't sit them) and am predicted As and A*s at A level.

However I'm worried that I won't fit in with the posh people at Oxbridge (stereotypes I know) and also unsure about whether the tutorial system will suit me. I don't know if I should just apply anyway to see if I get in or just leave it and have more time to apply to other unis in January. Any advice? Thanks x
If youre passionate about the subject then it's worth considering because you'll really get such an amazing experience. However for me when you're actually from an overtly lower class background than Oxford peers the rift is always present and I don't think that awareness will ever really go away; wouldn't want it to either personally because its a problem in the Oxford world and UK unis in general that shouldnt be overlooked. You'd always manage to fit in if you care about the course but if you're from a pretty poor state school background the difference CAN be overwhelming and frustrating at times. Always worth keeping in mind because many people are really lovely but the stereotype is v much true.
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OctoberRain7
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(Original post by veneti54)
If youre passionate about the subject then it's worth considering because you'll really get such an amazing experience. However for me when you're actually from an overtly lower class background than Oxford peers the rift is always present and I don't think that awareness will ever really go away; wouldn't want it to either personally because its a problem in the Oxford world and UK unis in general that shouldnt be overlooked. You'd always manage to fit in if you care about the course but if you're from a pretty poor state school background the difference CAN be overwhelming and frustrating at times. Always worth keeping in mind because many people are really lovely but the stereotype is v much true.
It's just blatently not true that "the rift is always present", although it may vary according to the individual and college to some extent. I'm from a pretty poor state school background (as well as being rather obviously Not English) and this has literally never been a problem for me at Oxford, and the people I've met tend to average out at middle class. There is certainly a bias towards people who are well-off or went to private schools but they're still not a majority and the stereotype is not true.
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nexttime
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(Original post by OctoberRain7)
It's just blatently not true that "the rift is always present", although it may vary according to the individual and college to some extent. I'm from a pretty poor state school background (as well as being rather obviously Not English) and this has literally never been a problem for me at Oxford, and the people I've met tend to average out at middle class. There is certainly a bias towards people who are well-off or went to private schools but they're still not a majority and the stereotype is not true.
For me it depends what you mean by stereotype. If you mean 95% are tweed-wearing Tarquins who laughs at you for being poor, definitely not. If you mean 95% didn't get free school meals, knew both their parents, and didn't live in a council owned tower block, then actually yes that is true.

Though of course every 'top' uni would meet the latter. Uni itself is very middle class.
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username3962008
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(Original post by mardlingja)
I'm unsure about whether I should apply to Oxbridge or not in the autumn. I got 11 grade 9s at GCSE (although in 2020 so I didn't sit them) and am predicted As and A*s at A level.

However I'm worried that I won't fit in with the posh people at Oxbridge (stereotypes I know) and also unsure about whether the tutorial system will suit me. I don't know if I should just apply anyway to see if I get in or just leave it and have more time to apply to other unis in January. Any advice? Thanks x
What exactly do you want to study? Try Imperial as well if you are doing STEM x
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