bleeblahbleh
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I'm beginning to look at which universities and courses I would apply to for UCAS and recently found out you can apply to only one of Oxbridge. I initially was planning to apply for HSPS at Cambridge and PPE at Oxford, bot obviously I can't do that anymore. I'm really lost and don't know what to do as I love both subjects and universities equally. I've done open days at Oxford for PPE but missed the Cambridge application deadlines as I wasn't aware of the course until a bit ago. I still had a look at the course structure and read some reviews online. I'm a muslim, asian girl so being able to fit in well is also something that I'm considering. I need access to halal food, en suites and be somewhere with at least some other POC. Obviously Oxbridge isn't the most diverse, so I'm not expecting it to be like London, but I do still want some diversity around me. I heard Cambridge is highly racist which is something that's been nagging me, but I also heard PPE is an elitist subject where you're more likely to be subjected to racism so it balances out on that front. I don't know what I'm meant to do as I was hoping that by applying to both, if one rejects and the other accepts then the decision would be easier but that isn't possible. If there are any previous/current students I would appreciate your input or anyone who's been in a similar position as I don't want to make a decision I'll end up regretting.
EDIT: i completely forgot to add my academic info oops.
GCSE = 999998877774
A Level = predicted A*A*AA in EPQ, Sociology, Math, Politics, also looking to self-teach economics AS.
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04MR17
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
I'm beginning to look at which universities and courses I would apply to for UCAS and recently found out you can apply to only one of Oxbridge. I initially was planning to apply for HSPS at Cambridge and PPE at Oxford, bot obviously I can't do that anymore. I'm really lost and don't know what to do as I love both subjects and universities equally. I've done open days at Oxford for PPE but missed the Cambridge application deadlines as I wasn't aware of the course until a bit ago. I still had a look at the course structure and read some reviews online. I'm a muslim, asian girl so being able to fit in well is also something that I'm considering. I need access to halal food, en suites and be somewhere with at least some other POC. Obviously Oxbridge isn't the most diverse, so I'm not expecting it to be like London, but I do still want some diversity around me. I heard Cambridge is highly racist which is something that's been nagging me, but I also heard PPE is an elitist subject where you're more likely to be subjected to racism so it balances out on that front. I don't know what I'm meant to do as I was hoping that by applying to both, if one rejects and the other accepts then the decision would be easier but that isn't possible. If there are any previous/current students I would appreciate your input or anyone who's been in a similar position as I don't want to make a decision I'll end up regretting.
EDIT: i completely forgot to add my academic info oops.
GCSE = 999998877774
A Level = predicted A*A*AA in EPQ, Sociology, Math, Politics, also looking to self-teach economics AS.
Firstly a technical point. Your A Level predictions are A*AA. EPQ is not an A Level.

I'm going to address some of the racial elements of this question in a moment, but I'd like to point out first that you began by outlining a comparison between the two courses (the part I've underlined) and then didn't go into any further detail on that. What is it about one course that interests you the most?
What is the least attractive element of either course?
Use these two factors (best and worst) to make your choice.

There's a nice breakdown of the similarities and differences between the two unis here...
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....nd-differences

In terms of race, this is something we get asked a lot about. "I've heard this university community is racist".
I would first of all forget about what you have heard. You are capable of forming your own opinion and you should on something so important.
Yes, Oxford and Cambridge are both very white places. There will be some level of diversity within the student population you interact with, but statistically this will be considerably lower than attending other universities. The only point I will make is that if you avoid these universities for that reason, you allow more people to do the same in future years.

Halal and ensuite should be accessible to you wherever you go.
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by 04MR17)
Firstly a technical point. Your A Level predictions are A*AA. EPQ is not an A Level.

I'm going to address some of the racial elements of this question in a moment, but I'd like to point out first that you began by outlining a comparison between the two courses (the part I've underlined) and then didn't go into any further detail on that. What is it about one course that interests you the most?
What is the least attractive element of either course?
Use these two factors (best and worst) to make your choice.

There's a nice breakdown of the similarities and differences between the two unis here...
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....nd-differences

In terms of race, this is something we get asked a lot about. "I've heard this university community is racist".
I would first of all forget about what you have heard. You are capable of forming your own opinion and you should on something so important.
Yes, Oxford and Cambridge are both very white places. There will be some level of diversity within the student population you interact with, but statistically this will be considerably lower than attending other universities. The only point I will make is that if you avoid these universities for that reason, you allow more people to do the same in future years.

Halal and ensuite should be accessible to you wherever you go.
Okay so both courses have Politics which is my strongest subject, HSPS has Sociology which I'm currently studying and enjoy but doesn't have Philosophy, PPE doesn't have Sociology but it does have Philosophy which I've really found intriguing from my further reading. PPE has economy which I'm not too keen on, but that might just be bc I don't know as much about it which is why I'm doing little taster sessions and further reading on it. I do have the option to drop it in year 2 so that isn't a concern. I like the fact that I'll still be able to do math but I find it quite dry and it's the type of math I struggle with the most. Math is also included in the Philosophy and a bit of the Politics side of the programme, so even if I were to drop Economics, I would still be able to continue on with math in the other 2. For HSPS, I don't think I'm too keen on Anthropology, it's basically sociology and biology together from what I've read. Again, this might be a strong judgement considering I don't have much experience in it which is why I'm doing further reading into it, but I do have the option to drop it in year 2. I do like the sociology element of Anthropology, but I dislike the biology part, I've never been able to hack it so I don't think this is a subject I'd continue. I can still do Sociology though, so it isn't a complete loss. Basically, for both, course wise, there's an equal amount of upsides and downsides which does not help one bit welp. I think Uni wise I haven't ever considered Cambridge before and for some reason I keep thinking it's heavily racist. Obviously like you said there is racism everywhere, I just don't want to feel completely alienated and especially as I'm coming from London, although I am prepared for it to be less diverse, I don't want it to be an unmanageable shock. I was really hoping to go visit the Unis but Covid has made that near impossible. My parents aren't accepting of my choice to apply there so I can only visit with school but they've had to cancel the usual programme they have of visiting unis due to the pandemic. I've also heard interviews are online, so even if I were to stick to one uni, I wouldn't be able to visit the colleges which isn't ideal. I've had a look at virtual tours, but it's more structure and architecture understanding than being able to read the vibe. It's nice to hear that I'll be able to find halal food and en suites, at least I won't have to worry about accommodation too much then!! Sorry for being so indecisive, I'm just really confused and I don't want to make a decision I'll regret, I appreciate your input!
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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As a South Asian Oxford graduate (albeit in completely different subject area - music in my case. Which was extremely white!), I'm very concerned about where and from whom you've got these ideas that Cambridge is very racist, or that studying PPE at Oxford would likely mean you encounter racism too. I've never heard anyone say either of these things! Could you elaborate on what you've heard, so that I can give an informed reply?
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
As a South Asian Oxford graduate (albeit in completely different subject area - music in my case. Which was extremely white!), I'm very concerned about where and from whom you've got these ideas that Cambridge is very racist, or that studying PPE at Oxford would likely mean you encounter racism too. I've never heard anyone say either of these things! Could you elaborate on what you've heard, so that I can give an informed reply?
It's always in the media, how racist and exclusive Oxbridge is. In particular, how Black admissions are always low and how Oxbridge is creating a "racial apartheid" (David Lammy's words). There was a documentary following Black students at Cambridge and they exposed the racism they face on iPlayer, I think it's called "Being Black at Cambridge". Then there's the elite colleges that have always been majority private school intake, usually the older colleges that I've been told to steer clear of. I think seeing racist politicians come out of Oxford doesn't help either and it just reinforces the narrative that it's full of racist, white, private kids. Obviously, there's going to be racist kids from most unis, but I think bc Oxbridge in particular has been traditionally white and private, it gives the image it's heightened there. I'm surprised you haven't heard any of this, it's one of the first things people associate with Oxbridge and a lot of POCs aren't applying bc of fear of racism, at least from what I've seen. It might be that it's bc we're from different parts of the UK or smth, but it's the first time I've heard someone say that! I was hoping that I would be able to go on college tours so that I could get the feel of the colleges and make an informed opinion, I'm not saying I would be able to sperate racist colleges or anything, just that I could see how the vibe is, if it's diverse or very stuffy etc. I'm very interested to hear about your experience at Oxbridge, if you don't mind sharing, as I feel it would be helpful to hear about the point of view from another south Asian in a white-dominated subject!
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04MR17
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
In particular, how Black admissions are always low
This is not an indication of racism, this is an indication of low applicants from black prospective students (which is the case, if you look at the figures).

Last time I looked at the data there was no "elite colleges", and having looked at the data again now: the highest independent school proportion in a college is Trinity Oxford, where 52% of the intake in 2018 were independently schooled students. This compares to the average of 40% across the university in that year.
https://thetab.com/uk/2019/10/04/the...ol-kids-127451
https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/facts-and...nt/school-type

At Cambridge, the proportion of independent school pupils attending is seemingly lower:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....2020_cycle.pdf
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by 04MR17)
This is not an indication of racism, this is an indication of low applicants from black prospective students (which is the case, if you look at the figures).

Last time I looked at the data there was no "elite colleges", and having looked at the data again now: the highest independent school proportion in a college is Trinity Oxford, where 52% of the intake in 2018 were independently schooled students. This compares to the average of 40% across the university in that year.
https://thetab.com/uk/2019/10/04/the...ol-kids-127451
https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/facts-and...nt/school-type

At Cambridge, the proportion of independent school pupils attending is seemingly lower:
https://www.undergraduate.study.cam....2020_cycle.pdf
I think people say they are elite as the proportion of private school students isn't proportionate to private school students in the UK, but I've always been told to only apply to the modern colleges to feel more comfortable. Maybe these are just outdated notions bc I didn't think the figures would be so low, I was always told it's in the high 70s etc. Thanks for sharing this, I didn't think it looked like this
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I've studied at two different universities in the UK and am starting at Cambridge in the fall. I've lived and worked on three different continents and experienced racism myself. Let's not get confused about how we define racism at this juncture.

By virtue of there being a majority white on a course doesn't make it racist, when I lived in China sometimes people would shout racial slurs at me across the subway, I don't think you'll encounter that at Oxbridge?

So what is racism?

Perhaps you arent from an 'elitist' background or culture, but you are an individual. I'm sure those people would feel like a minority or out of their comfort zone if immersed in your culture and that's okay because you're different. Celebrate your individuality. You cannot assume that because they are white they are racist, when doing that you're grouping 87% of the UK's population together, as whites make up approximately that percentage of the UK population.

So if you know that a university has a certain area of expertise, steer clear of it, if its not what you're after there are plenty of places that will? I'm not going to show up to the royal agriculture university of Cirencester and demand they teach me theatre. That being said these large institutions are massively diverse and cater to everyone. Perhaps there won't be as many halal restaurants as London (I love middle east cuisine btw) but that's not what these 13th century Christian based institutions are known for.

Be an individual not a member of a class, we cant view our world as created for a certain type or group because all but one class will be feel left out. Our western liberal democracies were made for the individual to thrive.
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
I think people say they are elite as the proportion of private school students isn't proportionate to private school students in the UK, but I've always been told to only apply to the modern colleges to feel more comfortable. Maybe these are just outdated notions bc I didn't think the figures would be so low, I was always told it's in the high 70s etc. Thanks for sharing this, I didn't think it looked like this
Unless I am mistaken, I am fairly certain that Cambridge has a quota on the number of students it must take from state schools.
Therefore you're actually receiving positive prejudice.

Lucky you!
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04MR17
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
I think people say they are elite as the proportion of private school students isn't proportionate to private school students in the UK, but I've always been told to only apply to the modern colleges to feel more comfortable. Maybe these are just outdated notions bc I didn't think the figures would be so low, I was always told it's in the high 70s etc. Thanks for sharing this, I didn't think it looked like this
This is why it's always extremely important to do your own research, rather than rely on things you've heard from others.
Both universities publish details admissions data, it is worth looking at.
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bleeblahbleh
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I think it's more so the combination of it being seen as institutions of white and private schooled students rather than just white students and the popularity of Toryism among that demographic, which has links to racism. I do however think that the idea of it being a purely private and white institution are becoming outdated.

(Original post by Anonymous)
Perhaps there won't be as many halal restaurants as London (I love middle east cuisine btw) but that's not what these 13th century Christian based institutions are known for.
I'm not worried about high end dining or anything, just the very basics of college food and access to halal supermarkets, but that's been put to rest already haha. Also, whilst you may not mean to be, the bold bit is kind of borderline racist. Halal food isn't strictly middle eastern food, you've confused a religion with a culture, but I understand that it was most likely a mistake so as long as you don't repeat that it's fine.
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Define racism, then throw that word around.

Being outside of the majority and being a victim of racism aren't one and the same. It seems you're entertaining some fallacies.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Unless I am mistaken, I am fairly certain that Cambridge has a quota on the number of students it must take from state schools.
Therefore you're actually receiving positive prejudice.

Lucky you!
We don't have a quota for any demographic of students. The only quotas the university has are on the number of students from the UK and from overseas that we can take in Medicine, but this is strictly due to funding and comes from the Office for Students. All universities offering Medicine have this sort of quota.
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To keep it short an sweet I would choose HSPS. To keep it longer:
1) PPE is very interdisciplinary and I would say to be successful and truly enjoy it at any top university you need to really appreciate the underlying connections and interfaces between the subjects. Its known for being a course that teaches you how to think because it really likes to focus on those niche areas where they connect whilst having a fair amount of depth in each. Economics is no easy course, many universities require you to do further maths to study it, as PPE is a split degree you don't need fmaths but A-level maths is a must. They give weaker maths students extra maths lessons at Oxford to cope with the economics and you should be really interested in maths to consider PPE imo. Ofc you can drop economics in second year but if you're applying with that idea in mind its p pointless to go through all the effort for one of Oxford's most competitive courses. Self-teaching economics is a waste of time since they teach you it in first year anyway and A-level economics is v different to university economics

2) Your GCSEs and A-level grades are probably too low to get in for PPE at Oxford unless your cGCSE score is really strong, you have some contextual flags (ethnicity itself is not one afaik) or you absolutely crush the TSA: https://www.ppe.ox.ac.uk/files/ppead...antsfinalv2pdf
Cambridge interview more liberally and don't care about GCSEs much at all so you would probably have a stronger shot there since if you impress at interview everything else is unimportant.
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Peterhouse Admissions
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I am going to write a response to this, but it might take me a while. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring an important question, but I don't want to rush what I'm saying and not be clear.
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by Peterhouse Admissions)
I am going to write a response to this, but it might take me a while. I don't want anyone to think I'm ignoring an important question, but I don't want to rush what I'm saying and not be clear.
not a problem, thank you for taking the time to give a response, it's much appreciated!!
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
I'm beginning to look at which universities and courses I would apply to for UCAS and recently found out you can apply to only one of Oxbridge. I initially was planning to apply for HSPS at Cambridge and PPE at Oxford, bot obviously I can't do that anymore. I'm really lost and don't know what to do as I love both subjects and universities equally. I've done open days at Oxford for PPE but missed the Cambridge application deadlines as I wasn't aware of the course until a bit ago. I still had a look at the course structure and read some reviews online. I'm a muslim, asian girl so being able to fit in well is also something that I'm considering. I need access to halal food, en suites and be somewhere with at least some other POC. Obviously Oxbridge isn't the most diverse, so I'm not expecting it to be like London, but I do still want some diversity around me. I heard Cambridge is highly racist which is something that's been nagging me, but I also heard PPE is an elitist subject where you're more likely to be subjected to racism so it balances out on that front. I don't know what I'm meant to do as I was hoping that by applying to both, if one rejects and the other accepts then the decision would be easier but that isn't possible. If there are any previous/current students I would appreciate your input or anyone who's been in a similar position as I don't want to make a decision I'll end up regretting.
EDIT: i completely forgot to add my academic info oops.
GCSE = 999998877774
A Level = predicted A*A*AA in EPQ, Sociology, Math, Politics, also looking to self-teach economics AS.
PPE is a more prestigious course imho and appears to cover a wide range of disciplines.
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Define racism, then throw that word around.

Being outside of the majority and being a victim of racism aren't one and the same. It seems you're entertaining some fallacies.
I respectfully told you that you made an ignorant statement, and I acknowledged that you may not have meant it to be so, I simply said don't make that remark again and also kindly educated you to clear up the misunderstanding. i specifically used the word borderline as I understand it isn't intended to inflict harm, you were just trying to point out that you don't come from a place of ignorance. Humility isn't something to be embarrassed of, no need to get ultra-defensive. I would've respected you more if you just admitted to making a mistake, at no point was i rude or aggressive so I'm not following why you decided to get a hump about it. I'm not going to respond to any more responses you give regarding this as it isn't related to my problem, I only wanted to explain my bit so that there's no further development of miscommunication.
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bleeblahbleh
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(Original post by Wired_1800)
PPE is a more prestigious course imho and appears to cover a wide range of disciplines.
HSPS also covers a wide range of disciplines which is why I chose it, I think I prefer the inter-disciplinary nature of these kinds of courses! PPE is prestigious, and whilst that is definitely attractive, I don't really want to spend 3 or so years purely based on that
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Wired_1800
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(Original post by bleeblahbleh)
HSPS also covers a wide range of disciplines which is why I chose it, I think I prefer the inter-disciplinary nature of these kinds of courses! PPE is prestigious, and whilst that is definitely attractive, I don't really want to spend 3 or so years purely based on that
Then it seems you have made your choice. Cambridge’s HSPS should be a good selection.
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