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Oxford - how to sway the odds in your favour?

Hi! I’m a year 12 student interested in Oxbridge and because of how many threads there are about Oxford (because of course people are receiving decisions this week) it really made me wonder with how oversubscribed the university is, how can students make sure they get in? What I mean is that there are so many deserving students that the uni simply doesn’t have the capacity for, so how does Oxford distinguish between applicants who have done amazing in everything (personal statement, admissions test, interview...etc)? I’ve heard that because the interviews are supposed to replicate tutorials, rejections are often made because the uni believes that the tutorial system wouldn’t suit those students - is this true and is there anything else like this that Oxford bases their decisions on? Sorry if there are any assumptions on my behalf but I am just really curious! :-D
(edited 2 years ago)

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Choose your degree wisely. Some have a much higher acceptance at Oxford.
Original post by cleveranimal56
Choose your degree wisely. Some have a much higher acceptance at Oxford.

Well thank you for the advice. But if I’m not as passionate for the degrees with higher acceptance rates then I would probably not be the right Oxford student for that subject?
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Well thank you for the advice. But if I’m not as passionate for the degrees with higher acceptance rates then I would probably not be the right Oxford student for that subject?

Not worth it at all then. Definitely do something you are passionate about!
Original post by cleveranimal56
Not worth it at all then. Definitely do something you are passionate about!

Yep. Thanks again.
Bribe some select people involved in the admissions process? Or maybe donate a building or two?
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Hi! I’m a year 12 student interested in Oxbridge and because of how many threads there are about Oxford (because of course people are receiving decisions this week) it really made me wonder with how oversubscribed the university is, how can students make sure they get in? What I mean is that there are so many deserving students that the uni simply doesn’t have the capacity for, so how does Oxford distinguish between applicants who have done amazing in everything (personal statement, admissions test, interview...etc)? I’ve heard that because the interviews are supposed to replicate tutorials, rejections are often made because the uni believes that the tutorial system wouldn’t suit those students - is this true and is there anything else like this that Oxford bases their decisions on? Sorry if there are any assumptions on my behalf but I am just really curious! :-D

Also just to contextualise this a bit, I’m thinking of a degrees in history, law, politics, international relations (not sure if Oxford offers this) and PPE.

Spoiler


GCSE grades: one 7 in Eng Lang, two 8s, six 9s.

A Levels: History, French and English Literature.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by OnlyTheQuack
Bribe some select people involved in the admissions process? Or maybe donate a building or two?

Genius:colone:
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Also just to contextualise this a bit, I’m thinking of a degrees in history, law, politics, international relations (not sure if Oxford offers this) and PPE.

Spoiler



Ooh, in my school PPE has a high acceptance rate for Oxford, maybe look into that?
Original post by cleveranimal56
Ooh, in my school PPE has a high acceptance rate for Oxford, maybe look into that?

Ooh okay that sounds cool. I’ll do that and see if I like it and whether it would be a useful degree.
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Ooh okay that sounds cool. I’ll do that and see if I like it and whether it would be a useful degree.

Has your school identified you as a potential Oxbridge candidate?
Original post by Muttley79
Has your school identified you as a potential Oxbridge candidate?

No. There is an Oxbridge program that really kicks off in the summer term but right now there is just a Teams group where the Oxbridge coordinator sends information about HE plus schemes ran by Oxford and things like that. I want to apply to Oxbridge because of their amazing facilities, teaching and university system.
Original post by sciencegcsesss
No. There is an Oxbridge program that really kicks off in the summer term but right now there is just a Teams group where the Oxbridge coordinator sends information about HE plus schemes ran by Oxford and things like that. I want to apply to Oxbridge because of their amazing facilities, teaching and university system.

Oh - I would have thought that after GCSEs they would approach likelt people - that's what we do.

You need to narrow down your degree options and check the degrees Oxford actually offer.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing

You need to check your GCSEs are up to scratch before setting your sights on Oxford ...
Original post by Muttley79
Oh - I would have thought that after GCSEs they would approach likelt people - that's what we do.

You need to narrow down your degree options and check the degrees Oxford actually offer.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing

You need to check your GCSEs are up to scratch before setting your sights on Oxford ...

My school isn’t a sixth form so maybe that’s why they haven’t done it, as well as giving students a chance to prove themselves & settle in to their A Levels. Especially with cancelled exams, GCSE grades may not be a true indicator of someone’s ability.

Alright, thank you. Will do👍

They should be. At my local state school, I got one 7, two 8s and six 9s. This put me in the top 5 out of around 300 students.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Also just to contextualise this a bit, I’m thinking of a degrees in history, law, politics, international relations (not sure if Oxford offers this) and PPE.

Spoiler



Law, PPE, History, History and History and Politics are all offered by Oxford University. But now you must decide between Law, PPE and History!!! :biggrin:

Cambridge does not look at GCSEs as much as Oxford. So you would declare all your A-Level scores on the SAQ Supplementary Application Questionnaire form!!! :wink:

I am applying for Law at Cambridge University as a mature student. :smile:
Original post by thegeek888
Law, PPE, History, History and History and Politics are all offered by Oxford University. But now you must decide between Law, PPE and History!!! :biggrin:

Cambridge does not look at GCSEs as much as Oxford. So you would declare all your A-Level scores on the SAQ Supplementary Application Questionnaire form!!! :wink:

I am applying for Law at Cambridge University as a mature student. :smile:

Haha you’re telling me! :tongue:

Ah I see, thank you. Are my GCSEs good enough for Oxford though since 8/9 of them are A*s?

Ooh I wish you the best luck for your application!:smile:
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by Muttley79
Oh - I would have thought that after GCSEs they would approach likelt people - that's what we do.

You need to narrow down your degree options and check the degrees Oxford actually offer.

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/course-listing

You need to check your GCSEs are up to scratch before setting your sights on Oxford ...

What if a lot of pupils get high grades?
@Oxford Mum might be able to offer some insight.
Original post by sciencegcsesss
Hi! I’m a year 12 student interested in Oxbridge and because of how many threads there are about Oxford (because of course people are receiving decisions this week) it really made me wonder with how oversubscribed the university is, how can students make sure they get in? What I mean is that there are so many deserving students that the uni simply doesn’t have the capacity for, so how does Oxford distinguish between applicants who have done amazing in everything (personal statement, admissions test, interview...etc)? I’ve heard that because the interviews are supposed to replicate tutorials, rejections are often made because the uni believes that the tutorial system wouldn’t suit those students - is this true and is there anything else like this that Oxford bases their decisions on? Sorry if there are any assumptions on my behalf but I am just really curious! :-D

Reality is they will pick the students they believe who offer the most academic potential, and ability to thrive... excelling in your personal academics, both on a national basis and relative to your school peers, preparation and execution of an aptitude tests required for your subject, try and get mock interviews...

Control the controllable's and accept that their are lots of other qualified candidates and you cant control how anything else pans out.

I disagree with the advice of doing some arbitrary subject just because the offer rate is higher, study what you want, and see how it plays out. Ultimately it is a just a university and its not really about the name on the door and more about what you do... and as such don get fixated on one university consider a range and be prepared to go to several different institutions.
hi there! great to hear you're interested in oxford, and particularly in those subject areas!! i actually received an offer a couple days ago to study history and politics at oxford this autumn, so i hope i can maybe help you out. unfortunately, i don't think there's any way to guarantee an acceptance to oxford. but - from what i know, oxford does indeed give a lot of weight to the interview when reviewing applicants, because it's so similar to their tutorial system, and there is no point having a student in their university (no matter how brilliant they might be) if they're unsuited to their methods of teaching and will not have an enjoyable experience learning the material. everyone has a different way of learning so it's not a bad thing if the tutorial system is not for you - but i found it best to look at the interview as a learning opportunity, and an interesting conversation with experts in a subject that i love!

i'd be more than happy to chat to you further about this so please do PM me if you have any other questions :smile: applying to oxford was without a doubt the scariest and most challenging thing i have ever done but i ended up really enjoying the process and wasn't too bothered about the end result when it came down to it!
(edited 2 years ago)

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