The Student Room Group

How likely is it that Oxford will accept me (for law)?

Hello everyone, I’m thinking of applying to Oxford next year on my gap year for law (specifically Law with French Law), and I was wondering what my chances are of gaining acceptance.

Some background: I’m predicted 3 A*s at A-level, achieved A* in EPQ (about the death penalty, so it’s law-related), good personal statement and teacher references, and I did quite well in the LNAT this year and would be aiming slightly higher (around 30) next year.

My main and quite frankly terrible worry are my GCSE grades. I got my GCSEs in 2020 so of course my grades had to be predicted by my teachers, and I ended up getting 2 As, 6 Bs, and 3 Cs, which I am obviously well aware is much lower than the average successful Oxford candidate. Some context - I moved schools mid-way through Year 10 which meant that I had to switch to different exam boards, as well as switching from learning through Welsh to English which proved to be a struggle, particularly in the sciences and maths, which were my lower grades. I must also mention that I gained my GCSEs from quite a well performing private school, which probably won’t reflect too well on me either, considering that my grades are lower than average for my school at GCSE.

To make my application a little more competitive, I will be taking A-level French during my gap year, as well as an additional two GCSEs, which I’m fairly certain I will do quite well in (as long as I actually get to sit the exams!).

So I guess my question is, considering all of this, and assuming that I do achieve my predicted A-level grades as well the additional A-level and GCSEs during my gap year, would I still stand a decent chance at getting an offer from Oxford, despite my GCSE grades, and would they take into account the circumstances around my GCSEs? Or do you think that my grades will significantly impact my application? I appreciate you taking the time to read this and hopefully someone can provide an answer or some advice!
(edited 1 year ago)
Current Oxford student here! There's definitely a hangup on GCSEs you can get through TSR that doesn't always reflect the reality here. Just your A-Levels, EPQ and LNAT make your application more than suitable for applying, esp if you get good grades in your gap year. It's 100% worth applying and you should definitely do it if you'd like to!

Obviously no guarantees about getting in - Oxford's process is notriously obtuse, but I would definitely encourage you to apply.
Have you considered Cambridge or are you set on Oxford? Cambridge doesn't weigh GCSEs as much. To be honest, it's kinda impossible to predict who gets offers from Oxford. In your reference, they should mention your difficulties with GCSEs, and the moving schools and changing language etc.
You have really good A levels, and if you do well in the LNAT, you stand a good chance. As willtj78 said, it's definitely worth applying!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by willtj78
Current Oxford student here! There's definitely a hangup on GCSEs you can get through TSR that doesn't always reflect the reality here. Just your A-Levels, EPQ and LNAT make your application more than suitable for applying, esp if you get good grades in your gap year. It's 100% worth applying and you should definitely do it if you'd like to!

Obviously no guarantees about getting in - Oxford's process is notriously obtuse, but I would definitely encourage you to apply.

Hi and thank you for your response! I 100% agree that there is an unhealthy obsession with GCSE grades on this website, but I am curious about, realistically, what kind of grades do Oxford students tend to have at GCSE? I’m sure that there are many students with mainly A*s at GCSE in Oxford, but, as student there yourself, do you find that this is the standard or are there many people with slightly less impressive grades?

Of course there are no guarantees with Oxford, but I want to stand a good chance!
Original post by Pinkflower12
Hi and thank you for your response! I 100% agree that there is an unhealthy obsession with GCSE grades on this website, but I am curious about, realistically, what kind of grades do Oxford students tend to have at GCSE? I’m sure that there are many students with mainly A*s at GCSE in Oxford, but, as student there yourself, do you find that this is the standard or are there many people with slightly less impressive grades?

Of course there are no guarantees with Oxford, but I want to stand a good chance!

I got only a couple of grades higher than you, and a lot of people in my year at my college didn't get much more than me. They are a good indicator of your ability when you're younger, but colleges are interested in what you're like now, so often they don't put a huge amount of emphasis on them, and would much rather you had high A level predictions and EPQ - which you do. The fact you have mitigating circumstances for them is also important, and it would be a good idea to make sure those are listed too.

I can't speak for Law specifically but I know most Oxford subjects put a very high weighting on how you perform in the entrance exams and interviews too, which further pushes GCSEs down in the order of importance. This makes it very difficult to say whether you'll 'stand a good chance' without knowing you, but looking at your grades you're definitely in a position to go for it. That being said, no application is guaranteed so as said, you shouldn't put all your eggs in one basket.
Original post by booklover1313
Have you considered Cambridge or are you set on Oxford? Cambridge doesn't weigh GCSEs as much. To be honest, it's kinda impossible to predict who gets offers from Oxford. In your reference, they should mention your difficulties with GCSEs, and the moving schools and changing language etc.
You have really good A levels, and if you do well in the LNAT, you stand a good chance. As willtj78 said, it's definitely worth applying!

I have considered Cambridge and honestly, if I were applying for pure law, I think I would apply there instead as I prefer the way students are assessed, and of course the fact that there is less weight on GCSEs. However, Cambridge doesn’t do law with French law which is what I’m really looking to do, so Oxford is really my only option between the two, which simplifies things in one way but complicates it in another!

And a good point about having my teacher mention the GCSE situation in my reference - I hadn’t thought of that when applying this year as I assumed the universities would see that I joined my school in the middle of the year, but looking back I should have mentioned something.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 6
Original post by Pinkflower12
I have considered Cambridge and honestly, if I were applying for pure law, I think I would apply there instead as I prefer the way students are assessed, and of course the fact that there is less weight on GCSEs. However, Cambridge doesn’t do law with French law which is what I’m really looking to do, so Oxford is really my only option between the two, which simplifies things in one way but complicates it in another!

And a good point about having my teacher mention the GCSE situation in my reference - I hadn’t thought of that when applying this year as I assumed the universities would see that I joined my school in the middle of the year, but looking back I should have mentioned something.


Hi, sorry to bring this thread up again but im in a smmilar position to you, may I ask if it was worth applying to?
I would apply to Oxford and let them know somewhere in the application the circumstances around the GCSEs

Quick Reply

Latest