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Should I take a gap year and re-apply for a different course at Oxbridge?

I applied in the 2022 cycle for economics at cambridge and got rejected after interview but that made me think that I might be better suited for a geography degree after going through the interview and realising I don't have enough passion for economics as a degree because it is so different to the A-Level.

For some info about me: I take Maths, Further Maths (AS-Level), Geography and Economics and EPQ at A-Level with 4A* and an A (Further Maths) and my EPQ is relevant to both geography and economics. My GCSEs are all 8s and 9s.

But i'm unsure if i'm just getting cold feet because all the london unis are taking so long and that I haven't done any economics like it will be at degree level (very maths based). Also, I imagine I would be pretty gutted if I took a whole year to apply to either oxford or cambridge, only to be rejected again for geography.

If anyone who has done anything similar or was/is in the same boat could give some advice it would be much appreciated!
(edited 1 year ago)

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Original post by jazzy-23
I applied in the 2022 cycle for economics at cambridge and got rejected after interview but that made me think that I might be better suited for a geography degree after going through the interview and realising I don't have enough passion for economics as a degree because it is so different to the A-Level.

For some info about me: I take Maths, Further Maths (AS-Level), Geography and Economics and EPQ at A-Level with 4A* and an A (Further Maths) and my EPQ is relevant to both geography and economics. My GCSEs are all 8s and 9s.

But i'm unsure if i'm just getting cold feet because all the london unis are taking so long and that I haven't done any economics like it will be at degree level (very maths based). Also, I imagine I would be pretty gutted if I took a whole year to apply to either oxford or cambridge, only to be rejected again for geography.

If anyone who has done anything similar or was/is in the same boat could give some advice it would be much appreciated!

I have done something a little similar! In Year 13 I applied for PPE at Oxford and got rejected pre-interview, but tbh I wasn't that gutted and that was because I didn't care that much about PPE and didn't want to actually do it. I'm currently a first year now doing Astrophysics and oh my god do I hate this subject!
I reapplied for Maths and Philosophy at York this year and got a place and I couldn't be happier! If I had known sooner I might have applied to Oxford but I'm happy with my choice now.
In regards to second guessing Economics, I can say that if you didn't enjoy your interview then perhaps its not for you, because you've got to bear in mind that it's three years of the same subject, maybe you enjoy it at A Level, but uni and A Level are different - just think back on how GCSE and A Level were so different.
I honestly think you should only take a gap year if you think it will be beneficial for you and if you're dead set on Oxbridge. Plus a lot of unis that you may want to go to this year for geography may have filled up all their spaces for the course, so you may be left with the scraps. I know a lot of people on a gap year right now and honestly I envy them, they got to apply to uni without the added stress of being at school and having to get the grades for their firm, because they already have their grades. Plus they had an extra year to decide what they wanted to do (at least two of my friends on gap years changed what course they wanted to do in the year).
Another piece of advice would maybe try and contact people who are doing geography now at university and see what it's like or look at all the modules different universities offer and see if you would actually want to do that. Something that helped me decide that I wanted to do maths was watching an online lecture on number theory. But if you aren't sure now, then take a gap year!!! It's enough time to decide and it's not wasting a year, in the grand scheme of things!
Good luck with whatever you decide, I hope this has been of some help! :smile:
Reply 2
Original post by 320ma22
I have done something a little similar! In Year 13 I applied for PPE at Oxford and got rejected pre-interview, but tbh I wasn't that gutted and that was because I didn't care that much about PPE and didn't want to actually do it. I'm currently a first year now doing Astrophysics and oh my god do I hate this subject!
I reapplied for Maths and Philosophy at York this year and got a place and I couldn't be happier! If I had known sooner I might have applied to Oxford but I'm happy with my choice now.
In regards to second guessing Economics, I can say that if you didn't enjoy your interview then perhaps its not for you, because you've got to bear in mind that it's three years of the same subject, maybe you enjoy it at A Level, but uni and A Level are different - just think back on how GCSE and A Level were so different.
I honestly think you should only take a gap year if you think it will be beneficial for you and if you're dead set on Oxbridge. Plus a lot of unis that you may want to go to this year for geography may have filled up all their spaces for the course, so you may be left with the scraps. I know a lot of people on a gap year right now and honestly I envy them, they got to apply to uni without the added stress of being at school and having to get the grades for their firm, because they already have their grades. Plus they had an extra year to decide what they wanted to do (at least two of my friends on gap years changed what course they wanted to do in the year).
Another piece of advice would maybe try and contact people who are doing geography now at university and see what it's like or look at all the modules different universities offer and see if you would actually want to do that. Something that helped me decide that I wanted to do maths was watching an online lecture on number theory. But if you aren't sure now, then take a gap year!!! It's enough time to decide and it's not wasting a year, in the grand scheme of things!
Good luck with whatever you decide, I hope this has been of some help! :smile:

Thank you for this!! it has been really helpful and I guess now would be a good time to properly start thinking about a gap year.
I think 320ma22 said it all, but just for what it's worth, I took a gap year and reapplied to Cambridge; I wasn't accepted but didn't regret it. It was my dream school - I applied for English both times - and applying a second time (with a clue what I was doing this time) gave closure that my first rejection didn't have. If Oxbridge is really important to you, take a gap year, but like 320ma22 said, there's nothing wrong with taking a gap year just to figure out what you want to pursue. (I hope this makes sense, sorry, I wrote this in the middle of the night.) Also, you could contact the other unis you've applied to and see if they would let you switch courses to geography.
Geography at Cambridge only has 3 applications per place. :biggrin: So it won't be too difficult to get an offer!!! :wink:
Reply 5
Original post by penguingirl18
I think 320ma22 said it all, but just for what it's worth, I took a gap year and reapplied to Cambridge; I wasn't accepted but didn't regret it. It was my dream school - I applied for English both times - and applying a second time (with a clue what I was doing this time) gave closure that my first rejection didn't have. If Oxbridge is really important to you, take a gap year, but like 320ma22 said, there's nothing wrong with taking a gap year just to figure out what you want to pursue. (I hope this makes sense, sorry, I wrote this in the middle of the night.) Also, you could contact the other unis you've applied to and see if they would let you switch courses to geography.

Hi thanks for the advice. Sorry one last question but did you pick the same uni after your gap year and if you did, did you feel that you wasted the year? Thanks
Reply 6
Original post by thegeek888
Geography at Cambridge only has 3 applications per place. :biggrin: So it won't be too difficult to get an offer!!! :wink:

I mean that is a huge deciding factor but I don't think it should be??
Original post by jazzy-23
Hi thanks for the advice. Sorry one last question but did you pick the same uni after your gap year and if you did, did you feel that you wasted the year? Thanks

I didn't pick a uni before my gap year, just reapplied, but I did favor the same uni both times. I don't regret my gap year though; I think I'm more ready for university and I've had time to work on a lot of projects that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to do.
Original post by jazzy-23
I applied in the 2022 cycle for economics at cambridge and got rejected after interview but that made me think that I might be better suited for a geography degree after going through the interview and realising I don't have enough passion for economics as a degree because it is so different to the A-Level.

For some info about me: I take Maths, Further Maths (AS-Level), Geography and Economics and EPQ at A-Level with 4A* and an A (Further Maths) and my EPQ is relevant to both geography and economics. My GCSEs are all 8s and 9s.

But i'm unsure if i'm just getting cold feet because all the london unis are taking so long and that I haven't done any economics like it will be at degree level (very maths based). Also, I imagine I would be pretty gutted if I took a whole year to apply to either oxford or cambridge, only to be rejected again for geography.

If anyone who has done anything similar or was/is in the same boat could give some advice it would be much appreciated!

Not my experience, but my friend from school coincidentally did exactly the same A levels as you, with the same grades and her GCSEs were similar and she got into cambridge for geog. This is very unhelpful and anecdotal but just saying you seem like a good candidate for geography and I think you'd enjoy it! You can always do a masters in economics after
that's about 2:1 ratio, same with AMES, Classics and ASNC right? OP hasn't mentioned MFL tho??
Reply 10
Original post by CMathison
Not my experience, but my friend from school coincidentally did exactly the same A levels as you, with the same grades and her GCSEs were similar and she got into cambridge for geog. This is very unhelpful and anecdotal but just saying you seem like a good candidate for geography and I think you'd enjoy it! You can always do a masters in economics after

oh of course, I completely forgot that you can change for masters!! thanks for the advice
Mis post
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by thegeek888
Geography at Cambridge only has 3 applications per place. :biggrin: So it won't be too difficult to get an offer!!! :wink:

Hmm. Depends on your profile, and which college you apply for. At least at Cambridge.My son had 11 GCSE grade 9s (when they were examined pre lockdown), 4 A*, 60/60 EPQ, was School Captain, was Academic Scholar, was a Sports Scholar (playing nationally in some sports), and has been working world renowned geography professors at United Nations ESCO on climate change and digital environmental impact. He applied first to St Johns in 2020/1 and then Downing in 2021/2 during his gap year. He was given one 25 mins interview with each. Both colleges pooled him, but didn't make him an offer.St John's gave him a zoom before he reapplied and provided him feedback - 'you are a very strong candidate, but not quite the profile we were looking for in this year'. They weren't able to provide him other insight. School said it was (twice) the most baffling decision they had seen in 15-20 years, but that they are no longer sure exactly what the individual colleges are looking for.So let's not say it shouldn't be too difficult to get an offer for anyone... you need a combination of a strong application, and serendipity to go your way in term so which college you apply to and who else is applying. Remember you are not applying to the university, but an individual college, and they make their decisions independently.
Original post by Geogapply
Hmm. Depends on your profile, and which college you apply for. At least at Cambridge.My son had 11 GCSE grade 9s (when they were examined pre lockdown), 4 A*, 60/60 EPQ, was School Captain, was Academic Scholar, was a Sports Scholar (playing nationally in some sports), and has been working world renowned geography professors at United Nations ESCO on climate change and digital environmental impact. He applied first to St Johns in 2020/1 and then Downing in 2021/2 during his gap year. He was given one 25 mins interview with each. Both colleges pooled him, but didn't make him an offer.St John's gave him a zoom before he reapplied and provided him feedback - 'you are a very strong candidate, but not quite the profile we were looking for in this year'. They weren't able to provide him other insight. School said it was (twice) the most baffling decision they had seen in 15-20 years, but that they are no longer sure exactly what the individual colleges are looking for.So let's not say it shouldn't be too difficult to get an offer for anyone... you need a combination of a strong application, and serendipity to go your way in term so which college you apply to and who else is applying. Remember you are not applying to the university, but an individual college, and they make their decisions independently.

most peculiar. They must have thought he was too chad to be at cambridge and would scorch out the eyeballs of other students with his preturnatural grindset. What school/ type of school did he go to if u don't mind me asking? Has he posted any racist/ sexist stuff that may have been discovered?
Just 2 applications per place!!! :biggrin: One of the easiest courses to get into!!! :wink: lol

2021 Entry
Applications per place: 2
Number accepted: 155


2020 Statistics can be seen on page 10 of the Admissions Statistics!!! :smile:https://www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/sites/www.undergraduate.study.cam.ac.uk/files/publications/ug_admissions_statistics_2020_cycle.pdf
Original post by jazzy-23
I mean that is a huge deciding factor but I don't think it should be??

You don't even need any specific subjects for BA Geography at Cambridge University?! :s-smilie: i.e. A-Level Geography is not required, but some colleges may prefer it to be offered. :wink:
Original post by thegeek888
You don't even need any specific subjects for BA Geography at Cambridge University?! :s-smilie: i.e. A-Level Geography is not required, but some colleges may prefer it to be offered. :wink:

Sounds like a mickie mouse degree to me
Original post by CMathison
Sounds like a mickie mouse degree to me

So you won't be applying for Geography? :biggrin: lol I am applying for Law at Cambridge University and the LNAT is an entry requirement from next year. :frown:
Original post by thegeek888
So you won't be applying for Geography? :biggrin: lol I am applying for Law at Cambridge University and the LNAT is an entry requirement from next year. :frown:

good luck! I'm already here lol.
Original post by CMathison
good luck! I'm already here lol.

Wow! :smile: Congratulations on acceptance to Cambridge University - The Best University in The World!!! :biggrin: lol

What A-Level subjects did you do? I presume you got at least A*AA?

I am curious to know what you're studying at Cambridge University? :wink:

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