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Confused about Oxbridge

Hi I want to apply for Law at Oxford but all my teachers are discouraging me because it is very competitive, I'm wondering if there is any point in applying? Or will I just be wasting an application place?

Alevel Predicted: A* (Politics) A* (Spanish) D2 (English Lit)

I mean I have the predicted grades so I'm not too sure why they are discouraging me. I know law is one of the most competitive subjects but surely there's no harm in trying. I think they are also putting me off because I go to a private school and so I statistically have to work harder to get in.

I am also looking at Durham, Bristol, Manchester

Would I be better off putting Durham as my aspirational and having an extra safe option?
(edited 1 year ago)

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Original post by hclml
Hi I want to apply for Law at Oxford but all my teachers are discouraging me because it is very competitive, I'm wondering if there is any point in applying? Or will I just be wasting an application place?

GCSE's 9999988887
Alevel Predicted A* (Politics) A* (Spanish) D2 (English Lit)

I mean I have the predicted grades so I'm not too sure why they are discouraging me. I know law is one of the most competitive subjects but surely there's no harm in trying. I think they are also putting me off because I go to a private school and so I statistically have to work harder to get in.

I am also looking at Durham, Bristol, Manchester

Would I be better off putting Durham as my aspirational and having an extra safe option?

You’ve got 5 places you can apply to, if you really want to give Oxford a shot then I’d say apply and even if you don’t get it you’d till have 4 other options for good unis which is plenty.
I mean, statistically you have to work less hard - the chance of a private school applicant getting in is currently higher than the chance of a state school applicant getting in. The ideal is that it shouldn't be an issue in either direction, and it's not worth worrying about (and certainly not worth being used as a basis for deciding whether to apply or not). But don't let anyone tell you that coming from a private school disadvantages you right now, because it's not true. It's still an advantage.

Why are they discouraging you? Could be anything, from concern about you having a mixture of qualifications, to they know you really well and don't think you'll enjoy the tutorial system, to inverted snobbery, to a personal dislike of the course, to them only encouraging the very top students to apply so they can brag about their success rate in the prospectus, to pure ignorance. There's really no way we can guess.

Why would you need another safe option? You can only go to one university - there are no advantages to getting more than two offers as you can only hold two (a firm and an insurance) anyway. I mean, it's a nice ego boost to get five, but that's all it is.

Will you be wasting an application place? On average, yes. Most people who apply don't get in. But that doesn't matter as far as having a university to go to goes (see above comment about getting more than two offers out of five being irrelevant). If applying somewhere that you probably won't get in horrifies you, then Oxford may not be a good choice (and you might want to consider just how slow Durham are at making offers, too - at least with Oxford you are guaranteed to know for sure in January).

Good luck!
I wouldn’t discourage an oxbridge app if you were genuinely keen to attend if you got an offer.
You're not very far from a perfect set of grades, I'd give it a go if you're up for it.
If you want to try for Oxford I’d say go for it, it’s your application not your teachers.

Yes, it is extremely competitive and you are statistically more likely to be rejected but you would have a fair shot with your grades. If you don’t get in it’s not exactly a wasted choice because you could at least say you tried :smile:
Reply 6
Ur teachers might be trying to motivate you by reverse psychology lol, or testing how much you want it before investing time in helping you
If you really want it then go for it obvs or you'll regret it
BUT do you think you'll actually do well at the LNAT? cos that's the only thing that will set you apart, seeing as most realistic applicants will have equal or better exam creds.
I'd also consider Cambridge cos it's just as good and doesn't have as much randomness arising from ridiculous levels of oversubscription like oxford.

It also seems like Oxford look somewhat less favourably on independent school applicants than cambridge, despite what they say on their website.
I know multiple ppl at cambridge who have topped/ come close to topping their year in first year after being rejected by oxford the year earlier. Although maybe they're just extra motivated by past failure
(edited 1 year ago)
defo still apply! but don't be too discouraged if you don't get in. Oxford's offers to private school students has been drastically decreasing, especially in the last 2 years. Private school students are in the minority at Oxford, despite what all the spiteful and bitter non private school students like to claim. Also be warned, Oxford is a horrible and toxic environment and law especially is extremely hard and honestly completely miserable (I am an Oxford Law student). Oxford in particular has done nothing but close doors as the woke culture of the UK means that law firms basically won't hire form Oxford anymore. Just be prepared.
Reply 8
Original post by username1473246
Oxford in particular has done nothing but close doors as the woke culture of the UK means that law firms basically won't hire form Oxford anymore. Just be prepared.


Do you know if that is relevant to Magic Circle firms too? As that is my ultimate aim
Original post by hclml
Do you know if that is relevant to Magic Circle firms too? As that is my ultimate aim


The account you are replying to deleted itself because it was talking utter nonsense.
Original post by hclml
Hi I want to apply for Law at Oxford but all my teachers are discouraging me because it is very competitive, I'm wondering if there is any point in applying? Or will I just be wasting an application place?

Alevel Predicted: A* (Politics) A* (Spanish) D2 (English Lit)

I mean I have the predicted grades so I'm not too sure why they are discouraging me. I know law is one of the most competitive subjects but surely there's no harm in trying. I think they are also putting me off because I go to a private school and so I statistically have to work harder to get in.

I am also looking at Durham, Bristol, Manchester

Would I be better off putting Durham as my aspirational and having an extra safe option?

I mean, it's obvious you have a really strong set of grades. It looks like you've already made your mind up too, you've said yourself there's no harm in trying. I think by saying you statistically have to work harder to get in, you're basically just giving yourself an excuse. Don't let teachers discourage you because it's competitive - use that as an incentive to do the best that you can in your application. You can start preparing now to maximise your chances of doing well. Obviously you need to be studying for the LNAT and reading as widely around your course as possible - the summer holidays are the best and basically the only time you're going to get to do this. UniAdmissions has a book that guides you through the law interview and there are loads of other resources online too. I went through the application process myself and even if I hadn't got in, I learned a hell of a lot just by ploughing on and doing all the preparation work. I think ultimately it all boils down to whether you'll regret it if you don't apply. You literally have nothing to lose. Just go for it.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by hclml
Do you know if that is relevant to Magic Circle firms too? As that is my ultimate aim

I trained and qualified at a Magic Circle (have since moved in house) after graduating from Oxford Law, can confirm that Magic Circle firms most definitely hire from Oxbridge. If anything, I think Oxbridge might be overrepresented relative to the other universities.

OP, if you're interested in Oxford and think you'd enjoy the tutorial system, I'd apply. It's 1 choice out of 5 and you should be fine as long as you apply to some "safer" universities. The worst that happens is you don't get in (you'd still have to take the LNAT either way since Durham and Bristol are on your list), which would be disappointing but most definitely not the end of the world.

Depending on your career goals, I would also encourage you to look into US law firms and Silver Circle firms. Magic Circle firms really aren't the be all and end all, and there are plenty of well-respected City firms.
Original post by hclml
Hi I want to apply for Law at Oxford but all my teachers are discouraging me because it is very competitive, I'm wondering if there is any point in applying? Or will I just be wasting an application place?

Alevel Predicted: A* (Politics) A* (Spanish) D2 (English Lit)

I mean I have the predicted grades so I'm not too sure why they are discouraging me. I know law is one of the most competitive subjects but surely there's no harm in trying. I think they are also putting me off because I go to a private school and so I statistically have to work harder to get in.

I am also looking at Durham, Bristol, Manchester

Would I be better off putting Durham as my aspirational and having an extra safe option?

What are your GCSES like?

Oxford is cutting down the over-representation from Private schools so your teachers are right.

Perhaps they don't think it will suit you? What were their reasons other than your school?
Reply 13
Original post by Muttley79
What are your GCSES like?

Oxford is cutting down the over-representation from Private schools so your teachers are right.

Perhaps they don't think it will suit you? What were their reasons other than your school?

I got five 9's, four 8's and a 7 from a severely underfunded state grammar school

They said that it is unlikely that I will get in as law is such a competitive subject even at not-so competitive unis
Original post by hclml
I got five 9's, four 8's and a 7 from a severely underfunded state grammar school

They said that it is unlikely that I will get in as law is such a competitive subject even at not-so competitive unis

No GS is underfunded - they just don't get additional funding for SEN or FSM as they don't have many students like that. They get exactly the same AWPU as every other school - fact.

Your results look low from a selective school especially with TAGs.
Reply 15
Original post by Muttley79
No GS is underfunded - they just don't get additional funding for SEN or FSM as they don't have many students like that. They get exactly the same AWPU as every other school - fact.

Your results look low from a selective school especially with TAGs.


My previous school had news articles written about how underfunded we were, despite being a grammar school...
And my GCSEs were in the top 10% of my year
Original post by hclml
My previous school had news articles written about how underfunded we were, despite being a grammar school...
And my GCSEs were in the top 10% of my year


They lied - all schools get the same AWPU [age weighted pupil unit] ie the same amount of money per student. Sixth formers get more money so large GS Sixth forms bring in loads.

The funding only looks low because they don't get extra money for SEN [they have few] or FSM [again they have few].
Original post by hclml
My predicted grades are A*A*D2

I am thinking about applying for Oxford, Bristol, Exeter, Nottingham and Sussex for Law

I am also considering Leeds, Manchester & Durham

Do I realistically have a chance of getting in? My teachers have been suggesting I apply for a subject that is not so competitive as I am unlikely to receive a place - and this has really disheartened me and knocked my confidence


I'd say your predicted grades are really good and you should definitely apply. I had a friend who had predicted AABBC and she got into Law at Cambridge. So don't lose hope and keep working hard, good luck :smile:
Original post by hclml
I got five 9's, four 8's and a 7 from a severely underfunded state grammar school

They said that it is unlikely that I will get in as law is such a competitive subject even at not-so competitive unis

Hi there!

Just to say the Cambridge are still treating 8s and 9s as A* equivalent**, so this would be considered as 9 A*s and an A. Those are not low grades from any kind of school. Of course, we'd want to see the nuances within those grades (which subjects did you do best in? Are you taking those ones for A Level?) but I wouldn't consider these low.

We also use data which enables us to put your grades in the context of your cohort at the school where you took your GCSEs. I can't speak for Oxford, but at Cambridge each applicant (UK schools only) gets allocated a quintile depending on how their results compare to the rest of the year at their school. This a both a good way of looking at each individual's educational experience rather than using the broad brush of school type and seeing how well an applicant did compared to those who've had the most similar educational experiences.

The funding situation of your school is irrelevant here. It's not something we'd know about, although if the results were low compared with state schools generally, we would take that into consideration.Considering it's a grammar school, thst's relatively unlikely, but of course without knowing the school it's impossible for me to say.

In terms of how likely it is that you would get an offer, it's again impossible for me (or anyone else to say). Statistically, most of our applicants get rejected, so if someone wanted to look at things in that way, then they could say that anyone is 'unlikely' to get in. Crucially, despite what is sometimes reported in the press, we don't rule out any applicants solely on the basis of school type.

Hope this helps!


** To be clear, when we're counting the number of A*s someone has, we include both 8s and 9s in this measure. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, GCSEs in Wales and Northern Ireland are still letter grades, so we can't make a distinction within A*s in the way we can between 8s and 9s. Also, we don't have the evidence yet to tell us whether/how much better a 9 is than an 8, partly because of the way grades have been awarded in the past couple of years.
You only miss the shots you don't take.

There will always be competition, some more and some less. It doesn't hurt to try at all after all, how do you know for certain that you will not get in unless you try?

In the event that you don't succeed, it might be disheartening, but don't give up! Many students take a gap year and reapply again. You could certainly reflect on that in your personal statement; it could swing your application onto the stronger side since it would show your resilience and dedication.

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