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UCL vs Reapplying to Oxford for Hebrew/Oriental Studies

Hello!

I am an offer holder for BA Hebrew and Jewish studies at UCL. I originally applied to Oxford for Hebrew and Spanish, made it to interviews, and then got rejected.

I've never met anyone on TSR who does Hebrew at both unis and so I need to know what they think of the course at their respective universities.
UCL has a department that is dedicated entirely to Hebrew and Jewish studies, but yet again Oxford is far more well known for languages (be it modern European languages, Middle Eastern languages or even ancient languages!)

I am very stuck as a gap year is not an option for me, so it's either going to UCL full-time, or reapplying to Oxford whilst I'm at UCL (granted that I get the grades).

Thank you :smile:
Reply 1
Hi, having a dedicated department sounds a very positive thing. You absolutely cannot apply to Oxford after starting an undergrad degree at another university - they are very strict about this and it has been discussed before on this platform many times. They will not consider you.
Original post by dreamer_ms
Hello!

I am an offer holder for BA Hebrew and Jewish studies at UCL. I originally applied to Oxford for Hebrew and Spanish, made it to interviews, and then got rejected.

What are you A-Level subjects and grades?

Apply to Oxford University again and go to a less popular college this time perhaps? :smile:
Original post by PaulaFr
Hi, having a dedicated department sounds a very positive thing. You absolutely cannot apply to Oxford after starting an undergrad degree at another university - they are very strict about this and it has been discussed before on this platform many times. They will not consider you.


Hi, thank you for your quick reply!! :smile:
Tbh I much prefer UCL for my course and the size of the department (not to mention that the acceptance rate for my course is lower than that at Oxbridge). However, the thoughts about reapplying come and go as I fear that I might miss out on something great; the tutorial system, traditions, formals etc...
Original post by thegeek888
What are you A-Level subjects and grades?

Apply to Oxford University again and go to a less popular college this time perhaps? :smile:


My A-Level subjects are Arabic, French, and Spanish and I am predicted As for French and Spanish respectively (I already achieved an A* in my Arabic).

I was hoping to apply to Mansfield as I know they're popular for Hebrew and Arabic, yet they're not offering entry for 2023 :/ so I've been looking at Queen's or St. John's :smile:
Congrats on your offer :smile:

Something I would note is UCL is also very well known for languages, and notably is one of a few unis that offers a lot of languages (or the only one, for many of their SSEES languages). It's also probably one of the only options to do HJS outside of Oxbridge anyway. So you aren't really losing anything there.

As you say HJS seems to be a pretty small and close knit department, which is a good thing I think! UCL also offers a huge amount of options that you can take outside of the department, both in cognate subjects and in others, which Oxford doesn't.

Note also, Oxford do not normally consider applicants already studying at another uni except with "strong support" of their uni - which given the application timelines, isn't likely to be possible in first year at UCL where you need to apply 2 weeks into term. So starting at UCL then reapplying to Oxford is not really an option.

Honestly I think you will be just as well off academically at either, and depending on your specific interests UCL may even serve you better. There is an offer holders talk later this month for HJS so I'd recommend joining and seeing what things are like, how current students feel there etc :smile:

That said, I may be biased since I'm holding a deferred offer for a course that is jointly offered with HJS and I found them super helpful all through the application process :wink:
Original post by artful_lounger
Congrats on your offer :smile:

Something I would note is UCL is also very well known for languages, and notably is one of a few unis that offers a lot of languages (or the only one, for many of their SSEES languages). It's also probably one of the only options to do HJS outside of Oxbridge anyway. So you aren't really losing anything there.

As you say HJS seems to be a pretty small and close knit department, which is a good thing I think! UCL also offers a huge amount of options that you can take outside of the department, both in cognate subjects and in others, which Oxford doesn't.

Note also, Oxford do not normally consider applicants already studying at another uni except with "strong support" of their uni - which given the application timelines, isn't likely to be possible in first year at UCL where you need to apply 2 weeks into term. So starting at UCL then reapplying to Oxford is not really an option.

Honestly I think you will be just as well off academically at either, and depending on your specific interests UCL may even serve you better. There is an offer holders talk later this month for HJS so I'd recommend joining and seeing what things are like, how current students feel there etc :smile:

That said, I may be biased since I'm holding a deferred offer for a course that is jointly offered with HJS and I found them super helpful all through the application process :wink:


Hello, thank you so much for your reply!! :smile:

The more I read this, the more UCL sounds to me like the better option! The HJS department has been nothing but absolutely lovely to me and I do think I'll genuinely enjoy the course there - however, I do feel a bit of fomo about missing out on the tutorials/ formals etc.. that Oxford offers. Do I think that I'll be able to cope there academically? Probably not, however, I always tell myself that I'll be able to if I get an offer from them (toxic thinking, I know). This leads me to think once more that UCL might still be the better option. I think you can see how my brain goes back and forth between the two lols

Aye congratulations on your offer too!! I might see you around then :smile:
Original post by dreamer_ms
Hello, thank you so much for your reply!! :smile:

The more I read this, the more UCL sounds to me like the better option! The HJS department has been nothing but absolutely lovely to me and I do think I'll genuinely enjoy the course there - however, I do feel a bit of fomo about missing out on the tutorials/ formals etc.. that Oxford offers. Do I think that I'll be able to cope there academically? Probably not, however, I always tell myself that I'll be able to if I get an offer from them (toxic thinking, I know). This leads me to think once more that UCL might still be the better option. I think you can see how my brain goes back and forth between the two lols

Aye congratulations on your offer too!! I might see you around then :smile:


I can understand where you're coming from. Still, bear in mind that since HJS is a pretty small department, it's quite likely a lot of your lectures and seminars will be fairly small groups and so approximate the tutorial "feel" anyway? While probably not 1-3 students small, even if you just have 5-10 students that's small enough you can get a lot of individual engagement!

Something else to note is that it doesn't seem uncommon for people to go from HJS to masters courses at Oxford :smile: They have had students go on to do e.g. the cuneiform studies and linguistics (comparative IE track) masters at Oxford apparently, and I imagine they probably have a few doing Hebrew or Jewish Studies masters there too (of course also probably at Cambridge and other similar unis).

In terms of formals and stuff I've no doubt there will be opportunities to engage in stuff like that in some capacity, either at UCL or just in London generally!

Also thank you, and yes quite possibly if you do go there! (albeit since my offer is deferred entry I won't be starting till 2023 :tongue: )
Original post by artful_lounger
I can understand where you're coming from. Still, bear in mind that since HJS is a pretty small department, it's quite likely a lot of your lectures and seminars will be fairly small groups and so approximate the tutorial "feel" anyway? While probably not 1-3 students small, even if you just have 5-10 students that's small enough you can get a lot of individual engagement!

Something else to note is that it doesn't seem uncommon for people to go from HJS to masters courses at Oxford :smile: They have had students go on to do e.g. the cuneiform studies and linguistics (comparative IE track) masters at Oxford apparently, and I imagine they probably have a few doing Hebrew or Jewish Studies masters there too (of course also probably at Cambridge and other similar unis).

In terms of formals and stuff I've no doubt there will be opportunities to engage in stuff like that in some capacity, either at UCL or just in London generally!

Also thank you, and yes quite possibly if you do go there! (albeit since my offer is deferred entry I won't be starting till 2023 :tongue: )


I suppose you're right about the class sizes being small enough to be tutorials (in their own right ofc!).

Thank you so much for all of your advice and hopefully, I'll see you around next year! :smile:
Reply 9
Original post by dreamer_ms
Hi, thank you for your quick reply!! :smile:
Tbh I much prefer UCL for my course and the size of the department (not to mention that the acceptance rate for my course is lower than that at Oxbridge). However, the thoughts about reapplying come and go as I fear that I might miss out on something great; the tutorial system, traditions, formals etc...

Never mind the formals etc, you might find you have a lot less stressful time at UCL as the workload at Oxford is brutal and a few weeks in, you will be wondering what you were worrying about. All the best with whatever you decide.

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