The Student Room Group

Oxbridge reject who sold himself short

Hi lads, using a burner cause this is embarrassing as ****.

In October 2021 I applied to Cambridge, but was rejected without an interview because my teachers put me down for I think A*AB - which is below the grades needed for an interview. As such, I was ineligible for the August reconsideration pool. I got accepted to study at Exeter, but I feel like I’ve massively lowballed myself because the offer was the lowest out of the ones I’d received (ABB). I think this was also due to the massive knock to my self esteem that I got from the rejection. As such, I think I’m one of the only people I know who got rejected from Oxbridge and everyone else from my school who applied got in. It’s kind of given me a massive inferiority complex cause I’ve heard that even if I get a masters, it’s not respected or viewed the same as an undergrad - and the experience is completely different. I’ve thought about transferring to Durham but I don’t want the Oxbridge reject label to define me. Do I drop out now and reapply? Should I just bear with and work my ass off for a first so that maybe Oxford would consider me for a masters? Even though I got 3 A*s at A-Level I can’t help but feel really stupid cause others are going there and I’m gonna have to be an Oxbridge reject for life. Sorry if this sounds self pitying but I just don’t think that I’ve made the right life choices and I’m honestly paying for it.

Any advice or help on this would be immensely appreciated cause I’m at a crossroads in my life and I don’t know which way to go.

Scroll to see replies

Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Hi lads, using a burner cause this is embarrassing as ****.

In October 2021 I applied to Cambridge, but was rejected without an interview because my teachers put me down for I think A*AB - which is below the grades needed for an interview. As such, I was ineligible for the August reconsideration pool. I got accepted to study at Exeter, but I feel like I’ve massively lowballed myself because the offer was the lowest out of the ones I’d received (ABB). I think this was also due to the massive knock to my self esteem that I got from the rejection. As such, I think I’m one of the only people I know who got rejected from Oxbridge and everyone else from my school who applied got in. It’s kind of given me a massive inferiority complex cause I’ve heard that even if I get a masters, it’s not respected or viewed the same as an undergrad - and the experience is completely different. I’ve thought about transferring to Durham but I don’t want the Oxbridge reject label to define me. Do I drop out now and reapply? Should I just bear with and work my ass off for a first so that maybe Oxford would consider me for a masters? Even though I got 3 A*s at A-Level I can’t help but feel really stupid cause others are going there and I’m gonna have to be an Oxbridge reject for life. Sorry if this sounds self pitying but I just don’t think that I’ve made the right life choices and I’m honestly paying for it.

Any advice or help on this would be immensely appreciated cause I’m at a crossroads in my life and I don’t know which way to go.

Nobody will care about your rejection if you don’t talk about.

What defines you, is what you do not where you go. Focus on what you want to actually achieve at university not the name on the door.
You will find many Oxbridge reject in Exeter. You wont be alone. Was the lower grade because you received a contextual offer as the offer seems lower than their normal offers
Most Oxbridge rejects are still happy at the uni they go to. The type of people Oxbridge are looking for (I’m betting) are not those who give up because they didn’t succeed at a (more or less) gamble. If you are Oxbridge material you will succeed at any uni. The application process is very murky - which has its pros and cons. Depends on course too - something like classics which is seen as less of a ‘career’ degree decreases in value quickly as you fall down the uni rankings. Something like Computer Science or Engineering is less dependent on a brand name to have value.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by swanseajack1
You will find many Oxbridge reject in Exeter. You wont be alone. Was the lower grade because you received a contextual offer as the offer seems lower than their normal offers


Don’t think so, I do history. I went to a pretty good state school there wasn’t a great deal of deprivation around.
Original post by crashcody
Most Oxbridge rejects are still happy at the uni they go to. The type of people Oxbridge are looking for (I’m betting) are not those who give up because they didn’t succeed at a (more or less) gamble. If you are Oxbridge material you will succeed at any uni. The application process is very murky - which has its pros and cons. Depends on course too - something like classics which is seen as less of a ‘career’ degree decreases in value quickly as you fall down the uni rankings. Something like Computer Science or Engineering is less dependent on a brand name to have value.


That’s the issue, I’m doing history - and I ain’t sure what I can really do with that. I don’t want to be a lawyer. That’s why Cambridge meant so much to me was that it would make it easier for me to cross qualify into business at the Harvard Business school, etc (which has always been the dream)
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Should I just bear with and work my ass off for a first so that maybe Oxford would consider me for a masters?


^This, basically.

Some things to bear in mind:

1) The majority of applicants who apply to Oxford or Cambridge are rejected. It's routine.
2) Your University doesn't define your intellect or ability. Your attainment does that.
3) You're hung up on Oxbridge. Let it go.
4). Durham - literally the university for Oxbridge rejects. Wouldn't that be out of the frying pan, into the fire?
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Don’t think so, I do history. I went to a pretty good state school there wasn’t a great deal of deprivation around.

Exeter's normal offer for history is AAA. The ABB is contextual. It is different if you are studying at Penryn.
A-Level AAA
IB 36/666
BTEC DDD
GCSE B or 5 English Language
Access to HE 30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade N/A
Contextual Offer
A-Level: ABB
IB: 32/655
BTEC: DDM

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.
go to Exeter... you will meet lots of interesting people and get a respected degree.
Original post by Reality Check
^This, basically.

Some things to bear in mind:

1) The majority of applicants who apply to Oxford or Cambridge are rejected. It's routine.
2) Your University doesn't define your intellect or ability. Your attainment does that.
3) You're hung up on Oxbridge. Let it go.
4). Durham - literally the university for Oxbridge rejects. Wouldn't that be out of the frying pan, into the fire?


I get where you’re coming from but I’m honestly desperate to prove to myself that I’m one of the best in the world - I want to go to the Harvard business school, but I’m currently stuck doing a BA degree in ******* history. I think that it becomes harder then for someone like me to change and access that educational goal.
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
That’s the issue, I’m doing history - and I ain’t sure what I can really do with that. I don’t want to be a lawyer. That’s why Cambridge meant so much to me was that it would make it easier for me to cross qualify into business at the Harvard Kennedy school, etc (which has always been the dream)

History seems to be big in banking. If that’s something you want to do, the ‘big 6’ (for banking: OXBRIDGE, LSE, IMPERIAL, UCL, WARWICK) are probably your best bet. Durham is still a semi, so Durham + amap work experience/internships will suffice.

Also ‘proving you are one of the best in the world’ is not a good mindset. There will always be someone bigger, stronger and better. You should only have to prove things to yourself, and you don’t even need a degree to do that.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
I get where you’re coming from but I’m honestly desperate to prove to myself that I’m one of the best in the world - I want to go to the Harvard business school, but I’m currently stuck doing a BA degree in ******* history. I think that it becomes harder then for someone like me to change and access that educational goal.


But what good does dwelling on settled matters do? It's a waste of time and energy which could be better spent proving that you're excellent by getting the best grades in what you're currently doing. If you got a good I class degree, there would be nothing stopping you applying to Cambridge for an MPhil or other graduate degree.
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Hi lads, using a burner cause this is embarrassing as ****.

In October 2021 I applied to Cambridge, but was rejected without an interview because my teachers put me down for I think A*AB - which is below the grades needed for an interview. As such, I was ineligible for the August reconsideration pool. I got accepted to study at Exeter, but I feel like I’ve massively lowballed myself because the offer was the lowest out of the ones I’d received (ABB). I think this was also due to the massive knock to my self esteem that I got from the rejection. As such, I think I’m one of the only people I know who got rejected from Oxbridge and everyone else from my school who applied got in. It’s kind of given me a massive inferiority complex cause I’ve heard that even if I get a masters, it’s not respected or viewed the same as an undergrad - and the experience is completely different. I’ve thought about transferring to Durham but I don’t want the Oxbridge reject label to define me. Do I drop out now and reapply? Should I just bear with and work my ass off for a first so that maybe Oxford would consider me for a masters? Even though I got 3 A*s at A-Level I can’t help but feel really stupid cause others are going there and I’m gonna have to be an Oxbridge reject for life. Sorry if this sounds self pitying but I just don’t think that I’ve made the right life choices and I’m honestly paying for it.

Any advice or help on this would be immensely appreciated cause I’m at a crossroads in my life and I don’t know which way to go.


Cambridge reject here:ciao:

In short nobody cares as long as your happy:smile:
Real **** lads I just wanna say thanks for actually responding and taking the time to put up with my moment of emotional weakness.

As a Christian I probs should take this as a sign that God don’t want me to go there but I just feel like I need to use the intelligence he gave me to make a positive difference on the world, and I can’t help but worry that a BA degree in History in Exeter will allow me to access a platform that could enable me to change things cause it seems every famous person and their mum was Oxbridge or equivalent elsewhere. Sorry if it seems like I’m slamming your degree if you do history at Exeter. I really mean it, I don’t wanna sound narcissistic or egotistical.
But yeah this rejection has been kinda hard to cope with and big manly tears may have been shed. I hope that I can improve myself and work onto better things. Cause I desperately wanna become a self-made guy.
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Real **** lads I just wanna say thanks for actually responding and taking the time to put up with my moment of emotional weakness.

As a Christian I probs should take this as a sign that God don’t want me to go there but I just feel like I need to use the intelligence he gave me to make a positive difference on the world, and I can’t help but worry that a BA degree in History in Exeter will allow me to access a platform that could enable me to change things cause it seems every famous person and their mum was Oxbridge or equivalent elsewhere. Sorry if it seems like I’m slamming your degree if you do history at Exeter. I really mean it, I don’t wanna sound narcissistic or egotistical.


An alternative way of looking at it could well be that God doesn’t want you at Cambridge, yet. I personally don’t believe in God and think it’s more likely they rejected you because they had more applications than most years and so it came down to luck of the draw.

Don’t give up on an aspiration over just one perception of this one setback.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Reality Check
But what good does dwelling on settled matters do? It's a waste of time and energy which could be better spent proving that you're excellent by getting the best grades in what you're currently doing. If you got a good I class degree, there would be nothing stopping you applying to Cambridge for an MPhil or other graduate degree.


I’ve read things about this suggesting that Oxbridge, as well as places like Harvard and Yale put little focus on their postgraduates - they end up in accommodation that is miles away from the uni, have almost no access to tutors and ultimately only go for the name.
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
I’ve read things about this suggesting that Oxbridge, as well as places like Harvard and Yale put little focus on their postgraduates - they end up in accommodation that is miles away from the uni, have almost no access to tutors and ultimately only go for the name.


Where from, exactly? It’s probably worth talking to any Cambridge post-graduates you may come across, if you can to actually verify this.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
I’ve read things about this suggesting that Oxbridge, as well as places like Harvard and Yale put little focus on their postgraduates - they end up in accommodation that is miles away from the uni, have almost no access to tutors and ultimately only go for the name.

Absolute ********* and I never swear!
Original post by Dhhshbabahba
Hi lads, using a burner cause this is embarrassing as ****.

In October 2021 I applied to Cambridge, but was rejected without an interview because my teachers put me down for I think A*AB - which is below the grades needed for an interview. As such, I was ineligible for the August reconsideration pool. I got accepted to study at Exeter, but I feel like I’ve massively lowballed myself because the offer was the lowest out of the ones I’d received (ABB). I think this was also due to the massive knock to my self esteem that I got from the rejection. As such, I think I’m one of the only people I know who got rejected from Oxbridge and everyone else from my school who applied got in. It’s kind of given me a massive inferiority complex cause I’ve heard that even if I get a masters, it’s not respected or viewed the same as an undergrad - and the experience is completely different. I’ve thought about transferring to Durham but I don’t want the Oxbridge reject label to define me. Do I drop out now and reapply? Should I just bear with and work my ass off for a first so that maybe Oxford would consider me for a masters? Even though I got 3 A*s at A-Level I can’t help but feel really stupid cause others are going there and I’m gonna have to be an Oxbridge reject for life. Sorry if this sounds self pitying but I just don’t think that I’ve made the right life choices and I’m honestly paying for it.

Any advice or help on this would be immensely appreciated cause I’m at a crossroads in my life and I don’t know which way to go.

Apply whilst still at uni. If you get in, then you drop out and move to Cambridge. If not, no loss.

You can also apply for a transfer to Durham as well using the same approach.

Quick Reply

Latest