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Oxbridge and gap years

Does anyone know if Oxford and Cambridge look down on gap years? I’m in year 13 at the moment and planning to reapply for 2024 entry, probably for English Literature or Law
Original post by lhq20054
Does anyone know if Oxford and Cambridge look down on gap years? I’m in year 13 at the moment and planning to reapply for 2024 entry, probably for English Literature or Law

Nah they don't, though depends on the college you apply towards. Some colleges encourage gap years, some are neutral, some don't like them.

As long as you have a good reason for a gap year and have a general plan, you should be fine in that aspect.
Reply 2
I'm considering re-application, though that's an August decision.

From what I've read, it usually isn't a problem for humanities applicants at either university, provided you have a good reason for a gap year and are doing something worthwhile (this doesn't mean going to Africa and building a school) such as further reading into the subject, work in the relevant field, travel abroad etc. etc.

As for the comment above about some colleges looking more/less favourably, I wouldn't look too much into that unless it's expressly stated somewhere.

Also, I'm pretty sure some departments seem to few post-qualification applicants in a more favourable light; there was a poster on here by the name of Abzy (I can't remember their tag) who was automatically shortlisted due to achieved grades by the Geography faculty.
Original post by BarnabyK
I'm considering re-application, though that's an August decision.

From what I've read, it usually isn't a problem for humanities applicants at either university, provided you have a good reason for a gap year and are doing something worthwhile (this doesn't mean going to Africa and building a school) such as further reading into the subject, work in the relevant field, travel abroad etc. etc.

As for the comment above about some colleges looking more/less favourably, I wouldn't look too much into that unless it's expressly stated somewhere.

Also, I'm pretty sure some departments seem to few post-qualification applicants in a more favourable light; there was a poster on here by the name of Abzy (I can't remember their tag) who was automatically shortlisted due to achieved grades by the Geography faculty.

I remember somewhere that some colleges have different attitudes towards gap years than others...

and alsoo thanks for the info
Original post by lhq20054
Does anyone know if Oxford and Cambridge look down on gap years? I’m in year 13 at the moment and planning to reapply for 2024 entry, probably for English Literature or Law


Look into the websites for the individual colleges that take your fancy and see if there is any info regarding whether a gap year is disadvantageous or not.

The Oxford website states that they do not take previous unsuccessful applications into account if you reapply, although it is still nonetheless recommended you don’t apply to the same colleges as before.

Whatever you do, use your gap year productively and start looking for things like writing competitions that will bolster your application. If you use your gap year well and can convincingly argue that it has improved your skills in some way, shape or form, then the admissions teams may look much more favourably on your gap year.
Reply 5
Original post by TypicalNerd
Look into the websites for the individual colleges that take your fancy and see if there is any info regarding whether a gap year is disadvantageous or not.

The Oxford website states that they do not take previous unsuccessful applications into account if you reapply, although it is still nonetheless recommended you don’t apply to the same colleges as before.

Whatever you do, use your gap year productively and start looking for things like writing competitions that will bolster your application. If you use your gap year well and can convincingly argue that it has improved your skills in some way, shape or form, then the admissions teams may look much more favourably on your gap year.

Thank you!
And yep that's the plan - I'm hoping it will give me more time to really focus on my subject without balancing A Levels at the same time :smile:
Reply 6
Original post by BarnabyK
I'm considering re-application, though that's an August decision.

From what I've read, it usually isn't a problem for humanities applicants at either university, provided you have a good reason for a gap year and are doing something worthwhile (this doesn't mean going to Africa and building a school) such as further reading into the subject, work in the relevant field, travel abroad etc. etc.

As for the comment above about some colleges looking more/less favourably, I wouldn't look too much into that unless it's expressly stated somewhere.

Also, I'm pretty sure some departments seem to few post-qualification applicants in a more favourable light; there was a poster on here by the name of Abzy (I can't remember their tag) who was automatically shortlisted due to achieved grades by the Geography faculty.

Hi Barnaby, if you go back onto the 1st page of the ‘University of Oxford 2023 Undergraduate Applicants Official Thread’ you will see azby1098’s post #9 (posted below), and his subsequent post #11, also on the 1st page of the above mentioned thread. Hope this helps you and OP. I haven’t tagged him in here, as it’s currently the last week of Hilary term and he might be somewhat busy. He’s a current fresher at St Catz, and has shared his experience of reapplication after taking a gap year.

Hi all! I’m on my gap year at the moment but will be studying Geography at St Catz in October. I reapplied in my gap year after being rejected pre-interview and helped to run the Oxford 2022 thread and managed the spreadsheets.

If anyone has any questions about applying generally, Geography, St Catz, reapplying, applying in a gap year etc or anything Oxford related let me know i’m happy to help. After 3 years of considering Oxford and Cambridge through my gap year and throughout Sixth form I’ve gained bits of knowledge about applying (for other subjects too) so let me know if I can be of use!
Reply 7
yep as above
- no college will care as long as you do something worthwhile during it (add 1 or 2 sentences to your PS about your plans)
- i know lots of people who it actually helped
- and yes some colleges prefer gap year applications because they already have their grades
- but don’t apply to the same college in case they remember you
- and don’t bother checking websites, no college will say they don’t like gap years, email a college admissions tutor if you’re worried

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