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Is a post-A level application for Oxford a good idea?

Hello. I've just started year 13 (studying maths, chemistry and physics) and my plan was always to apply to Oxford (to, I think, study engineering) after my A levels for a few reasons:

1) It would give me more time to assess what I actually want to do with my life because I'm not entirely sure whether engineering is what I want to apply for because I have a lot of interests (physics, maths, if I were to choose engineering I'd then have to choose between mechanical and electrical engineering for my other choices).

2) I just do not want the extra stress of applying to Oxford this year (I'm really not very stress-resistant).

3) My predicted grade for physics probably won't be high enough: I need an A* but I only got a B in my end of year exam last year, so I'll probably be predicted an A or B (my other two are both A*s). Despite this, I'm confident I can get A*A*A* in my final exams as I know where I went wrong with physics last year.

4) I feel that applying with strong A-levels that I've already achieved rather than just predicted ones would be beneficial to my application.

5) It would give me time to gain relevant experience in engineering, to benefit my application but to also help me make an informed decision about whether it's actually what I want to do.

But earlier today, my tutor said that doing this is a "terrible idea" because Oxford apparently doesn't like it when applicants take gap years, mainly due to the fact that they've taken a year out from education to do something completely unrelated and won't be as prepared for the course as others who've just finished their A levels. What are your thoughts on this? Because, honestly, I'm a bit lost. I haven't written a personal statement yet (which, I admit, is a little naive), and I really don't have time to write one because my college's internal deadline for Oxbridge applicants is on the 22nd of September. I also know that I really want to apply to Oxford: I'll regret it if I don't.

So, basically, what are your thoughts on what he said? And what advice can you give me? What's Oxford's stance on post-A level applicants? I haven't read anything that's suggested it'll disadvantage me, but my tutor has said otherwise (what I've read about Oxford applications and gap years is that it's deferred entry that can by disadvantageous, not applying after A levels).
Also, one final question: if i were to take a gap year, where are some good places I can find industrial placements or just general work experience relating to engineering?

Thanks for your help!
Your tutor is repeating what is often said about gap years but in this case it seems irrelevant. You're not planning to take a gap year to do unrelated things, you're planning to get some experience in engineering. This is reasonable

No uni is going to want you if you're not sure you want to do that course, so waiting to decide is a good thing

The only time that unis can get a bit dodgy about gap years is that they're sometimes a bit nervous about students losing maths skills. As long as you're showing you maintained or built on this in some way this doesn't apply. I did this by self studying a FM module I hadn't had the opportunity to take and tutoring A-level maths and further maths. You may do it if you find work experience

I don't know about oxford but I got into cambridge with a deferred application for physical Natural sciences, I can't imagine oxford is completely against gap years

Hope this helps
Reply 2
Original post by Fibonacci28
Your tutor is repeating what is often said about gap years but in this case it seems irrelevant. You're not planning to take a gap year to do unrelated things, you're planning to get some experience in engineering. This is reasonable

No uni is going to want you if you're not sure you want to do that course, so waiting to decide is a good thing

The only time that unis can get a bit dodgy about gap years is that they're sometimes a bit nervous about students losing maths skills. As long as you're showing you maintained or built on this in some way this doesn't apply. I did this by self studying a FM module I hadn't had the opportunity to take and tutoring A-level maths and further maths. You may do it if you find work experience

I don't know about oxford but I got into cambridge with a deferred application for physical Natural sciences, I can't imagine oxford is completely against gap years

Hope this helps


Thanks so much! That's really encouraging. This whole situation has sort of made me feel a bit down all day so thanks for replying.

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