The Student Room Group

"Should I reapply to Oxford?" A reapplicant's opinion

My controversial answer is no.

I am extremely grateful that I was able to get an offer this year, after being rejected last year, but if I were to go back in time I would not go through with it again.

If you wanted to take a gap year anyway, maybe to travel the world or whatnot? The process will take over your life for a third of the year and it's not worth it, since it's so incredibly draining when you're battling it on your own. It will just sour your otherwise fun year out.

If you didn't want to take a gap year, it is quite miserable. Yes travelling and seeing your friends at uni is fun but the in-between that is often overlooked is lonely and isolating. The "quiet life" might seem desirable now in the midst of a very hectic y13, but after a couple of months it gets monotonous even for an introvert. Seeing your friends move on in life will suck!

There is no guarantee! There is always an element of luck. I worked incredibly hard to prepare for my interviews, thinking that hard work alone could game the system, but no they will still catch you offguard! I logged 500 hours on Flora of only interview prep, I had perfect grades but I was still pooled and this close to not getting in. It was such a gamble taking a year out of my life to reapply and I don't think it's worth it. And I got lucky! This is the optimistic perspective of someone who got lucky! Think of those inevitably unlucky people who will never make a post. I remember seeing tons of posts of successful reapplicants that hyped me up but that's survivorship bias, unsuccessful people are less likely to make posts.

Please at least try to imagine yourself at other universities! Stop hyperfixating on just one, I know it's easier said than done. Yes, I'm really ecstatic to have gotten in this year but I don't think it's worth how miserable I made myself over the past few months. I understand everyone's different though. I'd love to hear any other opinions or answer any questions.
Original post by nucleophilic
My controversial answer is no.

I am extremely grateful that I was able to get an offer this year, after being rejected last year, but if I were to go back in time I would not go through with it again.

If you wanted to take a gap year anyway, maybe to travel the world or whatnot? The process will take over your life for a third of the year and it's not worth it, since it's so incredibly draining when you're battling it on your own. It will just sour your otherwise fun year out.

If you didn't want to take a gap year, it is quite miserable. Yes travelling and seeing your friends at uni is fun but the in-between that is often overlooked is lonely and isolating. The "quiet life" might seem desirable now in the midst of a very hectic y13, but after a couple of months it gets monotonous even for an introvert. Seeing your friends move on in life will suck!

There is no guarantee! There is always an element of luck. I worked incredibly hard to prepare for my interviews, thinking that hard work alone could game the system, but no they will still catch you offguard! I logged 500 hours on Flora of only interview prep, I had perfect grades but I was still pooled and this close to not getting in. It was such a gamble taking a year out of my life to reapply and I don't think it's worth it. And I got lucky! This is the optimistic perspective of someone who got lucky! Think of those inevitably unlucky people who will never make a post. I remember seeing tons of posts of successful reapplicants that hyped me up but that's survivorship bias, unsuccessful people are less likely to make posts.

Please at least try to imagine yourself at other universities! Stop hyperfixating on just one, I know it's easier said than done. Yes, I'm really ecstatic to have gotten in this year but I don't think it's worth how miserable I made myself over the past few months. I understand everyone's different though. I'd love to hear any other opinions or answer any questions.

Hi,

I am in the same position (having successfully reapplied to Oxford). What you say about luck is definitely something for those reapplying to consider. As is avoiding hyper-fixating on a particular degree or uni, the issue of survivorship bias and the subjectivity of whether the experience of reapplying is sum positive or sum negative.

Though, the question of happiness is slightly more ambivalent. I agree that staying in the same place, not really having meaningful connections with your friends and spending much of the year at your desk studying with little support and the looming possibility that you will fail to get in a second time round is not enjoyable. These are significant short-term problems. However (regardless of whether they get in) reapplying may make a person happier in the long term. If you get in then you will have fulfilled your goal. If you fail to get in you will have the reassurance that there was little (if anything) you could have changed in order to secure a place.
I went through this in the eons of time back when the entrance exams were done in 4th or 7th term. I failed to get in to Pembroke in 4th term coming from a state school with no clue about Oxbridge. I had good offers from other very good unis and came within a whisker of accepting my place at Trinity Dublin (a great 'insurance' option back then as it sat / still sits outside your UCAS options). The key thing was that I knew after the interviews (in person over a few days in college and not online then) that Oxford was the place for me and that I'd kick myself if I didn't give it another go.

I also realised after rejection that I had covered very little poetry (I was applying for English) bar Chaucer and a bit of Milton so there were glaring holes in my subject coverage. Once I got my grades I decided (then and only then) to re-apply and knuckled down to giving it a serious go. I got in to New College in the last year of the old 7th term exams and stayed on for a D Phil after my undergraduate years.

My shortened gap year started post Christmas (offers came the week after interviews back then and via snail mail!). I did some work to earn money, visited all my friends that had already gone to university and did some travelling. It was a great year and I only lost a couple of months to revision, reading other eras / styles etc.

What is the point of this view from a student from so many years ago? My own son was applying this time round and before the decisions came out I went through this with him. His mother had got straight in to college and not taken a gap year. My view remains that if you decide it's the place you'd most love to study at least give it another go. As it is he got in but the advice and the choice was there for him if he hadn't.

At my sons' school the older sibling (who didn't apply to Oxbridge) had lots of friends who took gap years to re-apply and some even applied for the 1st time after their A levels. Not all got in but a fair few did.

All I can say is good luck.

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