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questions about oxford...

context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?

2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?

3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that

4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)

5) how vital are GCSEs?

6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?

I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:
1) An EPQ on something related to your subject will be more helpful than one that is not

2) No - do 4 max, only three are required though

3) I don't really know how the colleges work but some are likely to be better than others for different subjects, but I haven't applied to Oxbridge so I don't know for sure

4) I would probably have a look at supercurriculars and maybe just pick up a hobby that you are genuinely interested in like learning a musical instrument

5) I would take a look at this thread - "Are these GCSEs good enough for x" - the guide but I would say that your GCSEs are important but are not the be all and end all.

6) I don't know because I haven't applied
Reply 2
Hi,

What Oxford are looking for is evidence that you have thought about and sought out opportunities to explore your chosen subject beyond the curriculum.

They're interested in seeing your commitment to the subject and learning how you think. Anything you can demonstrate this with is great - and there's loads you'll already have done.

I recommend taking a look at the Oxford website for some more info about how to prepare for an application - it's very helpful stuff and makes the whole process a lot less intimidating!
Original post by 1234567764779
context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?
2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?
3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that
4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)
5) how vital are GCSEs?
6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?
I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:
Reply 3
Original post by 1234567764779
context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?
2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?
3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that
4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)
5) how vital are GCSEs?
6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?
I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:


Which subject?
Original post by 1234567764779
context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?
2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?
3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that
4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)
5) how vital are GCSEs?
6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?
I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:


How do the colleges work? An Oxford College is a self-governing academic community. The college provides teaching by tutorials and seminars, a library, accommodation, food (including communal dining in the college hall, with varying degrees of formality), gardens, sports and social facilities, and pastoral support. The main focus of a college is scholarship, and the academic staff engage in research and writing as well as teaching.

The University of Oxford sets examinations and awards degrees. It provides lectures, laboratories, libraries, facilities such as the Botanic Gardens, inter-university sports and activities etc. The University sets overall policies, in consultation with the colleges, but the colleges are largely autonomous.

A student at Oxford has an affiliation with his or her college and with the university. Most of the academic staff at Oxford have a position with a college and a position with the university.

Depending on which subject a student studies, he or she will be taught mainly in his or her college, or partly at other colleges and at the university's departments, especially in science subjects where lab work is done at university facilities.

Colleges are governed by their Fellows: academics elected by the existing Fellows, and have an elected figurehead who is called by a title such as the Warden, the Master, the Rector, the President, the Provost, or the Principal. Colleges decide who to admit as members, whether undergraduate, or graduate, and employ the teaching, admin, catering, cleaning, and maintenance staff. Ex students remain members of the college and are always welcomed back if they visit the college after graduating.

Turning to other questions, you only need to do three A levels. Extra curricular activities are not relevant to the admission decision at Oxford. The colleges are looking for candidates who show strong academic potential, and appear likely to benefit from the tutorial system, which involves one to one or two to one discussions of an essay subject with a tutor.⁸
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 5
Original post by 1234567764779
context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?
2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?
3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that
4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)
5) how vital are GCSEs?
6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?
I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:
I'm an Oxford student so I'm going to try and answer this based on my experiences (I'm also a STEM student). Bear in mind it may differ slightly based on your course and college.

1.

If your EPQ is relevant to the degree you're applying for, then it will help. I know a couple people on my course that talked about their EPQs in their personal statement and interviews because it was relevant. If its not relevant to your degree, though, it won't be much help (they simply don't care that much about extra-curriculars).

2.

Nope, 3 is all you need, though 4 is common too. Doing 5 will just make your life harder and not benefit you much. I did 4 A-levels and had to stretch myself pretty thin, resulting in worse grades. If I could go back I would have done 3 personally. You just need to get good enough grades to meet the requirements, then beyond that its mostly other factors that matter (personal statement, interviews, admissions tests, etc).

3.

Colleges mostly only matter for accommodation, food, finances, etc. The only caveat is that your tutors are specific to your college, so the college you go to will affect what your tutorials are like. If you're worried about this try to ask some people doing your course what their tutorials are like. I would say don't worry too much about it though :smile: Just choose which college to apply to based on location, appearance, vibe, funding opportunities, etc. You'll be living here for 4 years so choose one you feel comfortable at and suits you!

4.

Oxford only cares about things that are relevant to your subject. For example, if you write that you play guitar in your chemistry application they probably won't really care. So focus mostly on relevant stuff in your personal statement and just add a couple sentences about other stuff if you have space, to show that you are a well-rounded individual. But don't focus on it beyond that in your application.

5.

GCSEs do matter but I can't say how much. Personally, I think my GCSEs probably helped me because I got really good GCSEs and worse A-level grades. But it's certainly not the most important factor. A-levels, admissions tests, personal statement and interviews matter much more! So don't stress too hard about them (you don't need straight 9s).

6.

It does depend on which tutor is reading your application, but generally Oxford is looking for people who (in addition to being good at their subject) show that they are passionate about their subject. That means you need to demonstrate that you have gone above and beyond to learn about your subject. I'd recommend keeping track of all the extra stuff you do that's relevant. Also, try to show that you have engaged with it on a deeper level, like look at opposing views, go down rabbit holes, actively search for info, etc. It's less about memorising facts and more about understanding the key concepts in your subject, being able to understand new information and being able to logically solve problems using your background knowledge. My tutor said she also tries to select people who are 'individuals', i.e. they are unique, passionate and well-rounded people, but I don't know if that's common with other tutors.

You can do this! Best of luck!
1. It's best to do an EPQ on a topic related to what you want to study. I spoke about mine in my personal statement as it linked to the subject I applied for and this is helpful as it shows your interest

2. No. I received an offer this year and do 3 alevels, whilst people doing 4 or 5 didn't. Emtry requirements are only 3 alevel grades so you don't need to be doing any more than this

3. Only certain colleges offer certain subjects but you can find online easily which colleges offer the subject you want to study. The college you apply to isn't necessarily that important however, as quite a lot of applicants get pooled/made an offer from a different college

4. Oxford don't care as much about extracurriculars, they focus more on your wider reading, experience etc. I only had one sentence on extracurriculars personally

5. GCSEs are important to an extent and have varying levels of importance based on your subject e.g. they're important in medicine shortlisting but not necessarily for other subjects. You don't need all 9s
Reply 7
The downside of 4 or more A levels is the risk that you may not achieve as strong a set of grades compared to if you’d taken 3. Many schools now recommend taking 3 only, 4 is a stretch and I would suggest 5 is foolhardy for the vast majority.

(Father of an offer holder).

I did 4 and my daughter was strongly encouraged to go for 3 only.

The only exception might be (in my personal view) Maths/Further maths. If you’re sticking on 3 that’s 2 of the 3 already..

As already mentioned, looking for opportunities to go beyond the syllabus in your chosen subjects is what plays well.

Don’t forget you need time to study for your entrance exam and become prepared for an interview.

Good luck !
Reply 8
Original post by 1234567764779
context: I want to go to oxford
1) will doing an EPQ about something other than I am studying or want to study ok, or will Oxford appreciate it more if I do an extension of something I am learning so I can talk about it in interviews?
2) Will doing 5 a levels give ,e a better chance of getting in?
3) How do the colleges work? I want to study science, are there colleges better siuited? i'm really confused about that
4) what other extra-curricular things does Oxford value?
(i do lamda, i have a primary, secondary and will have a high school diploma for a full japanese education on top of my normal GCSEs and A levels)
5) how vital are GCSEs?
6) is there anything else that Oxford may be looking for?
I'm in year 11 and ranting bc i'm stressed, pls help :smile:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6100480
Should cover every question !

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