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5 A*s predicted, 71 on the MAT, rejected from 5/5 unis.

My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol.
Major of choice was Maths and Computer Science(Dual Major)

Below are my stats-
My subjects were Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science. A* predicteds for all of them.
71/100 on Oxford's MAT
5/5 on 4 AP subjects(Computer Science A, Physics 1, Physics 2, Chemistry), 4/5 on 1 AP subject(Calc BC)
Supercurricular:
Read real analysis and discussed a cool question in my personal statement.
I love game theory so I discussed Cheryl's birthday problem, which was the problem that got me interested in game theory.
Coded multiple projects over the years. These include a remake of an angry birds level using a physics engine in javascript, the website for my annual school MUN, an electricity bill calculator for all Indian states(depending on their rates), and a slingshot game with a timer(again, using the physics engine).

Why did I get rejected from everything? Is it the major that's too competitive?
(edited 1 month ago)

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Your essential mistake = "My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol." for something as madly competitive as CS.

These Universities are ludicrously oversubscribed for CS and as you have discovered, just meeting the A level requirements does not guarantee you an offer from any of them. The number of applications they get (literally, thousands) means they have to drill down to your GCSE grades, score' your PS, and factor in your MAT score. And many people will come out of this process ahead of you.

I realise its too late now but you should have had one 'other' Uni like Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea, Sussex etc to make sure you got at least one offer. You may be lucky and find something sensible in Clearing - alternatively, its a gap-year and reapply next year with 5 slightly more realistic choices.
Reply 2
I can’t say why you got rejected, but you definitely made a mistake in putting down a top university for each of your 5 options. People should always put down a safe option that is a little bit worse but they are almost guaranteed to get accepted to
Reply 3
Original post by acelixis
My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol.
Major of choice was Maths and Computer Science(Dual Major)
Below are my stats-
My subjects were Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science. A* predicteds for all of them.
71/100 on Oxford's MAT
5/5 on 4 AP subjects(Computer Science A, Physics 1, Physics 2, Chemistry), 4/5 on 1 AP subject(Calc BC)
Supercurricular:
Read real analysis and discussed a cool question in my personal statement.
I love game theory so I discussed Cheryl's birthday problem, which was the problem that got me interested in game theory.
Coded multiple projects over the years. These include a remake of an angry birds level using a physics engine in javascript, the website for my annual school MUN, an electricity bill calculator for all Indian states(depending on their rates), and a slingshot game with a timer(again, using the physics engine).
Why did I get rejected from everything? Is it the major that's too competitive?


My only guess would be that your weakest AP, Calc, is the one they care about the most for the course you are applying for, as being strong at maths is important for both maths and computer science (APs are also generally viewed as less rigorous than A-Levels). If you are being compared to applicants who got the maximum maths grade at the first time of asking (or are predicted to achieve that), then your application will probably be a bit weaker and for those unis it does need to be super strong. That being said, those are an impressive set of stats and I hope you are able to get in somewhere good!
Reply 4
Original post by mcginger
Your essential mistake = "My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol." for something as madly competitive as CS.
These Universities are ludicrously oversubscribed for CS and as you have discovered, just meeting the A level requirements does not guarantee you an offer from any of them. The number of applications they get (literally, thousands) means they have to drill down to your GCSE grades, score' your PS, and factor in your MAT score. And many people will come out of this process ahead of you.
I realise its too late now but you should have had one 'other' Uni like Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea, Sussex etc to make sure you got at least one offer. You may be lucky and find something sensible in Clearing - alternatively, its a gap-year and reapply next year with 5 slightly more realistic choices.

Honestly, I didn't think Bristol would be as competitive as it turned out to be. It was supposed to be my safety choice. I saw a senior in my school with negligible supercurriculars and A*A*A predicteds get accepted to Bristol for CS. That, and searching through forums and rankings I concluded it was a viable safety option.
I did apply to USA though and got into a decently good uni there so I won't be taking a drop year fortunately. Thank you for your answer!
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by McGinger
Your essential mistake = "My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol." for something as madly competitive as CS.
These Universities are ludicrously oversubscribed for CS and as you have discovered, just meeting the A level requirements does not guarantee you an offer from any of them. The number of applications they get (literally, thousands) means they have to drill down to your GCSE grades, score' your PS, and factor in your MAT score. And many people will come out of this process ahead of you.
I realise its too late now but you should have had one 'other' Uni like Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff, Southampton, Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea, Sussex etc to make sure you got at least one offer. You may be lucky and find something sensible in Clearing - alternatively, its a gap-year and reapply next year with 5 slightly more realistic choices.

Let's be honest, it is surprising that OP got a rejection from edi and bristol with these stats.
Original post by keep improving
Let's be honest, it is surprising that OP got a rejection from edi and bristol with these stats.

They do need to ask for feedback I agree.
Am I right in thinking each uni is accepting or rejecting independently of one another? Because you had to apply early for Oxford, this is the only other bit of information the other unis had about your uni choices. Ie they would know you were an oxbridge applicant. Not that it makes any difference but just saying big.
Very very sorry not one of them saw your potential. Maybe it was a contextual or wider participation issue working “against” you?
Original post by acelixis
My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol.
Major of choice was Maths and Computer Science(Dual Major)
Below are my stats-
My subjects were Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science. A* predicteds for all of them.
71/100 on Oxford's MAT
5/5 on 4 AP subjects(Computer Science A, Physics 1, Physics 2, Chemistry), 4/5 on 1 AP subject(Calc BC)
Supercurricular:
Read real analysis and discussed a cool question in my personal statement.
I love game theory so I discussed Cheryl's birthday problem, which was the problem that got me interested in game theory.
Coded multiple projects over the years. These include a remake of an angry birds level using a physics engine in javascript, the website for my annual school MUN, an electricity bill calculator for all Indian states(depending on their rates), and a slingshot game with a timer(again, using the physics engine).
Why did I get rejected from everything? Is it the major that's too competitive?

I would guess it was your PS - a list of what you've done isn't what they are looking for. How did you link them to you degree choice?
Original post by acelixis
My universities were Oxford, Imperial, UCL, Edinburgh, and Bristol.
Major of choice was Maths and Computer Science(Dual Major)
Below are my stats-
My subjects were Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science. A* predicteds for all of them.
71/100 on Oxford's MAT
5/5 on 4 AP subjects(Computer Science A, Physics 1, Physics 2, Chemistry), 4/5 on 1 AP subject(Calc BC)
Supercurricular:
Read real analysis and discussed a cool question in my personal statement.
I love game theory so I discussed Cheryl's birthday problem, which was the problem that got me interested in game theory.
Coded multiple projects over the years. These include a remake of an angry birds level using a physics engine in javascript, the website for my annual school MUN, an electricity bill calculator for all Indian states(depending on their rates), and a slingshot game with a timer(again, using the physics engine).
Why did I get rejected from everything? Is it the major that's too competitive?

I think the issue would be your 4 in Calc BC. Most applicants, especially successful applicants, will be offering A*s in Maths and Further Maths A-Level or a similarly intense equivalent, and Calc BC just doesn't cover as much content or reach as high of a level, even if you had gotten a 5.
(edited 1 month ago)
Reply 10
Original post by melancollege
I think the issue would be your 4 in Calc BC. Most applicants, especially successful applicants, will be offering A*s in Maths and Further Maths A-Level or a similarly intense equivalent, and Calc BC just doesn't cover as much content or reach as high of a level, even if you had gotten a 5.
I do have an A* in maths and further maths though. Calc BC was just something additional I included, and none of the unis even considered AP because they were willing to consider only one exam board.
Reply 11
Original post by Muttley79
I would guess it was your PS - a list of what you've done isn't what they are looking for. How did you link them to you degree choice?

I started off by describing how competitive maths changed my view on mathematics. How it was no longer just simple formula plug-and-play(school maths). How I enjoyed getting stuck on a problem and thinking on it for days. During those moments I felt that I could do this all my life. Then I discussed two cool math problems that were particularly interesting to me.
Then I talked about CS. About the way I enjoyed the creative aspect of designing a programming project, the 'creativity within logical bounds' theme of this subject. Followed by going over a few of the programming projects I made over the years.
As for the major, I said I wanted to study maths + CS because I want to make a career in ML, which requires a lot of both.
Reply 12
Original post by Vida Lein
Am I right in thinking each uni is accepting or rejecting independently of one another? Because you had to apply early for Oxford, this is the only other bit of information the other unis had about your uni choices. Ie they would know you were an oxbridge applicant. Not that it makes any difference but just saying big.
Very very sorry not one of them saw your potential. Maybe it was a contextual or wider participation issue working “against” you?

No, they wouldn't know for sure that you were an Oxbridge applicant. I have a few friends that were early applicants and didn't apply to Oxbridge or for dentistry, vet med or med. They would know the date you sent off your application and can make some reasonable guesses from your application (I saw reasonable, but in many cases, there will be flaws in these guesses) as to whether you were an early applicant or not but they won't know for sure.

However, after you firm and insure, I think the universities will see who you received an offer from and who you didn't. Correct me if I'm wrong @McGinger ?
Reply 13
Original post by vnayak
No, they wouldn't know for sure that you were an Oxbridge applicant. I have a few friends that were early applicants and didn't apply to Oxbridge or for dentistry, vet med or med. They would know the date you sent off your application and can make some reasonable guesses from your application (I saw reasonable, but in many cases, there will be flaws in these guesses) as to whether you were an early applicant or not but they won't know for sure.
However, after you firm and insure, I think the universities will see who you received an offer from and who you didn't. Correct me if I'm wrong @McGinger ?

Oh hey vnayak
I remember you from my previous post a few months ago
Who knew I'd get rejected by everything else as well in the future 💀
Which offers did you end up getting?
Reply 14
Original post by acelixis
Oh hey vnayak
I remember you from my previous post a few months ago
Who knew I'd get rejected by everything else as well in the future 💀
Which offers did you end up getting?

Hi! Really unfortunate, my friend, that you got rejected from all 5. It's really surprised me that you got rejected from all 5 because I know a few people with worse A levels (no contextual flags either) that have been accepted into Bristol. From what you've mentioned, your personal statement sounds intriguing and sound so I think it's deffo your Calc BC that let you down. It's great that you've got offers in hand for institutions in your own country and I'm sure you'll have an amazing time there!

I have offers from Imperial, Edinburgh and Manchester, rejections from Cambridge and Durham. Firm choice: Imperial, but I'm having a hard time deciding on who to insure between Edinburgh and Manchester. Thoughts?

I wish you the best of luck for future endeavours.
Reply 15
Original post by vnayak
Hi! Really unfortunate, my friend, that you got rejected from all 5. It's really surprised me that you got rejected from all 5 because I know a few people with worse A levels (no contextual flags either) that have been accepted into Bristol. From what you've mentioned, your personal statement sounds intriguing and sound so I think it's deffo your Calc BC that let you down. It's great that you've got offers in hand for institutions in your own country and I'm sure you'll have an amazing time there!
I have offers from Imperial, Edinburgh and Manchester, rejections from Cambridge and Durham. Firm choice: Imperial, but I'm having a hard time deciding on who to insure between Edinburgh and Manchester. Thoughts?
I wish you the best of luck for future endeavours.
If it was really my calc BC then that's unfortunate. The only reason I did APs was for USA unis and I had only 1 month to prep for them :frown:
I'm from India too btw, same as you
Congrats on the amazing offers!

If I'm not wrong, Manchester has A*A*A* requirements for CS? Definitely Edinburgh would be a much better choice because of lower entry requirements + better for CS.
Original post by vnayak
No, they wouldn't know for sure that you were an Oxbridge applicant. I have a few friends that were early applicants and didn't apply to Oxbridge or for dentistry, vet med or med. They would know the date you sent off your application and can make some reasonable guesses from your application (I saw reasonable, but in many cases, there will be flaws in these guesses) as to whether you were an early applicant or not but they won't know for sure.
However, after you firm and insure, I think the universities will see who you received an offer from and who you didn't. Correct me if I'm wrong @McGinger ?

Yes - only at that point can all your Unis see where else you applied.

And btw - its a total myth that Unis have some some of pro/con bigotry about when you apply and therefore if you might also have applied to Oxbridge. Truth is actually we don't care. Vast numbers of those who do apply to Oxbridge don't get a place there and they end up at one of the other Unis they have applied to. And that's why we don't waste our energy on this sort of stuff.
Reply 17
Original post by acelixis
If it was really my calc BC then that's unfortunate. The only reason I did APs was for USA unis and I had only 1 month to prep for them :frown:
I'm from India too btw, same as you
Congrats on the amazing offers!
If I'm not wrong, Manchester has A*A*A* requirements for CS? Definitely Edinburgh would be a much better choice because of lower entry requirements + better for CS.

Ahhh, that's really unfortunate that you only had 1 month to prepare! I understand that IB is harder but I think you would have had a better shot, had you gone with IB (not saying that doing APs impacted your decisions entirely and that it was the sole game changer).

Computer Science has become insanely competitive this year and there's been insane rejections for home students to begin with from the likes of Durham, Edinburgh, Bath etc. so if this is the case, it's even harder as an international student. Don't beat yourself up, my friend. You gave it a shot.

Also, sorry for assuming! I thought that you could only do AP classes in the US so I thought you were applying from the US.

Same entry reqs for Edinburgh and Manchester. It says on the website 3 A*s to AAB on Edinburgh's website but the AAB is reserved for applicants with a contextual flag so everyone else gets 3 A*s (with some exceptions of people getting A*AA if they have some contextual flags but not enough to qualify for AAB).

Edinburgh is better for sure rankings-wise but the course website is quite vague in terms of the optional modules offered so I can't make a decision! The Manchester course is extremely thorough on their website and they've clearly stated what the optional modules that I can take up are so no complaints there. I can also maybe switch to a Year in Industry on the Manchester course so I'm edging towards Manchester because of the lack of info but Edinburgh is AMAZING so it's making it hard to make a decision.
Reply 18
Original post by McGinger
Yes - only at that point can all your Unis see where else you applied.
And btw - its a total myth that Unis have some some of pro/con bigotry about when you apply and therefore if you might also have applied to Oxbridge. Truth is actually we don't care. Vast numbers of those who do apply to Oxbridge don't get a place there and they end up at one of the other Unis they have applied to. And that's why we don't waste our energy on this sort of stuff.

As you should! Thank you for correcting me and informing me of this.
Reply 19
Original post by vnayak
Ahhh, that's really unfortunate that you only had 1 month to prepare! I understand that IB is harder but I think you would have had a better shot, had you gone with IB (not saying that doing APs impacted your decisions entirely and that it was the sole game changer).
Computer Science has become insanely competitive this year and there's been insane rejections for home students to begin with from the likes of Durham, Edinburgh, Bath etc. so if this is the case, it's even harder as an international student. Don't beat yourself up, my friend. You gave it a shot.
Also, sorry for assuming! I thought that you could only do AP classes in the US so I thought you were applying from the US.
Same entry reqs for Edinburgh and Manchester. It says on the website 3 A*s to AAB on Edinburgh's website but the AAB is reserved for applicants with a contextual flag so everyone else gets 3 A*s (with some exceptions of people getting A*AA if they have some contextual flags but not enough to qualify for AAB).
Edinburgh is better for sure rankings-wise but the course website is quite vague in terms of the optional modules offered so I can't make a decision! The Manchester course is extremely thorough on their website and they've clearly stated what the optional modules that I can take up are so no complaints there. I can also maybe switch to a Year in Industry on the Manchester course so I'm edging towards Manchester because of the lack of info but Edinburgh is AMAZING so it's making it hard to make a decision.

Oh, there might be a misunderstanding here.
My main board of choice is A levels. I wouldn't take IB because there's no point in taking two separate school curriculums.
I gave AP because of the credits it offers for USA universities(you can skip basic modules if you have AP credits, saving time and money). AP was never meant to be a replacement to my main curriculum(A levels). I just gave it to UK unis like "I have given APs so here are my scores, just to be completely transparent. But my main board is A-levels, so use A-levels to make a decision on my application".

You should definitely email Edinburgh and ask them for their list of optional modules before deciding. Maybe they do have a lot of optional modules! They do have a pretty well reputed CS program, so I would be surprised if they didn't

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