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I can't decide whether to go to Oxford or take a gap year and reapply - any advice?:)

Hi,

I have posted before that I was stuck between Oxford and UCL. I applied for medicine quite last-minute and didn't think about where to acc apply. I ended up getting into Oxford and not getting into UCL, which is annoying because I had also just decided that I wanted to go to UCL over Oxford. I'm now considering taking a gap year and reapplying to imperial, KCL, UCL and QMUL next year instead (or maybe 3 and 1 non-london uni depending on what I feel). I think I would do this by deferring Oxford (I may do this either way as I have quite bad mental health at the moment), making 100% sure I wanna reject Oxford and apply to London unis, then taking the UCAT and applying. But I can't seem to decide which to (I'll put the arguments for and against).

For a gap year + reapplying:

- Like I said, my mental health is bad so 1) a gap year might be good anyway as I've only just been able to access mh support and 2) Oxford isn't exactly known to be amazing for student's mental health.
- I much much prefer London to Oxford. After visiting both, Oxford felt far too small.
- The structure + courses at the 4 London unis fit me a lot better (more global, humanitarian intercalation which is what I want to do, better language options.
- Contrary to how it may seem, my finances would be better in London, as I'd have a year of savings + be able to work during the degree.
- I do like going out + want a less formal (for lack of a better phrase) student experience, rather than the more subdued culture that surrounds Oxford.
- I'd have a year out of education to work on a few hobbies.
- This last one is less important, but I still yet haven't met a northern person in all the interactions I've had to do with Oxford.

For going to Oxford:

- A year is a long time, and I do feel ready to go to university (maybe not Oxford).
- Rejecting Oxford is a huge deal, although I've come to terms with this back when I had a chance of getting into UCL.
- There's a chance I get rejected from all 4 unis. I got into 2 this year (Oxford + Birmingham). I am okay with UCAT (I got 3260B1 last year) but if I fail at this interviews, I could end up with 0 chance of doing medicine.
- London comes with it's own cons as well (although for me the pros of London outweigh the cons).

It would be good if I could get any opinions on this :smile:
I don't know much about medicine application generally, or the medicine course at Oxford, but I would very seriously advise caution, re: firming Oxford and going there this year if your mental health is not good/if you have a mental health diagnosis.

I imagine you may have to go through occupational health checks for any uni if you have a mental health diagnosis - but in addition to all that, you should be researching and enquiring into what mental health support and exam arrangements/concessions would provided by each uni you're considering. Knowledge is power, and you want to make sure that whatever uni you choose will take care of you, and take how your mental health impacts you into consideration for practical and written exams.

Fwiw, I wouldn't call Oxford's student experience a "subdued culture"! It's different, for sure, but we do know how to party hard and still get good grades. That said, I understand you wanting a more regular student experience, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Medicine is very hardcore at any uni, so I think taking a gap year to stabilise and figure out antidepressants, etc. could be beneficial. But I'm not a medic (I studied music at Oxford), so can't advise much more than that. But yeah, do be very careful about accepting that Oxford offer and starting there this October :eek:

Good luck in making a decision. Hopefully some medics will be along to advise further :h:
Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd
I don't know much about medicine application generally, or the medicine course at Oxford, but I would very seriously advise caution, re: firming Oxford and going there this year if your mental health is not good/if you have a mental health diagnosis.
I imagine you may have to go through occupational health checks for any uni if you have a mental health diagnosis - but in addition to all that, you should be researching and enquiring into what mental health support and exam arrangements/concessions would provided by each uni you're considering. Knowledge is power, and you want to make sure that whatever uni you choose will take care of you, and take how your mental health impacts you into consideration for practical and written exams.
Fwiw, I wouldn't call Oxford's student experience a "subdued culture"! It's different, for sure, but we do know how to party hard and still get good grades. That said, I understand you wanting a more regular student experience, and there's nothing wrong with that.
Medicine is very hardcore at any uni, so I think taking a gap year to stabilise and figure out antidepressants, etc. could be beneficial. But I'm not a medic (I studied music at Oxford), so can't advise much more than that. But yeah, do be very careful about accepting that Oxford offer and starting there this October :eek:
Good luck in making a decision. Hopefully some medics will be along to advise further :h:

Thank you!

I've held back from telling occupational health before I've got any sort of concrete diagnosis / proof, but I'm definitely gonna email them before August. :smile:
Original post by tastierspoon460
Thank you!
I've held back from telling occupational health before I've got any sort of concrete diagnosis / proof, but I'm definitely gonna email them before August. :smile:

Glad you will update occupational health once you have a diagnosis and the accompanying proof! You should also look into Disabled Students' Allowance (mental health counts as a disability!) :smile:
What would you do if Oxford rejected your request to defer?
Original post by ageshallnot
What would you do if Oxford rejected your request to defer?

I'm not 100% sure yet. I think it would depend on my mental health at the time. If I were at the point I am at now, there is 0% chance I could get through Oxford + enjoy it. But I'm hoping that they're generally supportive with it.
Original post by tastierspoon460
Hi,
I have posted before that I was stuck between Oxford and UCL. I applied for medicine quite last-minute and didn't think about where to acc apply. I ended up getting into Oxford and not getting into UCL, which is annoying because I had also just decided that I wanted to go to UCL over Oxford. I'm now considering taking a gap year and reapplying to imperial, KCL, UCL and QMUL next year instead (or maybe 3 and 1 non-london uni depending on what I feel). I think I would do this by deferring Oxford (I may do this either way as I have quite bad mental health at the moment), making 100% sure I wanna reject Oxford and apply to London unis, then taking the UCAT and applying. But I can't seem to decide which to (I'll put the arguments for and against).
For a gap year + reapplying:
- Like I said, my mental health is bad so 1) a gap year might be good anyway as I've only just been able to access mh support and 2) Oxford isn't exactly known to be amazing for student's mental health.
- I much much prefer London to Oxford. After visiting both, Oxford felt far too small.
- The structure + courses at the 4 London unis fit me a lot better (more global, humanitarian intercalation which is what I want to do, better language options.
- Contrary to how it may seem, my finances would be better in London, as I'd have a year of savings + be able to work during the degree.
- I do like going out + want a less formal (for lack of a better phrase) student experience, rather than the more subdued culture that surrounds Oxford.
- I'd have a year out of education to work on a few hobbies.
- This last one is less important, but I still yet haven't met a northern person in all the interactions I've had to do with Oxford.
For going to Oxford:
- A year is a long time, and I do feel ready to go to university (maybe not Oxford).
- Rejecting Oxford is a huge deal, although I've come to terms with this back when I had a chance of getting into UCL.
- There's a chance I get rejected from all 4 unis. I got into 2 this year (Oxford + Birmingham). I am okay with UCAT (I got 3260B1 last year) but if I fail at this interviews, I could end up with 0 chance of doing medicine.
- London comes with it's own cons as well (although for me the pros of London outweigh the cons).
It would be good if I could get any opinions on this :smile:

I think you should take the gap and reapply you've got to be happy where you are otherwise you will drop out or fail and Oxford is very tough.
Original post by tastierspoon460
I'm not 100% sure yet. I think it would depend on my mental health at the time. If I were at the point I am at now, there is 0% chance I could get through Oxford + enjoy it. But I'm hoping that they're generally supportive with it.

You can't defer and reapply to other unis.
Original post by Muttley79
You can't defer and reapply to other unis.

Oh I know, the deferring would more be so that I could 100% make sure that whatever choice I ended up making was the one I wanted, without risking losing my Oxford offer. Once I'd received my A-Level results + resat the UCAT and was 100% going to reapply, I would email Oxford to explain my situation, and reject my offer. :smile:
Is Birmingham out of the question? Birmingham is a big city. It's not London, but it has many plus points. The university has a pleasant site in leafy Edgbaston, not far from the busy city centre, and not far from the beautiful countryside of Warwickshire. I agree with others, however, that if your mental state isn't great at present, a gap year could be the best plan. Studying and practising medicine are always going to be difficult, so best to start when you feel ready to take the pressures.
(edited 3 weeks ago)

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