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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    I can't answer all your questions, but...


    I don't know, because I don't know what your grades mean. They will expect you to get an equivalent of AAA at A-level or have a damn good excuse for not having done so...
    is it not A*AA now?
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    Ah, they'll only look for potential to a certain degree -- by almost necessity, the top universities aren't as progressive as their prospectuses. Go for it though, sure; just don't be disappointed if it doesn't work out.
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    (Original post by clad in armour)
    is it not A*AA now?
    Nope, that's Cambridge
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    Nope, that's Cambridge
    Cambridge seem harder to get in to, they look at your UMS grades and retakes
    is Cambridge more popular?
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    (Original post by clad in armour)
    Cambridge seem harder to get in to, they look at your UMS grades and retakes
    is Cambridge more popular?
    I don't know if it's more popular, tbh. I guess it may be more popular for certain subjects :dontknow:
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    (Original post by clad in armour)
    Cambridge seem harder to get in to, they look at your UMS grades and retakes
    is Cambridge more popular?
    It's not a question of being more popular as such, it is just they tend to place emphasis on different things in the application process. Oxford tend to use more entrance tests and interview fewer people, whereas cambridge interview the majority of people applying. I've heard various things said about how Oxford places more emphasis on GCSE's but I'm not sure how true that is. I think it's more that Cambridge look to judge potential from UMS and Oxford from the specific entrance exam.

    The Cambridge offer of A*AA just reflects the fact that many offers already had a stipulation that people get over 90%, whereas Oxford tended not to. In addition the A* is only in it's infancy for A level, people are unsure of the impact of it and whether it will work against those from less afluent backgrounds, without access to the resources that would make a difference in achieving that extra 10%.
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    (Original post by AJ228)
    I'm 2 years removed from school. I have no APs(not that I'm not capable) and my GPA is like 2.8, I think. I'm not the same person that I was in high school though, and feel my grades are really meaningless in a sense because things have changed a lot. i grew up in a very dysfunctional home and school was rough for me in that way. I always did great in English and have more than enough intellectual ability and comprehension to succeed at Oxford. Its just a matter of them seeing that ability. i'm just going to apply and write a damn good essay and see what happens.
    If you want to stand any chance, you will need:
    1. a good academic reference, that will make a strong statement about your real abilities and how your school record does not properly reflect that, and why;
    2. to get a very strong score on the ELAT test, which will mean sorting out somewhere to take it, since you are not at school right now;
    3. if you get that far, to interview very well - that will mean travelling to Oxford for about a week in early December.

    Don't forget that there are no undergraduate scholarships at Oxford (well, effectively so). If you get a place, you will be looking at finding about £50k to fund your 3-year course.

    If you are up for that, then you could give it a go. It would probably be a good idea to apply to Harris Manchester college, as they have more experience of dealing with unusual applications.

    DtS
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    (Original post by jismith1989)
    Ah, they'll only look for potential to a certain degree -- by almost necessity, the top universities aren't as progressive as their prospectuses. Go for it though, sure; just don't be disappointed if it doesn't work out.
    Of course they're looking for potential. It's just that people occasionally get a bit confused as to what "potential" in this context actually means. It doesn't necessarily just mean "cleverer than you'd think by looking at his grades" it means "very likely to perform well (if pushed a bit) and achieve at least a 2.1 at the end of his degree", because that's what ultimately counts.:dontknow:
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Of course they're looking for potential. It's just that people occasionally get a bit confused as to what "potential" in this context actually means. It doesn't necessarily just mean "cleverer than you'd think by looking at his grades" it means "very likely to perform well (if pushed a bit) and achieve at least a 2.1 at the end of his degree", because that's what ultimately counts.
    Isn't that a somewhat circular argument? The implication being that if Oxford picks someone, he must be likely to perform better than someone they don't (i.e. have more potential), therefore, those who believe that applicants with greater potential than accepted applicants are sometimes rejected must be wrong. Of course, potential is a very slippery term and almost impossible to judge so all systems are going to necessarily fail on that point though.

    Anyway, it seems that there are more people who are capable of getting top grades -- firsts even -- at top universities than places for them; necessarily, therefore, some people are going to be rejected who could perform excellently. Besides, forecasts can never be 100% accurate, and thus neither can the system. I think that the system is probably as good as it can be; I just don't believe that it's infallible.
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    (Original post by jismith1989)
    Isn't that a somewhat circular argument? The implication being that if Oxford picks someone, he must be likely to perform better than someone they don't (i.e. have more potential), therefore, those who believe that rejected applicants with greater potential than accepted applicants are sometimes rejected must be wrong.
    No; the admissions tutors simply aren't always right. It's not really their fault, either - if a candidate has loads of potential but not the right grades or doesn't do well enough at interview, they're probably not going to spot it.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    No; the admissions tutors simply aren't always right. It's not really their fault, either - if a candidate has loads of potential but not the right grades or doesn't do well enough at interview, they're probably not going to spot it.
    Exactly, if you read my second paragraph, I said, in effect, exactly that.
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    Do APs, do APs, do APs!! You don't have to take the classes to take the test and British unis really don't give a **** about your GPA or your SAT scores -- they didn't about mine.

    Just sign up to do three or four of them next spring, get 4s and 5s, and you will have a shot.
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    (Original post by jismith1989)
    Exactly, if you read my second paragraph, I said, in effect, exactly that.
    I don't see how hobnob's argument was circular, then. She said nothing more than "Oxford are looking for students who will do well".
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    (Original post by SMed)
    I just wanted to share my experience with you.

    I'm a 25 year old from the US and I'm studying Medicine at Imperial College School Medicine.

    I was not a good student in high school by any stretch of the imagination. I barely passed my grades, hardly showed up, and was ranked in the high 600's out of 730. I did vocational classes in the last two years (Auto Tech) and just the bare minimum state requirements. I also had bad conduct and got in a few altercations at school. I actually didn't even finish as I left before the 2nd semester in my senior year. Just withdrew and walked out. Hardly glowing.

    I married an English girl and turned my life around. I moved to London and decided I wanted to become a doctor; as you do. So I went to a local 6th Form private college and did a fast track GCSE course and did 6 subjects (bio, chem, physics, maths, ICT, English) and got 6 A*s in 1 year. That's generally the minimum needed to apply for medicine. GCSE's were what I perceived to be at a US high school level of difficulty.

    I then did a normal 2 year A-Level course in Bio, Chem and Physics and got 3 A's. A-levels were what I perceived to be basic US college level or at least the AP high school classes; though I wouldn't really know as I was never in either.

    In my 2nd year of A-levels I applied to 4 medical schools; Oxford being one of them. I got rejected from Oxford though, but that could've been for a few reasons [minimum number of GCSE's and I got a mediocre BMAT (a separate entrance exam for medics)]. I got rejected from 2 others but I got and interview at Imperial. After the Imperial interview, I was rejected. I was **** at interviews and didn't really know what I was doing.

    I re-applied the following year and got 4 straight rejections without an interview.

    After that, I went and did as many hospital attachments as I could. I also managed to get a long term placement in a research lab for Muscular Dystrophy at a prestigious Imperial-linked hospital. It was unpaid and on a voluntary basis but it looked damned good on my personal statement.

    I then applied for a third time (are you counting? that's 1 year of gcse's, 2 years of a-levels and 2 more years after that with a 3 application attempts; that's 5 years total). I got another interview at Imperial and an interview at Liverpool. I seriously worked on my lacking interview skills and I got offers from both.

    Imperial was the only school I applied for each of the three attempts. It's the only one I really wanted to go to. Oxford would've been nice, and Imperial is not Oxford, but Imperial is still one of the top medical schools in the world. Some rankings have put Imperial above Oxford; but I don't really trust rankings much.

    Anyway, sorry for the long post. But if you really want to make it happen, things can be done. I'm not sure you will be able to get into Oxford with your current qualifications but it doesn't hurt to apply anyway.

    Good luck and let me know if you have any questions.
    as noone has said so yet.....


    well done. that is a phenomenol achievement considering your time in US High school. You knew what you wanted, and put in 5 years of solid concentration and effort to achieve it. I'm sure you will be an excellent doctor.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    I don't see how hobnob's argument was circular, then. She said nothing more than "Oxford are looking for students who will do well".
    Well, she implied that the system is equitable and those who believe that applicants with potential are sometimes rejected (necessarily or otherwise) must have an invalid idea of potential -- because Oxford tends not to reject people with potential as she defines it -- why? presumably because the system is equitable. At least that's what I got from it. :yum:
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    (Original post by jismith1989)
    Well, she implied that the system is equitable and those who believe that applicants with potential are sometimes rejected (necessarily or otherwise) must have an invalid idea of potential -- because Oxford tends not to reject people with potential as she defines it -- why? presumably because the system is equitable. At least that's what I got from it. :yum:
    Wow. Well, I'm fairly sure that's nothing like what she said; she didn't mention who got accepted or rejected, just what they were looking for. Not how successful they were in their search. :p:
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    (Original post by dougiemacs)
    as noone has said so yet.....


    well done. that is a phenomenol achievement considering your time in US High school. You knew what you wanted, and put in 5 years of solid concentration and effort to achieve it. I'm sure you will be an excellent doctor.
    Thank you, that's very kind.

    Now if only I can put in 4 weeks of solid concentration to pass my goddamn ************* ******** re-sit exams.

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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Wow. Well, I'm fairly sure that's nothing like what she said; she didn't mention who got accepted or rejected, just what they were looking for. Not how successful they were in their search. :p:
    Just that.
    Unless I completely misread jismith's original post, he was suggesting that they're "not as progressive as their prospectuses" and effectively only claiming to be looking for potential, and I don't think that's a justified criticism. Obviously "looking for potential" isn't synonymous with "aiming to admit every single candidate who might have potential (with an error margin of 0)", but that's a bit of a no-brainer...
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    Oh ffs.
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    (Original post by generalebriety)
    Well, you might like to have a look at their website - you'll see that you can only study one subject, with a few preset exceptions. So you'd be studying English Language and Literature.


    Well, ok. I don't know anything about American grades, but if you don't have the grades, you won't get the interview, unless you have some kind of extenuating circumstances.


    If you have the grades they are asking for, and passion for your subject, you have as much chance as anyone else. Remember that it's stiff competition, and admissions is frequently (slightly pejoratively, but only slightly) compared to a lottery. No one can predict whether anyone will get in or not.


    Same way as anyone else - through UCAS. As this is Oxford, you'll also need to fill in a few extra forms and so on, and you have an earlier deadline - you'll need to apply by the middle of October this year for 2010 entry (rather than the middle of January, which is the deadline for most courses). I'm sure this page will explain it better than I can, and with much less effort on my part. Though do write back if you have any questions.

    One final thing I should mention is the personal statement that's required of you to apply to any British universities - it's absolutely nothing like the American style of personal statement, and that kind of thing sounds really odd to us. There are examples all over TSR (see links at the top of the page), and there's a dedicated personal statement help forum - go and have a look there.
    Oxford actually does English and French together, and certain colleges actively try to attract such students (e.g. New)

    About 50% of mature students are at colleges other than Harris Manchester, which only does certain subjects, generally humanities.

    OP, if you have less than great school-time results, and you want to convince Oxford that you have 'changed' or were disadvantaged, then perhaps it might be wise to get something more current, maybe an AP or two? They will be looking for something indicating your potential e.g. recent attainment, as well as a very good reference.

    Oxford DOES look at GPA in the form of school reference e.g. how you performed at school (for normal age applicants at least), but only really for your final years, I don't think (!) they care about class performance lower down.

    There is a test for English, for Home students, which can allow applicants to show ability/potential they might not otherwise be able to demonstrate, it might be an idea if you wish to strengthen your application to interview in the UK instead of doing a phone or e.g. New York interview.
 
 
 
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