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    Hello everyone. I'm new to the student room and am an American applying to Oxford this year. I had two questions about the application process for Oxford.

    1. For the teacher's reference, is it necessary for me to select a teacher that teaches my intended course? I am applying for the history course but would like to ask my Spanish teacher for my reference to Oxford. I have a close relationship with him and did well in his class. On the other hand, I don't have that kind of rapport with my history (U.S. History) teacher.

    2. This may be a random question, but for the personal statement, do you think I should take the pains to use British English as opposed to American English? For example, should I replace words like "organization" and "color" with "organisation" and "colour" and say I'm going to university instead of going to college? Or do you think that the admissions tutors would understand given that I am applying from the United States?

    Thank you in advance!
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    1. I would imagine this will be OK, but obviously in an ideal situation youd want it from someone whos got a background in history such that their recommendation might mean more, though again obviously you wouldnt want to sacrifice quality of the reference either
    2. I think for the most part its not much of an effort on your part to convert it to UK English, especially if you use a spell checker. It will at least let them know you care about it enough to make these small changes - just as youd expect spelling and grammar to be flawless too - dont forget that small things all add up! In addition I would also say that using certain 'Americanisms' such as college instead of university could actually lead to confusion as a college in the UK means something different and a college in Oxford is something different again!

    Bottom line, youre out to impress, theyll appreciate the effort you make, especially that thats not directly required.
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    1. Use the teacher who will give you the best reference
    2. ******* hell yes use British English, I imagine they'd get pretty stuff if you started popping out with your 'zee' and neglecting the important double 'l' e.g. traveller as opposed to traveler.
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    (Original post by iwmo)
    Hello everyone. I'm new to the student room and am an American applying to Oxford this year. I had two questions about the application process for Oxford.

    1. For the teacher's reference, is it necessary for me to select a teacher that teaches my intended course? I am applying for the history course but would like to ask my Spanish teacher for my reference to Oxford. I have a close relationship with him and did well in his class. On the other hand, I don't have that kind of rapport with my history (U.S. History) teacher.

    2. This may be a random question, but for the personal statement, do you think I should take the pains to use British English as opposed to American English? For example, should I replace words like "organization" and "color" with "organisation" and "colour" and say I'm going to university instead of going to college? Or do you think that the admissions tutors would understand given that I am applying from the United States?

    Thank you in advance!

    I think either will do for the reference. I would use as much british english and also our school tells us that the personal statement itself must be slightly different. You've got to pretend that the person reading it is looking to criticise you for not being very down to earth and modest so when applying to a british uni, don't make statements like i am excellent in... but rather that i feel i have excelled in. Also apparantly if you apply to America, you are meant to use a lot more superlatives in the personal statement than you would normally in an application to a British uni.

    Has anyone else heard anything like this? It's just that our school tells us to write two very different statements.
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    (Original post by acm345)
    I think either will do for the reference. I would use as much british english and also our school tells us that the personal statement itself must be slightly different. You've got to pretend that the person reading it is looking to criticise you for not being very down to earth and modest so when applying to a british uni, don't make statements like i am excellent in... but rather that i feel i have excelled in. Also apparantly if you apply to America, you are meant to use a lot more superlatives in the personal statement than you would normally in an application to a British uni.

    Has anyone else heard anything like this? It's just that our school tells us to write two very different statements.
    Yes I can see where youre coming from... If your PS said Im brilliant at this and excellent at that and the best at that, then youre going to look like a tool (at least over here anyway). Now thats not to say you need to dumb it down, you just need to be more crafty about how you go about doing it. Youve still got to blow them away, but its with class and finess you want to be doing it, not in your face comments. I think to sum it up, the line between showing off and arrogance is different between the UK and the states so I can totally understand why youre told to write two different statements.
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    (Original post by martin101)
    Yes I can see where youre coming from... If your PS said Im brilliant at this and excellent at that and the best at that, then youre going to look like a tool (at least over here anyway). Now thats not to say you need to dumb it down, you just need to be more crafty about how you go about doing it. Youve still got to blow them away, but its with class and finess you want to be doing it, not in your face comments. I think to sum it up, the line between showing off and arrogance is different between the UK and the states so I can totally understand why youre told to write two different statements.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me I was slightly confused beforehand
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    One other thing. The PS helpers can advise you better than I can (use them!), but I get the impression that US colleges lend much more weight to extra-curriculars than places in the UK. Most of the statement should be about why you'll do well in the course, not about why you're a good bloke with extensive leadership experience (or whatever you'd need to say if you applied to Harvard or somewhere:rolleyes:). This different focus seems to be a problem some applicants from overseas have encountered so it's worth remembering.
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    (Original post by iwmo)
    Hello everyone. I'm new to the student room and am an American applying to Oxford this year. I had two questions about the application process for Oxford.

    1. For the teacher's reference, is it necessary for me to select a teacher that teaches my intended course? I am applying for the history course but would like to ask my Spanish teacher for my reference to Oxford. I have a close relationship with him and did well in his class. On the other hand, I don't have that kind of rapport with my history (U.S. History) teacher.

    2. This may be a random question, but for the personal statement, do you think I should take the pains to use British English as opposed to American English? For example, should I replace words like "organization" and "color" with "organisation" and "colour" and say I'm going to university instead of going to college? Or do you think that the admissions tutors would understand given that I am applying from the United States?

    Thank you in advance!
    One part of the reference that the teacher has to comment on is prediction of your grades... if you are applying to History, get the spanish teacher to inquire about your predicted grades and incorporate it into his/her references - thats what I did. Got my biology teacher to write the reference by he spoke to my physics, maths, and chem teachers who all provided an assessment.
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    (Original post by running from demons)
    One other thing. The PS helpers can advise you better than I can (use them!), but I get the impression that US colleges lend much more weight to extra-curriculars than places in the UK. Most of the statement should be about why you'll do well in the course, not about why you're a good bloke with extensive leadership experience (or whatever you'd need to say if you applied to Harvard or somewhere:rolleyes:). This different focus seems to be a problem some applicants from overseas have encountered so it's worth remembering.
    Yep. American statements are ******* bizarre. They're more like novels. A personal statement should tell us why you like your subject, what you've done to prove your interest in your subject, and why you'd be a good student - and most people include a few lines of miscellaneous rubbish like extra-curriculars "just in case", but I'm convinced it makes minimal difference.

    As for American English vs. British English: use either, but whichever you use, use it consistently. We all understand American English and accept it as a legitimate variant of British English (even if the converse might not be true ), but consistency is important - if you start mixing things up it'll stand out. So I'd recommend American English just because you're probably more used to it. Do try and use British terminology, though - e.g. don't use "college" to mean what it means in the States, because it has loads of meanings over here and none of them correspond to what it means over there. And certainly don't use "school" to mean "university", because that's just confusing.

    (Original post by iwmo)
    1. For the teacher's reference, is it necessary for me to select a teacher that teaches my intended course?
    Not at all.
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    OMG LOL

    i had this same issue when i wrote my PS.


    i worried over it for days - honor or honour?!?!?!?!?


    i forgot what I went with, I don't really think it matters much.


    And my english teacher from sophomore year wrote my rec....i'm going in to study natsci
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    1. I used my guidance counselor (who had access to all AP tests). The personal statement was refreshing compared to the retarded pointless lifestory-novel the Common App likes. Just write why you're interested in History (don't specifically mention Oxford) and what you've done that supports that, other than test scores.

    2. I didn't bother, but you should be consistent. Although you should use university instead of college, since there is actually a difference.
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    1. Why not use both? All of my A Level teachers put in notes for my reference, which were corroborated into one single reference. This means you get the background subject knowledge part as well as the character reference part, from people who know you well as well as from people who know how good you are at your subject.
    2. As generalebriety says, it doesn't matter what you pick - just be consistent.

    I do recommend that you use the PS Help forum on this site, too (though I am biased ) - we know what kind of thing the universities here will be looking for in a personal statement.
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    Thank your for the replies
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    I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but the UCAS website is actually very helpful. It gives you rather detailed information on what to have in your reference and PS, and it explicitly states that it can be very different from how other countries do it. I agree that our system is really rather strange; I looked at a Harvard book of "X # Successful Application Essays" one was titled "Banana" and read more like a short story than something that was actually relevant. Personally, I'm going to write mine in American English as I think it's sort of weird and pretentious to write it in a dialect that isn't yours-they're going to know where you're from, it says it right on your application. I feel like anyone reading it will be able to see right through it. I think it's a lot more important to be yourself, and faking your dialect would read to me as trying very hard to be someone else. But that's just me.
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    One part of the reference that the teacher has to comment on is prediction of your grades...
    Does this apply to AP exams as well? I'm familiar with the fact that IB has predicted grades, but I've never heard of teachers giving out predicted grades for AP exams. All of my scores are in the form of the AP exam. Do I still need to get predicted grades for my AP scores for senior year?
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    (Original post by iwmo)
    Does this apply to AP exams as well? I'm familiar with the fact that IB has predicted grades, but I've never heard of teachers giving out predicted grades for AP exams. All of my scores are in the form of the AP exam. Do I still need to get predicted grades for my AP scores for senior year?
    In general, yes, we want to see predicted scores. After all, even if your teachers don't usually give AP predictions, there is no reason why they should be any less able to predict than a teacher in England predicting A2 results.

    It makes it very difficult to compare a US applicant with a UK applicant if I have no indication of the US applicant's expected AP performance.

    To get a definitive answer on this you need to ask the admissions office at the college you are applying to. But from my own experience, I would expect them to be present, and would usually get my college's admissions office to contact the referee to ask for them if they aren't. But obviously I would prefer not to have to chase them myself! And obviously I can't say categorically whether my colleagues would chase up missing predictions.
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    From when I contacted the University, they said that you have one person write your reference, and that they are the ones that fill in the predicted grades area. It is expected that they will contact your other teachers and ask them how you are doing in their course and if they expect you to do well in the AP exams. It shouldn't be too hard for your teacher to ask the others what your grades are.
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    (Original post by iwmo)
    Does this apply to AP exams as well? I'm familiar with the fact that IB has predicted grades, but I've never heard of teachers giving out predicted grades for AP exams. All of my scores are in the form of the AP exam. Do I still need to get predicted grades for my AP scores for senior year?
    watch out for this - i got rejected from imperial and bristol because they asked for predicted grades without me knowing and my teachers didn't understand the concept....and so didn't predict me correctly.

    My calculus teacher predicted me a 3 - got a 5

    My physics teacher (who hates me) told them I wouldn't pass - got two 5's :mad: :mad: :mad: still mad about that
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    Thank you for the replies. If I do ask for predicted grades, it'll be when the teachers would have known me for less than 6 weeks. I have trouble understanding how they can predict my AP grades accurately. Regardless, I will try to get them and also email Oxford to make sure.
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    (Original post by iwmo)
    Thank you for the replies. If I do ask for predicted grades, it'll be when the teachers would have known me for less than 6 weeks. I have trouble understanding how they can predict my AP grades accurately. Regardless, I will try to get them and also email Oxford to make sure.
    Who will be writing your reference? I would explain the situation to them as soon as possible, and hopefully you have a good high school record so that the teachers of your AP subjects will see that you are a dedicated student. Make a good impression in those first six weeks!
 
 
 
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