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Oxford & Cambridge applications

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
I'm going to apply for oxford university, although I probably won't get in with the gcses I am just going to scrap- but hopefully putting in a lot effort (never actually done that) at college will pay off and I will stand a chance.

I want to do a modern history degree with spanish as I want to work doing something within the EU, possibly working as an ambassador in spain (hehe.. set myself up for these falls all the time). Obviously I am going to do Spanish, and History A Levels but can anyone suggest anything that will look good? I was thinking that I would probably do english literature.

Also, I'm aware of the competition to get into such places (only something like 29% of applicants were accepted to do what i want to do in the past three years!!) but aside from academic qualifications, what else will look good on a UCAS form ????

Have you ever confused a dream with life?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    a gap year as well. getting a deferred application.

    if i get the prediciton points, i would like to apply for cambridge, and i'll do a gap year. my CAS summary and reports and stuff (which is an IB thing), erm...basically i guess any achievements. i dunno what u can put on a UCAS form.

    as for crap GCSEs...well, i've got shit IGCSEs as well, so that may be a little harder for me.

    i think if u've got the predictions, there is no reason not to apply, unless u have objections to having the name stuck to u for life.

    bearing in mind places like warwick are actually equal to cambridge <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">;

    and warwick is where me (and emma <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">;) are hopefully going. (and no, not the traitorous GFM emma, the wonderful smart drifting emma) <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">;

    Look into these tired eyes. See something you might recognise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i love you too <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">; hehehehe

    There's a girl in my mirror
    I wonder who she is
    Sometimes I think I know her
    Sometimes I really wish I did
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    i was going to apply for cambs but it was too much pressure. i just want to do well and go to warwick or someone nice,i don't care if i do exceptionally wellor not. just as long as i go where i want to.

    And also oxbridge is mainly prestige and they put a lot of pressure on u and i cant work under those conditions but its ur choice, if ur clever enough to get there then u shud b able to cope.

    i will basically say, be prepared for some very bizarre interview Q's and be confident <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">;

    There's a girl in my mirror
    I wonder who she is
    Sometimes I think I know her
    Sometimes I really wish I did
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I don't know much about the university (other than the computer science dept. which is where my dad worked... everyone was quite crazy and too smart for their own good... all in a mad scientist sort of way) but oxford as a town is a lovely place to live.

    Your cycles have bled into ones supposed to be my own
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    when i started my a levels, and up until a few months ago, my teachers kept trying to push me into applying for oxbridge... i could have got the grades if i wanted to (aside from my current stressed mine thing making me do crap).... but the truth is, i just didnt want to go to either oxford or cambridge. i dont like the idea of how much pressure they put on you, and the image of really stuck up, opinionated snobs. i know it isnt all like that, i know its stereotypical, but i dont care <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">;

    basically, for UCAS applications, the personal statement is key. you need to write it in a way that makes you sound like an interesting and unique person. for oxbridge i would suggest loads of extracurricular activities, sports, plays maybe, competitions entered/awards won, for things that arent common.

    i hadnt done much in the way of sports or clubs or much in the past 2 years, but its in the way you write it i think. youll get help on this nearer the time i should think. but like turtle said, a gap year is good, if you can find something really good to do in it <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">; and all these activities aer worthless, if you cant draw them together at the end in your personal statement and write about how theyve affected you and what you've learnt from them and stuff.

    anyway im gonna shut up now coz ive run out of things to say and im just waffling <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">;

    I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.
    ~ the late, great Douglas Adams
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by amadee:
    I don't know much about the university (other than the computer science dept. which is where my dad worked... everyone was quite crazy and too smart for their own good... all in a mad scientist sort of way) but oxford as a town is a lovely place to live.


    well, i've never lived there, but i've visted and tbh, a lot of oxford i hated. too much traffic, too busy, too much pollution - not my sorta scene. i like the idea of warwick cos it's a large campus with areas to go and get out of the way a bit, i dunno a lot about cambridge tho.

    ah well, we will see.



    Look into these tired eyes. See something you might recognise.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Oxford and Cambridge are quite similar towns and the university buildings are all within the town so you have to make sure you like that style of university as opposed to one on a single campus.

    Both are equally nice places and which you decide to go to will depend mainly on the course content. I live near Oxford but the Cambridge course for Modern Languages suits me a lot better so I'm applying there.

    You don't have to base which A levels to take on what will look good on your UCAS form. Three As in subjects you enjoy will look better any day than Bs or Cs in subjects that you've taken to impress the administrations people. But yes, History, Spanish and English Lit sound good, solid choices.

    Like GFM says, if you take a gap year (which isn't necessary in order for them to accept you) you have to do something worthwhile in it. If you're looking to study Spanish as part of your degree they recommend you spend at least part of your gap year in Spain (or another Spanish speaking country).

    In your personal statement you have to look like a well-rounded person with interests outside studying, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have start loads of extra-curricular activities. You have to be interested in what you're doing so that you can sound enthusiastic when they ask you questions.

    One of my friends has been accepted at Cambridge to do Modern History with French next year, so if you want any more information feel free to ask and I'll do my best for you. I also know quite a few people applying to Oxford this time, so although I know more about Cambridge I can find out easily about different colleges and stuff from Oxford too.

    And yes there is competition, but you might as well apply or you'll never know what could have been!

    Hope that helped, and good luck in the rest of your GCSEs <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">;
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I am applying to Cambridge at the moment for entry in 2002. The most important part of the UCAS form when applying to any university is section 10, the dreaded personal statement. In this you have to make yourself as interesting and dynamic as possible as your academic grades should speak for themselves. What you also have to remember when applying to Oxbridge is that they have their own application forms as well as the standard UCAS one. On this you also have to say why you want to go to the particular college to which you have applied. The challenge is to make it different from your UCAS personal statement.
    Good Luck!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I totally agree with GFM... I wouldnt have got the grades anyway, but even if i could have.. Oxford and Cambridge would not have appealed to me. My personal opinion is that the stress they will place on you there would be outstanding.. and i know for a fact that i wouldnt be able to handle it.

    I applied to go to Warwick Business School - The BEST business school in the country (meant to be better than the business schools at Oxford AND Cambridge) but they refused me <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/frown.gif">; The entry requirements were ABB and even tho thats what im predicted, they didnt offer me a place, just shows how much competition there must be to get in places nowadays.

    However GOOD LUCK to everyone in where they would like to go... and if you go to warwick youll be living rite by me!! <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">;

    Warwicks a lovely university, the union is cool - gutted i didnt get to go there <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/frown.gif">;

    Aston will have to do for me.. asumin iv got my three B's!!

    As for the origional questions in the post(!) (Sorry i got carried away!!) Work experience always looks good on a Ucas Form, especially if its in the field where you would like to study. The more voluntary (and unfortunately unpaid) work you do the better, as it shows that you are willing to go further than the average person.

    Hope that helps <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">; Lxxx

    <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.contrabandent.com/pez/otn/angels/littleangel.gif">;
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    where IS freya lately anyway? <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/confused.gif">; was thinking that the other day.

    i think its looking like i'll be deferring my entry to next year. considering i dont know what degree i want to do!! and i think i need a break to sort my head out, i dont feel capable of studying a gcse, let alone a degree course!! ive got a part time job at asda at the mo, its a good enough part time job... but i dont want to do it for another year solidly.

    i suppose the most logical thing to do would be concentrate on what degree i want to do by about november so i can re-write my personal statement and stuff. im looking to do something in the area of biology most likely, i enjoy things like pharmacology and genetics, and studying the human body. but i dont want to go into medicine.

    i dont really have a club what to do on my gap year though. any ideas??

    (sorry for not starting a new topic, it seemed to fit in here <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">; )

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Girl-From-Mars:
    i dont really have a club what to do on my gap year though. any ideas??

    Try looking on some of the gap year websites for ideas. www.gap.co.uk has lots of opportunities to go abroad, and there are things you can do like helping in deprived areas with health care and stuff, which might (or might not) interest you..... anyway there are loads of other things you could do and I'm sure you'll find something that you like! Just make sure you do something worthwhile rather than sitting at home the whole time, or it won't look encouraging to a university.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by freya:
    I want to work doing something within the EU, possibly working as an ambassador in spain

    hey, wow - that's what I want to do, except replace Spain with France/French Guiana (which is where I'll probably end up starting!). I'm taking English Lit, French, German (always good to have another mod lang if that's what you want to work with), Latin because I'm mad and think it's fun, and General Studies because it's compulsory. But Oxford does like General Studies because of the whole rounded-mind thing.

    Have you heard of "Oxbridge thinking?" It's when you try and see everything from every point of view. They like that too <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">;

    Aside from the grades, it would be good to get involved with community service, perhaps do a Trident Gold Award or a D of E. Take on "posts of responsibility" and experience as many things as you (legally and morally!) can, in order to get that perspective on life from where you feel you can cope with any situation.

    Oxford is a wonderful city, very beautiful and more variety than most university cities. There is pressure to work but that applies to Cambridge, Warwick, UCL, anywhere at all that's in the top two bands (and, technically, to everywhere else!). It's not snobby, although the stereotype is hard to beat down. The attitude is very much geared to work, but there is a website http://www.sjc.ox.ac.uk/altprospectus/ which is the students' version of the St John's College prospectus. It's really good in that it shows that real people belong to the place, even though it's for just one college!

    Confidence is the feeling you sometimes have before you fully understand the situation.
    - Anon
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Girl-From-Mars:
    where IS freya lately anyway? <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/confused.gif">; was thinking that the other day.

    And here I was thinking nobody missed me <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">; I've been on holiday, well that was a while ago and I came back unaddicted and thought i'd take advantage of it and have a life for a while. Hehe. I've come back though, having a life is definitely overrated- particularly when there are horrible boys involved.
    Thankyou for noticing gfm <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">;

    Have you ever confused a dream with life?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hmmm....i'm a bit dubious as to ur describing of oxford as a beautiful city, stellar. when i went there i have memories of a crowded, polluted, noisy dump...

    admittedly, the colleges themselves are very pretty, but the city as a whole...nah. cambs sounds a bit nicer, tbh.

    I'll be sitting on top when it all goes wrong again
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    Originally posted by freya:
    ...having a life is definitely overrated...

    yep <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">; lol... good to have you back anyway <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">; i think youve got possibly the most popular topic ever with "this or that"! <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/biggrin.gif">;

    my uncle used to live in oxford and he really liked it. ive got a friend at oxford brookes uni and 2 or 3 more going this autumn <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">; not proper oxford tho so im not much use!

    "That which does not kill us makes us stronger."
    ~ Nietzsche
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by *~stellar~*:
    Latin because I'm mad

    You said it, not me <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/tongue.gif">;

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Originally posted by Girl-From-Mars:
    i think youve got possibly the most popular topic ever with "this or that"!

    on that subject, you're gutted if you have email notification for when someone replies <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/wink.gif">;

    ˆMấ§ŧế®° <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.contrabandent.com/pez/games/poke/005.gif">; ¤ĐєvĩŁĩ§Ħ¤™
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    grades permitting, i hope to apply to oxford (to study PPE) for 2002 entry (ie, start filling in the frms this year). thing is, all my teachers reckon i should go to either ox or cam, but i didnt know which. so i kinda mentally flipped a coin, and it came out as oxford. i've never been to either city, but i hope to visit one of them this summer (ie oxford). just not certain whether i've made the right choice.

    everyone says oxford is either:
    big, smelly, polluted, crowded, dingy
    OR
    big, lively, full of space, active, beautiful

    everyone says cambridge is either:
    small, claustrophobic, quiet, dull
    OR
    cosy, beautiful, calm, spacious.

    so, i havent got a clue! i was told the other day that if undecided, i should visit oxford, as if i like it i might as well go there, but if i hate it i'll go to cambridge. so, (just this minute) i have booked my train ticket to oxford - i'm off on thursday.

    what should i go and see when i'm there?

    as for the stuff to put on your UCAS statement, i've taken up doing voluntary work at a playscheme for handicapped kids. plus i've taken up jogging (aaarrrgghh!) so i'll actually have some sports to put down in my statement! other than that, not a clue abut the whole business.

    where is my post going - sorry, i seem to have wandered again.

    Nolite te bastardes carborundorum
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    okay, small point, sports isnt a requirement for the form. a friend of mine's been accepted to oxford for 2001, conditionally on grades anyway, and she's the least sportiest person i know. i doubt she'd have lied because our head of year who checked em all would know, ditto our teacher (she's taught by both of them). so dont feel you have to do something JUST because you need it for the form.

    i think you should visit both cambridge AND oxford. i think you should probably contact the uni themselves and ask to come and have a look round. this might be tricky until they all go back, so you might have a while to wait which aint no good. i think oxbridge applicants have to have it sent off by 15th october? that was last year anyway. and most unis go back end of sep/beginning of oct and you kinda need to write the dreaded personal statement before that! so i guess thats not too constructive "you shoulda done this and that.." lol... mayeb go and have a look around the uni, at least what you can at the moment?

    ive never been to either oxford or cambridge so im not too good with the specifics <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">; my dad lived there for a few years though, he liked the place. its subjective though isnt it, everyone who visits/lives there will have a different opinion of it.

    *waits for some people with actual information*

    Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Here goes....

    Ive never been to Cambridge, but I went and lookd round St John's College at Oxford. The city itself is beautiful, seems to have loads of good pubs and clubs, and that colllege seemed really nice. It wasnt quite for me, so I didnt apply (Id NEVER get AAA lol) but my mate applied for PPE, offered AAA. I personally would see both, but Oxford is closer to London and Birmingham if u dont wanna be tied down to one city.

    The personal statement isnt so important for Oxbridge, as applications are decided by interview. What u have done is not so important as how you think- read widely over the summer and be prepared to have to argue qualitative ideas with great clarity.

    Sorry, forgot a bit...try and look round more than one college, if its possible, and find out about open days...Johns ran one at the beginning of September and I went with school.

    Good luck and go for it! <IMG alt="image" SRC="http://www.thesite.org/ubb/smile.gif">;


    It matters not who won or lost, but how you place the blame.

    [This message has been edited by Kermit (edited 05-08-2001).]
  • Girl-From-MarsGirl-From-Mars Mega Poster Posts: 2,822
    Originally posted by Kermit:
    The personal statement isnt so important for Oxbridge, as applications are decided by interview.

    if you have a shite pstate, you wont even get an interview. a lot of unis decide on people from interviews, but the pstate is the first step and you need to do it good.

    Out of my mind. Back in five minutes.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Don't overestimate the value Oxbridge place on the personal statement/extra curricular stuff. At the end of the day, they're academic institutions looking for the very best academically; outstanding grades are far more important than sports and other activities. Many of the college prospectuses mention this, and certainly of the people I know in years above me at school who've applied, the good grades always win out over extra-curricular. They rarely even mention them in the interview.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Vox, it's good, but it's not right. It's an old post, mate. There's a current one running in "Cambridge?"
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Being a bit dim (and also a newbie <<< ) I've only just realised how long ago this was started...*sigh*...Anyway, if anyone's still interested, I had an interview (but no offer) for Modern History at St. John's, Oxford. V. exciting. The questions were (rather surprisingly) all about history: nothing weird at all. We had to send in two essays and the (two) professors took turns asking about that, then expanding the subject (usually to British politics: that ones' pet topic ~ an area I know nothing about!)
    I think they judge on a variety of things, not the least of which is whether they want you in the cosey college environment for 3-4 years. They are, after all, the ones who have to teach you!
    The interviewing process was, in my experience, quite frustrating. I found out 3 days before I was due (no, not time enough to change the flights) that I had to be there. I had one, 20 minute interview about half an hour after I arrived (so it pays to be prompt - we were told to turn up for 10:30, mine was at 11) and then had to stay (this was on Tuesday) a further 4 days (until Saturday).
    Still, the accomodation was free, the food was free, the other victims - I mean hopefuls - were as interesting as behoves such a motley crew to be and I learnt a lot of card games and made a couple of good friends - one of whom got an offer (and is now working his ass off, and for the next 5 weeks while I'm doing this...It's not all it's cracked up to be) and the other who is also planning to go to my (new) first choice: the wunderschone York <IMG SRC="smile.gif" border="0" ALT="icon"> . All in all, quite an interesting representation of uni life, I guess.
    Getting rejected isn't as bad as you might think: not having to panic-study is a definite benefit. They're very polite about it but also quite final!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    That was...odd.

    Not usually one for resurrecting old threads - I think I got to it through looking at "Who's Online?", then didn't check the date before replying.

    Sorry folks!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Ok, I just got into Cambridge to do joint schools (Spanish and Italian) and here's what I know. There is a very large amount of homework you can do before you get there. Get online and check out what the dons that are going to be interviewing you are interested in - this is all listed on their website - not sure about Oxford. When I went up, I tried to start up a conversation in the Italian interview about something I knew he wasn't interested in and he just mumbled something about it and then moved on so make sure you have read a lot of stuff in their particular fields of interest.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    hey, I just got in to cambridge to do italian/french! which college you going to? this year or next? maybe see you there!!!
    How were your interviews? my mate wants to do spanish, what's the course like at cam? better than oxford?
    saw somewhere else that you speak four languages! plus you used to speak dutch/turkish! pretty impressive... have u been to turkey? I'm thinking of going there on my g\ap year, ephesus sounds amazing, any advice? teshkerederim!!!!!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well mer haba Ozmaster. I only speak 3 at the moment with Italian still in beginner stage but should speak 4 by November after a month in Rome. I've forgotten all of my dutch and most of my turkish.
    I'm going to St. John's if I get 3 A's in 2003 which is pretty damned cool cos it's a wicked college. My cousin's there doing Maths and he's having a wicked time.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,328 The Mix Honorary Guru
    WIcked!!! I'm going to John's too! did you have an interview with that fucker boyde? We'll be buddies!!
This discussion has been closed.