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To push DD to apply to Cambridge?

(644 Posts)
AllieinWonderland Tue 16-Aug-16 22:31:18

So I'm relatively new to posting on mumsnet, but have been a long time lurker, so if I mix up the lingo a bit then apologies!
DSS1 got 9A*s 3As at GCSE, 4 high As at AS level, and is on track to exceed his A*AA offer for Oxford.
Oldest DD achieved 13A*s 2As and a B at GCSE (the B in music - she had a panic attack in the exam and it was on a tape so she was unable to get the time back) and is looking on track for 5 high As at AS level in French, English lit, history, physics, and art. She is seemingly good at almost everything (triathlons at county level and has previously played and trained younger children in cricket and basketball, plays the cello, the xylophone, and the clarinet, won a local photography competition, always gets lead roles in an amateur dramatics group and solos in choir) yet has always struggled severely with self esteem, and focuses on the things she is bad at: sees her B in music as the end of her chance of going to good universities, can't bake or cook to save her life despite much encouragement and teaching, is awful at tidying (she is happy to do it but ends up gradually making more of a mess and gets flustered. Again, I've tried forms of 'teaching' and noting has worked). These latter two issues have led her to thinking she needs to stay at home for university and she is driving me mad by saying she'll go to the local university, which is really not a very good one at all, and the only others she'll consider are those with offers of "BBC" or below.
She has finally settled on studying English literature, and I took charge and booked her on open days at Warwick, Edinburgh, Cambridge, and Durham, and her school took the 'Oxbridge' candidates to Oxford for a trip. She hated Durham, didn't like Edinburgh, thought Oxford and Warwick were okay, but loved Cambridge.
In spite of this she is refusing to consider applying, says it's a waste of an application.
I don't want to push her, but I do want her to apply because she clearly loved it and is more than capable. All of her teachers have been saying it since before I can remember, and she reads almost constantly.
Aibu to try and change her mind?
Sorry for the lack of coherence here, my mind a bit of a mess!

BillSykesDog Tue 16-Aug-16 22:37:34

It sounds like she is under an awful lot of pressure, which it also sounds like you may well largely be the source of.

I suspect that she doesn't want to apply as she doesn't want the pressure of an application and the fear of being seen as a disappointment if she doesn't get in.

If you really think she should apply I think the best way you could convince her is to try and make her feel that there is no pressure and tell her that if she doesn't get in it doesn't matter and you will be proud of her no matter where she goes.

But also, you should tell her that if she does decide to stay home and go local, or at least keep that option open in her applications, you support that too. You can encourage her, but at the end of the day it is up to her. And it really sounds like further pressure would be counter productive.

grumpysquash3 Tue 16-Aug-16 22:39:33

It sounds like DD is academically capable but Cambridge has a lot of very confident students, so I wonder whether she would be a good fit?

Do you know what it is that she likes or dislikes about the Unis she's seen?

LuckySantangelo1 Tue 16-Aug-16 22:41:16

It's interesting that you list the academic achievements of your step son before moving onto your daughter. Do you feel she's letting the side down by not wanting to go to Cambridge? Do you feel it's important that she achieves the same?

grumpysquash3 Tue 16-Aug-16 22:41:59

Also, just noticed that she got 16 GCSEs! What sort of school does she go to and would you describe it as pressurising?

springwaters Tue 16-Aug-16 22:42:16

I took charge

but it isn't your life or your choice.

MakemineaGandT Tue 16-Aug-16 22:42:43

Maybe a confidence-building year out would help her? Allow her to release the pressure and get some life experience? Gain in self esteem and have some FUN?!

BertrandRussell Tue 16-Aug-16 22:43:37

Sounds as if she needs a year off, poor lamb. Send her to me- she can have a year of animals and nature stuff and I'll teach her to bake. Then she'll be ready for the fray again.

Seriously. Too much pressure.

MakemineaGandT Tue 16-Aug-16 22:44:25

And yes - agree with others who heard alarm bells reading your post - she sounds under a lot of pressure and perhaps you need to ease off.

AllieinWonderland Tue 16-Aug-16 22:44:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NicknameUsed Tue 16-Aug-16 22:45:10

16 GCSEs!!!


DramaAlpaca Tue 16-Aug-16 22:46:01

You need to step right back here. Where she goes to university should be her decision, and hers alone. Not yours.

BertrandRussell Tue 16-Aug-16 22:46:06

What does she want to do after university?

ApocalypseSlough Tue 16-Aug-16 22:46:22

Shakes head at 16 GCSEs
Poor girl.

londonmummy1966 Tue 16-Aug-16 22:46:50

I'd be more concerned that Cambridge tutors would think she wouldn't apply herself to her studies as she would be all over the place pursuing her extra curricular activities.

Anasnake Tue 16-Aug-16 22:47:05

If you're not careful she's going to rebel.

AllieinWonderland Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BertrandRussell Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:13

And she had a panic attack during one of her exams. Take that as a red light and back off.

BillSykesDog Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:18

Oh dear. This isn't going to end well OP. It sounds like she wants to go to a university where there will be no pressure and I can understand why.

ApocalypseSlough Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:52

There's anxiously something majorly wrong if she's applying for places so below her predicted grades. Fear of failure, resistance to pressure, not wanting to leave home- something's going on.

IthinkIamsinking Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:54

The Cambridge application process and proceeding degree courses are very challenging so while your DD sounds more than capable academically I can't see how pushing her to apply will do her own emotional and mental well being any good. I think you need to follow her lead but no harm in making suggestions.
Can I ask why you 'took charge' and chose this particular universities to book open days?

NewIdeasToday Tue 16-Aug-16 22:48:58

Would she do better to apply after her A levels once she's got the confidence of having really strong grades in the bag? Pushing her to apply now sounds like it King just mane her more anxious in this important year at school.

OreosAreTasty Tue 16-Aug-16 22:49:15

Why do your sons achievements matter in this?
Why are you taking charge in your DDs life?
Get off the poor girls back.
She clearly has a few unis she's interested in. Let her do what she wants

PurpleDaisies Tue 16-Aug-16 22:49:48

I applied to Cambridge because my parents made me.

I told them in the interview I didn't want a place so not to give me one. I'm very glad they didn't.

If your daughter is low in confidence, send her for a chat with her english teacher to build her up a bit. Ultimately it's her decision and you shouldn't put pressure on her to do anything other than to do her best and pick the course she thinks she'll be happiest doing.

albertcampionscat Tue 16-Aug-16 22:50:21

Could she apply after taking her A-levels?

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