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Yr7 dd wants to go to Oxford or Cambridge!

(43 Posts)
natellie1970 Mon 03-Feb-14 19:18:23

11yo dd just dropped into conversation 'I think I want to go to oxford or Cambridge, but I know it's hard to get in and there are other good universities so if I don't get in I can go to another one' (she sounded much more mature than me!) saying for a long time she wants to be a doctor and she really excels at science. I know things can change but I want to be prepared so is it more expensive to Oxbridge and how hard is it really to get in.

MadameJosephine Mon 03-Feb-14 19:20:37

My DS is year 12 and plann

zumm Mon 03-Feb-14 19:20:42

Don't think any more expensive - at least wasn't in my time. All those who apply are bright but I think they look for something extra ( in my case passion for the subject).

morethanpotatoprints Mon 03-Feb-14 19:21:54

I haven't a clue OP, but would like to say you are doing the right thing in taking her seriously. I applaud you.
There are some dc who know what they want from a very early age and I hear so many parents poo poo their dreams and ambitions.

I hope somebody comes a long with experience. thanks

NoIamAngelaHernandez Mon 03-Feb-14 19:24:56

Not more expensive - actually can work out cheaper because of all the bursaries etc available.

There is loads of info on their website and they have a fab outreach programme too.

Our school (small state comp) run a Taster visit in year 10 for 10 of our most able students each year and get students into Oxbridge every year.

Best of luck

MadameJosephine Mon 03-Feb-14 19:25:09

Sorry posted too soon. He's planning to apply to Cambridge this year. It is hard to get in but as he said to me its even harder if you don't apply! As far at costs are concerned its no more expensive than any other uni and actually it'll be cheaper than his second choice which is in central London. Oxbridge colleges tend to have bursaries and good support and their aim is that nobody should ever have to leave because of financial issues

lljkk Mon 03-Feb-14 19:29:03

I don't think it works out any more expensive but of course it's extremely competitive to get in. Fine to dream high but have good backup plans, too.

lljkk Mon 03-Feb-14 19:31:06

Some stats here showing how many who apply get in.
The thing is lots of kids don't apply because they don't like it or know they don't have a chance.

natellie1970 Mon 03-Feb-14 19:33:16

Thank you so much for all your help. DD is very passionate about science at the moment and you simply have to take her seriously as she is very stubborn!!

zumm Mon 03-Feb-14 19:45:06

Stubborn is good. As is aiming high. But so many other paths in life if she changes her mind or it doesn't work out. It's a great place to study - but in some ways I wish I'd chosen a london uni. best of luck to your daughter!

exexpat Mon 03-Feb-14 20:57:06

Oxford and Cambridge are certainly no more expensive than other universities at the moment, and quite possibly cheaper, as most students can live in college accommodation all the way through, which is subsidised, and you only have to pay for term-time (rooms are often let out for conferences etc in holidays). That obviously works out a lot cheaper than being a student in, say, London, where you would be lucky to get one year in student halls, and then have to compete with everyone else for rented flats at London rates, as well as having to live miles out and pay for transport (walking and/or a bike are all you need at Oxbridge). Most colleges also have funds to help out with books, travel grants, and emergencies of any kind.

However - at the moment all universities have their fees capped at £9,000 a year for all subjects, and no matter how good the university is. In reality it costs a lot more for them to teach medicine or chemistry than something like history (labs are expensive), so it is entirely possible (depending on the government over the next few years) that by the time your DD gets to university, fees may be higher for medicine or science subjects than for humanities subjects. This would probably apply to all universities, though, not just Oxbridge, and there is no way of knowing at the moment.

DeWe Tue 04-Feb-14 09:46:16

It isn't more expensive at present. When I went it was considerably cheaper than my siblings at (non-London) places, particuarly notable was I was always in uni accommodation which is far cheaper, plus don't have to pay holidays. Plus in my college there was a fair amount of help with things like text books (50% paid for if I remember rightly, and dh's college was better).

She needs to know for medicine at Oxbridge is a different course compared to most others. Much more aimed at those who want to go for medical research than GP work.

I always wanted to go to Oxford, and I managed it, which is great. But there are many others who don't.
Sometimes it really is a case of luck of the draw. For example, in my college year applying for medicine there were over 30 at the interview stage (this was in exam time, so some would have been rejected at that point) for 2 spaces (1 already given to organ scholar, another had been accepted previous year but was taking a gap year). The following year there were 11 at the same stage for 4 spaces.
But there are also people who are high fliers, top of the year all the way, very determines, dedicated etc. who don't get in. You do need to have a back up, that is still what you want.

Acinonyx Tue 04-Feb-14 14:37:10

What about college fees - aren't they additional to the university fees? Surely that makes it more expensive? Just curious.

webwiz Tue 04-Feb-14 16:03:16

Do you mean the cost of living in college Acinonyx? You have to pay for halls and food wherever you go to university.

Acinonyx Tue 04-Feb-14 16:54:41

No webwiz - you have to be a member of a college and those fees (about 2K/year) are in addition to tuition at the university (oxbridge colleges are financially independent from the university). This is a membership fee and any other costs, e.g. halls or food are on top as usual. When tuition was paid for in the old days, college fees were also paid. I don't know how that works now.

SliceOfLime Tue 04-Feb-14 17:00:32

Acinonyx when I was at Oxford as an undergraduate 2000-2003 there was no additional college fee. The only thing you paid the college for directly was accommodation and food, so depending on when you were there I think this is no longer the case.

As far as I know at the moment, tuition fees are not paid up front they are paid back by the student once they are working - this was also how my student loan worked too and i honestly didn't notice the extra coming out of my paycheque, it is taken out with PAYE, NI etc so you never see it. Therefore if this is still the cases would absolutely not let fees put you off.

SliceOfLime Tue 04-Feb-14 17:01:59

And OP good on your daughter being ambitious, tell her to go for it, nothing ventured nothing gained!

webwiz Tue 04-Feb-14 17:19:31

just looking at Keble here:'

college fees for home and EU students are £0

AngelFalls Tue 04-Feb-14 17:25:33

My DD is at Oxford, there are no college fees now, and her accommodation is a lot cheaper than her friends - less than half what friends in London and St Andrews are paying.

The bursary threshold is set low - she gets a thousand pounds this year, no other university (except, I think, Cambridge) offers a bursary on our household income.

Food is cheap, and, often, free - she always seems to be getting free lunches dinners and drinks for this and that. They are also all given an academic grant of £250 pounds at her college for anything they need for their studies - books, computer stuff etc. In fact, she doesn't really need to buy books as the library provision is so good - they have enough copies for everyone. There are grants available for travel and music lessons, and several weeks free accommodation in the holidays. (All this varies from college to college. The richer the college, then, generally, the cheaper the living and the better the freebies)

The downside is that there is maybe more temptation to spend - the cost of ball tickets is eye-watering - but most of them seem to find a balance, and the savings on accommodation etc are so good that the odd ball isn't a problem.

AngelFalls Tue 04-Feb-14 17:39:59

Not sure I'd have wanted her to set her heart on it in year 7, though. I wouldn't say much more at this stage than 'yes, if you do well in your exams, you can put it on your UCAS form as one of your choices'. There's really no point thinking seriously about it until after GCSE results, and no point getting reeeally keen before as level results at the end of year 12.

I've seen some kids getting their hearts broken chasing Oxbridge (and some parents) and the ones it hits worst are usually the ones who say it has been their dream for years and years...

Acinonyx Tue 04-Feb-14 17:58:20

That's good - or it really would be expensive. So only foreign and postgrad students pay college fees directly.

NotCitrus Tue 04-Feb-14 18:24:21

It's also easier to find work in the holidays as they are longer than for other unis. The accommodation in Cambridge tended to be cheap too.

Re balls - most students get in free or for half price by working at a ball, maybe splashing out on a ticket once.

zumm Tue 04-Feb-14 19:04:32

Wise words from angel - also, if your daughter does end up not getting in at 18 then there are always later chances (namely sd she wish to do a phd).

KayleeFrye Tue 04-Feb-14 19:17:48

Good on your DD - it's great to encourage her to aim high and she sounds really mature and capable.

There are lots of things that you can do even this far in advance to boost her chances.

Oxbridge colleges look for evidence that a young person can manage a complex workload in a self-motivated way - extra-curricular activities and volunteering can help demonstrate this. In Y7 she won't be ready for this just yet but by the time she is 16/17 she should be capable of investigating and self-teaching additional subjects outside her ordinary studies for the sheer love of learning. Oxbridge expect their students to be extremely self-driven to learn - the do not get spoonfed facts but are expected to research and find out for themselves and then develop original and interesting opinions (arts) or testable theories (sciences) based on what they have read.

She also needs to be well-rounded and able to contribute to college life so encourage her to develop skills in sports, arts, debate/public speaking etc. She should have some skills across a wide range of extra-curricular activities, and should pursue one extra-curricular thing to an advanced level sufficient that by the time she is 16/17 she is winning prizes/awards/regional recognition for that thing, so that she can stand out and shine - her application, when it eventually is submitted, will be just one sheet of paper among hundreds of others each of which is from very bright, very talented young people who love science and want to be a doctor. When there are way more talented applicants than there are spaces, getting noticed is partially luck and partially having just something that makes you stick in the mind and seem slightly different from all the others.

She absolutely should go for it, and give it every ounce of strength - as you have already said, it's even harder to get in if you don't try - and everything she does to try will also stand her in good stead for getting a good place somewhere else if she isn't one of the final few to be selected.

Do also look into USA ivy-league universities - the richer ones that have a needs-blind admissions policy can end up being cheaper to attend than UK Universities if she ends up qualifying for a partial scholarship. They will have even more stringent needs for being talented in extra-curricular things and the competition is just as fierce if not more so, but it might be worth a look.

VelvetSpoon Tue 04-Feb-14 19:18:41

I knew at 12 I wanted to go to Cambridge. My parents never dissuaded me for a second or told me I couldn't do it. I got a lot of unambitious bollocks from teachers along the lines of 'do bear in mind Velvet there are other universities' mainly because they'd not been brave enough to apply themselves.

I didn't decide what degree I wanted to do til about 14/15 (law). I was never obsessed with it, I just knew I wanted to try. If I'd not been good enough it wouldn't have been the end of the world.

In terms of cost, I went there 90-93 on a full grant. I was much better off than friends at other unis as my room rent (college accom for all 3 years) was about £200 a term (so £20 or so a week) whereas friends at various unis in south of England were paying £45 a week or more - and at best paying half that all through the hols.

Good luck to her! One tip from me - apply to the less popular colleges, they tend to have (or did in my day) a far lower ratio of offers to places - in my year, my college made 8 offers for 7 places in law. Meant I was able to drop a grade on my offer and still get in smile

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