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realistic grades for oxbridge?

(61 Posts)
exgov Fri 26-Oct-12 10:58:16

My DS has decided to have a try for Cambridge, but I'm just musing now about whether it's a good idea or not. He's likely to get 3 solid As at A level if present progress continues, possibly an A* (or even 2 if he really gets down to it, but I think that's less likely). So I'd say he's bright but not super-mega-bright - is that likely to be enough for Cambridge?

Plus I've just heard about a lad who's left Cambridge after 2 weeks because he didn't like it - and didn't really like it at interview, but felt obliged to take the offer, I guess. I find it really hard to work out if I feel my DS would cope with Cambridge if he did get in - I'm hoping the interviewers can work that out better than me! Is that a realistic thought?

sieglinde Mon 29-Oct-12 13:40:08

Yes, I agree, LRD. Op, don't be put off by all this. Oxbridge collectively devotes more bucks ot student welfare than most.

slhilly Mon 29-Oct-12 13:54:05

Hi exgov. I went to Cambridge (20 years ago, mind you - bloody hell, when did that happen?!)

I'd say your son is in with a perfectly reasonable chance, given his grades so far. You have to be bright, you don't have to be super-mega-bright. But you do have to be interested in your subject, and you do have to have a definite view on the world, which you are able to advocate in a challenging discussion. (Or at least, you did when I was there, and I doubt this has changed very much.)

When I applied, I had had a chance to have quite a good look round the colleges, having gone up for a visit, and the application process itself was a really helpful opportunity to get the feel of the place. I enjoyed it greatly - the learning, the friends I made, and above all the college life - close-knit friendships in a town you can walk and cycle around really easily. It was a gentle and happy time.

There are quite a few videos you can watch that give you a sense of the application process:,mod%3D0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=w1&gl=GB

Yellowtip Mon 29-Oct-12 23:09:48

That's very harsh CollieDog. And I'd like to think not true.

Yellowtip Tue 30-Oct-12 09:41:55

Many apologies CollieDog I misread your post (thought you wrote ^they may as well do it^).

I'd been in Oxford all day and one of the DC told me about another student friend I know who's having real problems, so the imagined wording hit a nerve.

larrygrylls Tue 30-Oct-12 09:49:31


Why on earth should he not apply to one of the best unis in the world if he has even a small chance of getting in? I don't think the drop out rate at Cambridge is higher than most unis, in fact I believe the reverse. And the experience he will have there, the friends (and network) he will make plus the degree itself will all stand him in good stead for the rest of his life.

I went to Cambridge and absolutely loved it. It was a true cross-section of people from all walks of society; good brains the only thing they had in common. And, of course there were a fair few brilliant people. The majority, however, were just very bright people who genuinely enjoyed their subjects.

Musomathsci Tue 30-Oct-12 09:58:25

Just wanted to say good luck to your DS. You probably won't hear about interviews until about 3 weeks before, so don't hold your breath. My DS is there and loves it. Pain in the arse to travel to and from, depending where you live, but the terms are short so long holidays (generally filled with lots more work from what I have seen!)

exgov Tue 30-Oct-12 16:48:28

Many thanks for all the advice, even if it got a little derailed! It's over 3 hours by train from here, so I'm hoping if he gets an interview he can stay overnight and get a real feel for the place. Depends what time and how long they'd want him. Larrygrylls, that's how I felt - why not have a go at one of the best unis in the world. I'm pleased that in general you think he'd cope without super-mega grades as long as he's got a passion for the subject and is willing to work - both of which apply, from what I can see.

Yellowtip Tue 30-Oct-12 19:03:39

exgov he's far, far more likely to have an interview at Cambridge than he would be were he applying to Oxford (slightly depending on subject). So he's got that extra shot at showing what he's got to the people making decisions, which doesn't apply to Durham, UCL, Bristol etc. With his particular GCSE grades that increased likelihood of an interview may well help.

Milliways Tue 30-Oct-12 21:02:22

Good Luck exgov. My DD graduated from there this year and loved it, and she too went from an ordinary comp. (She was also pooled but fished out in a day - but that is another drama!) She was her Colleges access officer so passionate about getting people from ordinary schools to apply.

socharlotte Sat 24-Nov-12 00:00:32

I think you need to be looking at being predicted at least A* A* A unless you are doing something very obscure and unpopular

Almostfifty Fri 07-Dec-12 14:10:46

Just wondering if he got an interview OP?

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