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Went to parents evening last night. DS1 should easily get in Oxford apparently?

(145 Posts)
FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 10:18:41

He's only 3 months into year 12 so am surprised they'd know so soon?

His English teacher called him a genius. Luckily ds1 is modest and I managed to get him in the car ok as his head hadn't grown wink He isn't telling anyone. I have grin

I was secretly hoping he'd go to Durham near home so this came as a bit of a mixed blessing if I'm honest.

Have your dc/s been to Oxford? Or are they going?

His psychology teacher was heaping praise too. She said if there's a lull she knows she can go to ds1 for answers.

God it's hard though isn't it? Realising they'll be going soon sad I know it's for the best and has to happen but it's still tough.

Booboostoo Tue 09-Dec-14 10:37:57

The important question is where does he want to go? He should visit more than one Unis and look at the academic opportunities, the social life and the surrounding environment. If he is very hard working he should consider a gap year to do something completely different as it can be challenging to go straight from a high pressure academic environment at high school to the same at Uni.

FishWithABicycle Tue 09-Dec-14 10:59:26

No-one gets into Oxford "easily" - for every place they have there are at least 6 people with the academic qualifications and intelligence to thrive there.

DustInTheWind Tue 09-Dec-14 11:18:49

Do the school regularly send a significant cohort to Oxbridge?
One of the things that shocked my OH when he got there is how ordinary he was, after years of being considered a genius. smile

What does your DS want to do, subject-wise and lifechoice-wise?

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 11:57:33

Thanks for all your input.

He was thinking of teaching but talking to teacher friends has worried me. He has a placement next summer at a primary at the end of our street to do his work experience.

History is his subject of choice.

He'll look at other Unis.

I just want him to be happy. A lot can change in the months ahead.

mummytime Tue 09-Dec-14 12:08:41

Get him to go and visit! (and maybe the other place.)
What does he want to study? What interests him? If history, what period? Has he spent much time in archives? (If nothing else get him to do some family history research, and learn about records and their problems.)

Has he thought of applying here? or even here?

Durham is good, but if he is good enough for Durham he should be sure that is really where he wants to go. And to firm up his ideas.

BTW I wouldn't recommend teaching as a career - its great if "you have a vocation" but its a tough career. There are other things you can do with History.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 12:12:00

Thanks mummytime. I agree regarding teaching.

I'll show him this thread.

Figmentofmyimagination Tue 09-Dec-14 13:09:13

He should sign up to this - interesting ways of learning from the past. I put this link on the Oxbridge thread and lots of people found it useful. The talks are very good. If you are near London, the LSE free public lectures can also be inspiring, or he could listen to their podcasts.

VenusRising Tue 09-Dec-14 13:14:58

If he's interested in history he should study history! There are no good careers, and teaching may well suit him, just maybe in uni, not school.

I'm all in favour of following your heart, and when it comes to studying, it's your passion for a subject that will motivate you to keep going when it gets rough (and it always gets rough).
Choosing a degree based on job prospects is just plain silly. Life's too short to think about a career when your studying (unless it's medicine, and even then, who says you have to be a clinical medic?)

Cerisier Tue 09-Dec-14 13:31:41

Life's too short to think about a career when your studying

Life's too short to not think about a career when you're studying in my opinion.

My A level maths and further maths students research average salaries before choosing which branch of engineering to apply for. They all look at possible careers for given uni subjects and prospects for graduates from different universities. They are going to study subjects they like but they want to get a decent job at the end of it too.

holmessweetholmes Tue 09-Dec-14 13:43:29

Oxford is fab. I had a wonderful time there. Best not to get his heart set on it though, as the odds are against getting in, even if you're really good. Teaching..... I wouldn't. I've been a teacher for 20 years and so many people, including me, are practically trampling over each other in their rush to get out of the profession. And many of them (like me) are people who had a real vocation to teach.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:02:06

Thank you so much everyone.

holmessweetholmes sorry to hear this for you. It's a helpful insight though.

noblegiraffe Tue 09-Dec-14 14:08:27

Definitely wouldn't advise a teaching degree. If he does his history degree and still wants to be a teacher then he can do a PGCE or Schools Direct (or if high flying enough, Teach First). But he might have changed his mind by then so nothing lost.

Messygirl Tue 09-Dec-14 14:13:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:17:36


His teacher went to Oxford. She said he's much brighter than she was at his age. Said he's the brightest she's ever taught. His other English teacher was sitting next to her nodding in agreement. He won an award for English last year.

His very cherished gran died in October, she would've been beaming at this. I like to think she still is smile

CoolStoryBro Tue 09-Dec-14 14:19:16

I disagree that life's too short to think about a career when you're studying, especially when you're paying for it. Our son's degree is going to cost $200,000. I would expect him to have a vague idea as to whether that was going to be money well spent before he starts tbh!

TwelveLeggedWalk Tue 09-Dec-14 14:22:38

Nobody gets into Oxford easily.

I know several straight A students who didn't get offered a place. Icluding one who played several sports at county level, was a girl going for a Maths/Sciency subject, and had summer school experience at Ivy League US universities. Her application rocked and she is a lovely, mature, personable girl who would have interviewed brilliantly. Sometimes admissions tutors make crazy decisions.

Not as crazy as Madrigals' suggestion though. No need for that sort of talk here wink

mummytime Tue 09-Dec-14 14:26:03

Cool - we are talking about the UK, where degrees don't cost that much. Most people have I think it is 5 careers in their lifetime, doing a degree in what you enjoy/are passionate about is the main thing. UK degrees are very different from US ones.

thesaurusgirl Tue 09-Dec-14 14:37:50

Is it a state school?

State school kids who are predicted 3 A grades, and are prepared for Oxford entrance by an Oxford graduate, are statistically more likely to get into Oxford than anyone else.

There is definitely positive discrimination in favour of state school candidates, not least because a kid who achieves an A* in a class of thirty is inevitably a much brighter spark than a kid who manages an A* in a class of 8 (tutor group size in many public school sixth forms).

You can also play the applicant-subject statistics to your advantage - if you're applying for Classics from a state school, the place is virtually yours to lose at interview.

So, whilst it's never easy, it's easier for some people than it is for others. The hard part is getting 3 A grades at A Levels, as that's the baseline, for everyone.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:44:28

It's sixth form. He's already getting B+ to A but not in Chemistry. He's dropping that but wants to do as well as he can in it.

Figmentofmyimagination Tue 09-Dec-14 14:46:39

At my DDs school the advice to bright applicants is to go for it, but only if you will not be derailed by failing to secure a place. It can become a big deal - all the applicants are very bright and many will be truly exceptional. Unlike, say, Durham, where the odds of success at, say, history are equally low - 10 to 1 from a self selecting pool of the cleverest - where at least all you have to do is use up one of the spaces on your Ucas form, applying to oxford is a bit of a marathon - and disappointment, if it comes, will arrive at an important academic stage - the January before A2s - so it is not for those who would fall apart if not chosen. It is nice when teachers are supportive and motivating. I imagine it is motivating for them when they come upon very capable and enthusiastic pupils - but I would be very wary of any teacher who suggests that getting into oxford is easy, or that one's child is brighter than they are.

FreakinScaryCaaw Tue 09-Dec-14 14:50:54

Figment, she didn't mean brighter than she is now smile Just at her age.

He wouldn't be gutted if he didn't get in tbh. He's fairly laid back about it.

He doesn't even want to earn mega money just do a job he'll enjoy.

Figmentofmyimagination Tue 09-Dec-14 14:51:28

It's not as simple as "state"/"independent". In theory what matters in terms of contextual data is postcode and the school's past performance at Oxbridge.

Messygirl Tue 09-Dec-14 15:02:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Marni23 Tue 09-Dec-14 15:17:49

"not least because a kid who achieves an A* in a class of thirty is inevitably a much brighter spark than a kid who manages an A* in a class of 8 (tutor group size in many public school sixth forms)."

Really thesaurus girl? I don't think that's inevitable at all. Given that there's a ceiling on the marks and you can't get more than the maximum. The independently educated kid could be naturally brighter at the subject even if they have had the advantage of smaller classes.

I do think it's easier to get the A* in smaller classes but that's not the same thing.

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