Turning down Oxford offer

(183 Posts)
bevelino Thu 14-Jan-16 23:04:45

My dd has announced tonight she wants to turn down her Oxford place for Bristol or Edinburgh. She has friends who are studying at Oxford saying repeatedly how hard it is compared to their friends elsewhere. While dd says she will work hard wherever she ends up, she says she wants to live a little and have fun. Dd is at a highly academic school, where A* and A at GCSE and A'level is the norm. I just want her to be happy.

The only experience I have of Oxbridge graduates is at work where we recruit lots of grads from Oxford and Cambridge and I supervise them. In reality they don't perform any better under our graduate training programme than other RG students.

My question is shall I say nothing or encourage her to firm Oxford which I know I could do as all she wants to do is to make me and dh proud?

OP’s posts: |
futureme Thu 14-Jan-16 23:07:32

Gosh no don't have her go somewhere she doesn't want to to "make you proud'. That's years of issues waiting to happen.

I went to Oxford and it was a lot more work. It has probably helped on my CV but Bristol and Durham are going to look good anyway!

I'd make sure shes making an informed choice and let her decide.

HopeClearwater Thu 14-Jan-16 23:07:39

Can you say what subject she's applied to study?
I think she may have a point. Long time since I was there though.

GravityLucy Thu 14-Jan-16 23:10:27

My partner went to Oxford to please his parents when he really wanted to go to another RG university. He still regrets it 20 years later. Talk her sensibly through the decision, help her list all the pros and cons, then let her make her own decision.

PurpleDaisies Thu 14-Jan-16 23:11:02

She's the one who has to live there and do the course. Encourage her to think very carefully about where she wants to spend the next three years of her life and let her make her own decision with no pressure from you.

BossWitch Thu 14-Jan-16 23:11:57

Does she know what field she wants to go into? I would think that the contacts she is likely to pick up at Oxford will be better than at other universities so if she is looking at a highly competitive field to which Oxford typically supplies a lot of graduates (politics springs to mind but I'm sure there are others!) I would probably be reminding her of that.

Wouldn't pressure her though. Doesn't oxbridge have horrendous issues with student mental health problems? As a result of the students being under so much pressure to succeed?

elephantoverthehill Thu 14-Jan-16 23:12:10

Is her name Phoebe and does she have a boyfriend named Alex? Seriously though isn't about the course at RG Unis rather than the amount of work expected?


elephantoverthehill Thu 14-Jan-16 23:14:17

*isn't it

Brokenbiscuit Thu 14-Jan-16 23:15:59

I definitely worked harder at Cambridge than my friends did at other "good" universities. However, I think that was partly because the terms were so short - there was a lot to cram in. On the upside, the holidays were long! smile

As a sixth former, I hated Cambridge when I went to interview, and I wanted to go to York instead. My parents said I could do what I felt was right for me, but a teacher at school persuaded me that I'd be mad to turn down an offer from Cambridge.

Was he right? Obviously, I don't know what would have happened if I'd gone to York, but I certainly have no regrets. Rightly or wrongly, having Cambridge on my cv has helped to open doors - I have no doubt about that.

caroldecker Thu 14-Jan-16 23:34:09

oxford degree will be better for her - she will work much harder at work with greatly reduced holidays when she has a job.

bevelino Thu 14-Jan-16 23:35:08

We will discuss all the options with her as I do not want to tell her that she must go to Oxford to please me. If she doesn't firm Oxford her school won't be pleased and she is worried about that.

Her subject is history and the offer she has received from Oxford is AAA and Bristol is A*AA. Her predicted grades are 2 A stars and an A. Therefore it would be easier for her to get into Oxford than Bristol, but straight after her Oxford interview she phoned me from the college to say that her heart wasn't in it and did I mind.

Of course it would be lovely if she went to Oxford but I would rather she was happy and healthy. Am I right?

OP’s posts: |
PurpleDaisies Thu 14-Jan-16 23:39:15

I would rather she was happy and healthy. Am I right?

Absolutely. It sounds like her gut feeling about Oxford was she didn't want to go there and she'd be better off somewhere else. Tell her to ignore the school and you trust her to make a good decision about her future. Those are all great unis and I'm sure she'll do well at any of them.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 14-Jan-16 23:39:41

Of course you're right! smile

Just make sure that she makes the decision for the right reasons, and that she considers her options from all possible angles.

She is obviously a bright girl, and I expect she'll do well wherever she goes! smile

JamesetjeeBomanjee Fri 15-Jan-16 00:01:38

I think you should let her decide for herself. I think the short terms have a huge impact. Two of my DC could have applied to Oxford but choose not to despite visiting and attending courses there. I didn't say a dickie bird. wink Both are happy with there chosen Uni's

JamesetjeeBomanjee Fri 15-Jan-16 00:02:58

Sorry for typos blush

PeterLovesHisKids Fri 15-Jan-16 00:16:20

I was in a similar position to your DD. Got an offer from Cambridge but didn't want to go. I felt that I would have to work much harder to get the same class of degree I could get elsewhere, and wanted to enjoy the whole experience rather than be constantly stressed. I'd only applied because the tutor at sixth form, who guided our applications, told me I was "the least hopeful of the prospective candidates" due to being from a single parent family shock

I found out years later that sixth form put massive amounts of pressure on my DM, to try to get her to persuade me to go to Cambridge. To her credit, DM told college that really, they were only bothered by how it affected their statistics and the reflected glory, not whether Cambridge was right for me.

I did turn the offer down, went to another Uni and had a whale of a time! grin

Clobbered Fri 15-Jan-16 00:22:09

How about deferring her place for a year to give her time to think it through properly and live a little before uni?

Paddletonio Fri 15-Jan-16 00:53:44

It sounds like she wants to go to Bristol so I think she should. It's not worth wasting years of her life somewhere she's not comfortable if she doesn't fancy Oxford. Bristol is a great university which will not hold her back in any way. Bristol grads are very well regarded in my line of work and we get plenty of them on our grad schemes (law). Cracking city as well. She will have a ball there if she wants somewhere very good and reputable but also with the full fun student experience.

nextusername Fri 15-Jan-16 01:13:25

> She has friends who are studying at Oxford saying repeatedly how hard it is compared to their friends elsewhere.

But if that's the case why don't these people leave Oxford and go elsewhere? It must be do-able if they're still there. There's still time for plenty of socialising at Oxbridge just as with any other university.

Having said that, there's nothing wrong with turning down an Oxbridge offer if it just doesn't feel right for someone or they'd rather go somewhere else.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 15-Jan-16 01:14:07

Honestly, let her choose.

I was bullied by my very well meaning parents in to continuing a degree I hated for the prestige of them saying I was doing it.

I'm 27 now and still resent them (and myself for being so weak,but I was young and wanted to please them) for it, I probably always will.

WildeWoman Fri 15-Jan-16 01:16:16

She is trying to tell you something. Hear it.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 15-Jan-16 01:22:55

Incidentally a boy in my year at school got in to Oxford so of course went. He detested it. Made him ill. He dropped out after his first year (very bravely imo), took a year out and did another degree at another university. He's happy and as successful as anyone of his age could hope to be.

He'd have probably committed suicide had he remained at Oxford, it just was not the right place for him.

Decorhate Fri 15-Jan-16 06:24:15

I think lots of people are swayed by the perceived prestige and it can take a lot of strength to turn down a place. And I agree that schools put a lot of pressure on pupils to accept Oxbridge places. So good on your dd for knowing what she wants.

I would rather my children went to somewhere they are going to be happy.

I does depend on the individual though. If you are used to living in a biggish city & like clubbing etc, Oxford will seem quite a backwater though I suppose with short terms & high workloads there is not much time for a social life anyway.

My dd had an offer last year which she accepted (though I was not convinced it was the best place for her subject). Due to a results day hiccup she went to her insurance. Her BF is at Oxford & from visiting him & seeing the stress he is under already, she feels she dodged a bullet! I am sure if she had gone to Oxford it would have been worth it from an academic pov but not much fun.

And for those who wring their hands about ruining future job opportunities hmm I would refer you to my neighbour who turned down an Oxbridge place & is now a partner at a top City firm

DustyOwl Fri 15-Jan-16 06:37:17

My brother did exactly this, turned down Oxford to go to Bristol. He was a straight A* student but just didn't take to the atmosphere when he went to see his course.

He went to Bristol, loved it, got a first and a job in a firm at the top of his profession. He never regretted it at all. He says the biggest surprise to his colleagues was that he went to a local Comp and not a well known private school.

This may sound braggy, I am really proud of him, but rest assured I went to a bog standard Uni and DID NOT get a first!

MagicalHamSandwich Fri 15-Jan-16 06:55:00

Let her choose, as long as it's RG it really won't matter that much.

I'm in consulting - the type of firm that hoovers up the best and brightest grads straight out of uni - and also involved in my firm's graduate recruitment and training schemes.

Quite frankly, I tend to be a lot more impressed with candidates who know how to make good decisions - especially those not really obvious ones - than with the name of an institution on a degree. I've had useless grads from top schools and brilliant ones from universities that we don't even hire from normally. My boss and I have the same internal top-rating. He went to Harvard, I went to a London ex-poly we normally wouldn't consider and only got the job due to some serious strings-pulling by a senior executive who was quite impressed by me. (I hated my uni, btw, so a less prestigious uni is also not always the right choice).

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