Oxbridge Applications After A Levels

(20 Posts)
Dancingdreamer Fri 09-Feb-18 14:06:13

Does anyone know what the Oxbridge success rate is like for candidates applying after A levels? Do you have a better chance of an offer? My DD has 2 friends who were both rejected this year and are wondering whether to reapply after A levels. The school has said that they have found post A level applicants have a better success rate. Is this anecdote or fact? Specifically one is looking at Psychology at Cambridge and the other at Biomed/BioChem and is interested Oxford.

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Needmoresleep Fri 09-Feb-18 14:14:02

DD had a few friends who did well on reapplication. STEM subjects at Cambridge often seem to be more competitive so applying to Oxford second time around seemed an effective tactic.

GuildfordMum101 Fri 09-Feb-18 14:20:22

My DD is an Oxford Biomed third year, and her boyfriend is doing BioChem. I can't provide statistics, but I would only say that all her fellow third year friends are the same age, therefore all applied and got accepted pre-ALevel.

BubblesBuddy Fri 09-Feb-18 15:07:58

The Oxford web site says apply to a different college and get feedback as to why the first application was unsuccessful - I guess that’s code for don’t waste your time!

Aftershock15 Fri 09-Feb-18 15:16:15

Ds school have got a fair few post A level offers this year. I know some were rejected last year and have changed college/course/Oxford for Cambridge or vice versa; some may have done much better on A levels than expected so decided to trade up and some may have just not applied anywhere last year.

They don’t need to decide at this stage anyway - proceed with the remaining applications and then come the summer if they have stella results they can make a final decision. They might decided they are happier to go with the offer they have, or think well I’ld rather give it a shot and take a gap year.

ClashCityRocker Fri 09-Feb-18 15:20:33

I suspect it also depends what they have been doing in the year.

I know a couple who have been successful on applying with a levels in hand after initially being turned down but they used the year out to gain relevant work experience and read further into their particular interest.

I suspect if they haven't really done a great deal to add to their initial application, the chances wouldn't be good.

Whitlandcarm Fri 09-Feb-18 15:20:44

No idea in regard to specific %s etc..
but dd applied to one of the modern —ugly— ex-women’s college pre a level and was rejected without an interview. Feedback said that out of 50 odd aplicants for the subject she was in the bottom 5. hmm....

Reapplied with worse a levels than those predicted, to one of the most competitive old pretty colleges... accepted no problem.

Perhaps you could view that AAA gained is stronger than A*A*A predicted. But, I’m not so sure.

Definitely re apply to a different college. Could even email a few colleges to get a feel for the tutors.smile


AtiaoftheJulii Fri 09-Feb-18 17:52:40

The school has said that they have found post A level applicants have a better success rate.

Surely that's just mostly because the post A level applicants tend to only apply with good A level results?

Dancingdreamer Fri 09-Feb-18 21:01:17

Atia - that was what I was thinking. Her friends who were rejected however are both stunningly intelligent. One doing 5 A levels and predicted A* in them all and has represented her country for science. That sort of level so the school shocked that they weren't even picked out of a pool!

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Needmoresleep Fri 09-Feb-18 22:19:50

Dancing, being rejected with 4 or more A* predictions is not so unusual, especially Cambridge NatSci/Engineering/Economics etc.

Or very bright accomplished kids for Oxford Law, PPE or E&M.

The sort of kids whose feedback will say that they were very strong applicants but there were not enough places.

If they nail their results, some will try again, and a good proportion will be successful. Especially if the scientists swap Cambridge, where the competition is brutal, for Oxford. And if not, many we knew went to London (Imperial, UCL or LSE) with no sense that they were taking a less academic or demanding degree.

GuildfordMum101 Fri 09-Feb-18 22:49:00

Don't forget the extra entrance exams you have to take pre-application ie: BMAT's for BioMed. So as well as perfect GCSE's and ALevels, you also need good scores in your entrance exams, an honest, passionate personal statement, and a promising interview. Most applicants have all of these, and still don't get in, in the end they may just not fit.

sendsummer Sat 10-Feb-18 05:17:37

if the scientists swap Cambridge, where the competition is brutal, for Oxford
You may make this statement from anecdotal evidence but in fact 2016 admissions statistics are similar between Cambridge (24% Natural Sciences) and Oxford (e.g. biochemistry 18%, biology 20%, physics 17% and a joint subject like physics and philosophy 11%).
Ditto for medicine (23%, Cambridge, 9% Oxford) and engineering sciences (17% Cambridge, 20% Oxford).
I don't think there is any evidence that the offers from Oxford include a higher number of previously unsuccessful Cambridge applicants than the other way round.
In answer to OP's question, one of her rejected DD's friends has represented her country for a science (presume Olympiad) which is exceptional and therefore a more surprising rejection than simply a candidate with 5 A* predicted grades. I personally would n't fixate on reapplying for Oxbridge undergraduate science when offers from Imperial or similar as those science courses will be equally challenging and in many cases more fitted to the student's interests. There is an interchange of students between Oxbridge and Imperial etc at postgraduate stage for PhDs for those who want to continue with science.

Tropicalfish Sat 10-Feb-18 12:00:39

My DC reapplied to Oxford for a different course. Before we did so we looked into the stats for the reapplicants with achieved grades.The chances were lower as her achieved grades were lower than her predicted grades. You can contact the admissions tutor to find this out. What you have to bear in mind, is the numbers are so small they are statistically irrelevant, but I suppose you have a realistic idea of what your chances are.
I think you have a fair chance but my DC does alot of reading around the subject, reading scientific papers and spent gap year working in a scientific context.
Oxford chooses by interview more than Cambridge does. It helps to be an excellent communicator.
A word of warning, the work load is very difficult. Be careful what you wish for.

Some useful info:

jaguar67 Sat 10-Feb-18 12:18:45

if the scientists swap Cambridge, where the competition is brutal, for Oxford

To echo sendsummer - DD has just received offer from Oxford for Biochem (pre A level applicant) - they were told at interview that 750+ applied this year (similar number last year too). That's 7 & a bit applicants per place. Certainly as competitive as Nat Sciences.

To answer OP - yes, can think of more than a few re-applicants over the years, with a fair few successful (across range of subjects). Equally know of those that weren't. Bottom-line is, depends on how happy DC is with other offers - DD was v clear that if Oxford didn't work out, she'd have happily gone to Manchester - really, really impressed with it.

Tropicalfish Sat 10-Feb-18 15:04:19

Oxford's biochemistry course is 4 years against Cambridge's natural sciences at 3 years.

AtiaoftheJulii Sat 10-Feb-18 15:11:20

Chemistry and physics at Oxford are 4 years too (don't know about biology, haven't looked), and I am sure that at least some of the Cambridge NatSci options have a 4 year extended version too.

LadyinCement Sun 11-Feb-18 12:07:15

Ds was successful second time around.

Several things to bear in mind: you have to have very good results and at the very least equal the highest offer they give out. As someone else pointed out, you still have to do the entrance exam and come up with a (different) personal statement. And the interviews will probably be tougher in that instead of focusing the questioning on A Level subject matter, the expectation will be that you have continued to take an interest in your subject and the discussion (grilling!) will be more wide-ranging.

And, of course, you have to be mentally tough because the odds are still against you. I think ds saw that 60% of post A-Level applicants were successful - so that's still 40% not making it. Ds's friend with 4 A*s at A Level still didn't get in. He's really enjoying Imperial now though.

Tropicalfish Mon 12-Feb-18 14:11:11

If it helps to know my DC just achieved the offer given to all students of the subject. In terms of the interview, I think they are standardised. The first interview lasted just 10 mins and the next 25. My point being they didn't ask any extra questions. This is a difficult issue as they try to make things fair for all candidates. They may have higher expectations of older students, it's certainly true that they worry about whether the candidate can cope with doing the maths after a gap year.

Tropicalfish Mon 12-Feb-18 14:19:55

I would also reiterate what other posters have said, I don't think it's worth reapplying if you hold an offer for Imperial etc. It's just not worth it, in addition the workload is so extreme and the terms are so short it really is very hard, plus the course could be 4 years over 3. In my DC's case, they withdrew from applying for medicine and reapplied but wanted to go to Imperial or York as a minimum but didn't have that option unless they took a gap year. I would never have encouraged DC to take a gap year if they had an offer from Imperial etc.

Dancingdreamer Mon 12-Feb-18 20:22:31

Thanks for all the replies.

Some of the decisions are so strange don't know how my DD managed to get an offer! For what it is worth one friend applied for NatSci at Cambridge and is now considering biochem or biomed at Oxford. Another applied for Psychology and Behavioural Science at Cambridge and wants to reapply there. I am not sure what the odds are for places for the last course but she was told that this year they had about 80 applicants for 2 or 3 places in her college. Would that be true?

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