DD suddenly doesn't want to take her Oxbridge place

(72 Posts)
brentlondon Sat 14-Apr-18 23:59:19

She has always really wanted a place at Oxbridge. Now that she took a gap year and applied she accepted an unconditional to Oxford.

She received a long reading list the other day. She's suddenly "freaking out" about what she's signed herself up for and the amount of work she'll have to do.

Even though the course isn't the same or as good in my opinion she thinks she should've taken her place at Bristol; a city which she loves and has lots of friends in.

I think she's just realised how much work she has. Surely Oxbridge students have fun too, right?

It's as if now she has proved herself she's realised what she really wants is a fun few years. Shall I advise her to think it over until August and then if she's still completely certain then to contact Bristol through clearing. (her course was in clearing for the last few years)

It would be such a shame as we all think the Oxbridge environment would suit her.

Anyone else's child turned a wobbly?

OP’s posts: |
Pumpkintopf Sun 15-Apr-18 00:24:25

No experience OP but it would be a shame for your DD to turn down such a fantastic opportunity. Could she have a chat with someone currently doing her course, via Studentroom or similar, to get an accurate picture of the workload?

HeddaGarbled Sun 15-Apr-18 00:33:26

I wouldn't give any advice at all at this stage, I would just do a lot of non-commital and unspecific sympathising. Probably, she's just having a wobbly, as you say.

Iflyaway Sun 15-Apr-18 00:40:09

* she thinks she should've taken her place at Bristol; a city which she loves and has lots of friends in.*

If your DD is old and wise enough to gain a place at Oxbridge she is old and wise enough to decide her own course in life.

Or are you more hung up about being able to boast to all and sundry?

There comes a time in life when we have to let our kids go and make their own way. (hard I know, mine's 26).

Somerville Sun 15-Apr-18 00:41:33

She would get a long reading list at Bristol, too.

YeahAndThenWhat Sun 15-Apr-18 00:47:54

Could you tell her that she could always give Oxford a go and if she finds out it’s not for her she can drop out. It would waste a year but that’s nothing in the grand scheme of things. I understand that this might not be feasible finance wise.

Dustylaw Sun 15-Apr-18 01:15:13

First thing is to realise that some of this panic is natural and to some degree happens to everyone because it’s a big step up to going to university. In other words, it’s not an ‘Oxford thing’. Second thing is that if she thinks she won’t have a load of work and reading to do at Bristol then she is very mistaken. Third is that she has already proved she can do this,whether at Oxford or at Bristol. Fourth thing is that some of this is thE effect of taking a gap year and being off the treadmill. I didn’t take a gap year so I don’t have direct experience of that but I do remember panic after maternity leave that I had somehow lost my competence to do my job - well of course I hadn’t and within 2 weeks was back in the groove ( a heck of lot more tired than before of course). Fifth, she needs to focus on what she has learned through experience in her gap year - unless she has sat on the sofa watching soaps I’m sure those will be worthwhile things. Final thing is that students at Oxford do have time for fun and academics provided they have reasonable time management skills. My tip is don’t treat the term dates as holiday dates and use some time before and after term dates to work. Going to a rigorous university is work (whether Oxford or Bristol) and your daughter wouldn’t have got there if she hadn’t already proved to herself and others that she can do it. I don’t advocate making yourself miserable but I reiterate that it is only natural to feel a bit of panic about the next stages in life.


sendsummer Sun 15-Apr-18 08:08:42

IME it is not infrequent for a student to have second thoughts and worry about how having lots of work will restrict their social life, especially during a gap year. They all usually go and don't regret it.

Needmoresleep Sun 15-Apr-18 09:25:51

Go, with a Plan B that if she does not like it she asks to transfer to Bristol.

mimibunz Sun 15-Apr-18 09:30:23

She will make lifelong friends her first year who will be equally freaked out. Have you looked into the pastoral care offered by the college? Some are better than others.

DrWhy Sun 15-Apr-18 09:33:30

I went to Cambridge rather than oxford, the workload was insane although for a similar course it would have been high at any well reputed university. However the support and tutoring was far better than I saw at the university I then did my PhD at later so less likely for students to just sink unnoticed. I would hope Oxford is similar.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Sun 15-Apr-18 09:37:33

Generally the credits from the first year are transferable to other Universities so she could try for a year and move if necessary (might be course dependent). Also her friends who went last year will be going into level 2, they will have their own new friends and it might not be the same dynamic as it was at school.

SuperPug Sun 15-Apr-18 09:37:34

Years ago for me, but I remember receiving a reading list and read a few but not all.
Agree with Somerville re: list at Bristol and I certainly wouldn't be choosing that on the basis of friends.
I don't think it is fair to you re: boasting comment. If your daughter has wanted to go to Oxford for ages and put the work in, it does seem a shame not to go there. Fair or not, and depending on the jobs she applies for later on, it may make a difference for future prospects as well.

LittleBearPad Sun 15-Apr-18 09:39:30

She would have got just as long a reading list from Bristol.

She’ll make friends at Oxford. It is very hard work but it’s also a lot of fun.

LittleBearPad Sun 15-Apr-18 09:41:32

And of course she wants a few fun years. She’s 18 and on a gap year and out of academic routines. She wouldn’t get a few fun years at Bristol. It’s an academic university too.

QueenieS Sun 15-Apr-18 09:41:38

I think she's most likely just having a wobble.

Keep listening and being non committal, she's got a few months yet to decide.

Cyberworrier Sun 15-Apr-18 09:46:05

What course is her place in? I have friends and family who have had wonderful uni experiences at Oxford, Cambridge and Bristol, but also a couple of male school friends who really struggled at both Oxbridge colleges and Bristol. I think a lot of it depends on the course, the student’s confidence, support network etc.
I’m sure she will be fine. I agree the plan B option of being able to transfer after a year if really necessary is a good idea. One friend changed from Chemistry to I think Biological Sciences at Oxford, which she found much more manageable and enjoyable.

PreemptiveFartSquats Sun 15-Apr-18 09:47:18

I went to Oxford, hated it (mainly due to the other students & the living situation tbh) and dropped out. My mum was devastated and it came between us for a long time - it was horrible to feel that she was disappointed in me. Whatever happens do make sure you support your daughter and let her know you're proud of her no matter what uni she goes to. Oxbridge isn't for everyone.

Sarkyharky Sun 15-Apr-18 09:47:18

Fwiw my friends dd hates Oxford sad the pressure is intense and they just don't seem to have any fun at all. That's not to say its not like that everywhere nowadays.

My friend went to collect her late (10pm) on a Friday night and said that the library was packed. Getting a first is paramount (she says).

polarb Sun 15-Apr-18 09:48:56

You don't actually have to read everything on the reading list. Lots are just suggestions. Or at least this was the case at my uni.

polarb Sun 15-Apr-18 09:49:01

You don't actually have to read everything on the reading list. Lots are just suggestions. Or at least this was the case at my uni.

LittleBearPad Sun 15-Apr-18 09:50:36

Sarky I don’t think that’s the norm. The vast majority of Oxbridge students don’t get firsts or aspire to get them. The bar would also have been packed at 10pm on Friday.

PreemptiveFartSquats Sun 15-Apr-18 09:52:09

I'd also say don't pressure her. I felt my mum pressured me to stay and if anything it made me want to leave more.

Your plan to suggest thinking about it over the summer and then considering clearing is a good one imo. She could also consider taking a gap year (I seem to remember that lots of colleges will let you defer once you already have a place).

PreemptiveFartSquats Sun 15-Apr-18 09:53:16

Sorry, just saw that she already took a gap year.

VioletCharlotte Sun 15-Apr-18 10:03:08

Ultimately I think you have to leave her to make her own decision and not try to influence her either way. Getting a place at Oxford is a fantastic achievement. Equally, Bristol is an excellent university and a wonderful city. There's not really a bad outcome here, whichever path she decides to take.

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