Oxford application still possible for DD?

(46 Posts)
jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 16:31:33

Apologies if this is long but I could desperately do with another perspective here. While realistic about the likelihood of getting in, DD wants to apply to Oxford for English during her year out. However, for her A levels she achieved A*AB with an A* at EPQ.
From a google she thinks her college should be up for contextual flagging (never sent a pupil to Oxbridge, 2% to Russel Group, 5% to top third of unis, government deemed 'below average' etc), the A* was in English Lit (100% in Paper one and coursework), the B in art. She is now determined to take an extra A level while doing the art foundation she had planned for her gap year. Do you think this is worth it or should I break it to her gently that there's little point in applying?
Thank you

OP’s posts: |
MrsBartlettforthewin Mon 20-Aug-18 16:55:05

If she wants to try for it why not? Just because her college hasn't got a strong history of Oxbridge doesn't mean she shouldn't try.

What other Alevel was she planning on doing in a year rather than the two they normally take?

If it was me I'd be supporting her fully and being ready to comfort if it doesn't pan out rather than trying to stop her applying at all.

Has she been to look at Oxford? Does she already have a place deferred somewhere else?

senua Mon 20-Aug-18 16:57:39

UCAS allows you to apply for up to five places. Why shouldn't one of them be Oxford? That still leaves four other spaces.

There will be lots of competition so she needs to be able to shine. To say "pick me", not "pick me based on contextual". To explain why the change from Art to English (has she really changed her mind; if so, why is she still doing the foundation year). To give a good account of her plans for the year.
Encourage her to apply. Oxbridge are continually complaining that one of the main causes of 'contextual' (for want of a better word) students not getting in is because they never applied.

jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:00:04

@MrsBarlettforthewin I'm sorry I was a little unclear: DD has informed me that poorly performing colleges are flagged by applications making it more likely that the applicant will be invited to interview.
She is considering sociology or history, but I'm unsure as to whether there's any point in doing this. She'll be applying for her undergrad in the coming academic year as she was uncertain as to her subject choice this year round and, sensibly for once, decided to postphone applications until she was certain

OP’s posts: |
jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:04:00

@senua thank you for your feedback! DD definitely doesn't want to do art for her undergrad but as the foundation is free for under nineteens has decided to do so as she feels she will enjoy it, she would like to remain somewhat in the academic system. I'll own I'm unsure as to what 'English-y' things she should be doing during the year, if you have any suggestion I would be hugely grateful.

OP’s posts: |
ReservoirDogs Mon 20-Aug-18 17:04:55

If her school gets results like that then itbis definitely worth her applying as she has achieved that in such a school which is impressive and is exactly why they have programmes to assist pupils such as DD. I assume she'll apply for Eng Lit. Her personal statement should focus on her subject rather than extra curricular unless that is also subject based.

Dustylaw Mon 20-Aug-18 17:05:00

By all means apply. The A star is in English which is good and her school is below average which is also helpful in a contextual way. No problem with the fact that her existing gap year plan doing a foundation year in Art - why not if you really like Art and really no need to explain other than the fact that you really like Art and wanted to take the final opportunity to spend a whole year doing it. Also that rather adds additional context to her B grade in Art. Remember also that Oxford requires the ELAT test for English so that also gives additional information to the tutors in terms of selecting for interview and places.


ReservoirDogs Mon 20-Aug-18 17:07:20

Look to see if there are any young writers competitions and mention she entered them - you never know she may even win! Check whether there are any specific pre application tests she need take.

MummaGiles Mon 20-Aug-18 17:08:07

I’m very confused. What does she actually want to do? English, History or Sociology? And what grades did she get? A* in English or EPQ?

jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:08:57

@ReservoirDogs thank you for your advice! What programmes are there that DD might benefit from? I'm sorry, I'm a little at a loss about his whole university thing in all honesty

OP’s posts: |
Dustylaw Mon 20-Aug-18 17:09:40

Re an extra A level, I’m not sure I would see the point if she will be applying to read English. More useful would be some wider reading or private research.

MummaGiles Mon 20-Aug-18 17:09:54

Oh sorry I’ve just realised you mean history or sociology as an additional subject in her gap year.

jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:10:22

@MummaGiles sorry for being unclear. DD got:
English lit: A*
Biology: A
Art: B
and wants to study english

OP’s posts: |
ReservoirDogs Mon 20-Aug-18 17:11:31

She needs to do the ELAT before 31 October 2018 if she plans to read English from Sept 2019

jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:12:37

@Dustylaw do you think I should advise her not to bother with it then and apply with the grades she has? Thank you

OP’s posts: |
jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:13:16

@ReservoirDogs I'm sorry, I'm hopelessly lost here: what's the ELAT?

OP’s posts: |
HavelockVetinari Mon 20-Aug-18 17:15:25

I'd suggest not doing the art foundation and focussing on something less wishy-washy (to Oxbridge) and more academic. I went to Cambridge, my mum was the careers lead at a large 6th form, and their overwhelming focus is on academic success. Your DD is correct that coming from a poorer class of school will stand her in good stead, but she needs to demonstrate excellent academic credentials and aspiration otherwise she won't even get an interview because A*AB doesn't make the grade unfortunately.

senua Mon 20-Aug-18 17:16:33

I'm a little at a loss about his whole university thing in all honesty

1) There are lots of knowledgeable people on MN, they will advise (not me, I know nothing about Eng applications!)
2) Universities are institutions in receipt of public money so they have to be squeaky clean, unbiased and above board. Look at their website: it will all be explained on there. If not, ask!

jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:16:58

@HavelockVetinari thank you for your advice, what would you recommend DD does instead?

OP’s posts: |
jojosholt Mon 20-Aug-18 17:18:41

@senua thank you, seriously.

OP’s posts: |
HavelockVetinari Mon 20-Aug-18 17:21:21

Resit her B grade? Not sure. But definitely do ELAT! You can get private tutors to help her with it. If she's Derbyshire or Sheffield based I'm happy to talk her through the basics (for free, I'm not a tutor).


Enidblyton1 Mon 20-Aug-18 17:26:41

OP, I think your DD should try and attend the Oxford English open day on 14th September - then she (and you?) can meet the English tutors and ask questions. They will also be able to advise whether it’s a good use of her time to take another a-level.

With an A* in English, it’s never a waste to apply - only a waste to have wanted to apply and not had the courage to risk it.

Movablefeast Mon 20-Aug-18 17:29:12

Are there College Open Days or subject based open days she can attend? Can she call admissions or the colleges she is interested in to find out?

Movablefeast Mon 20-Aug-18 17:29:32


Dustylaw Mon 20-Aug-18 17:31:36

I think a question is whether she would definitely need a third A level at a grade of A or better. I know that AAA is Oxford’s usual minimum offer but you really need to ask Oxford. If that’s third A is needed then would it not be better to just retake Art? You really need to talk to English tutors at Oxford so I really would suggest going to the Oxford Open Day on 14 Sept(?) and asking them for what she should be doing to increase her chances. She will get the best advice on what to do and what they want by actually going there and talking to English tutors at a couple of colleges.

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in