Oxbridge 2020 (3) *title amended at OP's request*

(1000 Posts)
HugoSpritz Mon 30-Sep-19 08:13:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OP’s posts: |
Justneedaflippingtemporaryname Mon 30-Sep-19 08:27:34

Hi all, mind if I join? I've been avidly reading but I don't know why, it's felt a bit like tempting fate to post! But it's getting so real now, so I'd like to join in, so hiiiiii! I've read all of last years threads too.

DD is applying for natural sciences at Cambridge. UCAS is complete. Waiting for school to say final draft of PS is good to go. I'm really intrigued to see what will be in the school reference.
She's now working on the additional PS for the SAQ.

Justneedaflippingtemporaryname Mon 30-Sep-19 08:29:54

I just realised the thread title says 'Oxford', not 'Oxbridge'. Could you get it changed, OP?

HugoSpritz Mon 30-Sep-19 08:45:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OP’s posts: |
bpisok Mon 30-Sep-19 09:18:23

Welcome justneed
Thanks hugo

.... I wonder what number thread number we will be on by August

Hoghgyni Mon 30-Sep-19 09:42:24

Carrying on from the reading PS points, DD's school reviewed hers. I was only allowed to read it through & change a single stray character before I entered my credit card details to submit. I don't think any books she had read were mentioned as that would have used up too many characters in titles. She had a similar approach to GS's DD with two sentences at the end for extra curricular, but I believe her school made more of that in their reference.

FlyingSquid Mon 30-Sep-19 10:18:35


If DD does decide to apply next year, we're going to need to up our game on the PS. Her brother (definitely not Oxbridge!) wrote his PS around midnight on the 14 January this year. The submission deadline was the 15th.

I'm not recommending his method but it did cut out a lot of agonising time.


Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 10:22:46

@KingscoteStaff ds also way over for characters . Not sure there will be much room, if at all, for non academic stuff which is why I think he should consider the Durham substitute one but I think you have to do it straight away and to be honest I think by the time he gets this one sorted he will be personal statemented out😮

goodbyestranger Mon 30-Sep-19 10:27:47

Peaseblossom it doesn't look to me as though the Durham substitute statement is available for anyone other than those applying for a different course at Durham than elsewhere, but perhaps that applies to your DS. DD wasn't intending to do it. She assumes that school will refer to her extra curricular things - we'll see anyhow, once the reference is attached....

Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 10:52:03

Goodbye, My understanding is that it is available regardless of course . The admissions personal statement page says that it is available where you are applying to ‘ universities which have different preferences for the academic and non academic content of a personal statement’ This seems very much aimed at the Oxbridge candidate . In fact in the FAQ section it states that Durham decisions are ‘ partly based on the contribution that a student can make to and benefit university life and the college community’ and if your personal statement is for a university which is only interested in academic work you should consider using the alternative statement to redress the balance .

goodbyestranger Mon 30-Sep-19 10:54:46

Yes it's odd that when you click on the link to submit the 'Oxbridge' option doesn't seem to be available any longer. So either it's a blip with the link to submit or Durham has changed its options but failed to update the text. I might give admissions a ring, out of interest.

bpisok Mon 30-Sep-19 10:56:45

goodbye - phew. I don't think it helped that DD decided on a different course whilst first redrafting her PS. The original choice went and was replaced by a related course which concentrated on something other than Roman/Greek. Rather typically she went for something she really wanted to learn more about as opposed to something she already knew a lot about. It's even more niche than her original choice.
Probably rather 'risky' but (a) it's something no one learns at school anyway (b) she does know a fair bit about it and had lots of related supra curricula (c) it's the focus of her EPQ and most importantly (d) it's something she would like to spend 3 years doing!!
The only real negative is that it doesn't lead to anything 'obvious' afterwards (and people raise an eyebrow when you say what it is) but then nor does English, History etc.

Did your DD manage to find many ab initio courses as her backups or did she go for something similar but different?

Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 10:58:40

Actually reading that and the further guidance in the Durham personal statement page I think he may have to consider it. It clearly says ‘ we would encourage applicants to talk about their extra curricular activities ‘ etc etc scarily it also says that they are placing greater value on it ‘ as a source for them to identify the characteristics , capabilities, merit and potential if an applicant’ ..., ‘ so it can be the crucial factor’

No pressure there then , and all in 4000 characters 😮

Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 11:01:03

goodbye You submit it within 3 days of the confirmation email from Durham , directly to Durham amd not through UCAS

goodbyestranger Mon 30-Sep-19 11:26:51


Yup got that Peaseblossom but the Oxbridge option is missing when you click to submit (you'll see what I mean if you press it yourself!).

goodbyestranger Mon 30-Sep-19 11:29:27

bpisok no she's gone for the ab intio course at five unis - saved time thinking about where to go (in fact she discovered - leaving London out of the count - that seven options were available, not six, so more to consider than she thought smile).

Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 11:45:02

See what you mean , thank you , I wonder if the link will be different in the confirmation email? Might get ds to call admissions

DadDadDad Mon 30-Sep-19 11:50:51

@Peaseblossom22 - where on the Durham website is your second quote (the one you introduced as scary)? I've been rummaging around the site and can't find it, and I think it would be good for my DS to know about and discuss with school!

goodbyestranger Mon 30-Sep-19 12:02:36

Yes, could be different on the confirmation e-mail I guess. Confirmation e-mails seem a long way off for us still.... DD is going to stick with her original PS whatever, although it would be much better if school stuck something in about the non academic stuff. I'm leaving well alone though, just want the reference to be sent off - her two lines got a couple of headlines in so they may have to make of that what they will.

Peaseblossom22 Mon 30-Sep-19 12:03:35

@DadDadDad if you go to study/ug/apply/ucas/personal statement/guidance then to guidance from Admissions selectors and read the transcript from the videos ( at bottom) . I think it’s in the section on the importance of the personal statement when making decisions.

Sorry I can’t link on this phone for some reason !

Pepermintea Mon 30-Sep-19 12:10:04

DS nearly removed Durham as a choice when he heard about the alternative PS, so I quickly told him that doesn't seem to be an option this year when you are applying for the same subject everywhere. So I hope that's still true when the confirmation email comes! I somehow doubt school will write about his badminton (his only real extra curricular) but hopefully they will mention he is deputy school captain.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 30-Sep-19 12:30:07

I'm somewhat cynically inclined to think that Durham does this to try to make themselves appear a bit more special than they really are. They're excellent for some subjects, of course, so for those the extra hoop may be worthwhile.

DadDadDad Mon 30-Sep-19 12:30:45

Thanks, Pease. I did see those transcripts and obviously didn't read them carefully enough. For anyone else, here's the link:
www.dur.ac.uk/study/ug/apply/ucas/personalstatement/guidance/ - the transcripts are pdfs linked at the bottom, it's the 5th one.

Quair Mon 30-Sep-19 13:24:32

checking in

aibutohavethisusername Mon 30-Sep-19 13:31:50

DD’s college reviewed her PS so she is making amendments to it this afternoon.

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