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Life after oxbridge

(62 Posts)
littleslummygirl Thu 16-Jan-20 15:01:43

As the dust settles after a No this week.
Am thinking I was rather more invested in Cambridge than I admitted. Equally, feeling relieved that DD doesn’t have to aim for an A+ In any subject so a little bit of pressure off.
Question now is whether DD asks for feedback.
And what advice for those who are looking ahead for next year.
My thoughts at the moment are that she would have regretted not trying. It was important for her to try as she was definitely a bit left field as a candidate and working for it made her hugely up her game academically But wow, the highs and lows are a real rollercoaster.

OP’s posts: |
aibutohavethisusername Thu 16-Jan-20 16:31:45

I think my DD is going to email Oxford and ask for feedback and see if she can get results for the HAT test and her written submitted work.

She has four really good offers, Exeter, York, UCL and QMUL and is now trying to decide which two to put down.

Exeter is Ancient History & History Joint Honours so I think she is swaying towards that. However, she has yet to visit York and Exeter. Offer holder open days are February & March.

BubblesBuddy Thu 16-Jan-20 18:32:04

My DD had a friend who did ancient history at Exeter. Had to change after a year due to problems learning Greek and Latin. Be aware this is required. It does not suit everyone. QMUL is the outlier of those.

FabTab Thu 16-Jan-20 18:37:14

I’m not sure if this will make either of your DCs feel any better but after the first year I found Cambridge too claustrophobic. My friends who had failed to get in had a better time at other universities and two ended up doing PhDs at Cambridge. Others have gone on to do really well in their careers. I’m probably the least successful.
The quality of feedback in my day was poor and left friend’s feeling the whole process was a bit pot luck. Hopefully feedback has improved since then.

Gwynfluff Thu 16-Jan-20 18:50:19

Got an offer in 92/93 and turned it down - I did meet the offer they gave me. Went elsewhere and got a first and then did my PhD. Work in HE now - not an academic but a related role. I was a working class, first generation HE kid and it just felt so wrong when I went for my interview and I was under confident so didn’t think I would manage. My mum was fine but my dad really wanted me to go. It was only after Jo Cox’s death when he read an interview where she stated how uncomfortable she was there as a state school girl - that he got it. So many, many years later.

Like most of HE I’m sure the culture and support is much better now and that they really don’t have 18 year old kids just arriving at kings college and going straight to a study for an interview without meeting any other students or being shown round?

Sounds like your DD has got a brilliant and varied set of offers and can find the right place for her

aibutohavethisusername Thu 16-Jan-20 19:35:17

littleslummygirl Which course and offers does your DD have?

littleslummygirl Thu 16-Jan-20 20:51:56

She has offers from everywhere else. And has three out of four offer days lined up. She's decided No 4 was just to fill up UCAS and offer is in the ball park of first two, so hasn't pursued it at all.
I was hoping that initial tears, then setting her eyes forward would be all that was needed. She's now having more of a 'what if' day. I do think it will recede, so sending off for feedback seems like dwelling on what wasn't to be. But then again, if she did get stellar grades and was thinking of re-applying the feedback might help make her mind up ie she could work out how close she was. She was pooled but not picked up by another college.
We met one re-applicant on open day last year and both thought it was a bit pie in the sky idea then.

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ErrolTheDragon Thu 16-Jan-20 21:31:43

Well, if she was pooled then it must have been a close thing - her chosen college thought she was good enough to be considered for a place if one was available at another college.

But hopefully the offer holders days will shift her focus to them, so the discussion becomes which of those she prefers.

Fifthtimelucky Fri 17-Jan-20 00:18:23

I'd say it's worth asking for feedback. And depending on what it is, and what the results are, it might be worth considering a gap year and reapplying next year.

I personally know three people who didn't get an Oxbridge offer first time round but applied again post A level and got in (2 at Oxford and one at Cambridge).

littleslummygirl Fri 17-Jan-20 09:37:08

Funny how thinking percolates through while in the bath.
Have decided my approach if DD does opt for another go is to work as if she had an offer for A+,A+, A+. And also think really hard about some serious gap year work that would be useful for her possible career area. She has two really good possibilities for travel and picking up a language (Post Brexit dependant) Fortunately summer job should be sorted by Easter.
Would be interested to know from @coleoptera what the DTs have planned for rest of the year.
But also to go ahead with this year. Presumably you simply pull out of offer post results?
And am guessing if she had the results needed to reapply then other places would want her too. None of this year’s alts have published offers beyond AAA.

OP’s posts: |
CBear99 Fri 17-Jan-20 09:50:11

My DD was in the same position last year. A no from Cambridge and then a shocking no from Durham on the last day of March even with a clean sweep of A*s and what we though was a great PS. She took both incredibly hard but pulled herself together and took the decision not to reapply and go to Exeter to study History - it has been a fantastic decision for her. She loves the course, lecturers and the uni. Her flatmates are fab and everyone on the course has Oxbridge level grades - not that it's been discussed after Fresher's. No one's bothered. She doesn't regret trying but tbh she's happier where she is now so it has definitely worked out for the best for her.

aibutohavethisusername Fri 17-Jan-20 10:47:34

CBear99 that’s great to know that your DD is loving History at Exeter.

BubblesBuddy I think it will be tough for DD especially as she hasn’t done a language at GCSE. She is doing Ancient History A-level and loves it.

Peaseblossom22 Fri 17-Jan-20 11:36:29

@CBear99 OMG that is our worst nightmare , ds rejected this week by Oxford ( although to be honest he was not over invested in Oxford) and heavily focused on Durham , it’s not history but a similar subject and has all 9s except one and the usual predictions . He will be totally gutted if he doesn’t get an offer ( not helped by both his parents having been there ) . To be honest I will be gutted too confused

littleslummygirl Fri 17-Jan-20 11:38:03

Fingers crossed for your DS, Pease

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Peaseblossom22 Fri 17-Jan-20 11:46:13

Thank you , it does seem hard on him , ds1 also academic but aiming more at AAB offers had four offers within 10days but that was several years ago . All ds3’s choices are long wait ones so he’s just going to have to hold his nerve

Baaaahhhhh Fri 17-Jan-20 11:47:40

aibutohavethisusername Sorry for your DD's rejection. Can I ask, did she go for the joint History and Ancient at Oxford? DD will be trying for that in 2021, and interestingly has Exeter down as her second choice, as she likes those two courses the most. For what she has said, the Ancient History and History at Exeter doesn't have Latin or Greek, that is the Classics course.

TeaAndStrumpets Fri 17-Jan-20 11:56:50

Cbear99 oh dear that is worrying about History at Durham! Still waiting for grandson, rejected from Oxford this week. He does NOT have all top grades at GCSE. We assume the Oxford interview was contextual/good HAT/written work sample. If Durham don't look at any of that he will be sunk!

JBX2013 Fri 17-Jan-20 12:01:50

Hi @littleslummygirl! ... At the schools I work with, we try to get maximum feedback on each applicant, offer or no offer. ... At Cambridge, your daughter can email the college and ask for total 2020 Entry, university-wide numbers for her course: applicants, direct offers, pool offers, pooled but not offered.Our students are surprised at how many are pooled but not offered, i.e. 'good enough ... but no spaces left'. They are, in time, comforted by this. ... Time and new Uni friends will heal. In the meantime, why not target some A* grades anyway? A Level grades are useful for Internship, External Course, Foreign Project/Travel or Funding applications and these can start in the first term. Sorry if that's yet more pressure!

NotEnoughTime Fri 17-Jan-20 13:47:17

Still waiting to hear back from Durham here too........

aibutohavethisusername Fri 17-Jan-20 13:51:26

Baaaahhhhh Yes she applied for modern and ancient at Oxford.

seedybird Fri 17-Jan-20 15:40:50

JBX2013 Thanks for the info - can you request that from Oxford too?

daisy400 Fri 17-Jan-20 18:07:18

My DD also got a no this week and was also pooled but not picked up by another college.
She did not enjoy the interview experience and was fully expecting a no but I think finding out she'd been pooled in the rejection letter threw us and made us think what might have been.....
She is lucky to have an offer from Durham and is keen but we are worried about distance as she gets homesick (Cambridge so much closer).
We are requesting feedback. She doesn't want to reapply but you never know when results come out.
My worry about reapplying (if she does decide to) is whether unis she has offers from this year will not give her another offer next year as she will have turned them down. Does anyone know if this would be a problem?

CBear99 Fri 17-Jan-20 18:29:14

I hope Durham is more organised this year - we were frankly disgusted that DD had to wait over 6 months and was then rejected on the very last day possible. I wasn't sure I wanted her to go there by then anyway! She was in good company though as no one from her school went to Durham last year which is unheard of as it was a pretty academic cohort and they usually send a good few each year. They were all rejected for a variety of subjects though mostly humanities.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 17-Jan-20 19:30:46

* My worry about reapplying (if she does decide to) is whether unis she has offers from this year will not give her another offer next year as she will have turned them down. Does anyone know if this would be a problem?*

@Coleoptera might have insight into that (and the rest of it!)

Coleoptera Sat 18-Jan-20 09:44:58

I've been posting on the other thread about Oxbridge 2020 about my DTs experiences but in summary, they were warned that places like Durham might not be happy that they'd been turned down (only DT2 got an offer from there last year), yet gave him an offer again this year. So not sure really. All DT1s offers from last year offered again (Exeter - which he'd firmed and then turned down, Warwick and York) and he still hasn't heard from Durham (who turned him down at a very late stage last year).

I think someone else advised us that there are so many applicants and the unis want the best, that they'd be a bit silly to turn down anyone who'd previously applied and then withdrawn - so I don't think it's a big deal.

My DTs requested and got feedback last year. It was very short and concise and didn't always match with what my DTs had felt about how their interviews had gone. There was a sense that there probably wasn't time for colleges to give detailed feedback. DT2's HAT score seemed pretty good that time and DT1's ELAT score - sort of OK but not brilliant (but then he got one point less this year, yet got an offer this time and not last time??). I don't think DT2 will get his HAT score this time.

My over-riding sense is that A level grades (everything else being equal) made a big difference this year and if I had my time again, I'd have recommended that my DTs didn't apply to any unis until they'd got their A level grades - or simply used the first try as a definite 'practice run' with absolutely no expectations at all.

I'm so so sorry by the way for all those reeling from no offers this time around. It's agonising to watch out DCs working towards any goal, so hard and for so long - only to be thwarted.

I still think there's so much subjectivity at the final end of the application process and it'd be interesting to hear more from those who select candidates for offers and see if candid feedback suggests that they chose one rather than another just because they seemed to 'click' with them or if they feel they can remain totally unbiased. If you like two things/people equally and would like them both - how do you then select at that point?

One thing for me is certain, that there just aren't enough places for eminently suitable candidates and so no one who hasn't got an offer should ever feel 'what was it about me that wasn't good enough'. The most 'successful' people in my wider family never applied for or attended Oxbridge and all are happy and fulfilled in their lives.

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