Oxbridge Aspirants 2022

(344 Posts)
TangoWhiskyAlphaTango Fri 26-Mar-21 07:35:23

Hi not too sure if there is another thread started as could not see one. May be waaaaaay too early but wondered if any other parents out there who have a child applying for next year?

Dd would like to apply to Cambridge to study History and Politics in 2022. She is at a state A-level college doing History, Politics and English Literature. I have never had to push her towards studying she is a very motivated child and wants to give Cambridge a shot (a very long shot as we know!). Her GCSE results were good but not top notch (9s in History, English Language and literature and the rest 7s and 6s) so not sure how much this will affect her. So far her A-level essays are coming out at As and A* and those are her predicted grades so if she continues on track that should meet the criteria.

She reads a lot of extra curricular stuff and has a genuine passion for politics, has joined the local Labour party youth group. She has applied for the summer programme at Cambridge & is part of an Oxbridge group that the college puts together.

It feels like a such a long shot and the stats of actually getting in are very low only 18% of applicants successful in 2019 so I am trying to tell her not to get her hopes up whilst actually supporting her!

She is my first born so I have never been through this before. Anybody else out there? Would be lovely to hear from you.

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Lovecatsanddogs Fri 26-Mar-21 08:29:53

Hi your DD should definitely apply. My DD is at Cambridge and we had no help for school or knowledge so Mumsnet helped a lot!

This website is useful

Supercurricular is really needed so as well as reading maybe podcasts and MOOCs.

Pick your college with care, I know Cambridge says it does not make a difference but it probably is best not to pick one with the highest number of applicants each year. It can vary each year and the stats are here.


Good luck with the application smile

TangoWhiskyAlphaTango Fri 26-Mar-21 09:24:49

@Lovecatsanddogs Thanks for the links I have forwarded them onto DD to have a look at. She so far likes the look of Clare and Emmanuel (Emma) I need to have a look at the application rates for these. Its all very confusing for a first timer and I want to support her as much as possible. We did visit last summer to celebrate her GCSEs and of course she loved it, I am hoping there are physical open days this year so we can get a real feel for it.

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sandybayley Fri 26-Mar-21 11:49:07

@TangoWhiskyAlphaTango - joining you. DD is applying for medicine at Oxford. DS1 is already at Oxford so I've got some insight but medicine is completely new to me.

DD has had her 'provisional predicteds' this week for IB and it's looking promising but the BMAT test in November will be more important.

TangoWhiskyAlphaTango Fri 26-Mar-21 13:00:45

Welcome @sandybayley. At least with already having a dc at Oxford you know the application process and what Oxford is like to study at. I know the whole thing is so competitive but I keep thinking somebody has to get in and why not dd, if she does not apply she has zero chance if she does she will have a round a 20% chance. I am keen for her not to pin all of her hopes on this and end gutted but I suppose thats the chance you take!

OP’s posts: |
LaundryFairy Fri 26-Mar-21 16:26:01

Hi @TangoWhiskyAlphaTango - just spotted this thread and wanted to say good luck to your DD - you are right, someone has to get in! DS is a state school student and has an offer for history at Oxford this autumn, and one of the other things he did was an essay competition. His school has just sent out details of some other essay competitions for this year, and this one might be good for your DD:


Regardless of how your DD does in the competition, entering is a good thing to add to a personal statement as it shows super-curricular interest and research.

Hoghgyni Fri 26-Mar-21 16:45:23

Tango I sneaked a look at this thread. Please encourage your DD to apply. My DD has a mixed bag of GCSEs and A level grades, but she is now reading PPE at Oxford. She completed the Cambridge HE+ programme for history in year 12 and was also lucky enough to get a place on Oxford's UNIQ summer school programme for state school applicants. You don't need straight grade 9s and A*s to apply (but, obviously, if you do have them, that's great).

sandybayley Fri 26-Mar-21 19:03:22

@TangoWhiskyAlphaTango - good attitude! It's a long shot but if they don't apply they definitely won't get in! DD knows it is a long shot but is willing to give it a go.

She's hoping that she might make it up to Oxford to spend a weekend with her brother and check things out before she puts her application in. He's had a disrupted first year and is thinking about staying on for at a bit at the end of term. Of course it's all dependent on where the rules are by the end of June....

SeasonFinale Fri 26-Mar-21 19:15:51

The only proviso I would add would be if she wants to do joint honours for History and Politics she has to score highly enough in both faculties to be offered a place for that. If she is less secure in one than the other she may wish opt for single honours but choose modules that match her interests as they offer political and economic and social history, history of political thought etc. If she does apply for joint Cambridge may also decide to make an offer for one or the other or even HSPS (Human, Social and Political Sciences) which she may also want to take a look at as it is not offered elsewhere. Others do offer Combined Honours in Social Sciences (eg. Durham) so it may be worth a look at.

Familyfallout Fri 26-Mar-21 19:23:07

Thanks for the thread and advice so far. My DD wants to apply to Oxford for engineering for 2022 so any tips would be appreciated as I have no clue how to help her. She hasn't entered any competitions and hasn't done a summer school just works hard at her school and enjoys her hobby which is ballet and tap dancing. I think there is a specific general engineering course she would like to do which is also in Durham but nowhere else. Thanks for any information and good luck to everyone else applying.

whiteroseredrose Fri 26-Mar-21 20:13:09

It's a cliche but I really believe if your DD has a passion for her subject it's worth a go.

My DD found out about something called Oxbridge Launchpad through school. It is a mentoring programme where current Oxbridge students mentor state school applicants for their subject. DD's mentor commented on her Personal Statement and did a practice interview.

whiteroseredrose Fri 26-Mar-21 20:42:51

If anyone is interested in Oxbridge Launchpad this is a link.


I think applicants obviously have to have a really strong academic track record but a real interest in your subject is key.

DD hasn't won national prizes or competitions but she really loves her subject (Earth Sciences). She's been watching programmes about it since she was in primary school.

She wasn't 100% about Oxford until she had her interviews, which she really enjoyed. Apparently they were 'fun'.

There are taster courses for many subjects if you Google them, particularly for women into STEM subjects.

DD attended a virtual 'women into earth science' taster course which she found really interesting and which gave her something outside of school to talk about. She has a subscription to National Geographic and watches programmes on TV or YouTube.

whiteroseredrose Fri 26-Mar-21 21:06:16

@familyfallout it may be worth Googling Uni Taster Days.


TangoWhiskyAlphaTango Fri 26-Mar-21 22:09:00

@SeasonFinale Forgive me if I'm incorrect but Cambridge do not offer Politics as a single subject and it's this that she's passionate about. History she loves but not as much as politics which she wants to make a career from.

@whiteroseredrose Thank you so much for the launchpad link I've asked Dd to look into it but it seems very useful.

@LaundryFairy Thank you also for the competition link that's just the sort of thing dd would get stuck into.

So much helpful info!!

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goodbyestranger Fri 26-Mar-21 22:31:43

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sandybayley Fri 26-Mar-21 22:55:40

It's always a punt but the odds did shorten this year as neither Oxford or Cambridge could risk over offering. I think that led to the disappointment you're referring to @goodbyestranger

I'm pretty sanguine about it. I'm a Cambridge reject and DH is an Oxford reject. We managed to be happy and fairly successful. If DD is successful that's great. If not she'll go elsewhere. It's more likely that she'll be unsuccessful than successful.

goodbyestranger Fri 26-Mar-21 23:07:14

Disappointment is one thing sandybayley and I completely get disappointment.

One parent went way beyond disappointment to give me a countdown on what poor quality students were at a certain college - the one her DC applied to - for the subject the DC applied for, then spiralled off into the whole top private schools are feeling the backlash etc.

Probably best to persuade your DC not to apply if there's a risk of ending up so bitter.

SeasonFinale Sat 27-Mar-21 07:07:29


*@SeasonFinale* Forgive me if I'm incorrect but Cambridge do not offer Politics as a single subject and it's this that she's passionate about. History she loves but not as much as politics which she wants to make a career from.

@whiteroseredrose Thank you so much for the launchpad link I've asked Dd to look into it but it seems very useful.

@LaundryFairy Thank you also for the competition link that's just the sort of thing dd would get stuck into.

So much helpful info!!

Sorry when I said one or other I meant for History (single) or HisPol or HSPS.

Familyfallout Sat 27-Mar-21 08:44:07

Thanks for all the advice DD and I have had a look and will google all the links suggested. We had a talk about the bitterness thing and I think we will be ok. She doesn't mind if she goes elsewhere just as long as it is not near home. Oxford is about 2hrs from us so I would prefer it rather than some of the more distant options and the halls of residence seem lovely but don't care re prestige

goodbyestranger Sat 27-Mar-21 08:52:31

Familyfallout they don't show the dodgy first year rooms on the websites. Your DD may get lucky.... Or she may not. But anyone looking for flash first year accommodation, steer clear of Oxford at least!

ealingwestmum Sat 27-Mar-21 11:56:54

Hello all, place-marking for another potential joiner, DD is Y12 looking at Cambridge amongst other UK options, as well as overseas.

Thanks for starting the thread TangoWhiskey.

DahliaMacNamara Sat 27-Mar-21 12:01:19

DD took a 'you gotta be in it to win it' view with her Oxford application. She'd have been disappointed with a rejection, of course, but it wasn't something her whole school life had been aimed at. No special programmes or competitions or anything like that, though she was able to demonstrate her own independent work in the field. Looking at the numbers of disappointed applicants for her course, it was a very long shot indeed. (I'm sure they didn't actively pick out 'the dregs'!) It's worth having a go if you can keep a sense of proportion about it. There's no reason why a bright, committed candidate shouldn't have as good a chance as anyone else.

sandybayley Sat 27-Mar-21 12:10:37

@ealingwestmum - welcome! What subject is your DD thinking of?

ealingwestmum Sat 27-Mar-21 12:53:18

Good to see a familiar face Sandy. And the experience of others with DC at Uni.

She’s interested in the integrated humanity type courses that include language/s as well. Surrounded by prospect medic friends so she’s on a limb a little within her peer group, but good to mix it up also!

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