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Would a person need to be officially GnT to consider Oxford?

(166 Posts)
ZombiesAtYourCervix Sat 08-Oct-11 12:04:09

D1 is 15 and has decided that's where she is going. She is nice, sweet and hardworking but not brilliantly clever (predicted mostly As at GCSE). She just asked if she could go to an open day sometime to have a look around (very forward planning I know but that's her)

DO I encourage her or redirect her?

CecilyP Sat 08-Oct-11 13:11:31

Not necessary to be 'officially GnT' - not sure if official GnT actually exists - but she would normally need to be amongst the brightest in the school, or work fantastically hard. No harm in taking an interest, though she will have to have back up choices.

Does she know what she would like to study. Competition for some degrees is far greater than for others. You might be best guided by her school.

Trills Sat 08-Oct-11 13:14:54

Of course not.

You're allowed 6 choices on your UCAS form, no harm in trying, and having a goal like this could spur her on to work extra hard for her exams.

farawaymummy Sat 08-Oct-11 13:42:17

of course not - oxford needs a combination of hard working normal people with common sense to balance all the 'off the planet' types. There are plenty of sweet normal people there. x

Trills Sat 08-Oct-11 13:44:40

Depends what you mean by normal I suppose...

flack Sat 08-Oct-11 13:49:30

Oxbridge is what, the top 3% of those who even apply for Uni?
So that's probably what... the top 10% of the population, inherent ability/natural brains wise?
You don't know if you don't try....

scaevola Sat 08-Oct-11 13:53:08

Definitely encourage her to go to the open day.

peteneras Sat 08-Oct-11 14:20:34

'You're allowed 6 choices on your UCAS form'

Incorrect. It's actually 5 choices.

Four, if applying for medicine. The 5th choice is then used for another course other than medicine or just left blank.

OP, please do encourage your DD to try for Oxford.

Trills Sat 08-Oct-11 14:28:12

OK 5 then. I didn't realise it had changed, but the point still stands. Applying to Oxford isn't going to do any harm.

cece Sat 08-Oct-11 14:37:28

No harm in aiming high is there?

gelatinous Sat 08-Oct-11 17:57:51

"No harm in aiming high is there?"

I'm not sure. I know quite a few children who have been aspiring vets, medics, or who have wanted to go to Oxford who no one told they didn't really have a chance or even "well you would need to get around x y z grades in order to do that and while you absolutely should try for it you should also have a backup plan in case". There have been upsets when things haven't worked out and in some cases they would have been better advised to take different subjects at A level, so a more realistic view earlier on might have been helpful.

BerylOfLaughs Sat 08-Oct-11 18:13:46

I'd tell her that she needs 3 As at A level as a basis, and then more to offer on top, be it further academic stuff, sports, debating etc. There are people with 4 As who still get turned down - there are a limited number of places. But I think from her mum she needs encouragement with some realism. There's no reason she couldn't achieve this but she will need to work very hard.

scaevola Sat 08-Oct-11 18:30:29

OP was talking in terms of going on an open day years ahead of actually applying - no harm in aiming high on that.

Whether it is a sensible use if a preference is a much later question when she has found out more about the university and the style of course it offers in the fields she is interested in.

Just to state the bleedin' obvious, an Oxford place isn't some sort of reward sticker for school performance. It's a chance to study in a place with a very distinct style - ferociously academic, very short terms, very few contact hours in most subjects and an expectation of a self-motivated learning and independence. It doesn't suit every clever child. Your DD will need to think hard about both what she will need to do to get there, and whether it would actually suit her if she did.

senua Sat 08-Oct-11 19:17:30

A cat can look at a king. There is no harm in your DD going for a visit as long as she doesn't get caught up in all that 'dreaming spires' humbug.

However, her sights should be set on her subject not 'Oxford at all costs'.

vincentvangogh Sat 08-Oct-11 19:46:10

plenty of people at Oxford do the course, get 2.1s and go off to live respectable normal lives. They don't all have brains the size of planets. Encourage her to aim high. If she does, she might get in to Oxford (or if not, another highly regarded university).

BoffinMum Sat 08-Oct-11 19:50:46

I think a lot happens to people between 15 and 18 so it's always worth investigating, and generally worth applying if she things she will like the tutorial style of teaching and writing a lot of essays.

BoffinMum Sat 08-Oct-11 19:51:09


UniS Sat 08-Oct-11 19:52:37

Encourage her to go to an open day at oxbridge AND else where.
Good idea for her to have ideas about her aims BEFORE starting A levels.

orienteerer Sat 08-Oct-11 19:54:09

It's only an open day, of course she should go.

Upwardandonward Sat 08-Oct-11 19:54:12

Oxford/Cambridge isn't just about 'brightness''s also about being someone who meshes with the teaching methods - shorter terms that are very work heavy.

sleepingbunny Sat 08-Oct-11 19:55:58

Well, I'm no rocket scientist, and I went. The majority of us were just that, completely normal (though I do have some friends whose brains are the size of planets). I'm from a state comp too. You never know if you don't try.

EllaDee Sat 08-Oct-11 20:04:33

Yes, I agree with Trills and others who say she may as well give it a go as she has plenty of choices. It's good too that she's thought about this early, so has loads of time to research a little and work out what she needs to do, and what she really likes about the courses or the colleges or whatever.

I think applying to Oxbridge is in a way quite reassuring, because they have so much money to devote to the admissions process, so it is very personal. They will have the time to really get to know her a bit through interviews, whereas anywhere else, it is much more of a lottery because good grades and a personal statement don't tell give you much chance to show what's special about you.

FWIW, I know people who got no offers except from Oxford/Cambridge - those places obviously saw something that wasn't apparent from the grades-on-paper that all the other universities get to see.

Best of luck to her. smile

BaaBaaHerdwickSheep Sat 08-Oct-11 20:07:54

Definitely worth going for a look and you should of course make sure that your DD knows that whether or not to apply in the end will be her choice and you'll be happy with whatever her choice is (i.e. there's no pressure from you). Make sure she looks at other places too and if she does decide to apply that she has good back up options.

I ended up at Oxford having never been to an open day because no one ever suggested it (parents or teachers) - I was bright (not 'G&T' though) but at a very good school so there were other more obvious Oxbridge candidates than me and when I mentioned that I was thinking about applying (a week before the forms had to be in after a friend suggested it) I was actively discouraged by the school. I got in, got a first, like to think I'm pretty normal smile and now have a very very average job and very few people guess that I went to Oxford. I say this just to emphasise the point that Oxbridge churns out people of all sorts, some of whom go on to be Nobel prize winners but the majority of people turn out just like everyone else!

I wish I'd gone for a look around beforehand as I might have got some more support when I was applying and would have understood the process and the college system better - I ended up choosing one pretty much at random which is not a good idea as it really does have a big effect on your experience once you're at uni.

I also have a friend who teaches and takes kids to visit Oxbridge regularly - she encourages anyone who's interested to go along but does also have a frank conversation with them about why they're not universities that suit everyone, even everyone with the right grades, and that even some of the best and brightest don't get in - so have good alternative options and don't pin all your self esteem on getting accepted.

ZombiesAtYourCervix Sun 09-Oct-11 09:46:04

thanks - will relay all this to her.

kalidasa Sun 09-Oct-11 16:06:14

Definitely to be encouraged. (Have been involved in Oxford admissions in the past though not there now; was there as an undergrad too.) GCSEs are not in any case a very reliable indicator. She might be a good-but-not-fantastic GCSE candidate now but have a lot else going on that translates into a strong Oxbridge candidate in a couple of years. The fact that she's thinking about it is a start! Especially if she's motivated by the subject as much or more than the place. Her interest in the subject and evidence of pursuing that interest beyond the school curriculum will be of vastly more importance than any of the extra-curricular stuff (sport, debating etc) that schools often feel are important. Does she know which subject she'd like to do?

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