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UCAS choices
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MadamSighALot · 26/06/2022 11:06

DD wants to go to Cambridge, and will not countenance any other Uni - that's a whole other thread. She is not interested in doing any other Open Days at all.

But her plan is to use three of her UCAS choices for competitive universities she's never seen, one for Cambridge, and one for insurance. She then plans to go to see them if she doesn't get an offer from Cambridge, but gets an offer from whichever theses universities are.

She's first generation to go to Uni, and college don't send many students to HE either, so we're floundering in the dark - I know in an ideal world she'd be doing the rounds of Open Days and choosing her favourites, with a good second choice in case she doesn't get in to Cambridge, but she just doesn't want to do that (she has ASD and fixation is not unusual for her).

Advice please! Under the circumstances, is there any issue with her plan?

Thanks

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LIZS · 26/06/2022 11:09

It depends how likely offers from the other two are.maybe encourage two back up first choices and insurances, but she can add them later.

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MadamSighALot · 26/06/2022 11:14

Thanks Lizs, can you do that then? College have told her you have to put 5 down?

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DanceTheDance · 26/06/2022 11:17

It's a bit pointless not using the full 5 choice you're allowed. She can't always decline etc.

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Littlemissprosecco · 26/06/2022 11:19

You can put down less, but obviously that reduces your chances of getting an offer.
you don’t have to put them all down at once, you have until the deadline to complete the application

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MuddlerInLaw · 26/06/2022 11:24

First thing is - if her college doesn’t send many students to university is she confident that she’s being taught to a high enough level to achieve the requisite grades for high entry level universities? And if not, is she prepared to put in extra work herself? Including attending out of school courses / workshops. Does she know about the Sutton Trust, or other institutions that might be relevant and helpful to her? Is she reading as much as possible? Speaking extensively to graduates of all the relevant universities?

I certainly wouldn’t argue with having a particular aspiration (I had the same one and achieved it, against the odds.) But she’ll need to be proactive. And she really does need to put some thought and energy into her back up plans.

She needs to attend open days - because that is how she’ll find out what the individual universities want from candidates. You’ll read plenty of posts on MN from parents whose children didn’t bother with open days and got to where they wanted to go. But your daughter apparently has no one at home or school to offer knowledgeable, up to date guidance - so she must!

Essentially, though - it’s much better if a student is propelled by their own dreams rather than their parents’. She just needs the right guidance.

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TeenPlusCat · 26/06/2022 11:27

What grades is she predicted?

Getting into Cambridge is a lottery. Every year they have far more highly able/qualified applicants than they can accept. How is she choosing which college to apply to?

She needs to look at the standard offer of the other unis and make sure there is a spread, dependent on her predicted grades. Do you know how she reacts to high pressure exams, assuming she didn't actually get to do GCSEs?

Lots of places do offer holder days these days.

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BenchOfCompany · 26/06/2022 11:35

When you say "competitive" unis what are her realistic chances of getting in? Entry grades are just that, the minimum, what is aspirational to one applicant is an insurance for another.

Statistically I think Cambridge still is a 1 in 5 chance due to pure numbers. Ds applied to Cambridge, was interviewed but then no offer. He was given offers by the other 4. However, you can have A stars, a killer personal statement and still not get offers as the competitive universities are always oversubscribed so they can take their pick. Ds is at Durham, they wanted A star AA as an entry grade, he had 4 A stars.

Universities all feel different and she really should be persuaded into visiting. Manchester felt too vast and sprawling for Ds. As we were in lockdown he couldn't physically visit anywhere until after some of his applications were in. Luckily we had visited 2 of them before lockdown in year 12. Warwick is campus based so a different feel altogether than a city uni.

As an early entry applicant she has until 15th October 2022 for September 2023, she can just do the Cambridge application and then add others later. I agree with Teen (as always) that she needs to be looking at summer schools, masterclasses and her supercurriculars ie not her Saturday job but what is she doing outside of her A levels to pursue her love of X subject? What has she read, seen, investigated? That all needs to go on her personal statement.

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SkygardenTower · 26/06/2022 11:37

Hi

I help students applying to Cambridge at my school.

Ideally, she should be happy to go to every uni she puts down. It reduces the pressure of competitive applications. However she can go to visit them after she has heard from Cambridge.

I would suggest she checks the course content for each carefully as even similarly named courses can vary widely.

There is a huge element of luck involved. For some courses there are 11 applications for every space, all getting the grades, great personal statements etc… Brilliant students will get rejected. And rejection always stings, so having another offer that you are excited about really helps.

Some key dates
15th Oct Cambridge UCAS deadline
22nd Oct Cambridge SAQ deadline
4th or 5th Nov entry assessments
Early - Mid December interviews
Late January feedback day.
25th January UCAS closes
9th June decision of firm and insurance choice deadline

So there is time after she has heard back from Cambridge to make those decisions. As someone said, you can put your application in with just Cambridge and then add the others later, but I personally don’t advise it as it drags the whole process out more than necessary and is a distraction/ extra stress. Just get it done.

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jeanne16 · 26/06/2022 11:44

Cambridge now have their own entrance exams and that seems to be one of the most important factors. She should go online and practise the ones for the relevant course. They give an indication of the minimum score she will need to achieve to have a chance of an offer.

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TeenPlusCat · 26/06/2022 11:48

What subject is she wanting to study?

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MadamSighALot · 26/06/2022 12:43

Thank you all - she's predicted A star A star B but is hoping for a place on the Cambridge foundation course, followed by Education. She does meet the contextual criteria. They don't offer the places for the foundation until the end of April though. She's done HE+ and applied for Sutton Trust Summer School but wasn't successful.

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BenchOfCompany · 26/06/2022 12:51

She needs to visit the university towns this summer. Maybe you could sell it to her as a holiday. She is more likely to drop out if she is unhappy with her second choice. If she gets offers from the other 4 unis, ignoring her insurance how will she pick unless she is informed?

What subject does she want to study and what are her predicted grades?

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BenchOfCompany · 26/06/2022 12:53

Sorry, crossed post as I was mid typing and was needed for something else.

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MuddlerInLaw · 26/06/2022 12:56

Cambridge now have their own entrance exams

Not just ‘now’! I got in entirely on the entrance exam, (O’ and A’ Levels messed up by personal circumstances) some school essays and the interview. That was in the eighties.

But I know the whole entry format has evolved a bit since then.

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BenchOfCompany · 26/06/2022 12:58

Ds was also HE+. I didn't know that Cambridge did the foundation year program, just seen it now. Looks interesting. I am assuming she meets the criteria listed.

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sammyjoanne · 27/06/2022 19:17

@MadamSighALot It is super hard to get into Oxbridge. My eldest was gutted she did not get in and she had AAAA and all of the extra curriculars including UNIQ oxford summer school and had the right postcode polar etc. The odds are very slim. Some courses its like 12% chance. Having 3 choice unis shes never seen. Ive seen students on TSR(the student room) who have done this and ended up with nothing as none of the uni's appealed and they didnt get into Oxbridge.
If she really is fixated on it fair enough she can try and if she gets in happy days; but if she does not get in, to then do open days and go elsewhere. But if that happens, try and disuade her for going through the same process again next year; as above website TSR, ive seen posts where students have gone for 3rd even 4th year of trying and wont give it up and wont have any other uni as an option.

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sammyjoanne · 27/06/2022 19:17

Correction DD had A star A star AA. mumsnet did not do it right and put it in bold lol

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User79865765 · 27/06/2022 19:24

Is she going to one of the the open days next week?

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User79865765 · 27/06/2022 19:25

And which are the others she’s planning on putting down?

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MuddlerInLaw · 27/06/2022 19:32

It is super hard to get into Oxbridge.

The thing is, beyond a certain level it really is about luck rather than anything else. People clever enough to be applying aren’t not getting in because they haven’t worked hard enough. There are just too many good candidates. And each of them needs to understand this fact before they embark upon the adventure.

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Musmerian · 27/06/2022 20:45

It depends hugely on the subject. Classics and MFL much easier to get into than say History or Natsci. Also college choice can make a difference. She can always reapply after results if she doesn’t get in first time round. Open days aren’t necessarily that useful in all cases.

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