From the Back Cover
Competition for a place at Oxford and Cambridge gets fiercer every year. In order to stand out from the crowd you will need to prove that you are deeply passionate about your subject as well as having a dazzling set of grades to impress admissions tutors.
Getting into Oxford & Cambridge takes an honest look at what it really takes to win one of these highly-prized places at Oxbridge. It contains practical, detailed advice on the entire application process, including:
- Preparing a brilliant UCAS application
- Writing a winning personal statement
- Handling admissions tests
- Making a great impression at interview
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The title of this book says it all. Its purpose is to tell you everything you need to know to help you get in to Oxford and Cambridge. It will also try to give you a flavour of what it’s like to study there. My hope is that this book will help to de-mystify the whole application process and encourage you to apply if you feel you’ve got what it takes to get in.
You may already know quite a lot about the Oxbridge system and simply need a checklist of things you should do to ensure your best entry. This book certainly aims to be as comprehensive as possible and will cover all stages of the admissions procedure in detail.
Or you may know nothing at all about how to get in. Many potential applicants can be put off applying on the basis that Oxford and Cambridge somehow isn’t right for them and that the odds of getting in are weighted towards students who have knowledge of a mythical ‘old boys’ network’. You would be wrong if you believe this. It is simply not true that Oxbridge operates in favour of those students who can somehow play the system. Having spoken to many Admission tutors in researching this book, you can be guaranteed that your application will be judged on your potential to succeed and your willingness to work hard. The school you went to, how much money you have and how many of your ancestors went to Oxford or Cambridge count for nothing; getting in is about your academic potential alone.
You also shouldn’t be dissuaded because you’re worried that you’re not a geeky Oxbridge type or somehow not posh enough to hold your own there. Perhaps with all the publicity about how the Government wants to encourage applications from state school pupils, you’re worried that your application will be prejudiced because you go to an independent school. You shouldn’t be concerned about this either. Both universities are keen to encourage applications from talented students whatever their background. If you’re passionate about your subject and have the ability to excel at university, you’re almost certainly a strong candidate for admission.
The aim of this book is to take you through the application process step by step, from making sure you’re studying the right A levels in the first instance to giving you tips to help you sail through your interview.
Chapter One explores why Oxford and Cambridge are so special and how they differ from other universities, giving the reader some idea of what it’s like to study there. It also aims to demystify the selection process by outlining Oxbridge’s equal opportunities policy. It explains the policy for disabled students; students with children; students from ethnic minorities; lesbian, gay and bisexual students; and educationally disadvantaged students or students who have had a disrupted education.
Chapter Two explains the financial aspects of studying at Oxbridge. Many students are put off by the idea that studying at Oxbridge is more expensive than at other universities. This chapter explains that this is not the case, and gives a breakdowns of costs incurred over a year. The chapter also introduces the Bursary schemes at the universities, travel awards and music scholarships and includes a case study of the spending habits of a new student at Cambridge.
Chapter Three discusses things you should consider well before the UCAS application. The chapter includes a section on choosing your A level subjects and the concept of ‘facilitating’ A levels. It also discusses the importance of high grades and the alternatives to UK A levels that are accepted by Oxford and Cambridge (including the Baccalaureate and Scottish Highers).