aspiring to oxbridge

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Acorn House CollegeMAY 2016


Ba THEOLOGY, OXFORDREBECCA WILLIAMSRegents Park College, 2007 - 2010Head of Oxbridge Applications

Introduce yourself and give a quick overview about your current role2

Introducing oxbridge


OXFORD & CAMBRIDGEHOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?Collegiate systemResidence and accommodationTeaching (Tutorials and Supervisions)Social lifeCourse choice

Oxford has 31 Undergraduate Colleges and Cambridge 29

Contact time with tutors

Short terms

Depending on the school, you may want to emphasise the following points:Collegiate system, which is important for things listed on slide (e.g. residence, teaching); each college has its own personality Tutorials and supervisions provide small group teaching and lots of contact time teaching likely to be at the college, but can also be at another college3. Terms are typically 8 weeks compared to 10-12 weeks of other universities


Should I apply?



Engineering Science, Oxford, (A*A*A) St Edmunds Hall

Classics, Cambridge, (A*A*A), Pembroke College

Medicine, Cambridge, (A*A*AA), Jesus College

Human Sciences, Oxford, (AAA), open offer from Keble College

History, Oxford, (AAA), Lady Margaret Hall

Economics, Cambridge, (A*AA), Queens College

GCSEs: Generally 5A*s minimumTypical A-Level offer: Oxford - AAA or A*A*A; Cambridge A*AA (Arts and PBS) or A*A*A (Sciences)

Edit grade requirements based on type of qualifications done at the school, e.g. GCSEs, A Levels/Pre-U/IBExamples of offers are based on real offers of students we worked with last yearTalk about differences between entry requirements, e.g.Oxford offers more subject specific and standardised offers (especially for open offers), whereas Cambridge more flexible Offers for Sciences and Maths based subjects likely to be higher than Arts and Humanities subjectsHigher offers may be based on competition or student having to prove academic potentialLower offers also possible so students shouldnt be put off applying if they have slightly lower gradesBoth universities take into account school background and how students has performed in context of the school


Academic ability AND potential

Motivation - genuine subject interest and curiosity

Good fit between the applicant and the course

Vocational commitment where appropriate (e.g. Medicine, Veterinary and Medical Sand Architecture)


Emphasise fact that they are not just looking for good grades. You need to be teachable, interested and interesting. Most important question is whether they want to teach you, so important to demonstrate these characteristics.


OXBRIDGE ALUMNI COURSE & UNIVERSITY?Margaret Thatcher, Chemistry, OxfordDavid Attenborough, Natural Sciences, CambridgeNaomie Harris, HSPS, CambridgeStephen Hawking, Physics, Oxford then Cambridge

JRR Tolkien, Classics then English, Oxford

Mel & Sue, Languages (Mel), English (Sue), Cambridge

Emphasise fact that Oxbridge welcomes applications from students of all backgrounds. What connects the people in the pictures is their subject interest and how each of them made the most out of their time at university through the clubs and societies they were a pat of.Get students to guess which university they went to and what they studied?David Attenborough - Natural Sciences at Clare College Cambridge, specialised in zoology and geology Margaret Thatcher studied Chemistry at Somerville College, Oxford. She applied for a scholarship and was initially rejected and only got a place after another student withdrewMel & Sue (Great British Bake Off) Mel studied Languages (Italian) at Trinity College Cambridge and Sue studied English at Murray Edwards College. Involved in Footlights (amateur dramatics)Naomie Harris, actress who was in Pirates of the Caribbean and Skyfall, studied HSPS at Pembroke CollegeJRR Tolkein, Merton College Oxford, Classics then switched to English Language and LiteratureStephen Hawkins, studied at both universities and is still there

Oxbridge is great for making connections and getting involved in clubs and societies that could go on to influence your future career9

What Can I do to maximize my chances?




Choosing a course..there are more than you thinkFine Art/History of ArtLand EconomyOriental StudiesPhilosophy and TheologyArchaeology and AnthropologyExperimental PsychologyClassics and EnglishPhilosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)Mathematics and StatisticsAround 30 undergraduate courses at Cambridge and 50 at Oxford

Emphasise fact that Oxford have more course choice as you can combine subjects

Talk about fact that Cambridge also beginning to do combination subjects and have introduced new subjects this year (e.g. History and Politics)

Some subjects more competitive than others, so consider choosing similar subjects which may be less competitive (e.g. Land Economy instead of Law and Human Sciences instead of Medicine

Dont chose subjects like Medicine and Law just because they are vocational subjects there are other routes into these professions12

Choosing a college

Ensure that the tutors have ben introduced before the break. Remind students to return to the same room after break so that they can go with the relevant tutors. 13

Choosing a COLLEGE

Not all colleges are old and traditional College 1: Clare College Cambridge, 1326, 2nd oldest, beautiful gardens, large, competitive, great bar cellars and ents, central locationCollege 2: Oriel College Oxford, 1326, small, sporty, old, traditional, central, rowing and sports enthusiasts, on University Challenge a lotCollege 3: Fitzwilliam College Cambridge, 1960, large, friendly, informal, gym, off campus playing fieldsCollege 4: St Catherines College Oxford, 1963, large, social, friendly and sporty, modern, biggest college bar, good food.14


Ensure that the tutors have ben introduced before the break. Remind students to return to the same room after break so that they can go with the relevant tutors. 15


Emphasise fact that Oxford likely to use test results to choose who to invite to interviewCambridge tests introduced for first time this year for all pretty much all subjects apart from Maths and MusicAsk students to tick box on form if admissions tests area they are most concerned about


The Oxbridge interview

Ensure that the tutors have ben introduced before the break. Remind students to return to the same room after break so that they can go with the relevant tutors. 17


Why do Oxford & Cambridge interview?

Who is interviewing you?

What are you being judged on?

Who gets in?

Explain the answers to each of the questions:Nearly all candidates have similar grade profiles, so interviews help them to differentiate. Between candidatesInterview is with subject leader or another fellow within the college. Likely to be two people in the interview, but may also have panel interviews with up to 5 interviewersBeing judged on suitability for the course how motivated are you, are you demonstrating potential and do you have an enquiring mind? Question being asked is will I enjoy teaching this person?Being judged wholistically admissions test results, interview, submitted work, personal statement etc

Help students to also understand the practicalities where interview will take place (at the college you applied to or have been allocated), time of year (early to mid-December), dress code (make sure you are comfortable and yourself but nothing eccentric or distracting), interview length (around 30 minutes)


how many piano tuners are there in new york?

Get feedback from a few pupils. Best way to answer the question is to think about the key characteristics of each and then provide a thoughtful response, answering in a structured and well thought through way.19


Get feedback from a few pupils. Best way to answer the question is to think about the key characteristics of each and then provide a thoughtful response, answering in a structured and well thought through way.20


What do you think of when you hear Oxbridge?

PrestigiousRespectedStuffyPosh/snobbyExclusiveFull of smart people


You are hereToday-SummerSeptemberOctober-DecemberJanuary - MarchTHE APPLICATION PROCESS

Assess your eligibility and motivation to applyResearch the different courses availableAttend university open days and sort out work experienceShortlist universities and courses that are right for youWrite your personal statement Re-draft your personal statement

Submit your UCAS form (15th October in some cases)Prepare for and sit an admissions test (if applicable)Submit your written work (if applicable)Prepare for interviewHave your interview(s) and further tests (if applicable)Test results and interview outcome

Briefly run through key deadlines between now and making the offer. Do not just repeat information on the slide, instead, pick out immediate key activities (draft of personal statement, attending open days, work experience). Some schools may have in-house support available. Re-iterate this if teacher has already explained what other support they provide to students. Also emphasise fact that personal statement should be drafted before the summer holiday and they should make the most of the summer months re open days, wor