Theme of the week is: Standards and expectations
FCC is very proud of 3 Year 13 students who have received offers for places at Oxbridge. Sebastian Morris-Dyer and Jonathan Wright hope to be off to the Oxford colleges of Magdalen and Corpus Christi for history and maths respectively, whilst Joshua Vogwell plans to study natural sciences (physics) at Robinson College in Cambridge. All three students went through an exam and interview process and provide the following advice to future Oxbridge applicants:
Choosing the right college for you is important! They are all very different and you should research their facilities and individual location within the city and think about whether you want to live in a historic, traditional college or a more modern one. Jonathan did not actually choose a college – he did an open application but with hindsight would strongly recommend against this because he was very lucky to be allocated Corpus Christi which he now feels is a good match for him. He notes that Somerville College, Oxford, is always really oversubscribed for maths because it is right next door to the maths department but this may not be the best reason to apply to it as a college!
Preparing for your application is important. Sebastian recommends the Eton College Universities Summer School that he attended at the end of year 12 which helped him to develop his ability to discuss difficult historical problems. Jonathan suggests completing as many past papers for the initial exam and looking over topics which have been covered in year 12 because his interview questions were heavily based on AS topics. However, when it comes to the interview, Joshua notes that the nature of the questions are going to be the type that are designed to be difficult to prepare for!
All three students actually found the process quite enjoyable and Sebastian was surprised to discover that for history at least, each college is responsible for its own admissions, rather than the university as a whole.
Finally, here are their top tips:-
Joshua – Be well read and try not to stress yourself.
Jonathan – Not everyone who gets into Oxford gets 10+A*s (he didn’t!). Choose a college by doing a lot of research. Don’t be scared to apply to Oxbridge. You get 5 choices to which you can apply, so if Oxbridge does not offer you a place, it shouldn’t matter, as you will only be allowed to take 2 of these as your preferred and reserve choice after you have received your offers. Do as well as you can in AS Levels. As long as you do reasonably OK in GCSEs everything will be based on AS/admissions tests.
Sebastian – Look at the structure of the course you are applying for to see what it actually entails. Choose your college carefully, and be pragmatic.
We wish all three boys the very best for the rest of their Year 13 studies.