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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 9:19 am 
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Just pondering whether many of your cherubs have secured their first or second choices for uni. My nephew, a high flyer, has been rejected by three of the top ones and is wondering where and what more he could have done. I am anxious for my daughter who will be applying this October-January and I would like to hear feedback of the highs and lows of this whole uni process.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:38 am 
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Increasing feeling from those with significant experience/knowledge is that Cambridge is becoming more & more of a 'lottery' as the number of top rate applicants applying for a limited number of places increases.
General consensus seems to be that Oxford is a safer option as the selection process is more predictable as numbers are still 'manageable'.
Moreover, the pool system at Cambridge is very stressful and comes at the same time as January modules.

The knock on effect will be that other top rated courses will become increasingly competitive as those unsuccessful at Cambridge are still looking for places.

Having been through the processd with DS & now with DD I would advise that it is very important to get good grades/UMS at AS level - the modules can be re-taken but not in time for them to impact application process.

A good personal statement is also important so its worth starting on this early - maybe straight after AS exams.
Also try to get related work experience etc to demonstrate interest in subject beyond the classroom.
Extra curricular side of things not so important in terms of what it is - more to show abiility to manage time & that you have spare capacity (ie if are not working flat out to manage 3 A levels you will struggle with top rated courses at Uni). So a Saturday job acheives this as much as grade 8 violin :)

Open days for the top Universities are very early - need to check from Easter I would say to book places asap. & would do as many of those you want to visit as possible in the Summer so as not to disturb Autumn term more than necessary.

Be prepared for Autumn term to be very stressful, especially if doing Oxbridge application and/or January modules. Likely to be busy over October half-term and if January modules are the order of the day do not plan anything much for the Chruistmas holidays!

Specifics do depend on subject/courses/ Universities applied to but the general feeling is that it is getting more competitive.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:32 pm 
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My DS in Yr 13 has so far received two offers, an interview, a discussion day......but is waiting to hear back from his first choice - Warwick. He has two friends who are all going into BioMed Science, and all made the same choices. His two friends have all received the same offers/interviews etc., but have both so far been rejected by Warwick about a week and a half ago. DS has been checking his UCAS updates regularly - but nothing as yet, just acknowledgement of his application - so this is a good thing so far!

We were discussing what is so different between their applications - All are the same grade levels, same subjects for A levels. Only difference we can figure out apart from their personal statements of course, is that my son has done volunteer work at a hospice, 3 hours a week for the last two years. The other two boys just recently started their volunteer work - one about two weeks before Christmas, and one just started up last week. The other two don't work, and my son works Sunday's - but has only done this since September.

It was the ONLY difference we could see - and if he does get in - we shall be eternally grateful for the opportunity to do volunteer work :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:10 am 
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Having been well and truly through the mill with this process and having spoken to vatious people 'in the know' I would say that it isn't possible to analyse Universtity admissions decisions too closely!

Of course there are significant differences between some applicants but most of the top Unis/courses are so over subscribed that many good applicants will get turned down & each admissions officer will have to make very difficult decisions where grades, predictions, p.s., references are all excellent.
Yes, they have guidelines but where all else is equal they have to make a choice and a different person on a different day might make a different choice.

I would agree that relevent work experience is good because it demonstrates commitment to the subject but this can be demonstrated in other ways too so with the exception of medicine/vet where specific things are required I wouldn't worry if it isn't possible.

Best wishes to everyone going through the stress of year 13!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:28 am 
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Location: East Kent
it's not all Oxbridge, UCL scored above Oxford in the Times league tables this year 4th in the world. (mainly research admittedly, but still impressive)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 11:52 am 
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yoyo123 wrote:
it's not all Oxbridge, UCL scored above Oxford in the Times league tables this year 4th in the world. (mainly research admittedly, but still impressive)


Yay!!! good one!!!!!

Looking at medical school requirements and the "need" to do voluntary work. Having worked as a doctor for 25 years I really can't see what doing voluntary work teaches you about the job, - personal and social care is totally different from medicine.

Never really sure too if it is fair on the patients in a hospice / residents in a nursing home etc etc to be cared for by teenagers looking for work experience... don't they deserve trained (or at least mature) staff?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Location: Birmingham
Quote:
Increasing feeling from those with significant experience/knowledge is that Cambridge is becoming more & more of a 'lottery' as the number of top rate applicants applying for a limited number of places increases.
General consensus seems to be that Oxford is a safer option as the selection process is more predictable as numbers are still 'manageable'.
Moreover, the pool system at Cambridge is very stressful and comes at the same time as January modules.


I think this does seem to be the case this year, particularly with applicant from Independent Schools.

My daughter recieved a straight rejection, without interview, from Cambridge for Medicine even with 11A*s at GCSE and predicted A*s at A2.

Her friend, with the same CCSEs and A Level predictions, also received a rejection from Oxford after an interview.

My daughter has got interviews for her other 3 medicine choices though, Cardiff, Leeds and Nottingham.

I wonder if we are starting to see Anti Independent factors starting to accelerate for the most popular courses (e.g. Medicine) at the top universities?

The school has certainly stated on a number of occasions that Oxbridge is now a lottery


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:20 pm 
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Location: Gravesend, Kent
hermanmunster wrote:
Never really sure too if it is fair on the patients in a hospice / residents in a nursing home etc etc to be cared for by teenagers looking for work experience... don't they deserve trained (or at least mature) staff?


Our local Lions hospice (the Lions Charity people, not as in lions that go roar!) has recently advertised for teenage volunteers. I did think is was odd but reading the advert I was very moved because I hadn't realised how many teens actually have cancer or life-limiting illnesses and use the hospice.

The childrens' hospice a few miles away treats those age 0-15 but as soon as the child reaches 16 they have to be treated in an adults' hospice. To be on wards where the other patients are much older is apparently very difficult so teenage volunteers are asked to chat with these younger patients, play computer games or just walk gently in the gardens. Seems to make the stay in the hospice more bearable.

Made me really think.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 2:34 pm 
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I think that is a really good role for teenage volunteers .. very specific and something adults can't do.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 4:19 pm 
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DD's friend works at Old People's Home- both to earn money & for work experience - he's 'a bit of a lad' but very personable & very caring & the residents like having him about :)

I thought the idea behind the work experience in hospitals, shadowing GPs etc for potential medics was so they have some idea of what the work really involves?

Maybe the voluntary work teaches them some 'people skills' before they are let loose as medical students?

Not sure that Oxbridge is necessarily descriminating against Independents but I think they are trying to encourage applicants from a wider range of backgrounds so IF they get it right & bring in the best from the state sector that will have a knock-on effect on the numbers getting in from Independents. Dont have a problem with this as long as the most suitable candidates are actually getting selected & I don't know how we can ever be sure!

Quite sure that Oxbridge isnt necessrily the best for every subject but it has a unique teaching style & student experience that is still very attractive.


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