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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:08 pm 
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A friend of mine has prepared for her children to learn foreign languages when they were very young. Her purpose is for her children to be accepted into Cambridge or Oxford university.

She has a very interesting theory: It is easier to be accepted into Oxbridge if you target modern languages, rather than aspiring to study such subjects as economics, history or science. The main reason is in the UK, relatively few children focus on foreign languages so there is much less competition.

And once you study at Oxbridge, no matter what you study, the doors of politics / banking, etc are open to you. Therefore it is better to target modern languages as your children’s subjects.

What do you think about this theory?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 7:30 pm 
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Location: Buckinghamshire
I'm surprised that you would post your question here, given that this forum is dedicated to parents of children of around age 10 or younger. Very few of our members have children approaching university age, and even fewer have experience of applications for Oxbridge.

Are you by any chance a journalist?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:51 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 29, 2011 9:29 am
Posts: 1636
suxeprotolondonlo wrote:
A friend of mine has prepared for her children to learn foreign languages when they were very young. Her purpose is for her children to be accepted into Cambridge or Oxford university.

She has a very interesting theory: It is easier to be accepted into Oxbridge if you target modern languages, rather than aspiring to study such subjects as economics, history or science. The main reason is in the UK, relatively few children focus on foreign languages so there is much less competition.

And once you study at Oxbridge, no matter what you study, the doors of politics / banking, etc are open to you. Therefore it is better to target modern languages as your children’s subjects.

What do you think about this theory?


It's always 'a friend' isn't it? :lol:

I would gently tell 'your friend' that she is barking up the wrong tree. IYGMM. :wink:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:39 pm 
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Location: Harrow
You could probably work it out if you look at all the stats they publish, if you go to their sites you can find information on how many people applied vs how many places were offered etc...

However once you reach university level, you should be studying something you enjoy, and modern languages probably won't get you into things like banking no matter where you study.

Also beware that just having an Oxbridge Degree doesn't open quite as many doors as it used to. (My DD has a Cambridge degree and still had to apply for quite a few jobs before she got a place).

Languages are useful, but its best not to push them in any direction, but give them support in any direction they choose and see what they naturally aspire to.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:00 am 
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I know 2 Oxford University Professors who say that taking extra GCSE's/A' Levels and courses in MFL improve entrance chances for students. So as they are involved in the admissions of students on their courses I would say yes it probably does improve chances of Oxford entrance. I don't know anyone at Cambridge so can't say about that but one would assume it was similar.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:40 am 
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Given that fewer & fewer children are taking language A levels (2 in my DS's year) there may well be less competition. However, the thought that someone would force languages on their child simply to get them into Oxbridge is ridiculous. They would still have to be bright & do well in all their GCSEs anyway. Who would want to potentially make their child miserable studying a subject they aren't suited to?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 8:46 am 
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scary mum wrote:
Who would want to potentially make their child miserable studying a subject they aren't suited to?


Do you really need to ask, scary mum? this board is positively brimming with such folk !

Still, each to their own as they say in the world of empty clichés. I subscribe to that old fashioned snowflake loony leftie philosophy of encouraging your dc to study what they love. What a dinosaur I am.

As you were.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:20 pm
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At my DS's school, five pupils have received Oxbridge offers (including my DS). None of them are studying a MFL for A-level.
Edit:- They have all applied for degrees which will open the doors of the careers they desire, not just for the accolade of being able to proclaim "I have an Oxbridge degree".
I may be a cynic but I hope employers consider the level of degree attained (from any university) and relevance to the job rather than just looking for any degree from Oxbridge. Therefore I think your "friends" theory is delusional.


Last edited by cazien on Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 6:50 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 2:05 pm
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Location: Reading
cazien wrote:
At my DS's school, five pupils have received Oxbridge offers (including my DS). None of them are studying a MFL for A-level.


I think the OP is referring to applying to Oxbridge to study languages, not necessarily doing A level languages to be a place (though obviously you probably need the lanaguage A levels to do that.)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2012 12:41 pm
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Location: Essex
piggys wrote:
scary mum wrote:
Who would want to potentially make their child miserable studying a subject they aren't suited to?


Do you really need to ask, scary mum? this board is positively brimming with such folk !

Still, each to their own as they say in the world of empty clichés. I subscribe to that old fashioned snowflake loony leftie philosophy of encouraging your dc to study what they love. What a dinosaur I am.

As you were.


But if you start when they are very young, you have years and years to make sure that 'what they love' gels with your ambitions re what they are to study and that you reinforce at every opportunity where it is they want to study it. Sadly, minority choice of subject alone isn't going to be enough to actually get them in, but that's a minor technicality :) .

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Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.Groucho Marx


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