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Attending Oxford?


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My ds has Oxford on his "dream college" list and I have no idea how realistic this is. Do American homeschoolers get into Oxford? I have looked at their site and am still in the dark. Anyone have any experience to share?

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I found this page. Will it help? http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/international_applicants/international_qualifications/index.html

 

USA students need:

 

 

SAT Reasoning Test with at least 1,400 in Critical Reading and Mathematics and preferably also 700 or more in Writing, giving a combined score of at least 2,100

OR

ACT with a score of at least 32 out of 36.

 

AND

 

Grade 5 in three or more Advanced Placement Tests in appropriate subjects

OR

SAT Subject Tests in three appropriate subjects at 700 or better.

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Thanks. I think he will be fine on scores. He is looking at MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and Harvey Mudd and I have done tons of research on those schools and then he spoke at a Computer Science Conference in Spain this summer and came back having met Computer Science professors from around the world and became more interested in attending a University in England. I just did some quick research and it looks like Cambridge may be a better school for the things he interested in.

 

The whole process of attending University in England intimidates me a bit, not to mention the fact that he would be really far from home.

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The whole process of attending University in England intimidates me a bit, not to mention the fact that he would be really far from home.

 

Do ask if you have any questions.

 

One thing to understand about English universities is that the course of study will be very specialised.  It's great for young people who really know what they want to do.  If you go to study English, then English will be pretty much all you study for three years.  Moving to another course of study after a period of time is extremely hard because of the intensity of the focus.

 

There are universities that offer more flexibility - Durham has an honours programme that allows more breadth, as do most Scottish universities - but Oxford is quite narrow.

 

Just as a heads up: even meeting those requirements, entry for Oxford is very competitive.  Last year 17,000 applied (and people just don't apply unless they are going to max out those requirements) and 3,000 were admitted.

 

Calvin is applying for Oxford this year, so I'm happy to have my brain picked.  Cambridge is, on balance, more famous for science subjects than is Oxford, but both are still very good on most subjects.  Just so you know - you can only apply for Oxford or Cambridge - not both - and completed applications have to be in by October 15th of the autumn before you start college.

 

ETA: so you don't get confused - Oxford and Cambridge are referred to as universities.  Each is a collection of colleges.  The halls of residence are within the college, as are the tutors.  Only lectures (as far as I know) are university-wide.  So you would, for example, apply to do English at Balliol College within Oxford university.  You would live at Balliol and attend tutorials and seminars there.  The course would be essentially the same as for someone studying English at one of the other colleges, and you would see the others at the joint lectures.  Balliol would be your 'home' however.  You can choose to put in an open application, in which case the admissions office would assign you to a college.

 

L

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Thanks, Laura. One of the reasons my ds wants to attend Oxford or Cambridge is because he can specialize more than US schools.

 

I had no idea that they could only apply to one not both. In that case, I would imagine that Cambridge would be a better option as he is interested in Comp Sci, Math or Physics.

 

How do you know what college within the University to apply to?

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Thanks, Laura. One of the reasons my ds wants to attend Oxford or Cambridge is because he can specialize more than US schools.

 

I had no idea that they could only apply to one not both. In that case, I would imagine that Cambridge would be a better option as he is interested in Comp Sci, Math or Physics.

 

How do you know what college within the University to apply to?

Really difficult question.  Most people decide by a) the reputation of the tutors (if available) b ) which colleges offer which courses (not all offer all) c) size d) location e) availability of accommodation f) architecture g) putting a pin in the prospectus

 

Some are easier to get into than others - look at the individual colleges to see what percentage they admit.

 

L

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Hmmmm, more research is apparently needed. MIT looks so much easier.

 

You can always put in an open application and allow Cambridge to assign your child to a college.  Calvin might have done that had he not been able to visit and make up his own mind.

 

L

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  • 1 month later...

Went there many years ago, but not sure I could help regarding US homeschoolers. During my interview, they were looking for passion and potential in my subject of choice. They couldn't care less what I did in my free time. The neat thing is, that you interview with the actual professors who will be (possibly) teaching you for the next 3 years (typically not 4 unless you do foreign language etc.). They were looking for an individual, not someone who does all the right things, if you know what I mean. Strong academics are taken for granted. I actually started to get up and walk out in the middle of my interview, but that didn't deter them (although, I don't recommend this!). There was a big to-do when we were back in the UK several years ago about a girl who got rejected, even though she had all the right qualifications - and how Harvard or another Ivy picked her up in a heart beat. Think it was mainly PR on Harvard's part, but it does demonstrate how they aren't just looking for perfect, or obvious candidates. Good luck to your son! It is an amazing experience if you can get in.

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