As some of you may be aware of (or even been to yourselves) this is the month when the Oxbridge Student Conferences begin. These take place up and down the country and allow students to ask questions directly to Oxford and Cambridge, as well as sitting in on subject presentations. However, if you unfortunately couldn’t make it or you wasn’t aware of when these where happening don’t worry, as I’m going to discuss a few of the frequently asked questions at the event. (Also the subject presentations included the details discussed on the Oxford and Cambridge websites, so make you sure you check these out before applying).
1. What Made You Choose To Apply To Oxford Over Cambridge?
This is possibly one of the hardest questions to answer as the majority of students will tell you, it ‘just felt right’ and it was the same for me, but there were also additional characteristics that made me favour Oxford. Firstly, for me, it was easier and quicker for me to get to Oxford than to get to Cambridge which is something that I considered. Another thing worth taking into account is the course offered. In my case Oxford offered BA Jurisprudence as opposed to Cambridge which offered LLB Law. One of the differences between the two courses is that you do less units at Oxford but you do them in more depth, whereas at Cambridge you do a greater variety of units but in less depth so I decided based off that, that I would prefer Oxford’s approach. Therefore, it is definitely worth considering which course structure would suit you best between the two universities.
2. How Did You Pick A College?
The most important thing to remember about this is ultimately you don’t need to pick a college. If you have a preference then that’s great, but equally if you don’t then this won’t affect your chances of getting in so don’t worry too much about this.
The first thing to help you narrow down the colleges is to look at which offer the subject you’re applying for as not every college will offer your subject (this can be found on https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/colleges/which-oxford-colleges-offer-my-course?wssl=1 ). Personally, I then narrowed them down further based on the fact that I wanted a smaller college, as after coming from a small high school to a large sixth form I realised that I preferred a smaller environment.
Finally, another important factor was also the distance to my subject faculty (in my case, the law faculty). Although this seems trivial… when it is raining I would (as I presume most of you will agree) rather be a 5-minute walk away than a 20 minute one! Hence, some of the reasons why I chose Mansfield.
3. How Stressful Is Oxford?
It would be wrong for me to say that it isn’t at times stressful, but don’t worry as you will be able to manage the workload! Personally, I found that the first week was somewhat stressful which is bound to be expected as you are starting a degree (just like college or sixth form was when you had to do your first essay/assignment/problem sheet), but as you get used to the workload and how to manage your time you will find that the workload is less stressful and more fun than it first seemed, so don’t stress about this! However, if you do find it stressful or are worried about finding it stressful then the Oxford Student Union runs sessions to help you manage any stress, from exam preparation sessions to bringing dogs in for welfare. So, it may be worth checking out the Oxford Student Union website if this is something you are concerned about or even asking the colleges what welfare they provide, as each college may do something slightly different.
Finally, my biggest recommendation for applying would be to come down and visit Oxford on an Open Day. This is the best way to see if you would enjoy it at Oxford as you can visit the colleges and ask all of the questions that you would like to know!