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Dealing with Oxford Rejection

By Annie Shaw @an.oxfordscientist

If you applied to study at Oxford, maybe even got an interview, chances are it feels like getting in is all that matters. I know I definitely felt this way when I applied to study Biochemistry and was rejected. But I’m here to tell you (with the benefit of 5 years of hindsight) that not getting into Oxford is not the end of the world, and you can definitely still be successful without the Oxbridge name on your CV!

Firstly, it’s completely normal to feel upset, disappointed or wonder why you weren’t good enough – let yourself be upset for a little bit! But you also have to realise that it probably wasn’t anything you did wrong that led to this. Oxford receives around 23,000 applicants for undergraduate courses every year, with only around 3,000 places available, which is hugely competitive! Add to this that only the best pupils from all around the world even apply, that’s some pretty stiff competition! Chances are it’s not that you, your application or your interview were bad, just that other people were, unfortunately, more suited to the Oxford style of teaching. This is something that took me a while to come to terms with, but give yourself time.

Something that really helped me to overcome my rejection was looking into my other choices of university (which you may or may not already have offers for at this point) and getting excited about what they were offering. Whether it’s course content, facilities or extracurricular opportunities, there’s so much that each university can offer. It was at this time I went for an applicant day at the university I would go on to study at, and I remember getting really excited that I could actually see myself thriving there, and I suddenly wasn’t upset about my rejection anymore!

Even having the courage and opportunity to have applied to Oxford, whether you got an interview or not, is a huge achievement and learning experience that you shouldn’t forget! It shows hard work, dedication and ability, which don’t disappear just because you didn’t get an offer.

Finally, just because you don’t get an offer for undergraduate study, doesn’t necessarily mean you will never be able to attend Oxford. I studied for my undergraduate elsewhere, loved it, and was able to be accepted for a DPhil at Oxford after, so it is definitely still possible!

Just remember that this outcome does not define you or your worth, and you can still have an amazing undergraduate experience no matter where you are studying!


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