By Abbie McBain
Welcome to Oxford! This is an institution for rich, white, privately-educated aristocrats who are geniuses! Wait, hold on a second – I’m a female from a low socioeconomic background, I was educated at a state comprehensive in North Wales and I am far from being a “genius”, but I’m a student at Oxford. Something isn’t adding up here!
Something’s not adding up because the first description of ‘an Oxford student’ is complete and utter RUBBISH! Honestly, if you think that any of those characteristics still apply to Oxford, you’re sorely mistaken. Let me debunk these myths that are still associated with this age-old institution.
1) You have to be rich to go to Oxford – No you don’t! Oxford is the same price for all UK citizens (and the same as any other British Uni) no matter what background you’re from. Second to this, the university has multiple schemes in place to help those from financially-stretched homes. As an example, I am a Reuben Scholar which means I receive an additional bursary to help with living costs and through this scheme I am also part of the Reuben Network of past and present Reuben Scholars.
2) You need to have been educated in a private school – This is not true at all. Yes, there are private school students in Oxford (most of my friends went to private schools) but never have I felt different from them, disadvantaged or segregated in any way. When you get into Oxford, you’re all on the same level playing field – all aiming for the same goal. Your past education doesn’t matter.
3) You have to be a genius – genius is about 2% of the student body (probably less than that). The rest of us just work hard. Granted, you do have to be gifted academically (else you won’t get the grades to get in) but that does not mean every Oxford student is a walking-talking encyclopaedia. Trust me, if you ever get the opportunity, ask a History student about Chemistry or a Philosophy student about Material Science – you’ll soon see that we’re not geniuses.
4) You have to be a white male – This is a thing of the past and good riddance too! The student body is made up of many different cultures, races, genders, religions, sexualities, nationalities and social upbringings. There are so many amazing and different people in Oxford.
5) Finally, you have to be posh – This really does depend on what you interpret as “posh”. I’m from North Wales so any southern accent sounds “posh” to me. In terms of people who are ‘stuck up’ and ‘cliquey’, they are extremely few and far between and are easily avoided. I’ve been at Oxford a year already and have never been bothered by any so-called “posh” people.
There you have it, the main Oxford myths debunked. Never let myths stop you from aiming high. If you have the potential, the passion and the drive then apply to Oxford. I am very grateful that I did.