Oxbridge is often seen as one of the most impenetrable institutions in the world. Many students see this bastion of traditional values as a place only for those who possess layers of connections. So why should you bother applying? Because if you aren’t from a private school, you’re probably just what Oxbridge needs. As we move into the age of the meritocracy, the only thing standing in between you and a successful time at the most prestigious universities in the country is your grades.
You need high grades
It goes without saying that those who don’t have high grades probably shouldn’t try to apply. Although they’re working on opening their doors, you’re going to need high grades to even make it past the initial stage. Talk to your sixth-form staff and see what they think. There’s usually someone dedicated to Oxbridge entries, and they’ll be able to tell you if you’re clever enough for the hallowed halls. After all, you only get to apply to five places, and there’s no point punching too high above your weight.
But grades aside, what’s to stop you? Think about it this way – the proportion of Oxbridge students from private schools is far higher than the national proportion of students educated privately nationally. They desperately need to shake off an image of stuffiness and lack of progress. You might just be that student, and if you work hard enough, you could end up with some of the brightest people in the nation.
A word of warning
If you’re choosing uni as a means of avoiding responsibility, don’t pick Oxbridge. The workload is intense, and you’ll find yourself out sooner rather than later if you aren’t prepared to put the work in. That doesn’t mean that it’s no fun – Oxford is particularly renowned for its lively LGBTQA+ scene. Just know that you’re walking a much finer line at Oxbridge, and the rumours of academic rigour aren’t unfounded.
The fact is, Oxbridge has a reputation that’s unassailable. I say this as a Warwick student, so don’t think I’m a cheerleader. But the two oldest universities in the country have a combined clout that an really make it worth it. Of course, and form of higher education is commendable, and your choice of university shouldn’t affect your self-worth. Unfortunately, society has yet to catch up with that sort of progressive mindset. But if you think you can handle the workload and you’ve got the grades (the two do usually go hand-in-hand), then apply! After all, the worst they can say is no.
Did you apply to Oxbridge? What were your experiences? Tell us below.
Photo: GotCredit / Flickr
Warwick Editor for Career Camels and Deputy Comment Editor for The Boar.