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Tuesday, 13 February 2018


Emmanuel College, Cambridge

One trait shared by many successful Oxbridge applicants is the ability to think ahead. A Year 12 student aiming for a degree course starting in 2019 may therefore want to start scrolling through the Oxford or Cambridge prospectus right now. Not only does it spell out the formal entry requirements of each course in terms of A-level subjects and grades, thus clarifying a student's real options, but it also lists the wide range of careers which this may lead to. As some course names  (think Land Economy or Materials Science) will mean very little to parents, this could reassure them that you are making a sound choice.

To both help you choose and enable you to become a promising  applicant,  Oxford and Cambridge also run a huge number of university-based events, often combining a general introduction with a course-specific taster, followed by questions and answers. You may  also get the  chance to quiz current students about their experience. Some events include funding information, a college tour or a lab visit. While most of these (usually free) events take place in the summer months, students may need to apply or just register for them very soon. So, do check the deadlines!

·     CAMBRIDGE OPEN DAYS (5th and 6th July 2018)

Cambridge also runs course-specific DEPARTMENTAL OPEN DAYS 
Held between March and September, these again are free but advance booking is sometimes required.
Held throughout the year, these are stimulating, course-specific talks by university academics which include questions and answers, plus admissions advice. There is a £20 charge,  but the events are very good value. Past attenders even attributed their success to them.
These are entirely free, residential, course-specific summer schools which combine intensive learning with tours and social activities. Aimed at high-achieving state school students, priority is given to disadvantaged applicants and those living in areas in areas with low progression to higher education.
(Applications are now closed).
      These academically intensive, free one week courses held in individual colleges enable state school students to engage in intensive study, interspersed with local tours and social activities. Applicants need five  or more 6 to 9 grades at GCSE, or 5 credit passes at  Standard Grade.
Year 11 students thinking even further ahead may want to explore the FOUNDATION YEAR run by an Oxford college, Lady Margaret Hall, for bright applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds or held back by unfortunate circumstances. 

·    EVENTS FOR BAME STUDENTS Lastly, special events for BAME students, a still much under-represented group, are now  officially run for both Oxford and Cambridge under the umbrella of a separate, external organisation,  TARGET OXBRIDGE.

Readers will find lots more suggestions on how to prepare for the Oxbridge admissions process in my best-selling guide, OXBRIDGE ENTRANCE: THE REAL RULES. 

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