My son has just received his A level results and has got 3 A stars. We are pushing him to rethink his college choices and re-apply to Oxbridge. What do you suggest?

Congratulations on your son’s excellent performance.  Am sure you and your son are, rightfully so, extremely happy.

I presume based on his predicted grades your son would have done his University selection.   Before you make a decision to defer his admission, identify the subject your son wants to pursue. It is possible that nether Oxford nor Cambridge offer them or another University has a reputation equally good if not better than Oxbridge for that program. Why not have him revisit his selection and speak to the faculties of the shortlisted universities. This may give him the confidence in his decision. Your son should also check with the universities of his firm choice for eligibility of Scholarships. Some universities give scholarships to students who get exceptional grades that may be beyond the conditions on his offer letter.

Do also talk to his school counselor or a college consultant who will help you both understand how to apply to Oxbridge and competitiveness of applying to Oxbridge. Keep in mind he can apply to either Cambridge or Oxford, not both. It is possible that along with the 3 A stars the admission officer will also ask to see his GCSE results – looking for a minimum of seven A stars. In addition to his academic scores admission officers will review his personal statements, reference letters and examples of course work.

Oxbridge application deadlines have closed for this year’s intake and he would need to take a gap year. It is important that the gap year is well planned and you benefit from it. Use the time to attend seminars and talks, apply for internship, visit exhibitions and read a lot on the program you intend to pursue. At every stage in your application and interview you will need to show dedication and enthusiasm for the chosen subject.

University admission Timelines should be kept in mind as the application dates are earlier than other universities in the UK. Oxbridge application open up normally from the 1st September till the 15th October. He will also need to sit for entrance tests which are fairly demanding.  Successful candidates will be interviewed in December and applicants should use the preparation days to understand and practice for the interview. The interviews have a formidable reputation and in addition to the knowledge of the subject, tests the student’s capacity of embracing ideas to work through problems.

A key difference at Oxbridge is the methodology and style of imparting education.  In addition to lectures and classes students attend small study workshops with a tutor and it is these tutorials where he will get individual personalized attention that really differentiate Oxbridge from other Universities.

At the end of the day before deferring your decision remember the old adage “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

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