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Six Things Which Will Help You Get into Oxbridge

Six Things Which Will Help You Get into Oxbridge  main image

By Alexandra Jane

If you’re determined to be the best student you can possibly be, gaining a place at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge represents the pinnacle of achievement. Entry to these renowned UK institutions is viewed by many as the highest of accolades and is proven to have a life-changing impact on its students, from the incredible minds who have gone on to change the world, to the comics and entertainers who honed their talents in the drama and theater societies.

Unfortunately, there’s no special formula which you can crack that will definitely see you offered a place to study at either of these extremely competitive universities, but that doesn’t mean you need to leave it entirely to chance. Here are six simple things you can do to ensure your application impresses and you give yourself the best possible chance of being accepted into Oxbridge.

Read around and above the subject

Regardless of what course you want to study at university, it’s never enough simply to read your course books. This will, of course, give you a core understanding of certain topics, but will give you nothing exciting, unusual or new to talk about. Read around your subject, and explore in depth any areas that interest you.

It’s better to read in depth and become a real expert in certain areas than have a vague understanding of a range of topics. Pursue specific lines of enquiry within your subject and outside of your curriculum in order to impress. This will then give you something to discuss in detail on your personal statement and in interviews.

Know what you want to do, not what you ought to do

Tutors and academics will always know if you’re expressing a genuine interest in a subject, or whether you have been pushed towards the subject by those who feel it would be pertinent for you to study.

There are many places where you can facilitate the feeling you have that you ought to become a businessperson – but Oxbridge is not one of them. Genuine excitement and enthusiasm for what you’re about to study will be needed if you are to thrive in such a high-pressure environment.

Practice speaking passionately about your chosen subject

While you need to genuinely love your subject, you do also need to be aware that you’ll need to practice speaking passionately and competently about it in order to demonstrate a coherent grasp of your own sentiments.

Write yourself a list of why you love the subject, why you want to study it, what you want to pursue in your studies and where you think it might take you in the long-term. While you don’t want to sound like a robot with over-prepared answers, it’s foolish not to prepare and interrogate your own ideas before someone else picks them apart.

Be prepared to change your mind

Many people think that in order to impress you must argue your case to the death, winning every debate when your opponent doesn’t have a leg left to stand on. This is not what professors are looking for.  What will impress your interviewers is the ability to assimilate and process new information, showing a willingness to adapt and change your argument to accommodate this new information.

This will demonstrate a flexibility and openness to new ideas that’s crucial to being successful in every degree subject.

Don’t pin all your hopes on Oxbridge

This might seem like odd advice to offer in an article about boosting your chances of getting into Oxbridge, but pinning all your hopes on a single dream is likely to only be counter-productive.

If entry to Oxford and Cambridge is all you’ve dreamed about since you could first walk and talk, you need to take a step back and consider the situation realistically. Putting yourself under such immense pressure is likely to make you tense, nervous and unlikely to perform at your best. So take a deep breath, view this as one of several options and try to relax a little about the future.

Be prepared to work hard and make sacrifices

Perhaps the most important point of all is to remember that entry to a top university does require a huge amount of dedication and hard work. Be prepared to slog away for months on end in order to achieve top grades. This may well come at the expense of another hobby or interest, and you need to be prepared to prioritize your academic work.

Alexandra Jane writes for Inspiring Interns, which help career starters and interns succeed in the workplace. To browse their graduate jobs, including mobile jobs, visit their website.

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