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Uni applicant diaries: applying to Oxbridge

Oxford and Cambridge Universities are famously tough to get into - so if you're nervous about applying there, you're not the only one. Our applicant bloggers Imogen and Sophie share their thoughts about the process...

For more advice, don't miss our Oxbridge application tips from Oxford and Cambridge tutors. 

Imogen on applying to Oxford"Anticipation - and a bumper reading list"

- Imogen Howarth

'I am hoping to apply to the University of Oxford to study German – Oxford instead of Cambridge because I preferred the feel of Oxford, and I think that it will be more of a university in a city, whereas Cambridge feels more like the university is the city.

'I am quite excited for the process, as the experience of going to interview and debating literary ideas with leaders in the field - the people who write the university textbooks - will be fascinating. The course for German sole (German by itself) is very literature-based. The course may seem a little more restricted than other universities, which offer history and other subject modules in their own right, but the Oxford course takes you from medieval literature through to modern texts - a range that seems to be second to none (at least at the universities I have looked at).

I am a little daunted, but I am still applying to other well-regarded universities, so I won’t be completely heartbroken if I don’t receive a place. Because of this, I’m able to focus on enjoying the experience instead of worrying whether I get in because I don’t want to go anywhere else.

'This summer I have a long list of German books - classics, something more modern and just young adult books - to improve my language skills. Because I love reading, this doesn’t feel like a chore at all, and I’m quite looking forward to it. Personal statement drafting will also happen this summer, but I need to get some reading done first before I can tackle that.'


Our blogger Sophie is applying to Oxbridge"Big Brother is watching..."

- Sophie Shao

'Applying to Oxbridge is, for lots of people, hands down the most daunting prospect of the entire already-pretty-daunting uni application process.

'"The history courses at other places look better than Oxford’s... But it’s supposed to be the best place for history... Shouldn’t I at least apply..? But why bother with such a stressful process if I don’t even want to go there..?" For me at least, it's felt like being locked in a washing machine, going through the ifs and buts and maybes over and over, but not coming out with thoughts any less muddy.

Sophie's brother Daniel is already studying at Oxford'There was also the matter of the virtuosic big brother (pictured right...) already studying music at Oxford, who won’t hear a word against the Best University On Earth Ever, and is convinced that applying = getting in and not wanting to run away to a Tibetan monastery by the end of week one.

'Oxford seems like the perfect place to study history because it’s so steeped in both tradition and the night-club-and-pot-noodle culture of modern student life that it’s almost in its own time bubble, but again, there’s a downside to that. Its sense of history makes it difficult to forget the association with old-school, Etonian elitism and snobbery, which, to be fair, they’re probably trying very hard to shake.

'In the end, partly to appease Dad, but mostly so that even if I don’t get in, I can say that I tried, I’ll be ticking the ‘Oxford’ box on my Ucas form, and after that chewing my way through my history reading list which really, I probably should have started doing ages ago anyway.'



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