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Debunking the Oxbridge Myths by Carfax Education experts

Leading education experts - Carfax Education Group are debunking the Oxbridge Myths in ensure all students can choose the best possible university journey. With the keenly awaited Times Higher Education - Good University Guide was published this weekend, and no surprise to find Oxford and Cambridge University at the top of the list again! Oxford scooped the board with the University of the Year, whilst Cambridge topped the Centres of Excellence with a stunning thirty-two subjects areas rated the first in the UK.

As two of the most prestigious and highly sought Universities, it is not surprising that they attract thousands of applications globally. On average, around 20,000 students apply annually to each of the two universities for just over 3,000 places available at each institution. Yet many capable and academically ambitious students are put off by the rumours of elitism and fear of not being good enough. On that, we decided to quiz some of our Carfax Tutors that are Oxbridge graduates to help us debunk the Oxbridge myths about applying to these two bastions of academia. MYTH #1 - Oxbridge and Cambridge University are competitive to get in

There is no denying it is a very competitive field – you will be competing with some of the brightest students around the globe. However, if you have what they are looking for, you have just as good a chance of getting in as anyone else! The good news is that both Universities are very transparent about their application statistics, so it is easy to see which subjects and Colleges are most popular. MYTH #2 - Studying there is only for very clever people

As two of the top Universities globally, it is not surprising they are looking for the brainiest of people. Most students need to be at the top end marks given that entry requirement are: - A A A – A* A* A for Oxford and Cambridge A*A A – A*A*A. However, the Universities are interested in; how intellectually curious you are and how passionate you are about your subject. They want to know if you can think outside of the box and how you look to challenges and solve problems. Part of the interview process is to see if you are ‘teachable’ in a one to one environment. Grades are the things that get you to interview, but what gets you a place; is your enthusiasm and willingness to learn. MYTH #3 - Only ‘posh’ people go to Oxford and Cambridge…..

Oxford and Cambridge are genuinely interested in your academic pedigree, not your family tree. Both universities are working hard to dispel this myth and broaden access to a pool of students from different backgrounds. Both Universities recognise that having diversity across socio-economic backgrounds, gender, and the ethnic race will bring more lively minds to debate and discuss with academic rigour and passion, especially since this is what they are renowned too. MYTH #4 - Only British people go to Oxford and Cambridge University

Whilst a large proportion of the student body will be British, both Oxford and Cambridge University recruit internationally, with students from over 140 countries studying there. They have a diverse and robust admissions policy and welcome applications - from across the world. Making international friends is one of the many benefits of studying at a UK university like Oxford and Cambridge is no exception. Are you thinking of applying to Oxford or Cambridge University? Contact our Carfax Consultancy team at to discover how we support students to make competitive Oxbridge applications.

MYTH #5 - You have to choose a College

Whilst both Oxford and Cambridge have a Collegiate system - your degree is from the University and department. Whereas the College will be your home from home whilst studying at the University. It is where your academic supervisor and your tutorials will be based. However, it is not strictly true that you have to choose a college to attend. Increasingly many students make an open application, which means the University will allocate your application to a College. Although, if you have a preference because you like the location, or you feel it will be a good fit for your personality, or there is a particular member of the Faculty you would like to study with - we recommend you apply directly to that College. Each College has a very distinctive character, and some are known for having the most fantastic libraries or dining facilities. Others are famous for their rowing teams or music. We advise you to research your College choices to ensure you find the right fit for you. MYTH #6 - It’s hard work

The workload is very intense as the terms are short at eight weeks with one to one learning in tutorials or supervision laser-focused, so there are no shortcuts in preparing for these. However, if you love your subject, there is an opportunity to explore it in-depth with those who are the leading experts globally. There is definitely time for fun, and there are lots of Clubs and Societies to get involved with, yet the primary reason you are studying at Oxford of Cambridge is your course, and that will always take priority. MYTH #7 - Everyone loves their time there It is a unique experience but not for everyone, and very few Oxbridge graduates will claim to have loved every minute of their time there. Most, however, would agree that the end justifies the means. You have the academic pressure and relentless deadlines, not to mention the immense workload. A Natural Scientist at Cambridge can expect to endure a minimum of 50 hours of work in their first year. A Humanities undergraduate will be reading up to 5 hours a day, which is a tough comparison with friends at other universities who have 12 hours of contact time a week! Although in the bigger picture, no one can take away from the fact you have an Oxbridge degree! MYTH #8 - Oxbridge graduates get the best jobs

The skills acquired from a degree either at Cambridge or Oxford as - critical thinking, research skills, building, defending an argument or managing your time, not to mention your academic qualifications, are all top requirements for employers. It results in Oxbridge graduates as highly sought after in the graduate recruitment market. But overall, the employment stats from Oxbridge graduates are not dissimilar to those of other Russell Group universities.

To find out more about our University Preparation Services, contact Shelly at:


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