Why It Takes A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

Why It Takes A Lot More Than Tutoring For You To Get Your Child Into Oxbridge

Oxbridge Parents What's new?

Oxford and Cambridge universities, collectively referred to as Oxbridge, are two of the UK’s most prestigious universities. Being so prestigious also means that they are two of the most sought-after universities in the UK as well as globally. This makes getting a place at Oxbridge a very competitive process.

Due to this high competition, the acceptance rates at these universities will be quite low compared to other universities. According to the Oxford and Cambridge university websites, Oxford currently has an acceptance rate of only 17% and Cambridge has a slightly higher acceptance rate of 21%. With roughly 3 applicants per place, Oxbridge will only consider applicants with the highest academic ability and potential. 

One of the ways that young people can show that they have the highest academic ability is by making use of a private tutor to help them excel in their A-Levels. However, that is not where it should end. In fact, it is just the beginning. 

Where to begin?
Before you start preparing your child for Oxbridge it’s important that you discuss it with your child. You need to make sure that they understand what it takes to get into Oxbridge so that they can be prepared to work hard. You should also definitely get an understanding of their career aspirations and other passions. Having a clear understanding of this early on will be highly beneficial in shaping their goals and it will also help them to choose the right subjects in school to achieve their goals. In addition, if you are able to gauge your child’s abilities early on, it will be easier for you to see what they need to focus on and what they need help with. GT Scholars can offer help with this through our workshops and enrichment days which help teens with choosing a career and also finding out more about university. This is often the first step a parent should consider. It also helps the child to realise what subjects they need to achieve their goals.

Tutoring vs. Mentoring
Private tutoring focuses mainly on reinforcing what your child has learned at school and helping them to improve their understanding and keep track of their academic goals. But, have you considered getting them a mentor as well? A mentor is more of a guide and advisor that can help your child with their personal development, career goals and various other topics that go beyond their school work. They can also help them to develop valuable skills like time management and interpersonal skills that they can then apply to their daily life. The GT Scholars mentoring programme has found that instilling these concepts in your child from an early age helps to build their confidence, increase self-belief and help them to feel more independent.

Examination preparation
Young people are under immense pressure during exam periods, especially if they are thinking about getting into Oxbridge. It’s important that they prepare themselves well in advance so that they can avoid unnecessary stress and perform better. Beyond going over important topics with their tutor, they should also learn how to effectively tackle exams. Over the years, we at GT Scholars have seen how different children cope with exams, and it does not only depend on their academic abilities. They will need to be able to manage their time effectively, be able to handle and counteract stress, and be able to understand their exam questions and answer intelligently. We run an annual Study Skills and Exam Preparation workshop that they should definitely attend. The sooner you help your child to prepare for exams properly, the greater the possibility of them succeeding in their exams throughout their school and university life. 

Applications
Unfortunately, a tutor is not going to have the time to help your child prepare for the application process when considering Oxbridge. The application process can be quite complicated, with various documents and assessments that need to be completed. This can be further complicated depending on what career path your child has chosen. To make it easier, it’s important for young people to start their application process well in advance. They can even take a look at the application process when they first start thinking about studying at Oxbridge to get a better understanding of what is required. This will give them enough time to develop their personal statement, extracurricular activities and other ways to make their application stand out. Our mentoring programme and enrichment days can provide them with all the help and guidance that they need to complete their applications. 

Encouragement and support
Young people will feel more confident in accomplishing their goals if their parents believe in their ability to do so. As parents, you need to support your child in their decisions and help reinforce their skills and abilities. This will allow them to feel encouraged and they will be able to move forward into university life knowing that they will be more than fine. Reinforcing their skills will help them to be independent once they’re away from home. It will help them to easily navigate time management, interact with others and understand their work.   

These are just some of the action points you can take to help your child reach their aim of studying at Oxbridge. It’s not just about tutoring, it’s about building all of their skills to proceed into university life, helping them to be well-rounded individuals, and ensuring they feel supported every step of the way.

GT Scholars is a not-for-profit social enterprise and registered charity. We run after-school and weekend programmes that help young people achieve their academic and career aspirations. Our programmes include tutoring, mentoring and enrichment sessions for young people aged 11-18. Contact us if you would like to know more about any of our programmes and courses.

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

7 Ways You or a Tutor can Prepare Your Child for Oxbridge

Oxbridge Parents University What's new?

The University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge (collectively known as Oxbridge) are two of the most prestigious universities not only in the UK but in the world. They have a long history, rich in heritage and tradition, that goes back at least nine centuries. They are globally recognised as being places of focus for learning, culture, and for intellectual debate.

It comes as no surprise that with such high esteem, both the universities are highly sought after by new students from all over the world. It’s extremely competitive to get into Oxbridge. In fact, in 2016 more than 19 000 people applied for the 3 200 undergraduate places at Oxford.

These figures are certainly daunting for students who wish to apply to these universities. It is clear that only the best of the best make the cut, so prospective students need to make sure that they really stand out from the immense crowd of applicants.

Children who aspire to study at Oxbridge will often need extra support from their parents, and that is not just about the funding. So here are seven ways that parents can prepare their bright children for a place at these elite universities.

  • Start preparation early: To study at Oxbridge, it is not just the early bird that catches the worm, but the early prepared bird. Dr Samina Khan, head of student admissions at Oxford, believes that children should start preparing for Oxbridge at the age of 11, and not just when they reach the sixth form. Children need ample time to develop and master their passion for subjects, which will help give them an advantage over others during interviews and applications. Thus, parents should make sure that their aspiring children start preparation early.
  • Provide additional resources: To stand out, prospective students need to show true mastery of and passion for the subject that relates to their desired degree programme. To develop this mastery, students should go over and beyond their high school curriculum. Their parents can support them by funding their specific extracurricular activities, providing them with books and research resources, and allowing them to do voluntary or even paid work. For example, if a student wants to study medicine at Oxbridge, the parent can fund extra science classes, provide them with books and supplies that will increase their skills, and allow them to volunteer at hospitals and other health facilities.
  • Inform them of their choices: It is important that children are not just prepared for Oxbridge, but also prepared for the journey to Oxbridge. Children need to know what they need to achieve and how much work they will need to be put in for them to realise their aspiration. By informing children well in advance of the responsibilities of choosing Oxbridge, parents can avoid building too much of pressure on them during preparation. Pressure on any person has damaging effects, but pressure on children to achieve something has lasting negative effects on their young minds and their future. It is also important to know the difference between informing and discouraging children, as you do not want to discourage a child from having an aspiration.
  • Take a tour of the university: Parents can encourage an interest in Oxbridge by visiting the institutions with their children. As Dr Khan said, children are growing up in an age of Harry Potter, where the traditions and historical appeal of Hogwarts are appreciated and desired. Unlike Hogwarts, Oxford and Cambridge are real places of learning, but they still have the charm and beauty of tradition and magical gothic architecture. Visiting would create a desire that will encourage children to earnestly put their minds to get a place. Follow the link for more information on visiting and tour times for Oxford or Cambridge.
  • Do your own research: The application process is difficult and lengthy. There are forms to fill and documents to get and interviews to prepare for – it is a daunting task for a child. Parents have more experience with filling out forms and doing interviews, so they should find out what they need and start collecting documents well in advance so as to decrease the load on their child. Parents should also do research on funding, scholarships, accommodation and other matters well in advance to prepare accordingly.
  • Get them a mentor: Parents do not know everything. Perhaps they did not go to Oxbridge or they did not go to university at all, so they do not know how to advise their aspiring children. Thus, getting a mentor for their children would do wonders by providing them with all the necessary skills and knowledge. The mentor could be an Oxbridge alumnus or even educated in the field of interest, and could help them with the application process, with resources of interest, or even just some good direction and confidence boosting.
  • Enroll them in a course or workshop: With 19 000 undergraduate applicants, it would make sense that many prospective students are seeking help when applying to Oxbridge. Thus, there are many courses and workshops available that provide valuable assistance such as developing an outstanding personal statement and how to prepare for interviews. These courses and workshops can also provide important insider information and bursary opportunities.

Parents provide a vital support system when their children are applying to any university. This support system becomes even more important when applying to Oxbridge due to the high amount of applicants, which creates a considerable amount of pressure on children. As you can see, there are several ways parents can make an Oxbridge education possible for their child, which can almost guarantee them to have a bright and prosperous future.

GT Scholars knows the importance of preparing students for Oxbridge and wants to be a helpful part of the journey. We provide a one-day course on how to get into Oxbridge which includes working with Oxbridge graduates, admissions professionals and interview professionals that will show your child how to develop an outstanding personal statement and how to choose a degree course for their chosen career. They will also support your child with preparing for interviews and give advice on A-level subjects and grades required for specific universities and specific courses.

Find out more about the course here. We also provide an excellent mentorship programme which employs a variety of well-educated and knowledgeable mentors that will give your child the edge over any other Oxbridge applicant. You can find out more about the mentorship programme here.

Demystifying Oxbridge: 10 things you may not know about Oxbridge

Demystifying Oxbridge: 10 things you may not know about Oxbridge

Narrowing the gap Oxbridge Parents University What's new?

Oxbridge is the collective term used to identify two of the most prestigious universities in the UK and in the world, namely the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.

Along with prestige, these are two of the most selective universities in the world. They receive thousands of undergraduate applications from all around the world every year. Here are 10 interesting facts about Oxbridge:

  • They are two of the oldest universities in the UK and in the world. Both were founded more than 800 years ago, with Oxford being founded in 1096 and Cambridge in 1208. They have educated a large number of Britain’s most prominent scientists, writers and politicians throughout history, as well as other notable figures from all around the world.
  • The rivalry between the two universities has a long and interesting history. These two universities have a famous rivalry that started centuries ago. The University of Cambridge was actually founded by scholars taking refuge from hostile Oxford townsmen, and so they never got along. Today, this antagonism is more of a friendly competition and is celebrated every year in varsity matches such as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. 
  • You will need three or four solid As or A*s to get in. Most people do 3 or 4 A-levels and just a few do more than that. But to get into Oxbridge, it is the quality of A-levels that really matter, not the quantity. The typical course at these universities will require at least A*AA results.
  • It does not cost more to go to Oxbridge. Most people think that studying at Oxbridge is more expensive than any other university. However, the cost is pretty much the same as other universities. Furthermore, all colleges provide on-site accommodation for at least part of your course and both universities offer financial support packages for students from low-income backgrounds.
  • Oxbridge actually admits more state school pupils than independent school pupils. It is interesting to note that both Oxford and Cambridge admit more state school pupils (57.7% and 63% of undergraduate admissions in 2011 respectively) compared to independent or private school pupils.
  • Applicants, students and staff come from many different backgrounds. Many people assume that you will only be accepted into Oxbridge if you come from a prestigious or wealthy background. In actual fact, Oxford and Cambridge are populated by students, tutors and staff from a whole variety of backgrounds, races, classes, cultures and nationalities. 
  • The interview is probably not as tough as you think. It is true that some students spend a lot of time practising for their interview and some even attend special classes to help them prepare. But many students are able to pass the interview without attending special classes since what really matters is that the interviewers can see how you think and if you show an interest and enthusiasm for your subject. 
  • You will definitely need to start preparing early. Many parents that think about their child going to Oxbridge start preparing them from a young age – some as early as 3 years old! You probably don’t have to start that early, but it is advisable to start from the age of 10 or 11. You need to work hard and get good SAT grades, making it easier to get good As and A*s at GCSE level in secondary school. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to get As and A*s at A-level. 
  • You will need to apply and choose your course early. The application date for Oxbridge is usually very early in the academic year of Year 13. Thus, you will probably want to use the summer at the end of Year 12 to prepare your personal statement and do as much research as possible about which university and course you want to apply for. As mentioned, competition for Oxbridge is very high, so make sure you choose four or five other universities as a backup plan.
  • There are other universities in the world that are probably just as good. Remember that there are dozens of other really good universities in the UK and abroad. If you are studying a specialist subject, you may prefer to apply to a specialist college or university. There is also the Russell Group universities and the Ivy League universities that are known to be some of the best in the UK and US respectively. If you look at university league tables from across the world, you will find that Oxford and Cambridge are not always in the first spot – so stay open minded.

Sources: https://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/news/oxford-drops-below-cambridge-on-state-school-entrants/2012321.article#
https://www.theguardian.com/education/2011/mar/11/oxford-record-state-school-intake
https://www.ox.ac.uk/about/facts-and-figures