Oxbridge applicants


Sabina

I applied to both Cambridge LLM and Oxford BCL this but got rejected. Then I've applied to UCL, QMUL, KCL, Nottingham and Durham, all successful. I have deferred all of my offers to next year and will make another attempt applying for Cam and Ox for 2006. I have been wondering why I got rejected from these unis. Were my references not personal enough? Or were my grades not good enough?

I would love to get some opinions from both successful and unsuccessful applicants for Ox and Cam. Please tell me your nationality, age, previous education and what grades you have. How good do you have to be to get an offer from Oxbridge?? Thanks guys!

//Sabina

I applied to both Cambridge LLM and Oxford BCL this but got rejected. Then I've applied to UCL, QMUL, KCL, Nottingham and Durham, all successful. I have deferred all of my offers to next year and will make another attempt applying for Cam and Ox for 2006. I have been wondering why I got rejected from these unis. Were my references not personal enough? Or were my grades not good enough?

I would love to get some opinions from both successful and unsuccessful applicants for Ox and Cam. Please tell me your nationality, age, previous education and what grades you have. How good do you have to be to get an offer from Oxbridge?? Thanks guys!

//Sabina
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Nina N.

I got into Cambridge, but was rejected by Oxford. I am German and just finished university. It seems that (at least for German applicants), Cambridge has very high grade requirements (they ask for a grade that only about 3 % obtain), while Oxford demands less higher grades (at least a grade that about 15 % obtain), but looks more at other factors, especially the essay. So I would put a lot of effort in the essay next time you apply there. I guess that references are also very important. In a nutshell, it seems as if Oxford is less focused on the "hard factor" grades (that you cannot change any more), so you could stand a better chance there than in Cambridge if you apply again with an improved application.

I got into Cambridge, but was rejected by Oxford. I am German and just finished university. It seems that (at least for German applicants), Cambridge has very high grade requirements (they ask for a grade that only about 3 % obtain), while Oxford demands less higher grades (at least a grade that about 15 % obtain), but looks more at other factors, especially the essay. So I would put a lot of effort in the essay next time you apply there. I guess that references are also very important. In a nutshell, it seems as if Oxford is less focused on the "hard factor" grades (that you cannot change any more), so you could stand a better chance there than in Cambridge if you apply again with an improved application.
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Joseph1

Actually Oxford has higher grade requirements than Cambridge. For UK applicants, Oxford requires a first whereas Cambridge requires a strong 2:1 (68%).

Actually Oxford has higher grade requirements than Cambridge. For UK applicants, Oxford requires a first whereas Cambridge requires a strong 2:1 (68%).
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lops

I agree - Oxford has higher grade requirements overall. I think that after you get over the grade threshold, you need to have a solid legal essay - that makes the difference because it gives the Faculty/College committee an insight into your thought process and ability to articulate ideas/opinion. I actually believe that the personal statement is not that important in the big scheme of things. Then after grades and your legal essay the next important thing is your personal references.

I agree - Oxford has higher grade requirements overall. I think that after you get over the grade threshold, you need to have a solid legal essay - that makes the difference because it gives the Faculty/College committee an insight into your thought process and ability to articulate ideas/opinion. I actually believe that the personal statement is not that important in the big scheme of things. Then after grades and your legal essay the next important thing is your personal references.
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Nina N.

The "grade thing" seems to depend on which country you are from. For German applicants, Cambridge requires 11.5 points and Oxford 9.0 points "at least" (but I don't know if there is an internal higher requirement).

The "grade thing" seems to depend on which country you are from. For German applicants, Cambridge requires 11.5 points and Oxford 9.0 points "at least" (but I don't know if there is an internal higher requirement).
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Sabina

Thanks for all replies!
Oxbridge really have different grade requirements depending on what country you're from, like also different country ratios? For example: this year we want 1 from Sweden, 3 from Germany, 2 from India etc etc.

The grade system confuses me a bit also. "Strong" 2:1 = 68%. With this you mean that your grades should be at least 68% of highest degree possible? I made a quick calculation with my grades now and they are 79% of highest possible. Is this how you compare the grades internationally?

Thanks for all replies!
Oxbridge really have different grade requirements depending on what country you're from, like also different country ratios? For example: this year we want 1 from Sweden, 3 from Germany, 2 from India etc etc.

The grade system confuses me a bit also. "Strong" 2:1 = 68%. With this you mean that your grades should be at least 68% of highest degree possible? I made a quick calculation with my grades now and they are 79% of highest possible. Is this how you compare the grades internationally?
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Joseph1

No, it's all relative. 68% in England is a much better grade than it is in most countries. The English mark out of 100 (theoretically) but in practice a very good mark is between 70 and 80 and marks of 80 or above are very rare.

No, it's all relative. 68% in England is a much better grade than it is in most countries. The English mark out of 100 (theoretically) but in practice a very good mark is between 70 and 80 and marks of 80 or above are very rare.
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Maple

I think the relative weight given to the different elements of an application probably differ a bit between candidates. If someone has a killer reference from a well-know professor, the admissions people might not look at the writing sample so much. On the other hand, an applicant with less well-known referees might have to work a bit harder in other areas.

Oxford may well have lower 'official' entry criteria, but my guess (and it's just a guess) is that there'll be many more people who get into Cambridge but not Oxford than vice versa. In fact, it would be interesting to know whether there is anyone out there who got in at Oxford but not Cambridge?

I think the relative weight given to the different elements of an application probably differ a bit between candidates. If someone has a killer reference from a well-know professor, the admissions people might not look at the writing sample so much. On the other hand, an applicant with less well-known referees might have to work a bit harder in other areas.

Oxford may well have lower 'official' entry criteria, but my guess (and it's just a guess) is that there'll be many more people who get into Cambridge but not Oxford than vice versa. In fact, it would be interesting to know whether there is anyone out there who got in at Oxford but not Cambridge?
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Maple

ps
I was thinking of entry to the BCL compared to the LLM. Not sure how hard it is to get into the MJur as opposed to the LLM.

ps
I was thinking of entry to the BCL compared to the LLM. Not sure how hard it is to get into the MJur as opposed to the LLM.
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Yellow

The thing I would look at first is whether you have the bottom line - ie the grades. Other things may be taken into consideration - I certainly felt that Cambridge looked on me as a "good fit" applicant in a more holistic way than many institutions. However and I truly believe that the bottom line was I still had the grades. And if anything Oxford seems to adhere to a strict grade policy even more. While long term you may do things that are going to have influence over your application such as relevant work etc I'm not sure that in one year (unless you have a specific fantastic plan of action already) you are going to change your chances that much. It is also true that it seems that there is a system of national quotas in operation so for example I heard one year Cam took 20 UK students and 20 Irish students. Particularily in relation to Irish students this would seem to be completely disproportionate when you consider the size of the country. Finally maybe a lecturer from your u/g university may be able to indicate to you why s(he) things you didn't get in this year and what you might do?

The thing I would look at first is whether you have the bottom line - ie the grades. Other things may be taken into consideration - I certainly felt that Cambridge looked on me as a "good fit" applicant in a more holistic way than many institutions. However and I truly believe that the bottom line was I still had the grades. And if anything Oxford seems to adhere to a strict grade policy even more. While long term you may do things that are going to have influence over your application such as relevant work etc I'm not sure that in one year (unless you have a specific fantastic plan of action already) you are going to change your chances that much. It is also true that it seems that there is a system of national quotas in operation so for example I heard one year Cam took 20 UK students and 20 Irish students. Particularily in relation to Irish students this would seem to be completely disproportionate when you consider the size of the country. Finally maybe a lecturer from your u/g university may be able to indicate to you why s(he) things you didn't get in this year and what you might do?
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Mats

@ Jospeh1: That's not quite true. I was offered a place on the BCL on the condition that I obtain a First or a reasonably high Upper Second (I think they stipulated that I had to be within the top 20% of my year).

@ Jospeh1: That's not quite true. I was offered a place on the BCL on the condition that I obtain a First or a reasonably high Upper Second (I think they stipulated that I had to be within the top 20% of my year).
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ColumbiaJo...

Any thoughts for an American J.D. interested in Oxford or Cambridge for a LLM?

Any thoughts for an American J.D. interested in Oxford or Cambridge for a LLM?
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Sabina

The reference part is a bit tough for me. You see, in Sweden, lecturers/professors really don't get too close with the students. We are taught in bigger classes and sometimes in "small" classes (= 30-50 persons) so it's rare that they even know our names. So when I have to go back now to some of the professors in my uni they'll like not even recognize me lol. This is a bit of a problem for me.

I thought perhaps that applying a second time will show them my interest and great ambition. OMG, perhaps they think I'm too old?! (I'm 26 this year)

What kind of writing sample did you all send into Oxford together with your application? An article you've had published, an essay from uni etc?

How high is your previous education? I have a 4,5 year long law programme behind me which counts as LLM abroad. When I met with the Faculty of Law in Cambridge they thought the variety of courses I've taken was very good. So what about my grades? Do you think having 79% of highest grades isn't good enough? And if I explain how seldom it is teachers get to know their students (we don't have tutors like I believe you have in England) will that have a positive effect on my poor references?

I have never wanted anything as much as this, but that perhaps you already understand ;)

Thanks you guys!

The reference part is a bit tough for me. You see, in Sweden, lecturers/professors really don't get too close with the students. We are taught in bigger classes and sometimes in "small" classes (= 30-50 persons) so it's rare that they even know our names. So when I have to go back now to some of the professors in my uni they'll like not even recognize me lol. This is a bit of a problem for me.

I thought perhaps that applying a second time will show them my interest and great ambition. OMG, perhaps they think I'm too old?! (I'm 26 this year)

What kind of writing sample did you all send into Oxford together with your application? An article you've had published, an essay from uni etc?

How high is your previous education? I have a 4,5 year long law programme behind me which counts as LLM abroad. When I met with the Faculty of Law in Cambridge they thought the variety of courses I've taken was very good. So what about my grades? Do you think having 79% of highest grades isn't good enough? And if I explain how seldom it is teachers get to know their students (we don't have tutors like I believe you have in England) will that have a positive effect on my poor references?

I have never wanted anything as much as this, but that perhaps you already understand ;)

Thanks you guys!
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Nikolas

The reference part is a bit tough for me. You see, in Sweden, lecturers/professors really don't get too close with the students. We are taught in bigger classes and sometimes in "small" classes (= 30-50 persons) so it's rare that they even know our names. So when I have to go back now to some of the professors in my uni they'll like not even recognize me lol. This is a bit of a problem for me.


I know this problem from Germany. Some of the major courses here have up to 300 students. However, most professors know about this and understand the "reference issue". They feel obliged to write references and try to make them sound ok and individual. Did you already talk to your professors?

<blockquote>The reference part is a bit tough for me. You see, in Sweden, lecturers/professors really don't get too close with the students. We are taught in bigger classes and sometimes in "small" classes (= 30-50 persons) so it's rare that they even know our names. So when I have to go back now to some of the professors in my uni they'll like not even recognize me lol. This is a bit of a problem for me.</blockquote>

I know this problem from Germany. Some of the major courses here have up to 300 students. However, most professors know about this and understand the "reference issue". They feel obliged to write references and try to make them sound ok and individual. Did you already talk to your professors?
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Sabina

Well yes, I had three references for my application:
1. The tutor I had for my final thesis which also was teaching on a couple of courses I'd taken so he knew of me but not personal enough. Also, we only had e-mail contact while I wrote my thesis. His reference was short and nice but not personal at all.
2. The director of studies at the Faculty of Law of my uni. That reference was as far away from personal you can get. Since she didn't know of me at all she only commented about the university and education in general.
3. Another lecturer which also works together with the government and EU commission. He also wasn't close so his reference wasn't personal at all.

(Then I also had two great written references from employers.)

Next year I will not ask one of these people to be my referees... but I also don't know who else to ask. What a dilemma =/

Well yes, I had three references for my application:
1. The tutor I had for my final thesis which also was teaching on a couple of courses I'd taken so he knew of me but not personal enough. Also, we only had e-mail contact while I wrote my thesis. His reference was short and nice but not personal at all.
2. The director of studies at the Faculty of Law of my uni. That reference was as far away from personal you can get. Since she didn't know of me at all she only commented about the university and education in general.
3. Another lecturer which also works together with the government and EU commission. He also wasn't close so his reference wasn't personal at all.

(Then I also had two great written references from employers.)

Next year I will not ask one of these people to be my referees... but I also don't know who else to ask. What a dilemma =/
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Vincenzo

Hi Sabina,

I think in situations like ours (i'm from Italy and we have an even unpersonal relationship with our Profs) you have to choose referees with an eye to their availability to write a reccomandation as close as possible to your needs. I was lucky in this way and got two good references, one a bit shorter, but good and personal all the same. And I also used a third reference from a professor who was my employer for a time.
I got an offer from Manchester and was very happy and proud about that. I couldn't aim to get into Oxbridge as my unvs marks are not that good!!
Best of luck to u anyway

Vincenzo

Hi Sabina,

I think in situations like ours (i'm from Italy and we have an even unpersonal relationship with our Profs) you have to choose referees with an eye to their availability to write a reccomandation as close as possible to your needs. I was lucky in this way and got two good references, one a bit shorter, but good and personal all the same. And I also used a third reference from a professor who was my employer for a time.
I got an offer from Manchester and was very happy and proud about that. I couldn't aim to get into Oxbridge as my unvs marks are not that good!!
Best of luck to u anyway

Vincenzo
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Ren

Hi Sabina,

you might want to consider asking a few people (colleagues, and people further along than you in their careers) to look at your personal statement also, in case there was something in there that didn't sit right with the readers. I admmire your determination and hope you get what you want. good luck. :)

Hi Sabina,

you might want to consider asking a few people (colleagues, and people further along than you in their careers) to look at your personal statement also, in case there was something in there that didn't sit right with the readers. I admmire your determination and hope you get what you want. good luck. :)
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legaldocs

Cam and Ox are arrogant univers that disqualify many talanted students.

I`d choose any other Br univers with 5 mark -LSE, Manchester, etc.

Dont waste your time on Cam&OX.

You can create your own name in legal practice without theirs!

Cam and Ox are arrogant univers that disqualify many talanted students.

I`d choose any other Br univers with 5 mark -LSE, Manchester, etc.

Dont waste your time on Cam&OX.

You can create your own name in legal practice without theirs!
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barcelona

I agree with legaldocs. Indeed, an Oxbridge LLM might only help you to get into a large/renowned law firm more easily. But that's about it. From that point on your legal career will only depend on how efficient you are, i.e. on how many billable hours you'll make a year and on whether you will be capable of solving highly complex cases. Hence, one should not be obsessed with getting into Oxbridge. LSE, UCL, etc. have got an excellent reputation and in many subjects provide a more practical approach than Oxbridge, this being rated highly by most law firms. Moreover, you will never be told the exact reason (contigencies, grades, weak second reference, etc.) why your application wasn't successful which is very disappointing. You should thus try to apply to Oxbridge again next year and if it doesn't work go for another reputable University, as mentioned above. Good luck to you, Sabina, and all the best!

I agree with legaldocs. Indeed, an Oxbridge LLM might only help you to get into a large/renowned law firm more easily. But that's about it. From that point on your legal career will only depend on how efficient you are, i.e. on how many billable hours you'll make a year and on whether you will be capable of solving highly complex cases. Hence, one should not be obsessed with getting into Oxbridge. LSE, UCL, etc. have got an excellent reputation and in many subjects provide a more practical approach than Oxbridge, this being rated highly by most law firms. Moreover, you will never be told the exact reason (contigencies, grades, weak second reference, etc.) why your application wasn't successful which is very disappointing. You should thus try to apply to Oxbridge again next year and if it doesn't work go for another reputable University, as mentioned above. Good luck to you, Sabina, and all the best!
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foxracing

Dear Everyone!

I was glad to read all your comments, I think Sabrina opened the most useful and exciting topic in the England section of this website.

My name is Daniel, and I am a fresh graduate of a Central European law school, and been dreaming about reading law in OX or CAM eversince I have started my terciary education.

I am thinkin of applying for the 2006-2007 academic year.
My big problem is that my acedemic records are really poor from the beginning of law school, and almost flawless for the last 3 years. Due to the fact that I started with a weak record I could only graduate with a Cum Laude, which is quite a common qualification. On the positive side, I have a pretty strong extracurricular backgroung, with lots of moot courts, and scholarships at other well known European universities.

Many people have commented lots of absolutely different things on how much weight do they attribute to grades in the selection process.

My question is what do you all think, can you compensate the weakness of your transcripts by other personal values, such as awards or recommendations?

Thanks for your help,

daniel

Dear Everyone!

I was glad to read all your comments, I think Sabrina opened the most useful and exciting topic in the England section of this website.

My name is Daniel, and I am a fresh graduate of a Central European law school, and been dreaming about reading law in OX or CAM eversince I have started my terciary education.

I am thinkin of applying for the 2006-2007 academic year.
My big problem is that my acedemic records are really poor from the beginning of law school, and almost flawless for the last 3 years. Due to the fact that I started with a weak record I could only graduate with a Cum Laude, which is quite a common qualification. On the positive side, I have a pretty strong extracurricular backgroung, with lots of moot courts, and scholarships at other well known European universities.

Many people have commented lots of absolutely different things on how much weight do they attribute to grades in the selection process.

My question is what do you all think, can you compensate the weakness of your transcripts by other personal values, such as awards or recommendations?

Thanks for your help,

daniel
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