Welcome to the first blog of 2016! To those of you who applied to Oxbridge last autumn, I hope that in the last two weeks you have received the letter in the post that you have been hoping for. For those of you beginning your Oxbridge application journey, come right in! I do hope that you will keep reading this blog through the rest of the coming year for interesting science and medical updates, as well as advice on writing your personal statement, tips for your extra-curricular reading schedule and of course, guidance on how to ace those December interviews.
Starting now, students applying to Oxbridge this autumn should be focusing primarily on their AS-level studies and making sure they get the best grades possible in this summer’s exams. Those scores will form a very impactful part of your application, so they are worthwhile doing your very best for. During the next few months, do take the time to approach your school teachers or Oxbridge Applications for support with difficult subjects or modules. The sooner you address those parts of the curriculum you find difficult, the easier your spring/summer revision will be – don’t ignore those tricky topics till the very last minute!
While your school studies should be your main focus, the earlier you start preparing for you university applications the better. At this point in time, I’d recommend starting to think about your summer holidays… not just how much fun you will be having or what holidays you will be taking, but rather how you might schedule some sort of work experience or internship program that would help flesh out your personal statement and help demonstrate your enthusiasm for your subject. Later this spring, I will write a blog specifically on this topic, but I’d recommend starting to discuss now this topic with your family and school teachers. For medical students, it is almost a requirement that you spend some time this coming summer shadowing a doctor or doing some other similar placement – so again, don’t leave scheduling this till May or June!
Another preparatory activity which you can start now (if you haven’t already!) is reading around your subjects. This is a good habit to get into early and the sooner you start, the more you will benefit later this year when you even busier than you are now. As a starting point, your school likely has a subscription to New Scientist or other science periodical, but feel free to explore any media relevant to your chosen subject – be these documentaries, online blogs or YouTube channels.
Last but not least, make sure to spend some time now reflecting on your goals. Choosing your university, college and degree is a significant choice in your life – one that should not be taken lightly. Make sure that you talk to your school’s career advisor, parents, and teachers about your university ambitions. It is normal to still feel unsure at this stage, and while it is good to get everyone’s advice, you need to decide for yourself what degree will engage you most and motivate you to turn up to lectures every morning.