If you are thinking of applying to university and you are a gifted student, you should be considering the Russell Group of UK universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. Many schools who are successful at supporting their students to elite universities will start to promote and discuss these options with more able students as early as Year 9; so it’s never too early to get thinking about it.
If these prestigious and elite seeming universities have always seemed out of reach or ‘not for you’, think again. Here’s what Oxford had to say about accessibility:
“We do not have any specific requirements for GCSE grades, though higher grades can help to make your application more competitive. Successful applicants typically have a high proportion of A and A* grades.
Where possible, tutors will be made aware of the overall GCSE performance of the school or college where you studied. They will also have information on how you have performed compared with other Oxford applicants at similar schools. (See further information on how we use contextual data.) Tutors will also consider your achieved or predicted grades at A-level (or other equivalent qualifications), your personal statement, academic reference, and any written work or written tests required for your course. If your application is shortlisted your interview will also be taken in to account.
If you feel that you did less well in your GCSEs than you might otherwise have done, for good reason, then you may still be able to make a competitive application. Examples would include disruption caused by change of school or system, severe discontinuity of teachers, bereavement, and debilitating illness. We take care to treat each application individually and would always take such mitigating circumstances into account, if they are brought to our attention. You may like to mention any such circumstances in your personal statement, and your referee should make sure to mention them clearly in their reference.
Tutors will want to see how you improve your academic performance after your GCSEs and that you do well in your A-levels or other equivalent qualifications.”
So there is every reason to think that you can apply. Give it a go, it may change your life.