Question- Oxbridge reputation amongst the Americans

So basically, I am curious about how the Americans think of Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) and what tier of school do they correspond to in the States? Maybe the ivies, or even less? A funny thing is that, I did VERY well in my Oxford interview (in which about only 40% of applicants get it and the rest got rejected already; many Oxford graduates who did mock interviews with me think I have a high chance of getting in,) but most ppl tell me according to my IBDP predicted 39/45, highly rigorous course selection (I am Chinese, chose English A literature and French B, and French is my 5th language spoken), good EC (Play in the National Youth Orchestra and Oxford Uni’s Auditioned Orchestra, Went to YYGS, Have national maths awards, speak multiple languages and lived in 3 continents ) I can only apply to US 30-50 unis… (My counsellor wanted me to apply to Mt.Holyoke for ED2 and said Midd for ED2 is ridiculous, she thinks she is an expert in US uni though just a sarcastic British woman) Surely Oxford isn’t compatible to 30-50 US unis rights? (Like in my other post, some parents have been telling me to apply to Case Western? BTW, I have already received offers from King’s College London, Edinburgh, Manchester etc, and some gave me scholarships, I am quite good at cello performance plus music theory and harmony, not a specialist school kid )… Thanks…

P.S. I ED Barnard, and my counsellor almost killed me for that decision, almost refused to sign to agreement; also predicted I will NOT get an Oxford interview (4 out of 11 kids in school got, all other predicted 42+/45 not gonna lie, embarrassment, I admit my academics are quite weak…)

Plus, I am a Chinese citizen, no British citizenship lmao.

Oxbridge is on par with T10 US universities to people in the know. You cannot ask what an average American thinks because the average American could not name the Ivy League colleges, apart from HYP.


I think Top 10 sounds V reasonable, but I don’t mind that much if Barnard rej me (will be sad, but it’s not a massive thing). I love how you satirise the average lol; but would you recommend choosing to apply ED2 to Wellesley/Midd, and maybe ultimately choosing to go to those over Oxford? (I know it depends on various factors, but a generic question would be would people in the know choose a top 5-8 LAC over Top 10 Uni?


Wellesley, Barnard, Middlebury, or any LAC or any US uni, are night and day different from Oxford. Not that one is better than the other, but they are hugely different. And I struggle to imagine a student would be happy with either, unless they are already laser focused on their academic goals.

Yes I live in Oxford and a 3-year course with only 24 week pa is intimidating, my Oxford friends NEVER looked alive during term time nor most of them of social skills. They’re mostly prepared to be scholar but not to face the real world, I’d say. I’m still kinda miserable with what I’m going to stick doing with my life (Hence not quite UK unis) but again, Oxford is like a name that most ppl would know instead of a LAC I suppose. Plus, I am probably going back to Asia one day so might be problematic if I come back with a very-much-East-coast-degree and not do postgrad (hence Barnard-Columbia is fine for Asian parents)… It is difficult to balance where to go as I am a dilemma myself, and high achieving places are always stressful and competitive…

@skieurope didn’t satirise average Americans, s/he just made the point that it is a relatively small % of the population that is caught up in the prestige stakes around that particular group of colleges. And “people in the know” don’t parse top-tier schools as being between ‘top 5-8 LAC’ and ‘Top 10 Uni’: they are more holistic and look at the relative strengths of each that are relevant to them. The opportunities coming out of any of them will not be materially different.

Is there a family business which you believe is your only choice in life? because otherwise I don’t understand why you are choosing to do something that will make you miserable.

So, what is your real question? If you get offers from both Barnard and Oxford, which should you take? the one that suits you best. Consider things such as:

= How big of a difference to your professional career goals will one name make vs the other when you go back to your home country after graduation? UG LAC + PG Uni is a popular option.

= Is your family happy to spend +/- USD300K on your UG degree at Barnard vs +/- USD150K at Oxford (assuming international student status)?

Going to Oxford to study something you don’t want to study is a recipe for disaster. Worse than not getting in is getting in and rusticating out.

Of course, until you have competing offers this is all hypothetical.

I think in terms of diction, miserable in a British connotation means “I’m not quite sure” instead of “painfulness or misery”; again this is a before-ED result anxiety and there’s perhaps no need for you to point out " this is all hypothetical." My real question is what I wrote as my question instead of other things I talked about, such as ED2. I think if I haven’t mentioned much about finance, it probably means it is not of significance in terms of my family income. "The other when you go back to your home country after graduation? " I don’t care about what others think, I care about getting a job and most companies in Asia will probably assume a LAC as a community college/random no-name-your-parents-r-rich-so-u-went-abroad-and-u-know-nothing, they are not Americans and they have stereotypes on any uni ending with COLLEGE.

Just realised that Barnard ED1 offers were just made a little bit ago.

…They said it will be released on the 14th…

My bad! that was last year. So, 2 days to wait.