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Oxford, UCL, KCL, U of Edinburgh, LSE chances?

chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Hi, I’m a rising senior hoping to be offered admission to one of the unis above to study History. here are my stats (not listing GPA, as I heard it isn’t taken into account):

SAT: 1570

AP US History: 5
AP Art History: 4 (yikest???)
AP English Language: 4
AP Biology: 3 (not related to subject though???)

SAT Subject Tests:
SAT Subject Test in World History: 770
SAT Subject Test in English Literature: 740

Predicted AP Scores (will be taking them in senior year):
AP European History: 5
AP English Literature: 5
AP Comparative Government and Politics OR AP Economics (my school might not offer the former): 5
AP Statistics: 5
AP Calculus AB: low 5 or high 4 math isn’t my strong suite
AP Chemistry: 4

Planning on self studying AP World History and I’ll almost definitely get a 5 on it- how will I report the predicted score for this since i’m not taking it in school?

Rec will be really good and for Oxford, I think I will do well on the HAT.

TIA for taking the time to answer! Xxxx
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Replies to: Oxford, UCL, KCL, U of Edinburgh, LSE chances?

  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,875 Senior Member
    edited July 7
    Senior year you plan to take 7 AP's on top of 4 you already have. If your goal is to go to a UK university, that is WAY too many.
  • chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @VickiSoCal Yes, based on what I’ve seen about UK unis, the AP Stats, AP Calc, and AP Chem seem irrelevant, but calc is required at my school, and I thought LSE cared about having a wider breadth of APs?
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 799 Member
    edited July 8
    It's better not to take an AP than to be predicted a 4 in it. So why would you do AP Chem? With only one 5 out of 4 APs so far, you will likely struggle to get an offer at Oxford/LSE/UCL at least, and any offer elsewhere would probably be conditional on senior year results. Have you a plan for a backup option in the US?

    When you say your rec will be "really good" do you mean it will say you are the best student in your year (ideally in the last several years)? That's what places like Oxford want to see. But if your GPA isn't great then that seems unlikely. In other words, even if UK universities don't care explicitly about GPA, your recommender in the US may well do when comparing you to other students.
  • chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @Twoin18 Would dropping AP Chem give me better chances of admission then? My rec will be written by my history teacher and she’ll say I was one of the best, if not the best, student she’s had this year, possibly in the last several years. I thought more weight was given to the performance on the HAT for an interview offer compared to AP/SAT scores though, and that meeting the requirements was enough? I may be wrong, of course. Thanks for your reply! Xxxx
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 799 Member
    If your predicted grade for AP Chem will be a 4, then I don't think you should take it. You already have what some would consider too many APs in one year, raising the risk that you would slip up and miss a 5 that is required as part of your conditional offer. And any prediction of 4s on what UK universities consider "easy" exams, is a red flag when they are reviewing your reference. Without an interview or test that's all the other universities on your list have to go on and Oxford is a big reach for anyone.

    FWIW my S18 got an interview at Oxford (for PPE) but not an offer. He had five 5s and one 3, was predicted four more 5s (in the end got three 5s and one 4). 1540 SAT, 800 SAT 2 math, 770 USH, 4.0UW and senior class president. He didn't get an offer at UCL or LSE, but got an unconditional at KCL. He decided to stay in the US in the end.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,595 Senior Member
    "low 5 or high 4"?? that's not a thing.

    "I thought LSE cared about having a wider breadth of APs"

    ehhhhh....they say they like to see some breadth but I don't see that really being an issue in general, and especially not for any US applicant. You have a math included already, so not all humanities. I wouldn't take AB+ Stats + Chem just to show breadth to LSE - have other reasons to take them.

    For History at Oxford, you are better off self-studying Comp Gov than AP World (you already have the subject test for World & you can't double count, and Comp Gov is actually somewhat useful) For Oxford, don't forget you have to submit some graded written work. For predictions your GC or recommender will put them into their part.

    Personal view: I wouldn't do History at LSE. If your goal is just to be in London or go to a name you've heard of, knock yourself out, but imo If you want to actually enjoy your years studying History in the UK switch out LSE for Durham (better Hx course, better college experience, more realistic chance of being admitted).
  • chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited July 8
    @Twoin18 Thanks for the advice, I’ll probably drop AP Chem then and take Physics Honors instead- they’re both weighted the same at my school and a science is also required. Would you recommend taking AP Stats or should I drop that too, considering it’s not really related to my subject and take AP French (which is slightly more relevant to my course)? I’ve heard it’s an easy AP though and useful no matter the field, which was why I was taking it and I don’t know if I’ll be predicted a 5 for AP French- it’s likely, but not a surety.

    @collegemom3717 Oh my mistake, I meant that I’ll be predicted a 5, although I don’t think I’ll make a 5 come AP exam time. Would you recommend taking AP Stats, since it’s also a math course that’s not really related to History at all? I can take AP French instead, but there’s a slight chance I’d be predicted a 4 and not a 5. Thanks for the advice about Comp Gov, I’ll self study that then. I’ve been reading up about LSE and have heard the same, apparently the undergrad and grad experiences for American students vary wildly. I’ll definitely take your advice and apply to Durham instead.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,595 Senior Member
    edited July 8
    Be *very* careful with predictions. The uni gets to pick what your offer conditions are from the tests you are scheduled to sit in final year. Oxford can- and has- specified conditions for 3 exams even though a student already has some taken. ANYTHING from senior year is fair game- and if you are predicted a 5, and that 5 is part of your offer, and you don't get the 5 you are likely to lose your place. Just b/c you have US & World does not necessarily mean that your offer would be only conditional on Euro- they could list 1 or 2 specific ones ("5s on Euro, Lit and Comp Gov"), or something like "5s on 3 APs from [names of the ones scheduled], to include Euro". Of course, if you get an offer you will know the conditions by January, so plenty of time to study- just be aware that it could happen.

    As for which ones: build the set that makes sense for you overall- for any US unis you are applying to, as well as being realistic about your own strengths in terms of time management and subject competence.
  • chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @Twoin18 @collegemom3717 Thank you for your replies, i have one more question. I've looked through the courses once more and it seems Oriental Studies and Classics is better suited to my interests, as my favorite subjects are ancient history and south asian history in particular (I would take Sanskrit if I were to apply). However, for the language I would want to study, there is no admission test, and since my scores just meet the requirement, would there be a better chance of getting an interview offer if I choose to study history (Oriental Studies and Classics does have a higher percentage of interview offers though)? Also, I wouldn't be able to apply to other unis if I apply to this course, as many don't offer it, so I'd essentially be placing all my bets on Oxford (unless I'm somehow able to apply for the history course at the other universities listed above). BTW, I would be immensely happy studying either subject at a higher level, as both are courses I fully enjoy and would love to explore at a deeper level. Xxxxx
  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 Registered User Posts: 1,006 Senior Member
    You don’t have to apply for the same subject on all your UCAS choices, but you get only one PersonalStatement, so it needs to be convincing for all of them simultaneously.
    I see you don’t have any foreign language APs. Have you studied any languages before?
    For your other choices you might like to consider Ancient History rather than History, or a joint course, elsewhere.
    have you looked at SOAS, part of the University of London?i. AThey offer a joint degree in History and Sanskrit, and their focus is on Asian and African History.
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 799 Member
    I think you need to have some convincing activities outside school if you are going to apply to something that isn't well aligned with your school subjects. How have you demonstrated that your "favorite subjects are ancient history and south asian history in particular"? If you don't do them in school (and you don't mention AP Latin, why are you not taking that?) then what are you doing with respect to these subjects? Are you interning in a museum? Going on an archaeological dig? Blogging about Sanskrit? Organizing cultural events in your local South Asian community?

    Oxford wants people who love their subject so much that they actively choose to do that in their spare time. So for example, for a Politics student I would expect them to have been interning for a local politician, assisting in/writing for political organizations, etc. (my S18 has been obsessed with politics since he was 10, doing all of those things, and did well in that part of the interview, unfortunately he didn't have any depth in economics - my lesson learned is we should have started our preparation a lot earlier and done summer courses in that). You should be spending this summer doing the equivalent for your prospective course (though really you should have started that 1-2 years ago) as well as reading obsessively around the subject. That's what your personal statement is supposed to show.
  • HazeGreyHazeGrey Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    @chatterleyslover According to that course's webpage, the three year average is that they interview 76% of the applicants and that 43% are successful. It is a very small course with only 28 students studying it university wide and the average annual intake has been about six students. There are also two options: Classics with Oriental Studies or Oriental Studies with Classics. If you choose the former, you have to take some/all of the CAT. You are correct that if you choose the latter and choose Sanskrit you do not need to take the OLAT. It does say that tutors are "keen to find out about your linguistic ability". With no AP/SAT track record on that front, it might be wise to focus on that in your personal statement.
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,595 Senior Member
    Oriental Studies and Classics does have a higher percentage of interview offers

    Beware the false friend of out of context statistics: small number of interested students + field in which people who are interested tend to be *very* interested = smaller, better qualified pool -> higher % going to interview (same phenomenon as women getting into MIT, btw). Also, Oxford is well used to students trying to game the system.

    Remember too that there is getting in and there is actually doing the course. Oriental Studies + Classics is a language-driven course- in 3 years you will go from 0 to fully fluent in both Sanskrit & either Latin or Greek, which will be 2/3 of your course; 1/3 will be the cultural/history parts.

    If you picked Sanskrit b/c it was the one with no pre-test, I suggest you re-think your strategy. I absolutely guarantee you that if you go to Oxford you will work more intensely than you have ever worked. Imagine getting an offer, going to Oxford and working out that becoming fluent in Sanskrit and Latin/Greek is not what you want to do. There are few options for change once you start.

    If you do Sanskrit with Classics, these are the exam topics you will sit over the 3 year course:

    Sanskrit with Classics
    1. Sanskrit unprepared translation.
    2. Essay questions on the history of classical Indian literature and civilization.
    3. Indian linguistics.
    5. Unprepared translation from Sanskrit texts in the chosen* area.
    6. Essay questions on the chosen* area.
    7. A special subject**
    8, 9, 10. Three papers from Classics***.
    11. An optional Special Thesis

    *Choose one from among the following:
    (a) Comparative grammar of Sanskrit and Old Iranian.
    (b) Indian art and archaeology.
    (c) Composition in Sanskrit prose and/or verse.
    (d) Practical criticism and appreciation, including translation from the Sanskrit.
    (e) Other special subjects as approved by the Faculty Board  

    **Optional, with permission

    ***From Classics, you take Latin or Greek Core, plus 2 modules of your choice from options in Greek & Latin Literature, Greek & Roman History, Philology & Linguistics; Greek & Roman Archaeology and Ancient & Medieval Philosophy

    (info here: https://www.orinst.ox.ac.uk/sites/default/files/orinst/documents/media/classicsorientalstudies2017.pdf)
  • whimsicalwhimswhimsicalwhims Registered User Posts: 683 Member
    edited July 11
    Hey, you should check out the student room. com (no spaces) too! It’s the UK version of CC!
  • chatterleysloverchatterleyslover Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited July 11
    @Conformist1688 @Twoin18 @HazeGrey @collegemom3717 Thanks for the advice, I thought Oriental Studies+Classics was more history based than language based- clearly, I was wrong, so will not be applying. One more question, just to get everything straight, since I just meet the minimum requirements for an Oxford application (score of 5 on APUSH, 700+ in SAT World History and English Lit), but have good predicted scores (will be dropping chem, so my predicted scores will all be 5s), will I have a good chance of being offered an interview, if I do very well on the HAT? Or will my other lower scores make it near impossible? I’ve started practicing already, taking timed tests, and I’m doing average to above average, but my score will probably improve by the time I take the test. Thank you xxxx!

    @whimsicalwhims Thanks for letting me know , I already have an account :)
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