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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Dedalus Offline
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application to Oxford - September 30th 2010, 09:57 PM

Ok, I'm sorry for what will be a rather long post. But I need a down to earth person to evaluate me and just help me deal with this and my chances of getting in. I'm reading a joint major in Archaeology & Classics (no languages). I'm going to apply to Trinity College, Oxford for an MA in Middle Eastern Studies. Here's some bullet points of stuff I need to fill in on the application:

  • Institution: University.... (its in the top 80 or 70 in the world)
  • expected result: first class honours
  • language skills (arabic from scratch is part of the MA): French, reading fair, writing fair, spoken fair, understanding good; Irish, reading good, writing fair, spoken fair, understanding good.

Ok, basically I have an associate Professor in the School of Classics who said he'll do it. He did his BA, MA and PhD in Oxford, was the chairperson of the Royal Irish Academy and publishes a lot of material in association with Oxford. He is one of the leading figures in Europe, if not the world, in Ancient Greek literature. Everyone in Classics knows of him. So the reference will look like Professor Xxxx Yyyyy, Associate Professor of University....

I have the head of the Irish University Amateur Boxing Association and he's also a medical doctor, so the reference will look like Dr. Xxxxx Yyyyyy, Director of IUABA

I'm not sure about the third. I can get the local M.P. or the Doctor of Classics who is supervising my dissertation. He's not well known I don't think. I'm also tempted to try and use my social networking to get in touch with a Baron in England who I had done research into one of his family members who was killed in WW1 and am preparing to publish a book o it some time in the future....though that may never materialise.

  • Funding:
This is difficult. The only way I can fund it is with scholarships, and lacking those, bank loans which is both tuition fees and living expenses. I've managed my BA without a loan. But I think this will drag me down.

  • Career pursuits: Basically journalism or the Foreign Office. Most likely the Foreign Office, failing in that an overseas journalist.
  • Transcripts: basically a record of all your grades. I have mostly B+'s and A's, but I'm a little concerned because there are a couple of C's and a D from first year...and they really dont look that impressive.

There's more to the application like submission of essays, purpose of study and origins of interest. But thats all manageable. I'm worried about what other people's referees will be like, other people's transcripts might be all A's and I'm a little grey about career pportunities...with no work experience of working in any government related organisation or journalism (though I've had articles published by a couple of Northen English newspapers and have pretty much written a book as well as 50,000+ words of a as of yet unfinished novel and will have more published stuff by the time I've applied) and seeking the Foreign Office and journalism.

Basically, how do I look application-wise? I'm not sure if I work hard enough or am of the right calibre intellectually to deserve a place.
  (#2 (permalink)) Old
teen spirit Offline
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Re: application to Oxford - October 1st 2010, 12:59 AM

I think you look very impressive application-wise. So here it is straight up...you can't do anything to change any of your marks...that is done and over.
If this is truly what you want...don't worry about the money...that will fix itself in time.
Your career pursuits look amazing. I would not include anything as a "runner up" or "failing in that"...If foreign office is where your heart is; than you go for it!
Your references are top notch...keep in search for the Baron in England...until that avenue is exhausted-then look about the Doctor of Classics or your MP...

Just remember...intellectually you deserve to be at Oxford...or anywhere else! But you will never know unless you apply. And on the off chance that you don't get accepted...adjust and continue-apply again...depending how much you want this.
In the meantime...GO FOR IT!

Teen Spirit
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Stupidity Kills
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Re: application to Oxford - October 1st 2010, 03:29 AM

Everyone's marks in first-year are often the worst in their transcript, with a few exceptions to difficult upper year courses. It drags down the GPA and overall grade but I think as long as you've shown on the transcripts that you've improved, especially in the areas of focus, it should be fine. From what I've talked to with a few professors, having low grades in first-year is fine if grades in the upper years are higher, especially if they're in the field of focus.

You're bound to get people who got higher and lower than you but there's not much you can do about it now. I wish I could re-take some of my first-year courses because now I could get much higher marks in them (most of them).

I can rip you off, and steal all your cash, suckerpunch you in the face, stand back and laugh. Leave you stranded as fast as a heart-attack.
- Danko Jones (I Think Bad Thoughts)
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Broken one Offline
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Re: application to Oxford - October 3rd 2010, 08:34 PM

I'd go for it, a friend of mine is applying to do pure maths. She hasn't got anything particulary solid career wise and such. But where she does stand out is in her grades I believe she got all A's with some at 100%

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