At Mark My Papers (MMP) we are regularly approached by home-educators who are aiming for a place at Oxford or Cambridge or hoping to study Medicine at a UK university. For those who have adopted a self-educating approach, attempting to reach these goals comes with an extra layer of challenge because the entire process of UK university admissions is designed to fit conventionally educated children who are at school.
Having been through the Oxbridge admissions process twice in both 2021 and 2022 as a home-educating parent, I can firmly advocate that all serious applicants who have selected home-education as their choice really need to invest in professional support. For my two sons I put part of their success down to the fact that on both occasions they worked closely with an Oxbridge specialist tutor who challenged them to think academically at a much higher level and feel confident in an academic environment beyond their usual comfort level. In many ways this emulated the typical atmosphere of an Oxford Tutorial or a Cambridge Supervision.
For the past three years MMP has offered a University Mentoring Service where we act in an advisory capacity to help students who are applying through UCAS. Applying without the infrastructure of a school or the guidance and backing of a tutor can pose problems for students who have A Levels ahead and are not applying with a clutch of A Level grades in hand. One of the main issues is no doubt the need for an academic reference. This cannot be given by a friend or a parent and the academic referee needs to have had a close working relationship with the applicant.
Home education is a choice not an excuse.
There is an assumption amongst some home-educators that the added challenge of self-educating and the motivation it requires is more than enough to secure a place at the very best universities. It doesn’t quite work like that. Whilst it is no doubt widely acknowledged that long term home-education requires an extreme level of motivation, self-education is seen as a choice not an excuse and students have to compete against the very best worldwide for a place. To put it into perspective, in 2021 Oxbridge applicants numbered 47,785 and only 7,820 places were offered. That’s less than a 1 in 5 chance of success.
Sadly, we meet applicants who approach us for long distance advice as they undertake the process single-handedly. But in all cases, none have secured a place. All have the academic credentials, but so too does every other applicant, and in order to have an optimum chance we recommend professional support.
Every single aspect of the application process has to be water tight. This means excellent references who know how to speak in Oxbridge terms and who will win the respect of the relevant college by coming across as informed and confident in what they are saying. It also means being prepared for some very demanding pre-admissions entrance exams. These are usually a level above any academic test encountered before and they have to be undertaken under timed conditions in a very stressful environment. Students also need advice on building a personal statement so that your true passion and commitment to the subject shines through, without falling into the trap of categorically stating this. There’s a real skill to doing this effectively.
From our experience we see many disappointed students who may have stood a much stronger chance had they sought professional guidance well in advance and their disappointment at missing out on a coveted place is understandable when a slightly different approach would have considerably increased their chance.
If Oxbridge application or Medical school is on the cards then we strongly advise you to seek help.
Earlier this year Mark My Papers agreed that we would recommend all Oxbridge applicants who approach us for support to contact Uniadmissions. This company is best placed to give any student a much stronger chance of success than approaching the task single-handedly, or using tutors who are perhaps due to the various demands and processes involved unable to provide the support needed.
Mark My Papers recommend that all home educators who are considering Oxbridge application or Medical School contact Uniadmissions. Their considered approach means designing a programme that will give you the best possible chance of success.
www.uniadmissions.co.uk or call 0208 068 0438