As an Oxford University Admissions Specialist at QC, Charles Lee provides valuable insights into the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics program at the University of Oxford. His extensive knowledge of the academic and non-academic prerequisites for college applications stems from his time as a student at Oxford from 2018 to 2022. In addition, Charles has assisted over 50 high school students with their college applications and offers a wealth of guidance on the topic.

Qn: What subjects did you do at high school (e.g:IB/A Level/AP etc)and what did you score?

Ans: I took A Level courses at RJC, including H2 History, H2 Literature, H2 Knowledge and Inquiry, H2 Maths, and H3 History.

Qn: What were your CCAs and Leadership positions in high school?

Ans: I participated in Softball, as well as served as the Wing Head of the History and Current Affairs Society.

Qn: How does the workload of university compare with IB/A Levels

Ans: Oxford’s coursework requires approximately 30% more effort compared to IB/A Levels, but the schedule is much more flexible.

Qn: How did you decide on your final university? Did you get offers elsewhere?

Ans: With its rigorous curriculum and diverse range of choices for PPE, Oxford University stood out as my top choice. Beside Oxford, I also received offers from LSE and Warwick.

Qn: What is the cost of Living and cost of school fees for the entire duration of the undergraduate degree?

Ans: The cost of living was approximately $1.1k per month, with $600 going towards accommodation and $500 for general expenses. Additionally, the school fees were around $25k per year.

Qn: How is the teaching and learning work in your school? Are the faculty accessible?

Ans: Typically, the faculty members are amicable, and there are numerous chances for you to engage with them.

Qn: How large is the cohort for your courses? How many Singaporeans are there?

Ans: The total number of individuals was approximately 250, with at least six of them being Singaporeans, although there could have been additional Singaporeans present.

Qn: Are people very competitive academically? How many exams are there in a year? What happens if one fails the year?

Ans: Compared to JC, the individuals in Oxford are less competitive. While there are tests every term, they do not contribute to your final grade. Your ultimate grade is solely based on the final exam, which is similar to the A Levels and is taken when you are about to graduate.

Qn: Is there an established Singaporean presence at your university? How many Singaporeans are there per batch?

Ans: Certainly, the Singaporean community is highly engaged with a significant number of active participants. I would approximate the number to be at least 40 individuals, although it’s likely that there are more who don’t attend events organized by Singaporeans.

Qn: How are freshmen/freshers welcomed to your university?

Ans: During the “Fresher’s week,” there is an orientation program that consists of structured introductory talks rather than bonding activities. This week serves as an introduction to the university and its resources. The socializing aspect is typically more informal.

Qn: Is your school “cliquey”? Do people tend to hang among people of their own major/course/social class/race/nationality only, or is there a high degree of integration?

Ans: In reality, this situation can differ from one college to another. In my case, the college I attended was highly inclusive, although some cliques did develop. I personally assimilated well with the broader college community, but I am aware that some individuals are primarily associated with other Singaporeans.

Qn: How would you rate the following “scenes” in your college and its surroundings: shopping, drinking, clubbing, fine arts, and sports?

Ans: The shopping scene in Oxford was satisfactory, while the drinking and clubbing options were decent, particularly for a university town. However, the fine arts scene was relatively limited. On the other hand, there were numerous chances to participate in a diverse range of sports activities.

Qn: How’s the accommodation? Do most people stay in college dorms/halls, or independently? How should one look for accommodation?

Ans: The majority of individuals typically reside in college dormitories for at least their first year. Subsequently, they would usually move out for a year and then return for another year, depending on their college’s policies. Housing agencies usually begin to release listings in October, although if you don’t require a house in the town center, you can wait until closer to your move-in date to search for housing options.

Qn: How is the transport like? Does one need a car? If so, how should one go about getting a car?

Ans: Oxford is compact enough to allow for walking to most places. However, the ideal mode of transportation is cycling, as nothing should take more than 15 minutes to reach. Due to the convenience of cycling, very few people in Oxford own a car.

Qn: What are the laundry arrangements like?

Ans: There are washing machines and dryers available for use, for which you would need to make a payment.

Qn: Any final things you’d like to tell juniors about your school?

Ans: Oxford is an excellent university that offers numerous opportunities to delve into areas that pique your interest.

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