How do you refrain from being snarky to Oxford?

So….just for academic shits and giggles, I began looking into what it takes to get into Oxford. I mean, since I’m applying to Columbia, why keep aiming higher? I had a good rummage around their website and couldn’t find anything that pertained to Mature International students. Only mature students, or international students. The problem with this is that they then require me to have an SAT score that is relevant. Because I don’t have one of those since I took the SATs ten years ago, I need to know what is required of me.


My name is Nicola. I’m a dual citizen (U.K. and American), but I’ve lived in the U.S. most of my life, which means all of my education has been in the U.S. I graduated high school in 2005, and didn’t do particularly well then. However, during April of 2014, I returned to school, taking classes at my local community college. I graduate this upcoming December, and have so far maintained a 3.98, have been working as a writing tutor, have been a mentor, am in the honors program, am a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and have won the award for Academic Excellence in the English Discipline. Because it has been ten years since I’ve taken the SATs, most universities that I’ve been in touch with don’t consider my score relevant. 

I’m trying to figure out what requirements I might need to meet in my current position to be considered for placement at the University of Cambridge. I’ve wandered all over the website, though am not finding anything applicable to my current, delayed-returning-to-school situation. I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction? 

Thank you very much!

I emailed admissions, and at first got back the automated response which said they would get to me when they could and so on and so forth.

Today, I finally received a response:

Dear Nicola


Thank you for your email.

If you will be 21 or over by 1 October in the year in which you hope to come to Cambridge and have not previously completed a course of higher education, then your application will be treated as that of a mature student.

The University welcomes mature students: we value the breadth of experience they bring, as well as their motivation and commitment.

The nature and demands of Cambridge courses mean they do require academic preparation, and mature students must be of equal academic standard to school leavers. Therefore, you’ll be expected to demonstrate evidence of recent academic achievement at a high level, for example in one or more A Levels, an Access to HE Diploma or an Open University course (Level 2 or above)

More advice for mature students can be found on the Mature Student section of our website.

For more information on admission to Cambridge please see the Undergraduate Study website.

Best wishes


Cambridge Admissions Office

How on earth do I email the back and say “do you mind actually reading my email before responding to it?” in a….polite, respectful, academic Oxford??

Well, that’s the minor problem I have for the day.


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