Oxbridge Contact


One of my cadets is considering leaving cadets because she wants to go to Oxbridge and doesn’t think she can handle all of it whilst she’s in Sixth form (she’s Y12 currently). Does anyone have any ex-cadets that went to Oxbridge that I can put her in contact with to give her a second opinion?

Thanks in advance,

Oxbridge = a joint name for Oxford / Cambridge universities.

As such, there is no generic contact as such; there is some outline information here. There are several specific “consultancies” who might give guidance for the very strict entry requirements & admission tests.


I more meant to let her know that it’s possible to handle sixth form and cadets, in order to still do to Oxbridge universities?

My - indirect - experience is that if you have to drop everything else to get good enough A levels to go to Oxford/Cambridge, then you won’t cope with Oxford/Cambridge.


She’s more than capable I think it’s a general fear, I just need someone to reassure her she can do both

I know of a CCF(RAF) CWO who was a successful Cambridge (Law) applicant.
She stuck with parading once a week throughout.

I live near Cambridge & “associate” (via shooting) with numerous Cambs Uni students.

They certainly manage studies & extra curricular activities - however, considering their A Level grades, they clearly worked their backsides off to get there. Great to continue with cadets, but not if it prejudices their uni chances.

Obviously, there are some prodigies who can cope with all educational requirements, home life, cadets, relationships, learning Chinese, & raising £100K for charity in a week! :wink:

Have you got an email I can give her?

I recall there was a cadet on QAIC back in April who was at Oxford. I can’t remember which squadron however

At the very least you can always try to convince her to go for a leave of absence to start with - She could come back during the holidays &c.
That way once she’s started at Oxcam / Camford / Fordbridge she may decide that it’s not as bad as she feared and at least you won’t have to go through the process of rejoining.

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The son of a bloke at work was at Cambridge last week for an interview. His son wants to do Economics and as soon as he applied he watched the news, read as much in the press and relevant “trade journals” as possible. He said they asked a number of ‘technical’ subject questions that seemed to see what he knew about general economic theories, current thinking and also his own thoughts on the points. The bloke at work has said his lad has worked really hard as the A Levels were more than just step up from the GCSE and got 2 As and B in his mocks last year. His son has played rugby and cricket for local clubs since he was little, but that taken a hit since he started doing his A Levels. He’s hoping the fact he plays rugby and cricket might stand him in good stead as well. So I would imagine something similar for other subjects, which is just something else to prep for.
Your cadet will need to ensure that the teachers in her school are convinced enough to predict her the appropriate grades, so excellent mock results and general class work will need to show she is able to work independently, but she will also need to prepare for everything else that going uni entails applications and then there are the open day visits, from Easter onwards, judging by some of our cadets
Whether or not she keeps on with cadets will depend on her academic acuity and the impact of the almost inevitable part-time job, the latter in my experience seems to be the cadet killer, working Saturday and or Sunday and at other times means that being a cadet, is just another thing to fit in and easiest to let go. I’ve currently got and had cadets who carry on through 6th Form/FE College, but you see their cadet involvement drop off as real life kicks in. Some of this will depend on how much the parents are willing to bank roll her during her A Levels, as this will determine the absolute need for a p/t job.
TBH a LOA is a waste of time as make it too long and the habit of “going to cadets” is broken. Better off to leave and concentrate on the important things. There are plenty of other things she can do which are not as demanding as the ATC. If she wanted to come back later that’s always an option. When you consider that in the next 15 months she’s going to have the faff of the staying in past 18 BS and showing she is of “worth” to the ATC, while doing her A Levels and prepping for uni.

I’m afraid we’ve lost touch.

I never got it when people said things like this to me. If you can’t spare a few hours a week to do something different to school work, you are doing life wrong. Putting 100% of your time and energy into work or school isn’t healthy. On top of that, unis like to see more than just workaholics. If the cadet does other stuff in their spare time then fair enough, but if cadets is their only hobby they may wish to reconsider leaving.


The problem with something like Air Cadets is it’s difficult to control it’s demands or more correctly the expectations placed by the people within it (Can you …? Could you …? Are you available? Will you …? You have to …) and not doing something when asked makes you feel like you’re letting people down.

it’s all about prioritising as well. If cadets mess up their education it’s no joke. I used to try and persuade cadets to stay, not any more. For cadets from the last couple of years at senior school through FE/6th Form nowadays with the expectation to go to uni, the pressure ramps up personally and from schools and colleges needing good results to make them look good to the next batch of sausage meat. If cadets feel they can do it all fine, that’s a decision they make and you’d expect parents support.

It’s not only cadets that need to prioritise from time to time staff have to for any number of reasons prioritise their real lives over the ATC and for a number this becomes a time to end their time as staff. As the same practically identical pressures apply.

There is a Wing Staff Officer I know in the Corps who was a CWO while an undergrad at Oxford (afaik, didn’t stop attending his Sqn while doing A levels), and when he aged out he immediately commissioned, so yes - there is precedence. Although academic achievements are very important, as others have said, a life outside of schoolwork is also seen as a huge benefit at Oxbridge interviews.

This. In fact, it is more generally our school’s experience and policy that continuing with extracurricular activities tends to boost, not harm, academic chances, due to the work-life balance it offers.


Agreed as well. If you don’t do anything else outside of school work then Oxbridge will not be interested. Obviously there’s a balance to be struck as you can’t be out every night and still get the grades (child prodigies excepted) but you need to have more than straight A* these days.

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Many of mine elect to come, sometimes bringing revision with them. Change is a as good as a rest and all that and/or a clean break for a few hours within the cadet bubble.

As for controlling demands, from a leadership perspective I like to keep tabs on those I know are going through exam and mock exam periods to see how they’re getting on and how they’re feeling about cadets, what their availability etc is going to be like, and make it quite clear that they can say “no” to something or step away for a short time if they need to.

Some of the schedules and testing regimes they go through these days… geez. I’ve noticed a lot more getting outside tuition additional to school, too.

Ok thanks, I’ll talk to her.