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Confessions of an Oxbridge reject

King’s College London still has the in-joke reputation of being one of the cesspit universities for those students who failed their Oxbridge journey. The smart: but not quite smart enough for the elite of Oxbridge.


King’s is the second place choice on UCAS, the next best thing. Well, I have a dark confession to make: my name is Jessica and I am a King’s Oxbridge Reject. I had applied to do English Literature at Oxford. My reasons? The kudos of an Oxford degree and my dear old grandmother had been willing me to go to Oxford since I was still in the uterus. Needless to say, my A level in English Language (not Literature) and my diabolical ELAT result meant that I didn’t cruise into Oxford – and I had to start looking for alternatives. And my God, am I glad that my university application experience took this course. Okay, yes, maybe KCL was originally not my first choice. But you know what? I wouldn’t swap it for the world.

I realised within two weeks of being in London that no other city, in this country at least, could give me such an enriching experience. My 18 year old self was hurled into a city with a wealth of things to do. You name it, I did it – frequenting huge house nights in Dalston and Shoreditch, watching open air screenings of La Boheme in Trafalgar Square, collating enough postcards from museums and galleries to wallpaper a whole wall, sitting in Regent’s Park with a good book, watching Sheridan Smith smash it in Hedda Gabler, eating the best sandwich of my life at Borough Market… Would you really be able to do that in Oxford? It is a beautiful town and I love going to visit my friends there for a weekend, but a weekend is all I can take. Surely, one can only go punting so many times. I am yet to have a moment in London where I can’t find something exciting and, most importantly, cheap or (even better) free to do.

What about King’s itself? The best thing about my course is the freedom it allows me. You get choice, from one elective module in your first year, through to an optional dissertation. A phenomenal range, from medieval literature all the way through to film, photography and the 21st Century is on offer. I think the Oxford tutoring technique is suited to a particular set of people, and I have realised something – I’m just not that kind of person. I don’t like to be smothered. To top it all off, you’re situated in the heart of the city, which as an English student, means you’re walking the very streets as all the greats: Chaucer, Shakespeare and Dickens just for starters. And just to big KCL up even more, our library’s round reading room is Dumbledore’s office in the Harry Potter films, and you can ice skate at Somerset House at Christmas time in your frees. Not many other universities can say that.

So what if King’s was my second choice? So what if it was your second choice too? Everything happens for a reason, as cliché as it sounds. If you’re independent, if you want to enrich yourself everyday by constantly discovering something new, if you want to be in the hub of arts and culture, if you want to have some of the best libraries to enhance your studies and generally just meet some really diverse people and experience some mind-boggling events then congrats. Come out of the closet! You’re a King’s Oxbridge Reject – welcome aboard.



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