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We see so many parents coming through the door wanting their son or daughter to win a place at either Oxford University or Cambridge University. Whilst getting a place at either universities is a great privilege and a fantastic achievement, it does not necessarily fit every student.

There is nothing wrong with pushing your child. But there comes a point where getting a place at Oxford or Cambridge is the parent’s ambition and not the child’s. The truth is, if the applicant doesn’t want it or doesn’t feel it, it’s not right for them.

Among my friends from my undergraduate days at Oxford, at least 10% were made to go to university by their parents and/or teachers. These friends of mine weren’t actually very happy at the university and have struggled to be happy thought their degrees. Many have dropped out and re-started degrees at other universities. Some, like my friend Chris from Beijing (name changed) went back to China to start his own hedge fund. Despite our tutor issuing a warning that he will “fail very quickly”, Chris’s fund is in its 5th year and is delivering good returns for investors.

If a student is pushed into Oxbridge by parents, problems will come up down theline. Mental heath issues, depression, and suicide are among the consequences. Don’t get me wrong. Spending 4 years at Oxford was the privilege of my life. But the pressures of work (how Oxford students refer to academic assignments) did get to me too. In my case, I always really wanted to go to Oxford: it was my ambition and my decision. If that is the case with your child, then you are right to give her all the encouragement and the support. But, if going to Oxbridge is something that you want from your child whilst they don’t, then please think again. There are many other fantastic universities and Oxbridge is not a be-all end-all.

Sunny is a Managing Partner at Allen & Jain Education who have 75% success rate for Oxford and over 80% success rate for Ivy League universities. Sunny has an undergraduate degree in Materials Science from Oxford. He is also an incoming Fellow at the Harvard Davis Centre. You can reach Allen & Jain Education on WhatsApp at + 44 749 662 5544

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