As a 2011 Oxbridge Academic Program participant I'd like to share my experience with... the world. And especially with those considering taking part in the programme.
What is "Oxbridge Academic Programs"?
Very briefly: The so-called Oxbridge Academic Program basically is a summer camp for high school students. There are programmes in New York, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris and Spain.
Link to website: www.oxbridgeprograms.com
In my opinion, the name "Oxbridge Academic Program" very well shows the character of those summer camps.
(a) Oxbridge: Misleading. The programmes are no more affiliated with the university of Cambridge and Oxford than that the programs are situated there. The teachers are not even from those universities. "OAP" just rented the space.
(b) Academic: Surprisingly (being ironic) misleading as well. The courses are not taught (as stated) by "outstanding" teachers but rather by university graduates. The quality of the teaching therefore is questionable. (e.g. a medicine student did not realise that there recognise that there are no vacuoles in the animal cell - which is 9th grade biology - when I student drew a picture on the board). The claim of the lessons having been taught at "year one university level" simply is a joke!
And neither are the students very academic. Although there has been a "ZERO alcohol policy" some 30 students went out to get to drink and smoke (only 2 or 3 were sent home). There are rumours (which seemed very true to me) that one boy had intercourse with over ten girls over a period of a month. The personal statement is a joke just as well. Until the very last minutes the heads of "OAP" accepted applicants.
(c) Programs: American, what more can I say. Probably snobby. (Though, not all of them were. And - no offense - not all americans are typically snobby. Just most of those I met, were.) A girl spent 2,000+ pounds over the course of a month! Well, I guess those "programs" (or programmes as I prefer to say from my summer on) are for rich Americans who want to see Europe.
Well, to be fair, I have to say that a lot of activities were offered and the scenery was very nice.
And what does it cost?
For this quality of teaching you pay about 7,000$. Cheap, isn't it?
Well, in my opinion it has not been worth the money. Not at all. I regret going there so much. And once I earn some money I want to pay my parents back those 7,000$ so that at least I pay myself for the mistake of going there.
So, what to do now?
If you are looking for an academic programme, look somewhere else and never, never (and I'll emphasise again: NEVER) go back to the website again! There are much better opportunities.
If you just want to have some fun and money does not play a role at all to you, go ahead. Let your parents pay. You will have fun. I assure you. (And this time I'm not even being ironic. The fun was - to me - just not worth the 7,000$)
What now for me?
I will move on, forget about the horrible mistake. It has not been bad all over. And I will try to forget how I and my parents were cheated. Now, I hope someone reads this and won't make the same mistake as I did. Now, I can rest and be happy and concentrate on school and on my future.