One of the things that some applicants fear most when applying is getting rejected, which is understandable. You may have all your hopes and dreams set on getting in, but the letter or email comes, and it turns out that you haven’t. What do you do then? Some people reapply the following year, while others go to a different university, but the feelings can be difficult to deal with.
There are not enough places for everyone who has the potential to come to Oxford and Cambridge to actually attend, which means that some people are rejected. Tutors look for different things, and try to work out who will be best suited to the environment, but they aren’t always right. A lot of people are worried about what their parents will think - but university is an opportunity for you, not them. Oxford and Cambridge are world-renowned academic institutions, but so are many other universities, and they are far from being the only places worth going to. It's the university's loss for not having you, and if you even considered applying, you are very likely to be someone with a lot of academic potential who will do well wherever you go! One of the best pieces of advice I've heard is that when it comes to picking a university, everyone ends up enjoying where they go. Oxford and Cambridge have a lot of unique things about them, but so do other universities. Excellent teaching is a feature of, but not unique to, Oxford and Cambridge!
Most importantly, getting into Oxford and Cambridge is not a validation of your academic ability. You aren’t “stupid” or “not smart” because you didn’t get in, or didn’t get an interview.
There are lots of YouTube videos about rejection, here are some which might help:
by Jack Edwards about rejection from English at Oxford 🔗
by Vee Kativhu and rejection being redirection 🔗
by an academic involved in admissions at Jesus College Oxford 🔗