I would like to congratulate your D on the offer... I imagine it might be hard for her to think well of herself and so such an offer from a prestigious University, I hope, must be really lovely for her self-esteem. Which is why I feel very bad to write as such a Debbie Downer…
It sounds like other people are giving you very good answers about whether to go to university at all, but I am going to address this specific university, as someone who studied and also worked in the academic environment there. I am here for my friend, but we both fell down the ED ‘rabbit hole’ there. Things got a bit shaky for me but I was one of those lucky people capable of self-correcting without a lot of intervention, so my problems were more related to anxiety and depression and I’m fine now ED-wise. My friend was (is) not so lucky and still struggling. A previous poster is right that there will be probably be a lot of anorexics there, ‘functional’ ones and rapidly sinking ones. (There was an ED support group when I was there, though I’m not sure if it’s still running). It is just that kind of pressure-cooker environment and draws in students who are perfectionists. I would just say that it is not a particularly kind or supportive environment.
I imagine it must be unbearable to think of ‘taking away’ your D’s achievement, and I am so sorry that you are in this position. But I think like others have already said, it could be an act of love.
It’s hard to see at the time, and I doubt your D will think this way, but for a HAPPY university experience, I really wouldn’t recommend Oxbridge. Students are strongly attracted by the prestige, but in terms of enjoying herself - not necessary. Furthermore, in terms of doing well academically, she may not achieve her highest potential at Oxbridge if the environment is as toxic for her as it is to SOME others.
I will post below the long reply I wrote to someone else, but the offer at the end still stands - if you, or your D, would like to talk to someone ‘on the inside’ at Cambridge (and if you did decide to take up the offer), I’d be only too happy to help.
Here’s my previous reply…
It made me a bit scared to be honest, to think of a vulnerable young person going into Oxbridge. Full disclosure why...I am one of those who fell 'down the rabbit hole' at Cambridge, and I'm not alone. There is some awful statistic about 1 in 3 Cambridge students having mental health problems... I don't know how that compares with national averages and obviously I don't know what mental health problems and whether they were existent or 'caused' by the stress of Cambridge, so it's hardly a very scientifically STRONG statistic... but I'm scared of it nonetheless, and when I was teaching sixth form I advised students AWAY from Cambridge for that reason. I teach undergraduates at Cambridge and the pressure they are under seems, to me, to be MUCH higher than at some other universities. Shorter terms with increased intensity. Essays every week. More academic supervision, but I don't know about pastoral care - I didn't get any, but I was there as a PhD student.
I can see that your dd must be extremely bright and you must be proud of her, and most importantly, you want her to be proud of herself. I can see how it would be awful to take away something that she and you feel that she's worked so hard for I am just scared of Oxbridge... I just couldn't recommend it to some of the students I taught.
Something I think is very important for these very bright students to be aware of. At Cambridge (presumably Oxford, too), you are among a lot of kids with very big egos and a lot of confidence. Of course, there were also kids like me, pretty insecure. But the thing that MOST of the kids have in common is very high ability, and MANY if not most of them are extremely hard "strivers"... I'm not expressing it very well, but to explain how it was for me... I went from an environment where I was "the genius" into an environment where I had to work very very hard to keep up, was constantly undermined by more confident students...and just wasn't special at all. Plus, and this is a big thing for me, I feel there is a climate which is more geared towards 'stick' than 'carrot'. Some people are more motivated by competition, and Cambridge fosters that; you don't get much positive reinforcement (no 'wow, well done, that's fantastic' etc). My confidence was/is so bad that in situations of competition where I don't do well, I just sink and hate myself rather than trying harder - which is what they're trying to provoke. I think a lot of students going to Cambridge have a huge culture shock, because they go from being the school genius to being a tiny fish in a pond full of highly ambitious, equally bright fish.
My undergraduate experience was so good because I went to a less prestigious university (MUCH less prestigious - Anglia Ruskin, also Cambridge), and they were so thrilled to have such an enthusiastic student, even though I had little confidence, that they gave me so much positive reinforcement...and I responded to that and did really well.
I really think that I would not have got the good results I did at Cambridge University. Knowing the type of personality I am - quite self-loathing, insecure, NOT motivated by competition (meaning I get upset from it and give up rather than rising to the challenge). Not only would I not have got the good results, but maybe I would have become ill sooner? Who knows - but just...... I must confess I'm a bit scared of it because of my experience.
I am truly so sorry to give you this long life-story... I'm a bit ashamed. I just wanted to illustrate my points. I just was a bit scared when I read about Oxbridge, and I wanted you to hear from someone who's been there. If it would be helpful for you, or your d, to talk to someone about Oxbridge, I would be more than happy to help. I would just... think very carefully about your d's personality, as well as her stage of recovery, before you send her there. (I.e. will she cope well with being constantly challenged, very likely not given much positive reinforcement, would she be motivated by challenge or intimidated, etc). If she is thinking purely about getting a good grade at the end of it - Oxbridge may NOT necessarily be the BEST choice. It carries the prestige, but... I'm just scared that it's a bit dangerous. I get quite upset watching what they put my undergrads (the ones I teach) through.