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Do University's discriminate against Private School applicants?

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    I recently applied to study Law at a well-known Scottish University. I got 4 A's and a B in my SQA Highers, which I thought would have been enough to get an offer, but as I recently found out, this was not the case and my application was unsuccessful.

    I was at an Open Day a few months ago, and started talking to someone who had applied for the same course as me at the first University mentioned. He had 1 A, 2 B's and a C in his Highers, yet he was given a conditional offer, while I was rejected straight away.

    The only difference I can see between us is that I go to a private school and he goes to a state school. I was wondering if anybody else has had a similar experience, or knows why a University would favour a pupil with lower grades over one with higher grades based purely upon their education?

    It might seem as if I'm jumping to conclusions, but I have put a lot of thought in to this and I honestly can't think of a reason why I would have been rejected in favour of an applicant whose grades were quite a bit worse than mine. :confused:
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    Grades aren't everything, you know; especially when you're applying to a renowned university for a competitive course - there are bound to be a whole bunch of other factors affecting admission.

    You shouldn't just cry out prejudice because 1 person with lower grades than you got in and you didn't.
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    (Original post by Newbie123)
    Grades aren't everything, you know; especially when you're applying to a renowned university for a competitive course - there are bound to be a whole bunch of other factors affecting admission.

    You shouldn't just cry out prejudice because 1 person with lower grades than you got in and you didn't.
    I can only think of grades and personal statement. My references, online profile, etc, are all sound. None of my other choices had a problem with my personal statement.

    From my school, I can think of about 6 or 7 people with similar or worse grades to me who were rejected. The only people who got in were 5 A candidates. That bit doesn't bother me - if they only accepted 5 A candidates, I'd be fine with that. The fact that people (I have heard of numerous people, not just 1) with 1 A at Higher from a state school are being perceived as better candidates than 4 A students from private school bothers me...

    And, just to add, only 4 years of my education were at a private school. The rest were at state schools.
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    I can only think of grades and personal statement. My references, online profile, etc, are all sound. None of my other choices had a problem with my personal statement.

    From my school, I can think of about 6 or 7 people with similar or worse grades to me who were rejected. The only people who got in were 5 A candidates. That bit doesn't bother me - if they only accepted 5 A candidates, I'd be fine with that. The fact that people (I have heard of numerous people, not just 1) with 1 A at Higher from a state school are being perceived as better candidates than 4 A students from private school bothers me...

    And, just to add, only 4 years of my education were at a private school. The rest were at state schools.
    You can't speak for how the university viewed your application, perhaps they didn't like something in your PS/reference etc?

    What were your Standards like?

    Lol, the fact that you said "only 4 years of [your] education were at a private school", for me at least, rules out any chance of prejudice against your application.
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    (Original post by Newbie123)
    You can't speak for how the university viewed your application, perhaps they didn't like something in your PS/reference etc?

    What were your Standards like?

    Lol, the fact that you said "only 4 years of [your] education were at a private school", for me at least, rules out any chance of prejudice against your application.
    The careers experts and tutors were all really enthusiastic about my application. And I got 3 unconditionals for University's that are similarly ranked to this one on the Top Uni guide, so I don't think there was anything wrong with it.

    I got 8 A's in my Int. 2's, so I don't think that's where the problem is.

    It's also not just me. Like I said, I can think of about 6 or 7 people at my school with at least 3 A's who applied for the same course at the same University, and all were rejected.

    I just can't think of a reason why people from state schools with much poorer grades would be offered places, but me and several others would be rejected.
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    The careers experts and tutors were all really enthusiastic about my application. And I got 3 unconditionals for University's that are similarly ranked to this one on the Top Uni guide, so I don't think there was anything wrong with it.

    I got 8 A's in my Int. 2's, so I don't think that's where the problem is.

    It's also not just me. Like I said, I can think of about 6 or 7 people at my school with at least 3 A's who applied for the same course at the same University, and all were rejected.

    I just can't think of a reason why people from state schools with much poorer grades would be offered places, but me and several others would be rejected.
    Neither I nor anyone on TSR will know enough about your application to make some kind of diagnosis as to what went wrong.

    I'd advise you to ask the university for feedback, and also to not care as much, seeing as you've got 3 offers from similarly prestigious universities.

    The state school/private school bias is almost non-existent in most respectable universities.
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    Generally when marking applications, 1 or 2 extra marks may be awarded if the applicant is from a low band school however the applicant would still need to have a very good personal statement to be offered a place.
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    I recently applied to study Law at a well-known Scottish University. I got 4 A's and a B in my SQA Highers, which I thought would have been enough to get an offer, but as I recently found out, this was not the case and my application was unsuccessful.

    I was at an Open Day a few months ago, and started talking to someone who had applied for the same course as me at the first University mentioned. He had 1 A, 2 B's and a C in his Highers, yet he was given a conditional offer, while I was rejected straight away.

    The only difference I can see between us is that I go to a private school and he goes to a state school. I was wondering if anybody else has had a similar experience, or knows why a University would favour a pupil with lower grades over one with higher grades based purely upon their education?

    It might seem as if I'm jumping to conclusions, but I have put a lot of thought in to this and I honestly can't think of a reason why I would have been rejected in favour of an applicant whose grades were quite a bit worse than mine. :confused:
    you applied to edinburgh?
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    (Original post by Newbie123)
    Neither I nor anyone on TSR will know enough about your application to make some kind of diagnosis as to what went wrong.

    I'd advise you to ask the university for feedback, and also to not care as much, seeing as you've got 3 offers from similarly prestigious universities.

    The state school/private school bias is almost non-existent in most respectable universities.
    It's bothering me because this one was my first choice, and to not even be given a conditional is annoying.

    I'm not suggesting that whoever was judging my application dismissed it because of an irrational hatred of private school pupils. I was mostly wondering if there are any incentives for universities to offer more places to state school pupils, even if it's at the expense of private school pupils with superior grades.

    I know that grades aren't everything, but most University's decide who to take based on their grades. And if you were faced with a choice between a candidate with 1 A, 2 B's, a C and a no award, and a candidate with 4 A's and a B, I struggle to see why a University would choose the former.
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    (Original post by keyboard-warrior)
    you applied to edinburgh?
    I'd rather not say, in case I get accused of slander or anything...
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    No, but they might "discriminate" against people who can't use apostrophies :P

    *Universities
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    It's bothering me because this one was my first choice, and to not even be given a conditional is annoying.

    I'm not suggesting that whoever was judging my application dismissed it because of an irrational hatred of private school pupils. I was mostly wondering if there are any incentives for universities to offer more places to state school pupils, even if it's at the expense of private school pupils with superior grades.

    I know that grades aren't everything, but most University's decide who to take based on their grades. And if you were faced with a choice between a candidate with 1 A, 2 B's, a C and a no award, and a candidate with 4 A's and a B, I struggle to see why a University would choose the former.
    I know someone with 3/3 A* predictions at A-Level, 4 A's at AS Level, 8/10 A* at GCSE and he didn't get a single INTERVIEW for medicine. His teachers were also positive about his application. I also know people with much less academic credentials who have got interviews & offers for the same course at same/similar universities.

    You should count yourself lucky to have 3 offers for Law.

    But like I said, if it's really bothering you, then you should request feedback.
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    Did you ask for feedback?

    Maybe they just didn't like you?
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    (Original post by jennifex)
    No, but they might "discriminate" against people who can't use apostrophies :P

    *Universities
    ... My bad, haha.
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    (Original post by jameslad)
    Did you ask for feedback?

    Maybe they just didn't like you?
    Yeah, but I'm sure I'll get a generic post.

    True, could be that. I can't see how they would have formed enough of an opinion about me to reject me on that basis though...
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    Yeah, but I'm sure I'll get a generic post.

    True, could be that. I can't see how they would have formed enough of an opinion about me to reject me on that basis though...
    Not true. Some do, some don't.
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    (Original post by DRE_902)
    I'd rather not say, in case I get accused of slander or anything...
    don't worry, because there is an element of truth in what you say, edinburgh even say it themselves. They say they take into account contextual factors when deciding on applicants, implying that if you come from a crap background (i.e crap school, etc etc), then that'll help towards your application

    so if they have two identical candidates, one goes to eton, the other goes to a run down school where no-one's actually gone on to university, they'll take the second applicant
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    (Original post by keyboard-warrior)
    don't worry, because there is an element of truth in what you say, edinburgh even say it themselves. They say they take into account contextual factors when deciding on applicants, implying that if you come from a crap background (i.e crap school, etc etc), then that'll help towards your application

    so if they have two identical candidates, one goes to eton, the other goes to a run down school where no-one's actually gone on to university, they'll take the second applicant
    Thanks, that does actually clear up quite a lot
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    I'd like to add that it isn't a case of "I got rejected, therefore Universities hate Private Schools".

    I know of several people with 4 A grades who were rejected straight out, and I've come across maybe two examples of people from state schools with 1 A who were given offers (there will be more, I'm sure)

    There does seem to be a pattern emerging, and I wanted to know there was a reason behind it - or if it was just a (very big) coincidence.
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    (Original post by jennifex)
    No, but they might "discriminate" against people who can't use apostrophies :P

    *Universities
    Or those that can't spell 'apostrophes"

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