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St Andrews blamed for lack of poor students

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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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    There's an article on the BBC website about how St Andrews university only gave 13(I think) places to students from the poorest 20% of Scottish postcodes, when recruiting undergraduates last year.

    Do you think this is the uni's fault or the fault of the poor education system?

    Should universities "positively" discriminate poorer students?

    Oxford university was criticised last year for having too few black students.

    In both of these cases there were way fewer applications from the underrepresented groups, so I don't think the universities are to blame.

    However, another startling fact is Oxbridge had several"outreach" events at Eton (I think, it was a famous public school) last year.

    What do you think?


    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-I9100
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    why should a university positively discriminate because people are poor? its their job to accept the best of the best of the students that apply regardless of their wealth, if theyre poor then excellent if theyre rich then still excellent...
    people will whine and bitch about anything these days..

    EDIT: would people negging this please humour me as to why...?
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    The system needs fixing and the humungous inequalities need to be reduced between social classes and education.

    The disparity in achievement between working class students at state schools and middle class students at public schools is stupendous. Universities can't be blamed for taking the best applicants, because the richer you are, the better the education you're able to receive. It's a nonsense that the wealth of one's parents determines the child's future; there's something Victorian about that degree of injustice.
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    yeah, i read about the Eton oxbridge event. that was unfair because the private schools which are already at an advantage have an even bigger chance of being accepted because the uni events teach them exactly what they expect of their applicants. :mad: sigh...
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    (Original post by OmnipotentOmelette)
    There's an article on the BBC website about how St Andrews university only gave 13(I think) places to students from the poorest 20% of Scottish postcodes, when recruiting undergraduates last year.

    Do you think this is the uni's fault or the fault of the poor education system?

    Should universities "positively" discriminate poorer students?

    Oxford university was criticised last year for having too few black students.

    In both of these cases there were way fewer applications from the underrepresented groups, so I don't think the universities are to blame.

    However, another startling fact is Oxbridge had several"outreach" events at Eton (I think, it was a famous public school) last year.

    What do you think?


    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-I9100
    Universities have negligible interest (I won't say absolutely zero) in favouring wealthy students over poorer ones. Least of all with the Government breathing down their necks.

    If poorer students are underrepresented, it's either under-confidence in applications or inadequacy of schooling.
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    St Andrews new underprivileged intake contemplate life at their new varsity;

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    It's not their problem. They accept the best students that they are offered. If there are poorer students losing out, the problem is at a schooling level. You can't get them via positive discrimination (I think most of us can agree that basing a decision on the person's wealth is wrong), so you have to increase the numbers by improving schooling. The university can't be blamed unless it's shown that they are actively avoiding low income students.
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    Maybe poor students simply aren't interested in studying at St Andrews university. I went to a low performing state school and studying something like classics or history of art or maths at St Andrews was the last thing on anyone's mind; almost everyone who went on to university studying something vocational at one of the more vocationally orientated universities. And we nearly all much preferred to study in a big city such as Edinburgh or Glasgow to a small town in the middle of nowhere anyway...

    For anyone interested, here is the link to the story:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-18317093

    I do think the slating that certain universities are getting is a little unfair. Scottish universities quite heavily recruit from their local areas and Aberdeen's local area doesn't really have much of these bottom 20% postcodes. Edinburgh does a lot via its contextual factors but ultimately it cannot help if pupils from poorer areas would rather do child nursing than history or midwifery than chemistry. And St Andrews probably isn't a very appealing place to poorer applicants anyway.
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    St Andrews is consistently ranked in the top 5 of the Guardian league table every year, is internationally-recognised as one of the best universities in the country (if not the world), has some of the best post-graduation employment statistics, has the highest intake of international students in the country, has royal alumni (Emperor Palpatine being the most significant for me, I must say), has one of the the best (if not the best) ratings for student satisfaction, and, most importantly, has extremely low drop-out rates. Why should it jeopardise this status and prestige for the sake of some feeble politicized social experiment? It's not the university's problem.
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    Yeah, like others have said, its not up to St. Andrews or any university to fix the broken pre-higher education system.
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    why should a university positively discriminate because people are poor? its their job to accept the best of the best of the students that apply regardless of their wealth, if theyre poor then excellent if theyre rich then still excellent...
    This. Positive discrimination schemes always create bigger divides. Resentment increases between different strata's. :nope:

    <3 x
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    Positive discrimination in any form is wrong. The places should go to those who have achieved the right grades because they've put in the most effort and have the ability to get there, if it is the case that those from the poorest backgrounds or ethnic minorities (or both) aren't doing this then we need to look at why they are not and try to rectify it. My guess is that the issue will lie with more of the poor education in their area than with some kind of snobbishness on the university's part...

    Simpy forcing unis to take people from poor places or ethnic minorities in the interest of fairness when there might be better candidates from wealthier backgrounds cheapens/dilutes I think, the high-end/prestigious reputation these places have, since they are not recruiting the very best like they would want to (just clarify wealth =/= being best/best grades, although I admit wealth gives you access to the best teaching) and could also lead to resentment amongst other students because X person is the "token" poor person or whatever (although that would also be wrong)...
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Universities have negligible interest (I won't say absolutely zero) of favouring wealthy students over poorer ones. Least of all with the government breathing down their necks.

    If poorer students are underrepresented, it's either under-confidence in applications or inadequacy of schooling.
    That's nonsense. Universities actually do prefer richer students by far because they are more likely to give the university larger endowments later in life since they will have much inherited wealth. Oxbridge makes billions of dollars from these endowments and they won't get too much from poor students.
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    I don't think they do it deliberately, the fact is that more 'rich' students are going to apply to a university with 4 year courses at £9000 a year.
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    (Original post by Lumos)
    I don't think they do it deliberately, the fact is that more 'rich' students are going to apply to a university with 4 year courses at £9000 a year.
    But the article is about Scotland where tuition fees are paid for by the government.
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    (Original post by OmnipotentOmelette)
    There's an article on the BBC website about how St Andrews university only gave 13(I think) places to students from the poorest 20% of Scottish postcodes, when recruiting undergraduates last year.

    Do you think this is the uni's fault or the fault of the poor education system?

    Should universities "positively" discriminate poorer students?

    Oxford university was criticised last year for having too few black students.

    In both of these cases there were way fewer applications from the underrepresented groups, so I don't think the universities are to blame.

    However, another startling fact is Oxbridge had several"outreach" events at Eton (I think, it was a famous public school) last year.

    What do you think?


    This was posted from The Student Room's Android App on my GT-I9100
    I would want to look at how many poor students apply there compared to 'non-poor' students, and compare that to the national demographic. Then I'd narrow that down in both groups to applicants who had a reasonable chance of getting in (maybe up to a grade off the standard offer). A final point of interest might be to see what courses they apply to, and see if that differs from the 'non-poor' applicants. With just knowing that not as many are there, we can't say whether it's because they're not applying, they're not being accepted, or applying to courses that are more difficult to get into.

    If what you say is true about Oxbridge and Eton, I think that will clearly favour 'non-poor' students, since Eton will have a higher proportion than the national demographic.
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    Universities want the best possible students on their courses.
    St Andrew's, quite rightly, could not give a flying **** whether said students live on council estates or are millionaires.
    This problem will persist until we bring back grammar schools, which will improve the quality of education that poor students receive, thus improving social mobility.
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    It's not the fault of the universities, I don't know about St. Andrews but I know universities like Oxford actively encourage less privileged students to apply through schemes such as the UNIQ summer schools (it certainly encouraged me to apply). I think the lack of 'poor' students at universities like St. Andrews can be put down to two things:

    a. students who go to private schools generally receive better exam results and perform better at interviews, thus are more likely to get into high ranking universities

    b. there is a smaller proportion of 'poor' students that actually apply to universities like St. Andrews.

    Point a. can only be rectified with changes to the education system, ie. reducing the gap between state and private schools and making sure all students achieve their full potential.

    In order to combat point b. universities need to work on changing their image and eliminating stereotypes. I think schemes like the previously mentioned UNIQ summer schools are a good way to go about doing this - I was not initially planning to apply for Oxford, but the summer school changed my mind. I actually think image plays a really big part in university applications, I personally did not apply for St. Andrews or Durham despite them both ranking highly for my subject because as a state school student from a relatively poor background I didn't see myself fitting in. Perhaps St. Andrews needs to work on this if they want to reduce inequality.
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    (Original post by TheHistoryStudent)
    Positive discrimination in any form is wrong. The places should go to those who have achieved the right grades because they've put in the most effort and have the ability to get there, if it is the case that those from the poorest backgrounds or ethnic minorities (or both) aren't doing this then we need to look at why they are not and try to rectify it. My guess is that the issue will lie with more of the poor education in their area than with some kind of snobbishness on the university's part...
    You are so, so wrong at many levels. I lost both my parents when I was in year 12, lived very unhappily with my GParents until I was 18, then lived on my own in the family house. If you think running a house on your own and studying for A2 at the same time as being an orphan isn't worth any considerationat all by universities then I don't think you are an over nice person.
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    (Original post by TheLastOfUs)
    That's nonsense. Universities actually do prefer richer students by far because they are more likely to give the university larger endowments later in life since they will have much inherited wealth. Oxbridge makes billions of dollars from these endowments and they won't get too much from poor students.
    Oxbridge do get a certain income from donations, yes. That was the reason for my 'not absolutely zero benefit' qualification. However, the idea that this income amounts to 'billions of dollars' is questionable both as a matter of quantity and quality. If you can show me any data to back what you say, I'll raise my eyebrows to somewhere approaching my hairline and concede the point.

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