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State school Oxbridge applicants.. Watch

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    (Original post by Kroll)
    Oldmantax, which subjects are you doing and how are you preparing for the exams etc? And is it your school doing the Oxbridge alumni thing?
    I'm doing Maths, Further Maths History and RS at AS level. Preparing for exams by typing up all my notes from lessons at the end of the week...not much more than that. I don't work that hard, I prefer to spend time doing extra curricular, socialising and reading around the subject, rather than actually doing work!

    Not entirely sure what the 'alumni thing' is? We have several alumni at Oxbridge, and if you know some personally it's often recommended to have a chat or even visit, but that's down to individuals. The school organises a trip for top students to the Oxbridge open days, staying in colleges, and also gets in a few speakers. There's also an Oxbridge club, to talk to Year 13s applying this year, listen to presentations from other candidates (e.g. someone applying for Philosophy did a talk on personal identity, then there was a Q+A, gives him something to talk about at interview, allows us to get a bit of general knowledge and some thinking skills), do some stuff on interview skills and admissions tests. The school also offers practice interviews with appropriate teachers, to give you an idea of the interview experience. The club is run by Oxbridge alumni, which is great, and they will write your reference for you, as they know what to say for Oxbridge.

    All this at a state school! I'm so lucky!
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    Hey im currently deciding whether to go to a state or private sixth form and was wondering will it significantly reduce my chances of getting into a very good uni if i go to a state sixth form. Or will it depend entierly on my grades??
    oh and ive been at state schools all my life.
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    (Original post by M Loy is God)
    Mr Orange, get your head out of your arse..
    this

    (Original post by M Loy is God)
    Obviously can't beat Eton they have some sort of incestual relationship going on.
    and this
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    (Original post by sunny_veggies)
    Hey im currently deciding whether to go to a state or private sixth form and was wondering will it significantly reduce my chances of getting into a very good uni if i go to a state sixth form. Or will it depend entierly on my grades??
    oh and ive been at state schools all my life.
    Oxford at least now collects information on everyone's schooling to assess how their achievements relate to their peers and how their schooling may have affected their grades, etc. So you have no worries with Oxford.

    Cambridge has their special access scheme. I don't know anything about it but I imagine it would address any such issues too.

    So basically: it's all about you, not your school
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    (Original post by Mr. Orange)
    it was a sarcastic comment retard
    alright chill...retard
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    I attended the first UNIQ, June this year... it's very very good and only available to state schoolers. Apart from the many workshops about your subject, you get to watch mock interviews with current students and get a lot of information on how to make your application stand out. Most of the staff/mentors are current students too which was probably the most beneficial thing I got out from it as you could ask them pretty much any question you have.
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    Threads like these make me wonder... is oxbridge still better than other institutions?

    I know this sounds like a stupid question, but surely there are loaads of unis now that rival these two that we need a new word to describe elite universities- like an english version of an ivy league.

    just sayin... well good luck to everyone applying, yey state schools
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    (Original post by Kroll)
    Again, interesting. It's amazing the lack of support some places offer. As it has already been mentioned, Cambridge admissions tutors can often tell from experience when somebody's undergone endless prepping so there's no huge loss there. Good on you for ultimately not feeling discouraged, that really does show something. We all have our fingers and toes crossed for you
    Thanks for that

    But really, being one of the top 20 state schools in Scotland you would have thought they could have been slightly more helpful...

    Also, for being one of the best schools in this area, their success, or rather lack of, with regards to Oxbridge applications staggers me.
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    (Original post by Jacke02)
    Threads like these make me wonder... is oxbridge still better than other institutions?
    Why?
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    (Original post by mespannerhanz)
    I'm year 12 and hoping to apply to Geography at Cambridge. As of yet nobody has mentioned anything about university, let alone Oxbridge. Should I be starting to do some stuff, or is it a bit early?
    I've applied for Geography at Oxbridge, and in year 12, all we were really asked to do was research the courses we were thinking of taking, look around for open days dates (they're usually end of year 12, but I ended up missing loads because I hadn't researched courses in time to book them!) and it's also a good idea to get a good draft personal statement by the end of year 12 - but you don't need to think about that until much later in the year!
    Also, if your school has someone in charge of oxbridge applications, try and contact them. They'll give you more precise dates, and let you know when you need to get something done. The begining of year 12 was really about deciding what you like, and our school organised trips to talks on oxbridge applications, which was useful to get to grips with the whole application system.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    Why?
    Well i can see that 50 years ago people may want to be obsessed with oxbridge... but today there is no exclusive best university. Just it seems strange that people are still obsessed with 'oxbridge'. Fair enough if you love the city... but like there's loads of places to go.
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    Just want to remind you guys that there isn't such definate line between state and private. There are actually good state schools, and I imagine there are some 'bad' private schools aswell. In most cases coming from a state school, especially from a deprived area, will leave you less prepared than the average oxbridge applicant. I don't disagree with that, and I couldn't coming from a poor school myself. But just be careful you don't try to use it as an excuse for everything.
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    (Original post by Jacke02)
    Well i can see that 50 years ago people may want to be obsessed with oxbridge... but today there is no exclusive best university. Just it seems strange that people are still obsessed with 'oxbridge'. Fair enough if you love the city... but like there's loads of places to go.
    You're right that it's not the be all and end all, and that the gap between these two and other unis is less than it is before.

    As for how much better it is than other unis and the razzle dazzle factor, that's inevitably going to be subjective according to personal opinion, the different courses, compatability with the tutorial/supervision systems, etc.

    Personally, I think the main difference is the tutorial/supervision systems and that for my own subject, there is something rather special about the Oxford course. That's not to say it's perfect, or that everyone should do it, though
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    they asked me about my application and how i came from a state school... and why people from state schools get in with worse greades etc

    well I explained to them the destrictive potential of examination marking schemes. If you think about it, getting 12 A*s at G.C.S.E, and indeed good grades at A-Level doesn't necessarily demonstrate academic ability, but demonstrates the ability to memorise specific examination criteriae (if thats the plural!). It doesn't show the ability to think, which is what Oxford really are looking for! Hence the strong emphasis on interviews. From there the conversation moved on to focus on my education and background, and about the college that I'm at. They seemed quite shocked when I mentioned that drugs were prevolent around the college corridors! They asked my why I thought that people from state schools generally came out with better degrees from Oxford in comparison to those from private schools. Again, I referenced to the fact that at private schools, it is much easier to achieve because of the customer-shopkeeper relationship that exists between student and teacher. A student from a state school does not necessarily have this backing, and the approach to learning is much more on an individual level. Another question they asked me was about black applicants, and the recent scandal in the news about Merton not accepting a black candidate in 5 years, and to explain and evaluate the situation: I related it back to gang culture that exists in schools, and how this leads to


    It was a really weird interview: they only seemed to be focused on my college education, my amelioration as a candidate (I'm a reapplicant), as opposed to my knowedge of my subject. I was wondering whether there had been feedback from the previous interview which had influenced this?

    So did anyone have a challenging first interview, and a second interview where they weren't really pushed or challenged: where the second was more a self-reflection on the part of the candidate?!!
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    (Original post by spekstaa)
    They asked my why I thought that people from state schools generally came out with better degrees from Oxford in comparison to those from private schools.
    This is interesting. I heard something funny about this.
    Private school: First in the first year, second in the second year, third in the third year.
    State school: Third in the first year, second in the second year, first in the third year.

    I guess if that is the case then it's probably due to the intrinsic intelligence of the candidates. In my opinion the reason many private schools have ludicrously high Oxbridge acceptance rates is because of the sheer value they add to their candidates, not just through extra qualifications and whatnot but also through intellectual training. As a result they are just simply much more prepared for the dreaded interview than state school candidates of similar ability. However, at university learning becomes much more independent, and this change is perhaps much harder for ex-private school students than ex-public school students, and when the years progress and the material gets increasingly more demanding, the private school applicants who relied on value added rather than sheer ability begin to struggle noticeably.

    Does anyone agree with me or think this is BS?
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    (Original post by Kroll)
    No worries, I'm thinking of applying for PPE. Which exam board are you on for maths? I also have to sit a module for it in January.. Bah!
    I'm on OCR. It's overall fairly okay, there are just a couple of things I really need to brush up on!
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    (Original post by spekstaa)
    they asked me about my application and how i came from a state school... and why people from state schools get in with worse greades etc

    well I explained to them the destrictive potential of examination marking schemes. If you think about it, getting 12 A*s at G.C.S.E, and indeed good grades at A-Level doesn't necessarily demonstrate academic ability, but demonstrates the ability to memorise specific examination criteriae (if thats the plural!). It doesn't show the ability to think, which is what Oxford really are looking for! Hence the strong emphasis on interviews. From there the conversation moved on to focus on my education and background, and about the college that I'm at. They seemed quite shocked when I mentioned that drugs were prevolent around the college corridors! They asked my why I thought that people from state schools generally came out with better degrees from Oxford in comparison to those from private schools. Again, I referenced to the fact that at private schools, it is much easier to achieve because of the customer-shopkeeper relationship that exists between student and teacher. A student from a state school does not necessarily have this backing, and the approach to learning is much more on an individual level. Another question they asked me was about black applicants, and the recent scandal in the news about Merton not accepting a black candidate in 5 years, and to explain and evaluate the situation: I related it back to gang culture that exists in schools, and how this leads to


    It was a really weird interview: they only seemed to be focused on my college education, my amelioration as a candidate (I'm a reapplicant), as opposed to my knowedge of my subject. I was wondering whether there had been feedback from the previous interview which had influenced this?

    So did anyone have a challenging first interview, and a second interview where they weren't really pushed or challenged: where the second was more a self-reflection on the part of the candidate?!!
    Never heard of an interview like that before. That said, one would assume it was testing your ability to think for yourself, forming an argument and putting it across in a coherent manner, etc.


    (Original post by Unkempt_One)
    This is interesting. I heard something funny about this.
    Private school: First in the first year, second in the second year, third in the third year.
    State school: Third in the first year, second in the second year, first in the third year.

    I guess if that is the case then it's probably due to the intrinsic intelligence of the candidates. In my opinion the reason many private schools have ludicrously high Oxbridge acceptance rates is because of the sheer value they add to their candidates, not just through extra qualifications and whatnot but also through intellectual training. As a result they are just simply much more prepared for the dreaded interview than state school candidates of similar ability. However, at university learning becomes much more independent, and this change is perhaps much harder for ex-private school students than ex-public school students, and when the years progress and the material gets increasingly more demanding, the private school applicants who relied on value added rather than sheer ability begin to struggle noticeably.

    Does anyone agree with me or think this is BS?
    I think it's far more complicated than that. As someone has pointed out above, there are some pretty good state schools out there and not all private schools are that great, etc. I think the whole spoonfeeding thing can be applied as much to state schools as it can to private. From what I've heard people say, private schools often tend to work outside the curriculum, etc. My A Level English Lit was pretty much spoonfed to me, coz the teachers were great. Likewise with my GCSE History.

    All this said, none of my tutors seemed that surprised when I got a mid-2.2 in my first year Oxford Mods exams. I got the distinct impression that they'd expected something like that all along, coz I'd come from a comp. I found that quite offensive at the time but I can see where they were coming from.

    Unfortunately I don't fit your model
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    (Original post by Kroll)
    Lol I feel the same. The ASs have seen a brisk decline in my faith in teachers. To be honest we all worry about not working hard enough. I've spent whole days working and at the end thought, "I should have got more done, I could have done xyz more effectively/efficiently".. I think it generally works in your favour though, it teaches you self-motivation and self-reviewal. On the upside you're getting a few decent Oxbridge experiences.



    Hey, how've you been getting on then? I can so relate to your enthusiasm / apprehension. And also to not really being able to talk about the whole considering Oxbridge thing. Pretty sure I'd run the risk of gettin laughed out of class..

    On the other hand, sometimes I wonder if it would be such a bad idea to tell teachers/ peers, cos then I'd have to work double hard to live their expectations. In an environment where there's little to no encouragement I don't know if that'd be such a bad thing



    This. So true. And do you mean on TSR or in general? I feel like I'm pestering my tutors sometimes, asking for homework etc.
    I suppose I meant in general, tsr is generally great at giving advice - often you don't need to ask for it here! However, in school - especially in comps where there are lots of people needing different things - sometimes being demanding is essential. I know it's a bit awkward pestering your tutors, but it's worth it
    If you're anything like me you can always write them thank you letters later . .
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    Even if they think you're a nuisance at the time (I'm sure my Music teachers sometimes felt like this), they're almost certainly likely to think it worthwhile in the long run. Especially if they get to do the whole "we got X into Oxford/Cambridge" thing for years to come :yes:
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    My college did nothing to help for my application but there isn't really anything much they can do. I think they had 6 get in last year which is pretty good for a college that takes anyone with 5 gcses.
 
 
 
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