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University admission policy transparency proposal watch

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    What do people think of the following proposal:

    We should require all university undergraduate degree courses to document and publish the precise admissions criteria they use to evaluate applicants.

    The criteria universities use to pick one undergraduate candidate over another is often opaque and vague. University prospectuses often only state a very small part of the criteria (such as specific A-Levels and grades required) without disclosing how other factors such as A-Level subjects chosen, GCSE results, educational context, personal statements and references are evaluated alongside the pure grade requirements.

    This lack of transparency has a major impact on social mobility as many students are put off by rumours of "secret" criteria (a popular rumour is needing to have all A* at GCSE to get into Oxford) or are mislead into picking inappropriate A-Levels because some universities have failed to clarify when they consider some A-Levels to be worth more than others.

    Furthermore among the top universities the number of applicants meeting the publicly specified criteria often far outnumber the places available. This results in disappointment for many students who are inevitably rejected and cannot see or understand the reason why their application was rejected. Having more transparent admissions criteria would both allow students to better target their applications to suitable universities and also let them appreciate the reasons they may not have been accepted into their university of choice.
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    here here
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    It's a nice idea in theory, but I expect that few universities actually have precise admissions criteria that could be published. I imagine that it's more a case of, if a candidate gives off a generally good impression, they get an offer, and there's no way to quantify that.
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    Did you get a rejection from cambridge or what
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    No. Education shouldnt be run like a factory.
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    (Original post by Moa)
    Did you get a rejection from cambridge or what
    :yep:
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    To be more transparent would mean that once people get their results, they could argue they have a right to be let in even if rejected just because of a small technicality.

    Plus I think it would drive top universities to become more elitist, asking for more knowing they can cut out many people from applying as they think they might not have a chance of getting in.
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    (Original post by ttx)
    What do people think of the following proposal:

    We should require all university undergraduate degree courses to document and publish the precise admissions criteria they use to evaluate applicants.

    The criteria universities use to pick one undergraduate candidate over another is often opaque and vague. University prospectuses often only state a very small part of the criteria (such as specific A-Levels and grades required) without disclosing how other factors such as A-Level subjects chosen, GCSE results, educational context, personal statements and references are evaluated alongside the pure grade requirements.

    This lack of transparency has a major impact on social mobility as many students are put off by rumours of "secret" criteria (a popular rumour is needing to have all A* at GCSE to get into Oxford) or are mislead into picking inappropriate A-Levels because some universities have failed to clarify when they consider some A-Levels to be worth more than others.

    Furthermore among the top universities the number of applicants meeting the publicly specified criteria often far outnumber the places available. This results in disappointment for many students who are inevitably rejected and cannot see or understand the reason why their application was rejected. Having more transparent admissions criteria would both allow students to better target their applications to suitable universities and also let them appreciate the reasons they may not have been accepted into their university of choice.
    i agree but only in terms of grade requirements, some schools have shadow policies over GCSEs that are unfair to applicants. I think in terms of what sort of experience they're looking for and what they look for in a personal statement, that should be left to the Unis discretion
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    (Original post by Pink Bullets)
    It's a nice idea in theory, but I expect that few universities actually have precise admissions criteria that could be published. I imagine that it's more a case of, if a candidate gives off a generally good impression, they get an offer, and there's no way to quantify that.
    Well actually they do. I have a lot of them from most top 10 unis thanks to the wonderful Freedom of Information act. In most cases they however prohibit me from redistributing that information.

    A few such as Bristol already publicly publish this information, for example take a look at their admissions statement for med:

    http://www.medici.bris.ac.uk/general...statement09-10

    Many unis already have such a written criteria because they have multiple admissions tutors and having a written policy is the only way to ensure the admissions tutors are selecting students on a similar basis.
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    (Original post by Pink Bullets)
    It's a nice idea in theory, but I expect that few universities actually have precise admissions criteria that could be published. I imagine that it's more a case of, if a candidate gives off a generally good impression, they get an offer, and there's no way to quantify that.
    I agree with this. Particularly for the subject I studied, focus was on personal statements and portfolios. They're not something that can be quantified.
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    (Original post by cpj1987)
    I agree with this. Particularly for the subject I studied, focus was on personal statements and portfolios. They're not something that can be quantified.
    Qualitative admissions criteria are fine, but if they're used, admissions tutors should be open that they're used and the importance they play in the overall application. To quote from the Bristol Med policy where some of the criteria are obviously subjective:

    Criteria for assessing the candidate's performance at interview:
    a) reasons for wanting to study medicine.
    b) awareness of current developments.
    c) ability to communicate.
    d) self-confidence.
    e) enthusiasm.
    f) determination to study.
    g) ability to cope with stress.
    h) how informed is the candidate about the course and career?
    i) overall impression created by candidate.

    Each criterion is assessed on a four-point scale, and the interviewers complete an “interview proforma” for each candidate. Candidates to whom an offer of a place will be made are selected from the top-rated interviewees.
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    (Original post by ttx)
    Qualitative admissions criteria are fine, but if they're used, admissions tutors should be open that they're used and the importance they play in the overall application. To quote from the Bristol Med policy where some of the criteria are obviously subjective:
    That sounds overly scientific/measured to me. Is it really necessary/valuable?

    In part, that just shows people what to 'fake', does it not?
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    (Original post by cpj1987)
    That sounds overly scientific/measured to me. Is it really necessary/valuable?

    In part, that just shows people what to 'fake', does it not?
    Yes. But it also shows people what areas they need to improve on.

    Plus if you're well-connected or go to a well-connected school you're going to have access to this information anyway, this is in part ensuring a more level playing field.

    It is a little OTT on the "scientific" front, here's a "softer" one for Drama:


    Short listing for interview is mainly based on your personal statement: assessors give the
    following elements equal weighting:
    • A commitment to the study of drama in an academic context. For example, you
    could provide evidence that you have read beyond the A Level syllabus, or have
    developed a specialised interest within the subject area.
    • Demonstrable motivation and/or achievement in the field of performance and/or
    media related arts beyond the syllabus e.g. the practice of creative skills which
    may include writing new work or reviewing.
    • Appropriateness of the Department’s programme in relation to the candidate’s
    declared interests and ambitions. You'll need to be interested in film, media, and
    related arts, as the degree involves the study of film and television as well as
    theatre.
    • Non-academic achievements, interests and/or experience beyond the curriculum
    e.g. positions of responsibility, voluntary and/or paid work, especially where this
    provides evidence of collaborative engagement with the wider community.
    • Evidence of critical thinking; well constructed and expressed with good standard of
    English and clarity of expression
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    No. If you cba to find out yourself you ought have no place there. :rolleyes: Most of the info - for example the all A* GCSE @ Oxford - is easy to find out and disprove. Google is your friend.
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    It's too subjective for that to work really, though it would be helpful to applicants.
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    (Original post by HDS)
    No. If you cba to find out yourself you ought have no place there. :rolleyes: Most of the info - for example the all A* GCSE @ Oxford - is easy to find out and disprove. Google is your friend.
    Yes if you consider TSR an authoritative source :p:

    Try finding an official source for that information.
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    The best ones are pretty transparent already, but the bottom line is that there are many more people who satisfy all the objective criteria than there are places available, so the subjective criteria (commitment to subject etc) are all that's left. You see lots of people saying on here that they can't understand why they were rejected because their PS is really good, but they don't really know that unless they've read lots of PSs for the same subject at the same uni.
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    (Original post by ttx)
    Yes if you consider TSR an authoritative source :p:

    Try finding an official source for that information.


    Done and done.

    Go to ox.ac.uk--->search 'GCSE'

    http://www.medsci.ox.ac.uk/study/med...lin/statistics


    If you have any common sense you know that medicine being one of the most comptitive courses will require the highest number of GCSEs and that should give you a fair idea.


    Sorry, the data is out there already.




    However,
    the University does not have any formal matriculation
    requirements, and no requirement for any particular
    subjects or grades at GCSE,
    though tutors will use
    these grades as one indicator of academic ability.
    All applications are considered carefully on their
    individual merits
    and tutors consider academic
    achievements, predicted grades, candidates’ personal
    statements and academic references as well as any
    written work or written test that may be required as
    part of the application. Candidates who feel that they
    under-performed at GCSE may be able to compensate
    for this by demonstrating clear upward progression
    at AS-level as well as in predicted or achieved A-level
    scores.
    You may wish to refer to this in your personal
    statement.[



    Also, yes TSR which have current students at those unis is fairly reliable, there's no conspiracy going on to lie about grades, rest assured :rolleyes:

    http://www.ox.ac.uk/document.rm?id=160
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    (Original post by HDS)
    and no requirement for any particular
    subjects or grades at GCSE, though tutors will use
    these grades as one indicator of academic ability.

    .
    You miss the importance of that line, some subjects at Oxford use GCSE grades as part of a standardized formula to rank students when deciding who to invite for interview. Yes there's not a strict requirement, but it does play a part.

    However you're right that Oxford's Medicine policy is pretty open (Med departments generally do better than others), I'm just saying the same should apply to all subjects. If I'm understand you correctly, you don't object to my proposal per-se, but rather feel that universities already do so ?

    Also, yes TSR which have current students at those unis is fairly reliable, there's no conspiracy going on to lie about grades, rest assured
    No but there's a lot of ignorance and rumour, even among current students. Have you seen the 3500 post sticky thread "are my grades good enough for oxford" ?
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    (Original post by ttx)
    You miss the importance of that line, some subjects at Oxford use GCSE grades as part of a standardized formula to rank students when deciding who to invite for interview. Yes there's not a strict requirement, but it does play a part.

    However you're right that Oxford's Medicine policy is pretty open (Med departments generally do better than others), I'm just saying the same should apply to all subjects. If I'm understand you correctly, you don't object to my proposal per-se, but rather feel that universities already do so ?


    I don't oppose it, no, not at all, but I think the way it is not is definitely open enough for anyone interested in finding the information to be able to do so.

    In all fairness myths like needing all A* and such do help to weed out people who are gullible enough to believe them.

    There's a wealth of information out there -both from those who have already been through the process and from the unis themselves - and beyond that I think it's every student's own responsibility to find the rest out for themselves.
 
 
 
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