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    I'm so academic might as well be an admission officer, he/she/it seems to know more than any Oxbridge student.
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    (Original post by im so academic)
    You should aim to go to Cambridge because you're passionate about the course there, and for the subject.

    They can spot people like you who want to get into Cambridge for the sake of the name.
    Or in fact, like you.
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    (Original post by SteveCrain)
    bull****

    admissions are not infallible
    People obviously go off rep; does every applicant know the ins and outs of the course they desire to study at every uni?
    Agreed. What I can never understand about these Oxbridge discussions is exactly where the 'magical' part comes in that seems to tie everything together.

    The admissions tutors are regular human beings, like the rest of us, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge interviewers, they take on some kind of semi-divine quality and become capable of piercing the souls of teenagers and examining their entire lifelong potential in twenty or thirty minutes.

    The lecturers at Oxbridge are again, regular human beings, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge lecturers, they ascend to a new plane of knowledge. Elsewhere, they would be generic, standard, but within the revered confines of an Oxbridge college, their every word becomes magical.

    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
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    (Original post by Jack.O)

    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
    Lecturers at Oxbridge are going to be, on average, better than everywhere else.
    The best places attract the best applicants. One biiig cycle
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    Agreed. What I can never understand about these Oxbridge discussions is exactly where the 'magical' part comes in that seems to tie everything together.

    The admissions tutors are regular human beings, like the rest of us, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge interviewers, they take on some kind of semi-divine quality and become capable of piercing the souls of teenagers and examining their entire lifelong potential in twenty or thirty minutes.

    The lecturers at Oxbridge are again, regular human beings, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge lecturers, they ascend to a new plane of knowledge. Elsewhere, they would be generic, standard, but within the revered confines of an Oxbridge college, their every word becomes magical.

    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
    The tutorial/supervision is one big aspect of Oxbridge.
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    I didn't get into Oxford, but from my experience of applying and from observing the people I know who've got in, I've realised that there is very little difference between those who applied and were rejected (and will now go to other very good top 10 unis) and those who were given an offer other than the fact that the latter tend to be more diligent and efficient when it comes to work and exams. Often, you don't get in because you weren't the sort of person who they thought would best benefit from the style of teaching and atmosphere that is part and parcel of an Oxbridge education. In fact some of the people who got in from my school are shallower and more exam-orientated than those who didn't get in (who are in many cases more intelligent and curious about their subject).

    Of the 5 people who applied for History (of whom I was one), 2 got offers. They are also the only two who haven't read any books about their historical interests since the interview. Furthermore, they coincidentally have the poorest written and oral expression of the 5 of us and are the least widely read. But they are also coincidentally the most efficient at exams and, although this was not borne out in their AS results, somehow, this skill must have been noticed by the admissions tutors.

    I give this example not, by any means, to denigrate those who got in to Oxbridge nor those who are already there. They are, on the whole, exceptionally good. My point is that they are most certainly not 'special'. In a few cases they are less intellectually able than those who are rejected. There are many exceptionally smart people at my school who freakishly didn't get in. One English applicant springs to mind. If I had to put my money on the most likely humanities student to get a place, it would have been him, and yet he was pooled and rejected by Cambridge. He's now going to Durham, and he will always be more intelligent than many of the people who are going to Oxbridge. I know that if I was an employer and I had to pick between him and one of the history offer-holders I mentioned earlier, I know who I'd choose.

    Students at Oxbridge are, on the whole, no more intelligent than those going to other top 10 unis; they just don't have (or appear to exhibit) the right work ethic for the Oxbridge environment.
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    Agreed. What I can never understand about these Oxbridge discussions is exactly where the 'magical' part comes in that seems to tie everything together.

    The admissions tutors are regular human beings, like the rest of us, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge interviewers, they take on some kind of semi-divine quality and become capable of piercing the souls of teenagers and examining their entire lifelong potential in twenty or thirty minutes.

    The lecturers at Oxbridge are again, regular human beings, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge lecturers, they ascend to a new plane of knowledge. Elsewhere, they would be generic, standard, but within the revered confines of an Oxbridge college, their every word becomes magical.

    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
    I don't think anyone with knowledge of the interview system thinks it's infallible or anything semi-divine. Like everything else in life, it's not 100% fool-proof.

    That said, it can be surprising how much you can gauge in 20-30 minutes :yes:
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
    Well actually, during our visit to Cambridge we found out that one of the new buildings in Cambridge is the most expensive building in Europe per square foot. The university reopened a shutdown quarry to get some particular redstone or something to make it with, that's how damn awesome Oxbridge is
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    (Original post by Mick Travis)
    Sorry, but I do. Maybe I wasn't clever enough to get in. Or maybe I just didn't work hard enough. However I would love to have gone to Oxford rather than to some mediocre institution. Yes, I know by mediocre I'm referring to a university that 80-90% of people aren't able to go to, but so what? It isn't the best. Oxford is for the elite and I wasn't there.

    It's hard-wired into British culture - particularly amongst the middle classes - that only Oxbridge matters - other Universities are nothing special. That's not really an intellectual point (the British aren't that keen on brains) it's more about the beauty, history and cultivation that Oxford is supposed to possess. It's also about our perfectionism, we are quite hard on ourselves. Anything less than the best(?) is a bit pointless.

    I reckon I would have been happy at Oxford, although the workload and some intimidatingly bright peers might have tested me to the limit. I'm easily infuriated by the very cerebral. Still at the time I wanted to go to some big city and have a crazy party for three years. A bit embarrassing now I think about it and a waste of three years. But you live and learn I guess.
    Why care? Rich and poor, snobs and scrubs, everyone dies in the end.
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    (Original post by im so academic)
    The tutorial/supervision is one big aspect of Oxbridge.
    There are pros and cons, though. If you have too few people, you're not working against a range of ideas. Lots of other universities operate under seminars which aren't hugely different, and cannot be worlds away in terms of effectiveness.

    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I don't think anyone with knowledge of the interview system thinks it's infallible or anything semi-divine. Like everything else in life, it's not 100% fool-proof.

    That said, it can be surprising how much you can gauge in 20-30 minutes :yes:
    I say that mostly to reflect the general view of TSR!
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    There are pros and cons, though. If you have too few people, you're not working against a range of ideas. Lots of other universities operate under seminars which aren't hugely different, and cannot be worlds away in terms of effectiveness.
    I can kinda see what you're getting at but that really wasn't the case in my three years. By the sounds of it, you'd be surprised at how many ideas - and a wide range too - get flung about in a room, even when it's just you and a tutor.

    From what I've heard from my friends about undergrad seminars and from what I've experienced of postgrad seminars, the two are quite different. That's not to say, of course, that absolutely everyone would respond to/benefit from the tutorial/supervision system.

    I think the pros would outweigh the cons with tutorials/supervisions :yes:
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    There are pros and cons, though. If you have too few people, you're not working against a range of ideas. Lots of other universities operate under seminars which aren't hugely different, and cannot be worlds away in terms of effectiveness.
    Seems to work for Oxbridge however.

    If they really though it was "working against a range of ideas", do you really think they would operate the system?

    How can you say that "other universities that use seminars aren't hugely different"? Read up on the tutorial/supervision system. They are different.
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    Agreed. What I can never understand about these Oxbridge discussions is exactly where the 'magical' part comes in that seems to tie everything together.

    The admissions tutors are regular human beings, like the rest of us, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge interviewers, they take on some kind of semi-divine quality and become capable of piercing the souls of teenagers and examining their entire lifelong potential in twenty or thirty minutes.

    The lecturers at Oxbridge are again, regular human beings, and many of them don't even hail from Oxbridge. Yet as soon as they become Oxbridge lecturers, they ascend to a new plane of knowledge. Elsewhere, they would be generic, standard, but within the revered confines of an Oxbridge college, their every word becomes magical.

    So what is the mysterious hidden factor that turns an 'ordinary' education into an Oxbridge one?

    Architecture?
    It is a very good question. The journalist wife of a visiting academic, Muriel Beadle, wrote a very funny book about this in the 1950s called These Ruins Are Inhabited. It is all about how they got to grips with life in the intimidating intellectual surroundings of 1950s Oxford fresh from a Californian college town.
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    (Original post by SteveCrain)
    I don't tend to read about other people unless it in some way benefits me. I think it's abit naive to assume Cambridge is known universally by everyone who takes an interest in the news.
    But if you don't read about other people unless there's something in it for you, I doubt you follow the news religiously - it's not going to benefit you, after all. Every results day, there's the same stuff about people going to Oxbridge, or people who have ten million A* and aren't going to Oxbridge, or if Oxbridge hate students from this group or that group, or if the cabinet is full of Oxbridge people, etc. It's quite hard to avoid if you honestly watch, say, the BBC news every day, or read a paper. I realise that not everyone does that, but it would be quite impressive to do so and still not know what they were.

    (Original post by GingerGoat)
    Well I hadn't heard of them really, until I came on here Which was after my UCAS app had been sent away :lol:
    I'd bet that 90% of my year at school knew under 10 English unis, indeed no one at our school applied even once to any English uni.
    In fairness, this would probably be different if it was in England. But still an example of Oxbridge being much less important in some places.
    I take it you're in Scotland, though? (Or Ireland perhaps, I guess.) I'm guessing this guy is English. Although he might not be :dontknow:

    I don't think it's important in all places - hell, it's looked on as some mythical place for posh people, totally unobtainable to normal people, by most people I know - but I had presumed most people would at least have heard of it
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I can kinda see what you're getting at but that really wasn't the case in my three years. By the sounds of it, you'd be surprised at how many ideas - and a wide range too - get flung about in a room, even when it's just you and a tutor.

    From what I've heard from my friends about undergrad seminars and from what I've experienced of postgrad seminars, the two are quite different. That's not to say, of course, that absolutely everyone would respond to/benefit from the tutorial/supervision system.

    I think the pros would outweigh the cons with tutorials/supervisions :yes:

    (Original post by im so academic)
    Seems to work for Oxbridge however.

    If they really though it was "working against a range of ideas", do you really think they would operate the system?

    How can you say that "other universities that use seminars aren't hugely different"? Read up on the tutorial/supervision system. They are different.
    What I'm getting at is that you don't get to reflect on as many viewpoints as you would do in a small group seminar. Conversely, a small group seminar might have more breadth, but less depth. I'm not doubting that the tutorial system is a good one, just that it's not categorically the 'best' one.

    @im_so_academic
    I've read up. They're not hugely different. Five people talking compared to two or three people talking.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    It is a very good question. The journalist wife of a visiting academic, Muriel Beadle, wrote a very funny book about this in the 1950s called These Ruins Are Inhabited. It is all about how they got to grips with life in the intimidating intellectual surroundings of 1950s Oxford fresh from a Californian college town.
    I will have to look this up. :P
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    (Original post by Jack.O)
    What I'm getting at is that you don't get to reflect on as many viewpoints as you would do in a small group seminar. Conversely, a small group seminar might have more breadth, but less depth. I'm not doubting that the tutorial system is a good one, just that it's not categorically the 'best' one.

    @im_so_academic
    I've read up. They're not hugely different. Five people talking compared to two or three people talking.
    I don't think you'd necessarily get more viewpoints in a small group seminar. From all I've seen and heard about them, the same amount of people talk in them as would at an Oxford tutorial. Oxford seminars also fall into that category. Aside from when they turn into shouting matches :rofl:

    I don't think there is a universal best anyhow, since there's no one thing that would suit everyone best. Lord knows I've had some **** tutorials and some **** tutors. I think the system is quite different to seminars and do think lots of people could benefit from the tutorial/supervision system though and it's a shame that it's an exception rather than the norm in UK universities :yes:

    Edit: The difference is not so much in the numbers anyway. It's in the close attention and the relationships that can foster
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    (Original post by kerily)
    But if you don't read about other people unless there's something in it for you, I doubt you follow the news religiously - it's not going to benefit you, after all. Every results day, there's the same stuff about people going to Oxbridge, or people who have ten million A* and aren't going to Oxbridge, or if Oxbridge hate students from this group or that group, or if the cabinet is full of Oxbridge people, etc. It's quite hard to avoid if you honestly watch, say, the BBC news every day, or read a paper. I realise that not everyone does that, but it would be quite impressive to do so and still not know what they were.
    I don't follow the news, but I follow some news. If I had to pick more news to follow the last thing on my list would be results day news. Maybe I was too assertive in saying I would only follow beneficial news; a better way of putting it would be that I only follow news that has some bearing upon me.
    I think you misread my previous post, because I quite clearly asserted that I didn't watch news regularly.

    And yes, I had probably heard the name Cambridge before, but likewise probably disregarded it after seeing what it was in relation to.

    Edit: Yes I am English, and now knowing about Cambridge I don't believe it is unobtainable to anyone
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    (Original post by 01010000 01001010)
    I always thought Cambridge was 'better' than Oxford...


    P*** off!!!
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    Cambridge is better than Oxford.
 
 
 
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