Do top universities favour those from private schools? Watch

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mkeafnej31298431
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Private schools vs state schools. I am currently in a state school and someone I know is in his first year at Oxford. He told us that the majority of students are from private school backgrounds. Is this because those from private schools are generally more intelligent? Or is it because they have some sort of closer link to the top unis? :confused:
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tehforum
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(Original post by Lauralaughsalot)
Private schools vs state schools. I am currently in a state school and someone I know is in his first year at Oxford. He told us that the majority of students are from private school backgrounds. Is this because those from private schools are generally more intelligent? Or is it because they have some sort of closer link to the top unis? :confused:
The former. They have more support, a better understanding of the process.
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mkeafnej31298431
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(Original post by tehforum)
The former. They have more support, a better understanding of the process.
Good point!
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Architecture-er
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Students from private schools get the support and preparation that they need, students from comprehensives (like myself) have to make do with our parents trying to make us revise "so why do you want to study at cambridge" questions that they, obviously, never ask
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x__justmyluck
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On average private school pupils get higher grades, the interview preparation may give them an advantage so they are more confident but the whole point of the questions they ask are that you don't know the answer so candidates are on a more even playing field.
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Plainview
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Oxford, for example, favour kids from poorer state schools where they've got the same grades as kids from private schools, because its likely they've put more effort in to get where they are.
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Henry_Tudor
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Private schools are more supported in the process, at my school we have a personal tutor where we have twice weekly meetings about school life, and UCAS and if your Ox-bridge then there are two teachers who will guild you through the entire process
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TurboCretin
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(Original post by Lauralaughsalot)
Private schools vs state schools. I am currently in a state school and someone I know is in his first year at Oxford. He told us that the majority of students are from private school backgrounds. Is this because those from private schools are generally more intelligent? Or is it because they have some sort of closer link to the top unis? :confused:
The reverse is actually true, all else being equal. But all else is far from equal. Kids at private school are told that they can go far, are given the tools and the kick up the backside to do it, and are more likely to have parents that went to top universities themselves.

EDIT: Forgot the fact that in most cases they're selective to begin with.
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Strangey
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(Original post by Lauralaughsalot)
Private schools vs state schools. I am currently in a state school and someone I know is in his first year at Oxford. He told us that the majority of students are from private school backgrounds. Is this because those from private schools are generally more intelligent? Or is it because they have some sort of closer link to the top unis? :confused:
Oxford tells us that 57.5% of their students come from state schools, and the rest are independent (but not necessarily private - free schools, academies, faith schools and home tuition all count, I believe)

The reasons that the number of independent students are so high (mostly this is from private schools, despite what I said above) is, as has been mentioned before, that there's a lot of preparation work done by the school to give their students the best chance possible, as well as getting some of the highest grades. If you're a good student but you've gone to a bad school, universities have what's known as 'contextual flags' which indicate that you may not have performed as well as you should've done - and the admissions tutor will take this into account. Don't be put off; if you have the ability you should definitely apply!
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Mike_123
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They are have the same intelligence as state school pupils, but instead they are nurtured to become successful
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Lauralaughsalot)
Private schools vs state schools. I am currently in a state school and someone I know is in his first year at Oxford. He told us that the majority of students are from private school backgrounds. Is this because those from private schools are generally more intelligent? Or is it because they have some sort of closer link to the top unis? :confused:
Your friend is technically wrong, as the statistics given above proves. There is no favouritism when it comes to private schools. It's just a lot of them are selective from the start and has been said, they are better prepared for the interviews (though interviewers can tell the difference between someone who is bright and has a lot to say, and a trained monkey who is just repeating verbatim prepared answers).

Please do apply - there are plenty of students like yourself at Oxford. If they favoured those from private schools, people like me would never have got in! :nah:
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lifelonged
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The answer is complicated, but it is evident that independent schools have are disproportionately represented in top-tier Universities (Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL ....) and in RG generally. Approximately 7% of people have been educated at an independent school, but at Oxbridge they usually account for over 50% of entrants (obviously this fluctuates). I doubt that this can be explained away by the hypothesis that independently education students are more intelligent or more capable (and many studies support this e.g. anecdotally state school pupils tend to attain higher degree classifications at Oxbridge).

In my experience (over 20 years ago) the system was stacked in favour of independent school pupils. I would say that, in my subject of mathematics, to get a Cambridge offer a state school pupil has to be a great deal better than an independent pupil. This may have changed in recent times, but this was the case in the early 1990s. The reasons for this are:

i) Independent schools give real confidence to pupils. You are encouraged to really push yourself and not be afraid to say, "I'm applying to ...." In my school if you were asked where you were applying, you would be afraid to say Oxford/Cambridge, in case you were laughed at (this is despite having 2 O'levels at age 12 and 11 A grade GCSEs at age 16 - we didn't have, or need A* grades then).

ii) Independent schools have access to more past students at Oxbridge and more teachers who attended an Oxbridge College. I remember a friend who transferred from my comp to a private school and his maths teacher phoned up a few mates to find out what sort of offer he could get, which Cambridge college may give him the best offer, and if he could have a practice interview with someone (he got rejected at interview). I applied to a college on the basis that any naive 17 year old boy would, which one had the best looking women at the open day, the best sports facilities, and offered the best financial support (I was worried about being able to afford the whole thing). I didn't pick the best college for me, but I did get an offer (unlike some of the local independent school children).

iii) Independent schools have a tried and tested route for Oxbridge preparation. They'll line up summer schools, maths/physics Olympiads, visits to outside lectures (I am always surprised at home many independent school pupils turn up to public lecturers at the LSE - suited, booted, and with teacher in-tow making sure that they don't ask too many stupid questions). They have special classes for entrance exams, STEP etc. I'd never heard of STEP (until I finally managed to get a prospectus) and the only prep that I had was old exam papers.

iv) At interview independent school pupils are helped with preparation and have had lots of targeted practice. The interviews are stressful. I went on my own on the bus. I was surprised that I was the only one on my own. Everyone else came by car, had a parent, and a tutor/teacher. The girl in front of me came out of the first interview crying and ran into her mothers arms. I heard someone call out next, and I walked in on my own....

Having said all that things have changed. The Internet has levelled things a bit. I would have killed for the TSR STEP postings, but the Internet was just being invented back then. There is little point getting annoyed about Independent schools, privilege will always exist. If you're at a state school then you have to be able, get off your butt and do things for yourself. You need to be capable and have good grades at GCSE (or whatever you do). Pick a subject that you love, immerse yourself in it and don't be afraid to put it out there that you want to apply to ..... You probably will have to be better than the independent candidate. These days, colleges do make some allowance for state schools who don't have access to STEP (or other entrance exams) tuition, but not that much. You'll still have to prove that you're capable of completing and benefiting from a top tier university. Learn from the public schools, get out to subject lectures, Olympiads, read journals, make sacrifices.

Top quality education should be available to all who have the capability to benefit from it, not just those with the money to 'skew' things a bit. The only way this will change is for the very capable to keep on keeping on.
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SoftPunch
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I wouldn't say so judging from personal experience - I go to private school and almost everyone who applied to Oxbridge, got rejected :rofl: I shouldn't be laughing, but it happens every year.
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Jamerson
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(Original post by Architecture-er)
Students from private schools get the support and preparation that they need, students from comprehensives (like myself) have to make do with our parents trying to make us revise "so why do you want to study at cambridge" questions that they, obviously, never ask
That was the first question my interviewer asked me
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Jamerson
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Your friend is technically wrong, as the statistics given above proves. There is no favouritism when it comes to private schools. It's just a lot of them are selective from the start and has been said, they are better prepared for the interviews (though interviewers can tell the difference between someone who is bright and has a lot to say, and a trained monkey who is just repeating verbatim prepared answers).

Please do apply - there are plenty of students like yourself at Oxford. If they favoured those from private schools, people like me would never have got in! :nah:

^ this.

And also, private school kids are often cut less slack by Oxbridge admissions officers, as they'll be expected to have no excuses for any poor grades
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CRW1996
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(Original post by SoftPunch)
I wouldn't say so judging from personal experience - I go to private school and almost everyone who applied to Oxbridge, got rejected :rofl: I shouldn't be laughing, but it happens every year.
Are you implying that Oxbridge rejected you because of the school you go to?
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SoftPunch
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(Original post by CRW1996)
Are you implying that Oxbridge rejected you because of the school you go to?
I was talking about people in my school who apply to Oxbridge; thus I said 'every year' - coincidence that 80% of those who apply get rejected?!
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cambio wechsel
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(Original post by lifelonged)
The answer is complicated, but it is evident that independent schools have are disproportionately represented in top-tier Universities (Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL ....) and in RG generally. Approximately 7% of people have been educated at an independent school, but at Oxbridge they usually account for over 50% of entrants (obviously this fluctuates).
That 7% figure is a red-herring. 7% of British schoolchildren are in private education, yes. But the only ones that matter in this context is 17/18 year olds, and 21% of the 17/18 year olds still at school full-time are in the independent sector.

The fact is that the top universities accept students from school-type in roughly the proportions they apply. Oxford receives 40% of its applications from the private sector and takes 40% of its students from there.

Something that complicates the figures somewhat is acceptance rates by subject. The state school kids cut each other's throats in all applying for the same subjects (the state curriculum subjects and Law) while the private schoolers mop up unchallenged in Art History, Egyptology, Classics, and what have you.
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lucas13
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most are more intelligent as you have to take an entrance exam, universities favour state school pupils as they are trying to increase state school numbers.
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It's almost completely fair considering that state school kids have lower offers normally. Private schools are normally selective and therefore have more able students which apply to Oxbridge. If anything the most advantage group would be someone who goes to a really bad state school but has a vast network of tutors and contacts.
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