My teacher's psycho rant about how bad Oxford is . . .

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Sandtrooper
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So I was chatting about A-Levels with one of my teachers and he asked me if I knew where I wanted to go to university. I said no, but when I was little I always wanted to go to Oxford.

Then it got very dramatic.

"The university I went to no longer exists."

"What does that mean? You went to Oxford?"

"Yes. It means that you will be treated like a child and forced to work like an adult. It's competitive getting in, and competitive while you're there. You won't have time to do anything except for writing essays upon essays etc and you won't have a life."

"Oh."

"The problem with private schools like these is that parents think that sending their children there guarantees them a place at Oxbridge, and they don't know the pressure they put their children under. They think they would be expelled if they can't keep up with the work."

"I'm glad I went to a state primary school."

"Yes. There are good courses in many universities, like Sussex or Exeter or Birmingham, but parents would never send their children to somewhere like Birmimgham."

So it went on like that and I just stood there sipping my carton of orange juice and thinking that he could be right. Is Oxford really like this? He went to Westminster and Oxford and he hated Westminster and says that he never wants to talk about it and it was the worst thing that ever happened to him. Is this the view of a lot of people? Because most people I know say Oxford is great and stuff. I knew you had to work hard but I didn't realise it was that bad . . .

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sufferin succotash
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I know people who went to Oxford and all I see is them having a great time on fb haha, seems like there are plenty of social etc, so i say there's no harm in trying to get in. And if you get an offer I'd advise on taking it.

But really it's about finding the right course that suits you. If Oxford has that go for it, if it doesn't you may not enjoy it as much as you would a course that does.


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russellsteapot
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I think anyone can pick the bad parts out of any university, and every university will contain a quantity of people who do not enjoy it.

This can be said for Oxford as much as for anywhere else, the only difference being the pedestal on which Oxford is placed, and the expectation of rich parents that their kids will go there after some expensive private school. Your teacher probably dislikes the atmosphere of Oxford (quite possible - I imagine a lot of people would) and is elaborating based on not liking it. I could do the same for Harvard, Leeds Met, Newcastle or Daegu (had I been to them, or visited). Wouldn't mean they were bad, just not suited to the storyteller's tastes.
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Noble.
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"Treated like a child and forced to work like an adult" - What on earth is your teacher on about? :rofl:
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redferry
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(Original post by Edminzodo)
So I was chatting about A-Levels with one of my teachers and he asked me if I knew where I wanted to go to university. I said no, but when I was little I always wanted to go to Oxford.

Then it got very dramatic.

"The university I went to no longer exists."

"What does that mean? You went to Oxford?"

"Yes. It means that you will be treated like a child and forced to work like an adult. It's competitive getting in, and competitive while you're there. You won't have time to do anything except for writing essays upon essays etc and you won't have a life."

"Oh."

"The problem with private schools like these is that parents think that sending their children there guarantees them a place at Oxbridge, and they don't know the pressure they put their children under. They think they would be expelled if they can't keep up with the work."

"I'm glad I went to a state primary school."

"Yes. There are good courses in many universities, like Sussex or Exeter or Birmingham, but parents would never send their children to somewhere like Birmimgham."

So it went on like that and I just stood there sipping my carton of orange juice and thinking that he could be right. Is Oxford really like this? He went to Westminster and Oxford and he hated Westminster and says that he never wants to talk about it and it was the worst thing that ever happened to him. Is this the view of a lot of people? Because most people I know say Oxford is great and stuff. I knew you had to work hard but I didn't realise it was that bad . . .

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I think your teachers view seems to be along the lines of private school kids often struggle at top units because of all the extra help they get while at school.

From what I have seen this is true to a certain extent, a number of ex private school kids were left floundering, unable to motivate themselves to workwork or just not really intelligent enough to be there. And that was just at Bristol. I imagine the problem is even bigger at Oxford.

Inb4 people state attacking me for saying private school kids shouldn't be at Oxford you get a MAJOR helping hand with both grades and the application process, this is why state schoolers often do better once there, because they have to be exceptionally proactive, self motivated and hard working in comparison.
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Noble.
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(Original post by redferry)
I think your teachers view seems to be along the lines of private school kids often struggle at top units because of all the extra help they get while at school.

From what I have seen this is true to a certain extent, a number of ex private school kids were left floundering, unable to motivate themselves to workwork or just not really intelligent enough to be there. And that was just at Bristol. I imagine the problem is even bigger at Oxford.

Inb4 people state attacking me for saying private school kids shouldn't be at Oxford you get a MAJOR helping hand with both grades and the application process, this is why state schoolers often do better once there, because they have to be exceptionally proactive, self motivated and hard working in comparison.
Obviously there are a lot of equally brilliant private school pupils, the kind of people who would've done exceptionally at state school - but went to private school instead. However, what you're saying isn't really wrong, it's been known for a while that state students tend to outperform private school students at top universities.
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redferry
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(Original post by Noble.)
Obviously there are a lot of equally brilliant private school pupils, the kind of people who would've done exceptionally at state school - but went to private school instead. However, what you're saying isn't really wrong, it's been known for a while that state students tend to outperform private school students at top universities.
I know it isn't wrong, it is just a VERY unpopular opinion among private schoolers who don't like the insinuation that they had to work less hard that state schoolers to get into uni. Even though they clearly did.

To get into Oxbridge for maths from most state schools you basically have to teach yourself maths A level early as they run maths and further maths alongside each other instead of doing maths 1st year and further maths 2nd. So you haven't covered all the interview material, if you even get an interview as there is often very little support with the application process and STEP.
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moutonfou
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I went to a grammar where it wasn't uncommon for a number of the brightest to get 6/7 A's at A Level (I was before A*'s came in), full UMS, top 5 marks in the country for some of their subjects, etc. Naturally they then went off to Oxbridge. Where they discovered that everybody there was a high-achiever, they no longer stood out, and they had to work flat-out for three years just to come out with a 2:1. Whereas others went to a good non-Oxbridge university (Russell/1994) and had to do about half the work to come out with a first. If you want to go to Oxbridge for genuine reasons, such as that the course looks really interesting, you've visited and loved the city/campus etc., then do it. But if you're going just because it's the best and it's your instinct to go to the best uni you can get into, consider whether the small boost that having gone to Oxbridge will give your career is worth the amount of work you will have to do and the risk that you will get a 2:1 when you are capable of a first at another very reputable uni such as Durham or St Andrews. Visit a range of universities - including Oxford - with an open mind and genuinely weigh up the pros and cons of each for you (not for others around you).
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honeyandlemon
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My best friend went to Oxford. She really liked the first two years but by third year she wanted to leave and was sick of it. Said she thought it was overrated and was so sick of the majority of the arrogant and stuck up students.

She never commented much on the pressure though - I think she does OK under stress.

She's middle class and went to a state grammar school (we have the 11+ in our area).
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Noble.
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(Original post by redferry)
I know it isn't wrong, it is just a VERY unpopular opinion among private schoolers who don't like the insinuation that they had to work less hard that state schoolers to get into uni. Even though they clearly did.

To get into Oxbridge for maths from most state schools you basically have to teach yourself maths A level early as they run maths and further maths alongside each other instead of doing maths 1st year and further maths 2nd. So you haven't covered all the interview material, if you even get an interview as there is often very little support with the application process and STEP.
I know. Although it's one reason one of my tutors is particularly fond of the MAT, schools find it more difficult providing extra classes for those sitting the MAT so he believes it to be a bit more of a level playing field when it comes to assessing candidates.
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DarkWhite
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We did some research in Nottingham, and it turns out those from state school backgrounds were about 50% more likely to achieve a 1st than those from private schools, presumably because they've achieved comparable KS5 grades with fewer resources. Other reports have shown the same thing in other universities: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.u...008274.article

But to the original point on Oxford, it's like any other university in the sense that it's not right for everybody. The courses are typically more difficult or time-consuming, but it depends on the individual as to whether they'll find time for other activities, find people with shared interests, or even want to engage in extra-curricular activities.

From researching in Cambridge for a while previously, and having a few friends who to to Oxford and Cambridge, they seem to cope fine balancing their degree with other activities, but do recognise that they spend a lot more time studying than they'd expect or than their friends in other universities.

Your best bet, as with any university, would be to visit, speak to students there face-to-face so you can have a proper discourse, and chat to academic staff to get their perspectives
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Are you Shaw?
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(Original post by moutonfou)
I went to a grammar where it wasn't uncommon for a number of the brightest to get 6/7 A's at A Level (I was before A*'s came in), full UMS, top 5 marks in the country for some of their subjects, etc. Naturally they then went off to Oxbridge. Where they discovered that everybody there was a high-achiever, they no longer stood out, and they had to work flat-out for three years just to come out with a 2:1. Whereas others went to a good non-Oxbridge university (Russell/1994) and had to do about half the work to come out with a first. If you want to go to Oxbridge for genuine reasons, such as that the course looks really interesting, you've visited and loved the city/campus etc., then do it. But if you're going just because it's the best and it's your instinct to go to the best uni you can get into, consider whether the small boost that having gone to Oxbridge will give your career is worth the amount of work you will have to do and the risk that you will get a 2:1 when you are capable of a first at another very reputable uni such as Durham or St Andrews. Visit a range of universities - including Oxford - with an open mind and genuinely weigh up the pros and cons of each for you (not for others around you).
pardon my skepticism but this sounds like nonsense. They were in the top 5 and then couldn't compete with people who were getting lower than them at A-level?
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username91207
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I'm failing to see the "psycho" part of your teacher's rant.
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Noble.
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(Original post by Are you Shaw?)
pardon my skepticism but this sounds like nonsense. They were in the top 5 and then couldn't compete with people who were getting lower than them at A-level?
The problem is, A-Levels are largely useless at differentiating between candidates once they're in the 90%+ UMS range (this figure is arguably quite a bit lower for humanities based subjects where there's an element of subjectivity in the overall mark). Someone getting a 'Top 5' overall UMS even in the same subject they're taking onto undergrad doesn't necessarily mean they're going to be better at undergrad work, where it's an entirely different ball-game, and requiring very different skills to do well. Getting 95%+ UMS at A-Level is nearly entirely about remembering bookwork, remembering the bookwork doing a degree in a science-based subject will get you about 60%.
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Sandtrooper
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(Original post by snowyowl)
I'm failing to see the "psycho" part of your teacher's rant.
He getting really angry and almost shouting. And we were in the middle of the lunch hall at school.

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redferry
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(Original post by Are you Shaw?)
pardon my skepticism but this sounds like nonsense. They were in the top 5 and then couldn't compete with people who were getting lower than them at A-level?
Let's spell it out: grammar school kid, taught in small classes of around 15-20, pushed to get the best grades possible, outside tutoring if they do badly, lots of teacher support, the worst behaviour is someone once didnt do their homework

Comprehensive school kid: lots of bad behaviour in class, bullied for being clever, big classes of 30 +, a levels not structured as well, possibly crap teachers

Even if the kid from a comp does a bit worse, they had much more self motivation and worked harder. So when they get to uni they usually do better.
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(Original post by redferry)
Let's spell it out: grammar school kid, taught in small classes of around 15-20, pushed to get the best grades possible, outside tutoring if they do badly, lots of teacher support, the worst behaviour is someone once didnt do their homework

Comprehensive school kid: lots of bad behaviour in class, bullied for being clever, big classes of 30 +, a levels not structured as well, possibly crap teachers

Even if the kid from a comp does a bit worse, they had much more self motivation and worked harder. So when they get to uni they usually do better.
is this true or just speculation?
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IAmABaws
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State schoolers ftw! Private school kids have everything laid out on a plate for them, since they regard Oxbridge so highly. I like state schools because they appreciate that Oxbridge is not the be-all end-all of a good education.
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redferry
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(Original post by Are you Shaw?)
is this true or just speculation?
How can you deny that someone who has to do far more independent work, be far more self motivated and gets little support has to work harder than someone who gets a hand every step of the way? Having experienced both school types myself, in my experience yes, it is the truth.

Them doing better is not speculation, Google it, comp kids are more likely to get 1sts
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Are you Shaw?
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(Original post by redferry)
How can you deny that someone who has to do far more independent work, be far more self motivated and gets little support has to work harder than someone who gets a hand every step of the way? Having experienced both school types myself, in my experience yes, it is the truth.
are there any statistics on this?
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