Yuu
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I have an unconditional open offer for Law with Law Studies in Europe.

While I understand how the open offer scheme works, there is very little information as to why I was made an open offer instead of the usual one.

Could it be because the college tutors thought that I was good enough for the university, but there were stronger candidates?

Or could the quota for this course of study, which if I correctly understand is rather rare, have been filled out and consequently they had to make me an open offer?

I welcome all speculation on the subject, even if you are not acquainted with the admissions process.

Thanks.
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Lucilou101
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As far as I'm aware it's normally because you were good enough for a place but the college didn't have enough spaces to take you as well as the other candidates


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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Yuu)
I have an unconditional open offer for Law with Law Studies in Europe.

While I understand how the open offer scheme works, there is very little information as to why I was made an open offer instead of the usual one.

Could it be because the college tutors thought that I was good enough for the university, but there were stronger candidates?

Or could the quota for this course of study, which if I correctly understand is rather rare, have been filled out and consequently they had to make me an open offer?

I welcome all speculation on the subject, even if you are not acquainted with the admissions process.

Thanks.
Your application is judged by the college alongside law candidates so for the purposes of whether you get in at all you are treated as part of the same cohort. Only once it is decided how many putative law/language, law/LSE students have got in, does the university decide which of these actually get to fill the quotas for the various four year courses. That leads to the random result that a particular college may end up in any particular year with many or none of the best law candidates to which it will make an offer on the law with a language or law/LSE courses.

The problem for the colleges, which are small institutions, is that this introduces a random element into the funding of the college three years down the line. In 2016, the 4 year law/language, law/LSE students are going to clear off for a year, but the law tutors at the college will still expect to be paid the same salary. Sometimes the colleges do not mind, if there is a planned sabbatical coming up or an academic is retiring. It reduces the need to find cover. However, for the most part, the colleges want to try and keep the variation in numbers from year to year within reasonable bounds.

You are likely to have been given an open offer, because you are just one student too many vanishing from the 2014/7 year group and then re-appearing to join the 2015/8 year group in 2018.

It is never quite clear whether open offers are given to the weakest members of the cohort or to ones who are perceived to be marketable. If no-one takes you up on the open offer, the college which underwrites the offer (usually but not invariably the college you chose/were assigned) must take you. I think they get first dibs anyway. Obviously, if it reaches that stage, they have already had two chances (your original application and first pick of you as an open offer candidate) to take you and turned them down. They are ultimately taking you because no-one else wants you.

Tactically, it may be better for a college to underwrite an open offer for a candidate likely to be picked up elsewhere, because, as I say, I think the college gets both first and last (compulsory) picks. The college is less likely to be called upon to exercise that final default obligation for a candidate likely to make the First VIII or sing bass in the choir. If the college has a space, it gets first pick of you and if it doesn't, someone else is likely to take you. Whether colleges actually make their open offers of "marketable" candidates, I don't know.
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Glushko
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
The college is less likely to be called upon to exercise that final default obligation for a candidate likely to make the First VIII or sing bass in the choir.
I'm afraid that's not the case - non-academic criteria will not be taken into account when decisions regarding the placement of open offer-holders are made.
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Pars12
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I'm afraid that's not the case - non-academic criteria will not be taken into account when decisions regarding the placement of open offer-holders are made.
So, don't think of a white horse.
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astro67
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(Original post by Yuu)
I have an unconditional open offer for Law with Law Studies in Europe.

While I understand how the open offer scheme works, there is very little information as to why I was made an open offer instead of the usual one.

Could it be because the college tutors thought that I was good enough for the university, but there were stronger candidates?

Or could the quota for this course of study, which if I correctly understand is rather rare, have been filled out and consequently they had to make me an open offer?

I welcome all speculation on the subject, even if you are not acquainted with the admissions process.

Thanks.
As a general rule, open offer candidates are not the most borderline ones - for the scheme to work, the open offer candidates need to be acceptable to all the participating colleges so they need to be comfortably above the threshold for admission.
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Yuu
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
Your application is judged by the college alongside law candidates so for the purposes of whether you get in at all you are treated as part of the same cohort. Only once it is decided how many putative law/language, law/LSE students have got in, does the university decide which of these actually get to fill the quotas for the various four year courses. That leads to the random result that a particular college may end up in any particular year with many or none of the best law candidates to which it will make an offer on the law with a language or law/LSE courses.

The problem for the colleges, which are small institutions, is that this introduces a random element into the funding of the college three years down the line. In 2016, the 4 year law/language, law/LSE students are going to clear off for a year, but the law tutors at the college will still expect to be paid the same salary. Sometimes the colleges do not mind, if there is a planned sabbatical coming up or an academic is retiring. It reduces the need to find cover. However, for the most part, the colleges want to try and keep the variation in numbers from year to year within reasonable bounds.

You are likely to have been given an open offer, because you are just one student too many vanishing from the 2014/7 year group and then re-appearing to join the 2015/8 year group in 2018.

It is never quite clear whether open offers are given to the weakest members of the cohort or to ones who are perceived to be marketable. If no-one takes you up on the open offer, the college which underwrites the offer (usually but not invariably the college you chose/were assigned) must take you. I think they get first dibs anyway. Obviously, if it reaches that stage, they have already had two chances (your original application and first pick of you as an open offer candidate) to take you and turned them down. They are ultimately taking you because no-one else wants you.

Tactically, it may be better for a college to underwrite an open offer for a candidate likely to be picked up elsewhere, because, as I say, I think the college gets both first and last (compulsory) picks. The college is less likely to be called upon to exercise that final default obligation for a candidate likely to make the First VIII or sing bass in the choir. If the college has a space, it gets first pick of you and if it doesn't, someone else is likely to take you. Whether colleges actually make their open offers of "marketable" candidates, I don't know.
Thank you for the long and rather detailed reply.

So, am I correct when I say that this is what you said:

1. Decisions on who fills the quotas are made after the decisions to make offers for the Law LSE course.

2. There is a correlation between an open offer and the Law LSE course; admitting too many Law LSE applicants will result in a proportion becoming open offer holders.

3. Colleges might make open offers for people have extra-curricular talents or abilities (which I am certain does not apply to me), so that other colleges would take them in.


This sounds counter-intuitive. I was under the impression colleges loved jocks.

Incidentally, is there a way to find out where the underwriting college is?

Also, if it is doesn't bother you, could you perhaps furnish some of your sources?
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Yuu
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(Original post by astro67)
As a general rule, open offer candidates are not the most borderline ones - for the scheme to work, the open offer candidates need to be acceptable to all the participating colleges so they need to be comfortably above the threshold for admission.
Thank you.

That does seem rather civil. Somehow I thought that the colleges would leave their worst candidates i.e, good enough for Oxford, but not for the college, with open offers, so the unlucky college with a lot of missed offers would be obliged to take them in.

How does this decision process work?

Is there a consensus between the colleges that candidates given open offers must be somewhere in the middle of the cohort, neither borderline nor brilliant (I am quite certain, the best candidates will be snapped up at the first chance)?

What would then happen, since the participating colleges are obliged to take in all open offer holders, if some applicants are deemed unacceptable?
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Yuu
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(Original post by Glushko)
I'm afraid that's not the case - non-academic criteria will not be taken into account when decisions regarding the placement of open offer-holders are made.
Thank you.

What might be the likely criteria when deciding the placement of open offer holders besides the official process which is already published?
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Pars12
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(Original post by Yuu)
Thank you.

That does seem rather civil. Somehow I thought that the colleges would leave their worst candidates i.e, good enough for Oxford, but not for the college, with open offers, so the unlucky college with a lot of missed offers would be obliged to take them in.

How does this decision process work?

Is there a consensus between the colleges that candidates given open offers must be somewhere in the middle of the cohort, neither borderline nor brilliant (I am quite certain, the best candidates will be snapped up at the first chance)?

What would then happen, since the participating colleges are obliged to take in all open offer holders, if some applicants are deemed unacceptable?

Do you think it likely that any open candidates will be "unacceptable"?


I think it is more likely that all open candidates and a considerable number of rejected candidates are perfectly acceptable but there is simply a limit to the number of spaces being offered.


In my day they used to hand out subject scholarships to the "best" candidates. I don't think they do this anymore for first years. The prelim results were too embarrassing.
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Yuu
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(Original post by Pars12)
Do you think it likely that any open candidates will be "unacceptable"?


I think it is more likely that all open candidates and a considerable number of rejected candidates are perfectly acceptable but there is simply a limit to the number of spaces being offered.


In my day they used to hand out subject scholarships to the "best" candidates. I don't think they do this anymore for first years. The prelim results were too embarrassing.
By "unacceptable", I was simply responding to astro67's suggestion that some applicants might not be "acceptable to all the participating colleges". I do not think that anyone with a chance of getting into Oxford is "unacceptable" in society, even if they are rejected. I was rejected twice myself.

While it does seem unnecessary to think about it, now that I am guaranteed a place at the university, I believe it would not be an entirely futile exercise to find out if the tutors found me to be a strong applicant.

If not, I would like to know why, especially in light of my previous rejections.

Also, by "prelim", may I know what you are referring to?

Thanks.
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Lucilou101
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(Original post by Yuu)
By "unacceptable", I was simply responding to astro67's suggestion that some applicants might not be "acceptable to all the participating colleges". I do not think that anyone with a chance of getting into Oxford is "unacceptable" in society, even if they are rejected. I was rejected twice myself.

While it does seem unnecessary to think about it, now that I am guaranteed a place at the university, I believe it would not be an entirely futile exercise to find out if the tutors found me to be a strong applicant.

If not, I would like to know why, especially in light of my previous rejections.

Also, by "prelim", may I know what you are referring to?

Thanks.
If you want to, you can ask for feedback on your application. This might give you the insight into your open offer that you're looking for.

At the end of the day, you were good enough to get an offer. There are quite a few options as to why you were given an open offer, but it most definitely does not suggest that you are not good enough for Oxford and nobody given one is an 'unacceptable' candidate.


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astro67
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(Original post by Yuu)
Thank you.

That does seem rather civil. Somehow I thought that the colleges would leave their worst candidates i.e, good enough for Oxford, but not for the college, with open offers, so the unlucky college with a lot of missed offers would be obliged to take them in.

How does this decision process work?

Is there a consensus between the colleges that candidates given open offers must be somewhere in the middle of the cohort, neither borderline nor brilliant (I am quite certain, the best candidates will be snapped up at the first chance)?

What would then happen, since the participating colleges are obliged to take in all open offer holders, if some applicants are deemed unacceptable?
Whilst it is tempting for an individual College that is due to underwrite the open offer (i.e. the College they are admitted by as an extra candidate if there are no failures within the shared offer scheme) to designate their lowest performing candidate for the open offer, this is a coordinated decision between Colleges participating in the scheme and not the decision of that College alone. Every participating College has to be happy with the choice and that can only be the case for candidates who are not near the overall threshold for admission. It's not that some Colleges have higher standards than others - it's just that there will always be some difference of opinion between selectors about the detailed ranking of borderline candidates. That doesn't affect who gets a place at the university near the threshold for admission so much as which colleges they get their offers from but it does mean that open offer candidates have to be comfortably above the threshold. You're right that Colleges aren't so public spirited that they will make an open offer to their very best candidates.
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mishieru07
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(Original post by astro67)
Whilst it is tempting for an individual College that is due to underwrite the open offer (i.e. the College they are admitted by as an extra candidate if there are no failures within the shared offer scheme) to designate their lowest performing candidate for the open offer, this is a coordinated decision between Colleges participating in the scheme and not the decision of that College alone. Every participating College has to be happy with the choice and that can only be the case for candidates who are not near the overall threshold for admission. It's not that some Colleges have higher standards than others - it's just that there will always be some difference of opinion between selectors about the detailed ranking of borderline candidates. That doesn't affect who gets a place at the university near the threshold for admission so much as which colleges they get their offers from but it does mean that open offer candidates have to be comfortably above the threshold. You're right that Colleges aren't so public spirited that they will make an open offer to their very best candidates.
Do you have any sources to back up your hypothesis? It's an interesting one, and I'll admit that my initial views on the Open Offer scheme was similar to Yuu's (ie it's the borderline candidates). Maybe I'm just being too cynical about how charitable tutors can be (because I cannot imagine tutors giving up their 6th/7th top ranked candidate out of a cohort of 9 or 10). Ahh well.

In any case, OP, I really wouldn't worry too much about being an Open Offeree (even if it means that you were on the borderline). You got an offer, and once you're here, it really doesn't matter. I don't think there's much correlation between how "borderline" someone is and how they perform academically.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Yuu)
Thank you for the long and rather detailed reply.

So, am I correct when I say that this is what you said:

1. Decisions on who fills the quotas are made after the decisions to make offers for the Law LSE course.


It is a three stage process:

1 Candidates for law/LSE are judged against candidates for law o decide who is admitted to read for some form of legal course. Whilst the initial decisions are college decisions, these are now moderated at university level to ensure consistency across the university. Obviously the candidates needing to be considered are the borderline "in" and "out" candidates.

2 Within the cohort of law/LSE applicants, a decision is made as to which of them is admitted for law/LSE and which for law (as there is a surfeit of law/LSE applicants the possibility of all the law/LSE places not being filled doesn't arise). This is a university decision. No college has a separate quota for law/LSE

3 The colleges decide to whom to make a standard offer and to whom to make an open offer.

2. There is a correlation between an open offer and the Law LSE course; admitting too many Law LSE applicants will result in a proportion becoming open offer holders.
Only at a college level. There is no surplus of law/LSE candidates at a university level. The university makes the "right" number of law/LSE (including law and a language) offers and at university level there are separate quotas for each language/destination. However because colleges have no separate quota for law/LSE distinct from that of law there is a random element in where the law/LSE students end up.

Law and law/LSE are unique or virtually unique in Oxford regarding subjects linked in a college quota in that the courses are of different length. It really doesn't matter very much whether a college ends up with a lots of maths and philosophy students rather than maths students provided the overall quota of philosophers across all the combined subjects which include philosophy is not exceeded. It is that potential disruption to course numbers (not only the loss of students for a year but the surplus the following year) which means that colleges (particularly the small law colleges) don't want too many law/LSE students.

3. Colleges might make open offers for people have extra-curricular talents or abilities (which I am certain does not apply to me), so that other colleges would take them in.

This sounds counter-intuitive. I was under the impression colleges loved jocks.
Any selection of candidates for admission on non-academic grounds is long in the ancient past.

I said in my previous posting that I thought there was alack of clarity about how persons were chosen for open offers. They long post-date my time in Oxford. I speculated about this and astro67 has confirmed much of my speculation (but didn't comment on my non-academic point). A new poster, of whose background I know nothing, has flatly denied it.

The point about open offers is that acceptance decisions are not usually a matter simply for the subject tutors. The aggregate college quotas for each subject exceed the quota for the entire college. In other words the college cannot fill every place it theoretically has for every subject in any given year. Before there were open offers most colleges worked on a system that the internal quotas under the control of the subject tutors (particular for the larger subject groups in a college) were lower than the external quotas set by the university. The last few places were then reserved to an academic committee or the senior tutor or the head of the college and could go the subjects with particularly strong cohorts that year.

Open offers have rather taken the place of this. The basic idea is that open offer candidates are there to replace people who miss their grades or otherwise don't show up, but it is a lot more complicated than this because people fall ill and have to re-start the course, people change subject and various people (such as the organ scholar and any Rhodes scholars reading for a second BA) are supernumerary for some purposes. Of course the college may be called upon to honour open offer guarantees in other subjects. Yet the college might still be trying to hit an intake of 107. Accordingly, the final say is normally one for the college centrally and whilst the law dons may have decided their order of preference for which of the open offer lawyers they want (because some other college might have first pick on this college's first choice candidate), the college may be taking 4 open offer candidates but have 6 subjects wanting one. It is that last point where I was speculating that non-academic factors may end up playing a part because asking whether candidate A is a better lawyer than candidate B is a chemist, is a rather futile exercise.

Incidentally, is there a way to find out where the underwriting college is?
The college that sent the offer.
Also, if it is doesn't bother you, could you perhaps furnish some of your sources?
Although of the information is on the Oxford website http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/undergraduat...aqscourse2.php regarding the university rather than the college making the law/LSE decisions, much of this is anecdotal over many years which does mean some of it may have changed. I try and revise where credible information is provided by others.
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Yuu
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
It is a three stage process:

1 Candidates for law/LSE are judged against candidates for law o decide who is admitted to read for some form of legal course. Whilst the initial decisions are college decisions, these are now moderated at university level to ensure consistency across the university. Obviously the candidates needing to be considered are the borderline "in" and "out" candidates.

2 Within the cohort of law/LSE applicants, a decision is made as to which of them is admitted for law/LSE and which for law (as there is a surfeit of law/LSE applicants the possibility of all the law/LSE places not being filled doesn't arise). This is a university decision. No college has a separate quota for law/LSE

3 The colleges decide to whom to make a standard offer and to whom to make an open offer.



Only at a college level. There is no surplus of law/LSE candidates at a university level. The university makes the "right" number of law/LSE (including law and a language) offers and at university level there are separate quotas for each language/destination. However because colleges have no separate quota for law/LSE distinct from that of law there is a random element in where the law/LSE students end up.

Law and law/LSE are unique or virtually unique in Oxford regarding subjects linked in a college quota in that the courses are of different length. It really doesn't matter very much whether a college ends up with a lots of maths and philosophy students rather than maths students provided the overall quota of philosophers across all the combined subjects which include philosophy is not exceeded. It is that potential disruption to course numbers (not only the loss of students for a year but the surplus the following year) which means that colleges (particularly the small law colleges) don't want too many law/LSE students.



Any selection of candidates for admission on non-academic grounds is long in the ancient past.

I said in my previous posting that I thought there was alack of clarity about how persons were chosen for open offers. They long post-date my time in Oxford. I speculated about this and astro67 has confirmed much of my speculation (but didn't comment on my non-academic point). A new poster, of whose background I know nothing, has flatly denied it.

The point about open offers is that acceptance decisions are not usually a matter simply for the subject tutors. The aggregate college quotas for each subject exceed the quota for the entire college. In other words the college cannot fill every place it theoretically has for every subject in any given year. Before there were open offers most colleges worked on a system that the internal quotas under the control of the subject tutors (particular for the larger subject groups in a college) were lower than the external quotas set by the university. The last few places were then reserved to an academic committee or the senior tutor or the head of the college and could go the subjects with particularly strong cohorts that year.

Open offers have rather taken the place of this. The basic idea is that open offer candidates are there to replace people who miss their grades or otherwise don't show up, but it is a lot more complicated than this because people fall ill and have to re-start the course, people change subject and various people (such as the organ scholar and any Rhodes scholars reading for a second BA) are supernumerary for some purposes. Of course the college may be called upon to honour open offer guarantees in other subjects. Yet the college might still be trying to hit an intake of 107. Accordingly, the final say is normally one for the college centrally and whilst the law dons may have decided their order of preference for which of the open offer lawyers they want (because some other college might have first pick on this college's first choice candidate), the college may be taking 4 open offer candidates but have 6 subjects wanting one. It is that last point where I was speculating that non-academic factors may end up playing a part because asking whether candidate A is a better lawyer than candidate B is a chemist, is a rather futile exercise.



The college that sent the offer.


Although of the information is on the Oxford website http://www.law.ox.ac.uk/undergraduat...aqscourse2.php regarding the university rather than the college making the law/LSE decisions, much of this is anecdotal over many years which does mean some of it may have changed. I try and revise where credible information is provided by others.
Thank you, that is a lot to digest, and very enlightening indeed.

One point was particularly intriguing.

Because of the staffing requirement of the colleges, they try to ensure that the college has a consistent number of students every year.

Is it hence likely, that due to this disruption that Law LSE students will cause when they leave for the year abroad, the colleges, and especially the small ones that you mentioned (incidentally my underwriting college is not small), would be averse to taking in Law LSE students?

They might perhaps give Law LSE students open offers, in a bid to lose them so another college has to shoulder the organisational and financial burden associated with Law LSE?
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Yuu
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(Original post by mishieru07)
Do you have any sources to back up your hypothesis? It's an interesting one, and I'll admit that my initial views on the Open Offer scheme was similar to Yuu's (ie it's the borderline candidates). Maybe I'm just being too cynical about how charitable tutors can be (because I cannot imagine tutors giving up their 6th/7th top ranked candidate out of a cohort of 9 or 10). Ahh well.

In any case, OP, I really wouldn't worry too much about being an Open Offeree (even if it means that you were on the borderline). You got an offer, and once you're here, it really doesn't matter. I don't think there's much correlation between how "borderline" someone is and how they perform academically.
Thanks.

The last part of your reply is rather puzzling, perhaps you could cast some light on the issue.

If there is no correlation between how "borderline" an applicant is initially and his/her performance later, what do colleges use to determine if someone is "borderline".

Typically, isn't a strong applicant someone whom the tutors predict would thrive and do well academically in the future.

So is it the case that the tutors (1) are terrible judges of an applicant's potential,or they are (2) simply going loyally according to their personal likes and dislikes?

I probably read too much into it. This is unlikely to have any bearing on what or how I do in school, where I eventually end up with, but I still am interested to know how I fared.
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(Original post by Lucilou101)
If you want to, you can ask for feedback on your application. This might give you the insight into your open offer that you're looking for.

At the end of the day, you were good enough to get an offer. There are quite a few options as to why you were given an open offer, but it most definitely does not suggest that you are not good enough for Oxford and nobody given one is an 'unacceptable' candidate.


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Thanks. I would definitely ask for feedback.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Yuu)

Is it hence likely, that due to this disruption that Law LSE students will cause when they leave for the year abroad, the colleges, and especially the small ones that you mentioned (incidentally my underwriting college is not small), would be averse to taking in Law LSE students?

They might perhaps give Law LSE students open offers, in a bid to lose them so another college has to shoulder the organisational and financial burden associated with Law LSE?
No I don't.

There are many moving parts in the admissions process and this is just one of them. There would however come a point where random variation was seen to be too extreme to be acceptable. Any college which claimed to take a subject but then actually avoided doing so would come under severe criticism. Regents Park doesn't take Law/LSE because with a cohort of 2, even taking a single law/LSE student would be introducing too much uncertainty.
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astro67
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(Original post by Yuu)
Thank you, that is a lot to digest, and very enlightening indeed.

One point was particularly intriguing.

Because of the staffing requirement of the colleges, they try to ensure that the college has a consistent number of students every year.

Is it hence likely, that due to this disruption that Law LSE students will cause when they leave for the year abroad, the colleges, and especially the small ones that you mentioned (incidentally my underwriting college is not small), would be averse to taking in Law LSE students?

They might perhaps give Law LSE students open offers, in a bid to lose them so another college has to shoulder the organisational and financial burden associated with Law LSE?
Actually, for every LSE student that goes abroad, the College has to accommodate an incoming diploma in legal studies student from Europe, so it's simply a matter of the course being a year longer. It isn't hard to plan for this, especially with three years' notice, so I don't expect many or any Colleges would be reluctant to admit LSE applicants.
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