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    Hi all,

    I hear that both Oxford and Cambridge are leaning towards state schools and international students this year and wanted to know if others had heard the same.

    The reason I'm posting it here is this: eighteen people from my (private) school applied to Oxbridge, most of us predicted at least 2 A*s at A Level with a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS. Among us are the Head Girl, Deputy Head Girls, Prefects, etc. and we usually get about 3 or 4 students into Oxbridge each year. The current Year 13 is especially strong, and we had many members of staff predicting we'd get in (note: these staff members are never wrong).

    Yet literally all of us have been rejected this week after the December interviews, except for one who has been pooled at Cambridge. Other people I know from private schools have had this same issue, and yet we know of people from state schools who have received offers - one of whom achieved ABCD at AS and wasn't considered to be the Oxbridge type at all.

    I know I may sound like I'm *****ing about not getting an offer (which, quite frankly, I don't really care about because, you know, life goes on), it's the reason why all of us were rejected that is the problem: is it true that Oxford and Cambridge are favouring state pupils to get away from the stereotype that they are snobbish, and international pupils because they pay three times the amount?

    It doesn't seem quite right that bright people are being turned away purely because they are from an independent school when Oxbridge usually try so hard to convince people that 'your educational background makes no difference at all', and why ideal pupils with straight A*s and great interview skills are being rejected when people with lower GCSE and AS grades are getting offers - it all appears to be quite political to me.

    Are there any other people on here whose schools seem to fit the above? I know that both Oxford and Cambridge favour Eton, I'd be interested to know how many people got offers there.

    Apologies if this sounds like a rant - I don't mean it like this at all. Congratulations to those who did manage to get in, though.

    What do you all think?
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    You're basing your observations on a very limited sample size, the only way we'll know for certain if there's been any kind of shift (which I doubt very much) in terms of the state/private divide is when the statistics are released. Most Oxbridge applicants are predicted at least 2A*s at A Level and have a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS, and Oxbridge do not care if you've got leadership positions in your school so both of these are more or less irrelevant. And the fact of the matter is that it's impossible to predict who will get into Oxbridge and who won't. Your staff might be good at guessing but they're (obviously) not 'never wrong'.

    There's more to the Oxbridge admissions process than above. Firstly, they're not just looking for the people who are the brightest on paper. It helps, but what they're really looking for is people who are very good at dealing with unfamiliar material, can think on their feet and would be able to learn well in the tutorial environment. It's very unusual for someone with ABCD at AS to get an offer (are you certain that's true and if it is, there's probably extenuating circumstances) but the fact is that high grades are not enough. Interview technique also definitely isn't enough; there was recently an article in the Guardian by an admissions tutor who said that all of the technique students from private school learn for interviews are completely transparent. The point I'm trying to make is that they're not just looking for the applicants who are best on paper. There are lots of other attributes they are looking for (including, to a certain extent, being the kind of pupil the tutor personally would like to work with over the next few years, it's not just about academic attributes) that could cause that discrepancy. And if you usually get 3 or 4 Oxbridge students per year then it's no surprise that occasionally you get anomalously low years. We normally send around 3 students to Oxford and this year we got 5 - anomalies happen.

    Oxbridge definitely do have a bias against Independent schools but even with that bias, privately educated students are still massively overrepresented at Oxbridge (there are more than six times the number of privately educated pupils in Oxford than there would be if the intake reflected the proportions of privately educated pupils in the country), so it definitely is not the case that you can't get into Oxbridge if you're privately educated. You're still much more likely to get in than the average state school pupil. These biases exist for a good reason, it's not "politics", it's a simple fact that Oxbridge are looking for potential rather than achievement. You get a much better education at private schools so they're going to help you to reach your full potential. As a result, it is quite possible that for two pupils - one state, one private - with the same grade set, the state educated pupil has a better academic potential because they've managed to achieve this grade set despite the barriers to their education. That's obviously massively simplified but it's a point that's generally fair. Critically, I think there's a misconception that Oxbridge have a bias against privately educated pupils in order to make their statistics look better. This is definitely not the case (at least, it's not the main reason). The main reason is that their data shows that having this bias ultimately improves the quality of their pupil intake.

    So in conclusion, Oxbridge have a bias against the Independent sector but I believe this bias is fair as it helps them get the candidates with the best potential rather than the best achievements. I'm very sorry that you didn't get in this year (and about the situation in your school in general) but blips happen. I go to a comprehensive school and this year, well over half of the pupils who applied to Oxford got in, much more than usual. What we need to see is the national trend rather than basing opinions on small data sets.
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    It's not particularly surprising that a school that usually gets 3-4 people into Oxbridge per year might get none in once in a while. Your assertions that Oxbridge are biased against private schools but towards Eton are... well, 'flimsy' would be a generous description.

    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    (there are more than six times the number of privately educated pupils in Oxford than there would be if the intake reflected the proportions of privately educated pupils in the country)
    This is not a helpful figure. The intake of private school students at Oxford is about six times higher than you'd expect looking at school students across the full age range (i.e. about 45% vs 7%). However, the relevant school figures to look at are A level students, and more specifically A level students achieving AAA or better. I don't know what that number is — I seem to remember seeing a figure of about 25% of AAA students being privately educated, although that number was 10 years old and it's surely gone down since then. And then, of course, you can make a good case that you should only be interested in the success rates for people who actually apply...

    Even after all that, private schools come off a bit better off but it's nowhere near the six times figure that is so often quoted. Another thing to point out is that many top private schools (Eton, Westminster, etc.) take on high-performing state schoolers for A levels on extremely generous scholarships — up to 100% — which somewhat inflates the private school admissions stats while masking where these pupils had their formative education. The reverse (top private schoolers moving to state sixth forms) is less common.
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Hi all,

    I hear that both Oxford and Cambridge are leaning towards state schools and international students this year and wanted to know if others had heard the same.

    The reason I'm posting it here is this: eighteen people from my (private) school applied to Oxbridge, most of us predicted at least 2 A*s at A Level with a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS. Among us are the Head Girl, Deputy Head Girls, Prefects, etc. and we usually get about 3 or 4 students into Oxbridge each year. The current Year 13 is especially strong, and we had many members of staff predicting we'd get in (note: these staff members are never wrong).

    Yet literally all of us have been rejected this week after the December interviews, except for one who has been pooled at Cambridge. Other people I know from private schools have had this same issue, and yet we know of people from state schools who have received offers - one of whom achieved ABCD at AS and wasn't considered to be the Oxbridge type at all.

    I know I may sound like I'm *****ing about not getting an offer (which, quite frankly, I don't really care about because, you know, life goes on), it's the reason why all of us were rejected that is the problem: is it true that Oxford and Cambridge are favouring state pupils to get away from the stereotype that they are snobbish, and international pupils because they pay three times the amount?

    It doesn't seem quite right that bright people are being turned away purely because they are from an independent school when Oxbridge usually try so hard to convince people that 'your educational background makes no difference at all', and why ideal pupils with straight A*s and great interview skills are being rejected when people with lower GCSE and AS grades are getting offers - it all appears to be quite political to me.

    Are there any other people on here whose schools seem to fit the above? I know that both Oxford and Cambridge favour Eton, I'd be interested to know how many people got offers there.

    Apologies if this sounds like a rant - I don't mean it like this at all. Congratulations to those who did manage to get in, though.

    What do you all think?
    3 or 4 students a year? That seems pretty low for a private school anyway, you probably were better off going to a state school. Unlucky mate.
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    Unless you were there on a scholarship, your parents have virtually blown away at least £10000.
    You will be going to uni with people who did not even spend a penny on their education and on top of that, did not really try that hard at school.

    How do you feel?
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    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    You're basing your observations on a very limited sample size, the only way we'll know for certain if there's been any kind of shift (which I doubt very much) in terms of the state/private divide is when the statistics are released. Most Oxbridge applicants are predicted at least 2A*s at A Level and have a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS, and Oxbridge do not care if you've got leadership positions in your school so both of these are more or less irrelevant. And the fact of the matter is that it's impossible to predict who will get into Oxbridge and who won't. Your staff might be good at guessing but they're (obviously) not 'never wrong'.

    There's more to the Oxbridge admissions process than above. Firstly, they're not just looking for the people who are the brightest on paper. It helps, but what they're really looking for is people who are very good at dealing with unfamiliar material, can think on their feet and would be able to learn well in the tutorial environment. [..] The point I'm trying to make is that they're not just looking for the applicants who are best on paper. [..] And if you usually get 3 or 4 Oxbridge students per year then it's no surprise that occasionally you get anomalously low years. We normally send around 3 students to Oxford and this year we got 5 - anomalies happen.
    I agree very much with this.

    For the average Oxford student, almost 80% of their GCSEs are A* grades.

    2A*s at A level means nothing. In 2013, the Oxford website shows that, of people who got A*A*A* at A level, only 44.6% got offers. For people who ended up getting 'only' A*A*A then the success rate was 30.3%. So being predicted A*A*A shouldn't lead you to think that someone will get an offer. At Cambridge in 2013, only 17% of freshers didn't have A*A*A.

    (It's worth mentioning that the same stats show 9.4% of Oxford freshers in 2013 had AAA and 24% had A*AA. So exceeding the standard offer grades isn't necessary, but still, the standard is high.)

    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Other people I know from private schools have had this same issue, and yet we know of people from state schools who have received offers - one of whom achieved ABCD at AS and wasn't considered to be the Oxbridge type at all.
    I know someone who has just got an offer with ABC at AS (their GCSEs were better). I imagine their passion for their course was clear, and they shone at interview. It's very easy to imagine other students, who are good on paper, going in and being far less impressive - less agile in their thought, and far less engaged with the subject they have applied for.

    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    is it true that Oxford and Cambridge are favouring state pupils to get away from the stereotype that they are snobbish, and international pupils because they pay three times the amount?
    This seems very unlikely. Remember that decisions about who to admit are made by the decentralised decisions of several hundred individuals (possibly even a thousand tutors are involved in total across Ox and Cam). Those tutors are far more concerned with getting the best students for themselves to teach than they are with much else. It makes no difference to them what fees their students pay. Similarly, though they may care about the reputation of the university, they also know that the few students they select won't impact much on the overall numbers. Again their concern will be much more with the particular students they are selecting for themselves to teach. They want the best.
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    Thanks for all your replies - I know I sound whiny, I promise you that's not the case. It's just that from what I hear, nobody from Harrow got in, either, and Eton (who apparently have a 90% success rate, though I'm not sure how true that is) got very few students in, as well as other schools. It just appears odd considering they are top schools known for getting people in and yet this year everyone has been unsuccessful - it seems like more than just a coincidence?
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Thanks for all your replies - I know I sound whiny, I promise you that's not the case. It's just that from what I hear, nobody from Harrow got in, either, and Eton (who apparently have a 90% success rate, though I'm not sure how true that is) got very few students in, as well as other schools. It just appears odd considering they are top schools known for getting people in and yet this year everyone has been unsuccessful - it seems like more than just a coincidence?
    It's more likely a reflection on the quality/calibre of applicants this year (remember your school's opinion of you all may not have been an Oxford or Cambridge don's opinion of you all) than anything more underhand on Oxbridge's part. Those two unis have been under immense pressure for YEARS to take more state school applicants and have refused to bow to that pressure. I doubt they had a change of heart overnight :nah:

    The competition is always extremely stiff and you all no doubt lost out to better applicants. 'Better' is not determined by grades or schooling alone, as has been mentioned above. Things like teachability come into it, sometimes more with some tutors than with others. And tbh if you came across in your interview the same way as how you do on this thread, that wouldn't have boded well with many tutors :nah:
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Thanks for all your replies - I know I sound whiny, I promise you that's not the case. It's just that from what I hear, nobody from Harrow got in, either, and Eton (who apparently have a 90% success rate, though I'm not sure how true that is) got very few students in, as well as other schools. It just appears odd considering they are top schools known for getting people in and yet this year everyone has been unsuccessful - it seems like more than just a coincidence?
    Where did you hear this?
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Thanks for all your replies - I know I sound whiny, I promise you that's not the case. It's just that from what I hear, nobody from Harrow got in, either, and Eton (who apparently have a 90% success rate, though I'm not sure how true that is) got very few students in, as well as other schools. It just appears odd considering they are top schools known for getting people in and yet this year everyone has been unsuccessful - it seems like more than just a coincidence?
    Are you sure that's true?
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    (Original post by House MD)
    Where did you hear this?
    (Original post by Chlorophile)
    Are you sure that's true?
    Others in my year know students from Harrow and Eton, and apparently that's what happened. *shrugs*
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Others in my year know students from Harrow and Eton, and apparently that's what happened. *shrugs*
    I'd wait for the official statistics before jumping on rumours.
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    Oh ofcourse they're biased against private schools....that would explain why St Paul's and Eton both got over 40 in this year..boohoo
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    We got 5 in from 11 interviews so don't think so.
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Hi all,

    I hear that both Oxford and Cambridge are leaning towards state schools and international students this year and wanted to know if others had heard the same.

    The reason I'm posting it here is this: eighteen people from my (private) school applied to Oxbridge, most of us predicted at least 2 A*s at A Level with a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS. Among us are the Head Girl, Deputy Head Girls, Prefects, etc. and we usually get about 3 or 4 students into Oxbridge each year. The current Year 13 is especially strong, and we had many members of staff predicting we'd get in (note: these staff members are never wrong).

    Yet literally all of us have been rejected this week after the December interviews, except for one who has been pooled at Cambridge. Other people I know from private schools have had this same issue, and yet we know of people from state schools who have received offers - one of whom achieved ABCD at AS and wasn't considered to be the Oxbridge type at all.

    I know I may sound like I'm *****ing about not getting an offer (which, quite frankly, I don't really care about because, you know, life goes on), it's the reason why all of us were rejected that is the problem: is it true that Oxford and Cambridge are favouring state pupils to get away from the stereotype that they are snobbish, and international pupils because they pay three times the amount?

    It doesn't seem quite right that bright people are being turned away purely because they are from an independent school when Oxbridge usually try so hard to convince people that 'your educational background makes no difference at all', and why ideal pupils with straight A*s and great interview skills are being rejected when people with lower GCSE and AS grades are getting offers - it all appears to be quite political to me.

    Are there any other people on here whose schools seem to fit the above? I know that both Oxford and Cambridge favour Eton, I'd be interested to know how many people got offers there.

    Apologies if this sounds like a rant - I don't mean it like this at all. Congratulations to those who did manage to get in, though.

    What do you all think?

    What a load of b****** I also go to a private school...... only 4 got in this year when we normally send 7-12 a year... things happen and we all deal with it. State schools are in effect underrepresented so although you unfortunately did not get an offer, do not jump to the conclusion that they're judging you based on your educational background. Oxbridge also don't care about head girls/boys.
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Others in my year know students from Harrow and Eton, and apparently that's what happened. *shrugs*
    I went to one of them. Agreed, I would probably wait!
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Hi all,

    I hear that both Oxford and Cambridge are leaning towards state schools and international students this year and wanted to know if others had heard the same.

    The reason I'm posting it here is this: eighteen people from my (private) school applied to Oxbridge, most of us predicted at least 2 A*s at A Level with a string of A*s at GCSE and As at AS. Among us are the Head Girl, Deputy Head Girls, Prefects, etc. and we usually get about 3 or 4 students into Oxbridge each year. The current Year 13 is especially strong, and we had many members of staff predicting we'd get in (note: these staff members are never wrong).

    Yet literally all of us have been rejected this week after the December interviews, except for one who has been pooled at Cambridge. Other people I know from private schools have had this same issue, and yet we know of people from state schools who have received offers - one of whom achieved ABCD at AS and wasn't considered to be the Oxbridge type at all.

    I know I may sound like I'm *****ing about not getting an offer (which, quite frankly, I don't really care about because, you know, life goes on), it's the reason why all of us were rejected that is the problem: is it true that Oxford and Cambridge are favouring state pupils to get away from the stereotype that they are snobbish, and international pupils because they pay three times the amount?

    It doesn't seem quite right that bright people are being turned away purely because they are from an independent school when Oxbridge usually try so hard to convince people that 'your educational background makes no difference at all', and why ideal pupils with straight A*s and great interview skills are being rejected when people with lower GCSE and AS grades are getting offers - it all appears to be quite political to me.

    Are there any other people on here whose schools seem to fit the above? I know that both Oxford and Cambridge favour Eton, I'd be interested to know how many people got offers there.

    Apologies if this sounds like a rant - I don't mean it like this at all. Congratulations to those who did manage to get in, though.

    What do you all think?

    Apologies for slating your comments. I just do not believe that there is any justification for your claims. May I also ask what you received for AS levels and gcse and what subject you applied for?
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    (Original post by House MD)
    I went to one of them. Agreed, I would probably wait!
    Hm, yeah, that's probably the best thing to do. ^^
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    (Original post by ZoZo1770)
    Thanks for all your replies - I know I sound whiny, I promise you that's not the case. It's just that from what I hear, nobody from Harrow got in, either, and Eton (who apparently have a 90% success rate, though I'm not sure how true that is) got very few students in, as well as other schools. It just appears odd considering they are top schools known for getting people in and yet this year everyone has been unsuccessful - it seems like more than just a coincidence?
    Eton has about a 1/3 Oxbridge success rate, comparable to other top private and state schools. Nowhere near 90%.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    Eton has about a 1/3 Oxbridge success rate, comparable to other top private and state schools. Nowhere near 90%.
    Well they had a 50% Offer rate in 2013 - 30 Offers from 62 Applicants.
    Westminster 57% 28 from 49
    Hills Road 42% 23 from 55 (State School)

    But yes, not 90%

    http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergrad...2013_cycle.pdf

    But this is an *ahem* academic discussion until this cycle's data is published...
 
 
 
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