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    My school went on a trip to Oxford university as part of an access programme for state schools. There were about a dozen of us with mostly A/A* (and A at AS for the year 13s) and they went to great lengths to show us how fair the system was and how the wanted 'us' (state school peeps).

    And yet, everyone I met was from a public school background and seemed overly chummy and posh. Not "well spoken"- properly upper class. That's really worried me about my chances, as it seems like private schools have the advantage despite what they say.

    Is this just a coincidence, or is it really as elitist as its portrayed to be??
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    *sigh*

    1. it does not matter if private schools have an advantage. You will find throughout life that someone somewhere has a perceived advantage over you for the same position. If you use this as an excuse and don't make an application, you are being stupid. Forget about it.

    2. It does not matter if you have seen a few people who are "upper class". At both Oxford and Cambridge there are a fair few rich people - but so what? There are also a lot of people from many different socio-economic backgrounds. Just think of the experience as widening your social horizons and stop worrying about being around people like yourself all the time.

    Ultimately, do you want to STUDY at Oxford - are the course and the facilities right for you? If they are, apply. If they aren't, don't. Don't worry about all this nonsense that people talk about. Most people do it because they are afraid of putting in an application.
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    (Original post by Awesome Genius)
    *sigh*

    1. it does not matter if private schools have an advantage. You will find throughout life that someone somewhere has a perceived advantage over you for the same position. If you use this as an excuse and don't make an application, you are being stupid. Forget about it.

    2. It does not matter if you have seen a few people who are "upper class". At both Oxford and Cambridge there are a fair few rich people - but so what? There are also a lot of people from many different socio-economic backgrounds. Just think of the experience as widening your social horizons and stop worrying about being around people like yourself all the time.

    Ultimately, do you want to STUDY at Oxford - are the course and the facilities right for you? If they are, apply. If they aren't, don't. Don't worry about all this nonsense that people talk about. Most people do it because they are afraid of putting in an application.
    Thanks for the response. I'm definately going to apply, because even if I don't get in the experience of the interview would be fun. I suppose it just made my a bit wary, but you're right in saying that I'll always be up against people like that.

    I just thought it was odd that in their campaign for access, they chose mainly upper class students.

    But yeah, the facilities were brilliant and everyone was very helpful.
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    The majority of Oxford British undergraduates are from state schools. The numbers don't lie.
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    Thanks for the response. I'm definately going to apply, because even if I don't get in the experience of the interview would be fun. I suppose it just made my a bit wary, but you're right in saying that I'll always be up against people like that.

    I just thought it was odd that in their campaign for access, they chose mainly upper class students.

    But yeah, the facilities were brilliant and everyone was very helpful.
    The students volunteer. Perhaps only those students did.
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    My school went on a trip to Oxford university as part of an access programme for state schools. There were about a dozen of us with mostly A/A* (and A at AS for the year 13s) and they went to great lengths to show us how fair the system was and how the wanted 'us' (state school peeps).

    And yet, everyone I met was from a public school background and seemed overly chummy and posh. Not "well spoken"- properly upper class. That's really worried me about my chances, as it seems like private schools have the advantage despite what they say.

    Is this just a coincidence, or is it really as elitist as its portrayed to be??
    I'm interested how you know they were "properly upper class". Did you ask them whether they went to a public school?

    A lot hinges around your definitions of terms like "well spoken".

    I used to find that my accent changed between home and Oxford. I also found that my accent changed when I spent some time in Australia. Perhaps you were picking up on that. I think a lot of students 'sound' posh at Oxford. Doesn't make them upper class. Not even privileged in some cases.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    I'm interested how you know they were "properly upper class". Did you ask them whether they went to a public school?

    A lot hinges around your definitions of terms like "well spoken".

    I used to find that my accent changed between home and Oxford. I also found that my accent changed when I spent some time in Australia. Perhaps you were picking up on that. I think a lot of students 'sound' posh at Oxford. Doesn't make them upper class. Not even privileged in some cases.
    My guide went to a public school, she said. And a couple of people made comments that suggested it, but I wouldn't hold that as proof.

    And "well spoken " is a good thing, and I'd say my family's better off than average , it just surprised me. I suppose it might almost be an unconscious thing, like when you speak well in front of grand parents etc.
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    There is no inherent bias in the Oxbridge system. They will let you in based on grades and performance at interview, regardless of school.

    HOWEVER, the large amount of private school kids there comes from the fact they have better interview training (coached as soon as they enter the school) and are pretty much pushed into applying, whereas state school kids are put off. Don't let yourself be one of these, people from state schools should apply, the more that do, the more the system will even out!

    It's around 65-70% state school people at Oxbridge, compared to 93% of people in the country who go to a state school (still a majority!)

    (I went to a state school and got into Oxford).
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    (Original post by lucymellor)
    There is no inherent bias in the Oxbridge system. They will let you in based on grades and performance at interview, regardless of school.

    HOWEVER, the large amount of private school kids there comes from the fact they have better interview training (coached as soon as they enter the school) and are pretty much pushed into applying, whereas state school kids are put off. Don't let yourself be one of these, people from state schools should apply, the more that do, the more the system will even out!

    It's around 65-70% state school people at Oxbridge, compared to 93% of people in the country who go to a state school (still a majority!)

    (I went to a state school and got into Oxford).
    Thanks for your reply!!

    I think I'll apply, it's only one choice after all, and it's one of the best places for what I want to do. Lots of people are saying it's unrealistic (even the school - wait, shouldn't they be encouraging it?) But competition is always a good thing
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    Thanks for your reply!!

    I think I'll apply, it's only one choice after all, and it's one of the best places for what I want to do. Lots of people are saying it's unrealistic (even the school - wait, shouldn't they be encouraging it?) But competition is always a good thing
    I think you've got a good attitude towards it, the way I thought about it was: if I don't get in I've still got 4 other chances to go to a good uni, but if I do get in then it'd be amazing. No harm in applying when you have 5 choices.
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    My guide went to a public school, she said. And a couple of people made comments that suggested it, but I wouldn't hold that as proof.

    And "well spoken " is a good thing, and I'd say my family's better off than average , it just surprised me. I suppose it might almost be an unconscious thing, like when you speak well in front of grand parents etc.
    Yes, also, I don't think I can easily tell between public school and state grammar with RP. Not to mention the fact that some public school are not very upper class. At any rate it all goes into a big mixing pot at Oxford and I don't think anyone there really cares. It will not affect you unless you go looking for it.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Yes, also, I don't think I can easily tell between public school and state grammar with RP. Not to mention the fact that some public school are not very upper class. At any rate it all goes into a big mixing pot at Oxford and I don't think anyone there really cares. It will not affect you unless you go looking for it.
    Very true. Pretty much every private school in my area get average grades and aren't very "posh", despite all their fancy adverts and extra funding, so there's not much difference there.
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    Very true. Pretty much every private school in my area get average grades and aren't very "posh", despite all their fancy adverts and extra funding, so there's not much difference there.
    I have a friend who left school early to become a bricklayer. He was telling me a few years back that most of the people he knew were sending their children to preparatory school to give them a good start. It seems like there has been a complete lack of confidence in state schools from parents for some time. Contrast the position of my parents whose only interaction with my education was to sign my school report every term. I can fully sympathise with the parents who feel they have to pay. As a corollary the profile of the average public schoolboy must have changed a lot since I was at school.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    I have a friend who left school early to become a bricklayer. He was telling me a few years back that most of the people he knew were sending their children to preparatory school to give them a good start. It seems like there has been a complete lack of confidence in state schools from parents for some time. Contrast the position of my parents whose only interaction with my education was to sign my school report every term. I can fully sympathise with the parents who feel they have to pay. As a corollary the profile of the average public schoolboy must have changed a lot since I was at school.
    State schools have a bad rep, but sadly I've not witnessed any stabbings or explosions or whatever the daily Mail goes on about

    There's a whole ethical can of worms here about paying for education and making it a business, but I don't think I'd've done much better anywhere else, no matter how much my parents were paying.

    But if I was in a position to support my (future) children through a good school, and was able to, I'd give them the best oppertunities I could
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    My school went on a trip to Oxford university as part of an access programme for state schools. There were about a dozen of us with mostly A/A* (and A at AS for the year 13s) and they went to great lengths to show us how fair the system was and how the wanted 'us' (state school peeps).

    And yet, everyone I met was from a public school background and seemed overly chummy and posh. Not "well spoken"- properly upper class. That's really worried me about my chances, as it seems like private schools have the advantage despite what they say.

    Is this just a coincidence, or is it really as elitist as its portrayed to be??
    The system is fair at Oxford's end. It's the school system in this country that adds any unfairness to the process. For instance, a lot of private and grammar schools will have 'Oxbridge clubs' that exist purely for the purpose of coaching students interested in applying to Oxbridge on how to maximise their chances of getting in.

    This usually includes coaching on admissions tests (more important for Oxford than for Cambridge) like the BMAT, LNAT, MAT etc, coaching on interview technique, talks by former students who've successfully applied to those universities and so on. Not to mention the atrocious degree of 'help' students attending those schools get with writing personal statements -- to the point that they can't really be considered personal statements by any fair-minded person.

    Oxford is understandably edgy about these things because it's been at the centre of some high-profile rows over elitism in the past (anybody remember Laura Spence?). This whole issue is largely the product of the bullsh*t class structure in this country whereby two universities are fetishised to the extent that schools boast of their quality by citing the number of students they sent to Oxford and Cambridge the previous year.

    Like others have said: go to an open day and, if it looks like you'd like to study there, just apply. As access reps from those universities often like to say: if you don't apply, you're not gonna get in. :lol:
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    State schools have a bad rep, but sadly I've not witnessed any stabbings or explosions or whatever the daily Mail goes on about

    There's a whole ethical can of worms here about paying for education and making it a business, but I don't think I'd've done much better anywhere else, no matter how much my parents were paying.

    But if I was in a position to support my (future) children through a good school, and was able to, I'd give them the best oppertunities I could
    Both my children went to a state school. More to do with geography than ethics. My daughter has just started her second year at Oxford. The workload is pretty hard but she is enjoying it a lot.

    But as far as your thread is concerned, you will meet the full gambit of stereotypes at Oxford and I'm sure at any other university. I found it a positive experience. It certainly should not prevent you from applying.
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    TSR Support Team
    (Original post by Vicky628)
    My school went on a trip to Oxford university as part of an access programme for state schools. There were about a dozen of us with mostly A/A* (and A at AS for the year 13s) and they went to great lengths to show us how fair the system was and how the wanted 'us' (state school peeps).

    And yet, everyone I met was from a public school background and seemed overly chummy and posh. Not "well spoken"- properly upper class. That's really worried me about my chances, as it seems like private schools have the advantage despite what they say.

    Is this just a coincidence, or is it really as elitist as its portrayed to be??
    I've been at Oxford for a few weeks now and it really doesn't feel "overly chummy and posh", as long as you can get over the pompous ceremonies. If that kind of thing puts you off, you might want to apply to a more modern, down-to-earth college like St. Anne's or St. Catz (it won't affect your chances but you might feel more comfortable there - I certainly do!).
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    I'm also intrigued as to how you decided people were upper class at this day you went to. I only ask because even as a militant comprehensive-educated student with a huge chip on my shoulder, I could count the properly upper class people I encountered during my three years at Oxford on less than five fingers! :eek:

    I do admit, I also find it a bit odd the way people are chosen to do these kinda access days. I remember one year, one of my rival secondary schools came to visit my specific college. I wrote straight away replying to an email call-out for volunteers to help on that day with that school and I wrote and said I'd like to do it because the kids would be able to identify with me coz I'm from their area and they'd know my school and the kids at this particular school are almost entirely Asian. I didn't get the gig though

    I guess, as said, it's just down to who volunteers for these days. Safe to say (again as a comp-educated person with massive chip on shoulder),the majority of the posh, chummy people who you might encounter at Oxford are perfectly nice people. They may say a few dodgy things out of ignorance occasionally but they are nice people who you can get along with and become really good friends with So don't worry about these things.

    Just to reassure you, Oxford takes bullying of any kind seriously so if you were to get to Oxford and found someone was giving you grief about your background, you would just have to report it to college and it would be dealt with efficiently :yes:
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    (Original post by Awesome Genius)
    *sigh*

    1. it does not matter if private schools have an advantage. You will find throughout life that someone somewhere has a perceived advantage over you for the same position. If you use this as an excuse and don't make an application, you are being stupid. Forget about it.

    2. It does not matter if you have seen a few people who are "upper class". At both Oxford and Cambridge there are a fair few rich people - but so what? There are also a lot of people from many different socio-economic backgrounds. Just think of the experience as widening your social horizons and stop worrying about being around people like yourself all the time.

    Ultimately, do you want to STUDY at Oxford - are the course and the facilities right for you? If they are, apply. If they aren't, don't. Don't worry about all this nonsense that people talk about. Most people do it because they are afraid of putting in an application.
    This is the most intelligent thing I've ever seen you say.
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    (Original post by Vicky628)
    My school went on a trip to Oxford university as part of an access programme for state schools. There were about a dozen of us with mostly A/A* (and A at AS for the year 13s) and they went to great lengths to show us how fair the system was and how the wanted 'us' (state school peeps).

    And yet, everyone I met was from a public school background and seemed overly chummy and posh. Not "well spoken"- properly upper class. That's really worried me about my chances, as it seems like private schools have the advantage despite what they say.

    Is this just a coincidence, or is it really as elitist as its portrayed to be??
    Not sure what you mean by "upper class" exactly - I suspect you were hearing southern private school accents and southern 'posh' accents generally from upper-middle-class people. There's a big difference, because those people aren't all from Eton and the landed gentry by a long shot. Their parents are things like doctors and business people and so on and can be fairly ordinary people who managed to get their kids through private school. I guess what you're saying is that they seemed posh to you.

    You should also realise that there is some 'putting on' of accents by some people. Some people exaggerate their poshness and some go the other way. It can be like a game for some people.

    There is some variation between colleges but I think you somehow got a false picture of the reality of Oxford. Unquestionably there are students from very well off families at Oxford. There are also heaps of basically middle class people and there are also many students from working class backgrounds. Like all top universities it is tilted towards middle class, but that isn't the whole picture.

    It certainly isn't uniformly 'upper class' by any stretch though.
 
 
 
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