The unfairness of Oxbridge Admissions Consultancies

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highestmountain
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I feel disgusted with myself – yes, disgusted, for going to an interview preparation day run by Oxbridge Applications. The cost of the daywould usually be £395 but I’m on their Access Programme so went along for freeto have a look I was amazed at the sheer number of people I saw whose parents had paid for them to attend the event – essentially lulled in by the persuasive powers of a group of Oxbridge graduates who see an opportunity to exploit people’s gullible-ness and fears about the admissions process. I certainly wouldn’t pay £395 for some rogue advice from the people whoclaim to be “experts” in the admissions process. For the record, I’ve applied to study HSPS and thought this might help albeit minutely with my ability to verbalize my subject.
Yes, I know this sounds hypocritical and especially since I went along for free. And yes, they do indeed offer some/a limited number of disadvantagedstudents access to these events so someone might question – why the hell am I moaning? But my point is – I felt sick to the core at witnessing first hand so many people taking advantage of this interview “training” procedure through daddy’s money when many applicants have to make do without even having a teacher who is willing to give them a mock interview. How is this bloody fair?
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SchwannCells
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It isnt but we just have to live with it.
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Sparster
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The Careers Advisor at our school spends all his time ranting about this company and advising us not to go near it lol. It is a bit of a rip off tbh but each to their own.
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Johann von Gauss
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(Original post by highestmountain)
I feel disgusted with myself – yes, disgusted, for going toan interview preparation day run by Oxbridge Applications. The cost of the daywould usually be £395 but I’m on there Access Programme so went along for freeto have a look I was amazed at the sheer number of people I saw whose parentshad paid for them to attend the event – essentially lulled in by the persuasivepowers of a group of Oxbridge graduates who see an opportunity to exploitpeople’s gullible-ness and fears about the admissions process. I certainlywouldn’t pay £395 for some rogue advice from the people whoclaim to be “experts” in the admissions process. For the record, I’ve appliedto study HSPS and thought this might help albeit minutely with my ability toverbalize my subject.
Yes, I know this sounds hypocritical and especially since Iwent along for free. And yes, they do indeed offer some/a limited number of disadvantagedstudents access to these events so someone might question – why the hell am Imoaning? But my point is – I felt sick to the core at witnessing first hand somany people taking advantage of this interview “training” procedure throughdaddy’s money when many applicants have to make do without even having ateacher who is willing to give them a mock interview. How is this bloody fair?
What can be done about it though? Make comprehensives actually do something for top/Oxbridge students? As if...
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highestmountain
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(Original post by Johann von Gauss)
What can be done about it though? Make comprehensives actually do something for top/Oxbridge students? As if...
It would be beggar's belief of me to even hint at the suggestion that there will ever be a level playing field. However, the existence of these companies make that playing field even more lopsided.

The worst thing I have to say from today, is the casualness of many of the students I met - like the staff had seen many of them before and it seems like these people sign up onto every possible service they offer. They were just acting as thought they had nothing to lose by havign their parents pay (or maybe they work part time themselves), buy up these resources :/
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by highestmountain)
I feel disgusted with myself – yes, disgusted, for going toan interview preparation day run by Oxbridge Applications. The cost of the daywould usually be £395 but I’m on there Access Programme so went along for freeto have a look I was amazed at the sheer number of people I saw whose parentshad paid for them to attend the event – essentially lulled in by the persuasivepowers of a group of Oxbridge graduates who see an opportunity to exploitpeople’s gullible-ness and fears about the admissions process. I certainlywouldn’t pay £395 for some rogue advice from the people whoclaim to be “experts” in the admissions process. For the record, I’ve appliedto study HSPS and thought this might help albeit minutely with my ability toverbalize my subject.
Yes, I know this sounds hypocritical and especially since Iwent along for free. And yes, they do indeed offer some/a limited number of disadvantagedstudents access to these events so someone might question – why the hell am Imoaning? But my point is – I felt sick to the core at witnessing first hand somany people taking advantage of this interview “training” procedure throughdaddy’s money when many applicants have to make do without even having ateacher who is willing to give them a mock interview. How is this bloody fair?
I agree that it's really unfair but I'm not really sure what the solution is. These companies aren't doing anything illegal so you can't shut them down. Oxford and Cambridge both have a wealth of admissions information on their website but not all students are aware that it's there and even those that do probably still feel uncomfortable doing all of the preparation themselves. The ideal answer would be to have admissions experts in all schools but clearly, that's not likely to happen in the near future

I suppose you've just got to have faith that the admissions tutors are able to look through the "coaching" and can see the potential in students, which they claim to be able to do.
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Doones
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If prospective applicants bothered to use TSR beforehand they would a) get better advice (sometimes... ) and b ) see similar prior warnings about Oxbridge Applications and the various other outfits.

The very fact they can use Oxbridge facilties gives them implicit credibility, but the universities (and colleges) both prefer to receive the income without considering the damage it potentially does to them.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by jneill)
If prospective applicants bothered to use TSR beforehand they would a) get better advice (sometimes... ) and b ) see similar prior warnings about Oxbridge Applications and the various other outfits.

The very fact they can use Oxbridge facilties gives them implicit credibility, but the universities (and colleges) both prefer to receive the income without considering the damage it potentially does to them.
I'd be really interested actually in knowing to what extent the countless hours I spent obsessing about oxbridge admissions here actually helped me. I genuinely do not know the answer to that question.
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Doones
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
I'd be really interested actually in knowing to what extent the countless hours I spent obsessing about oxbridge admissions here actually helped me. I genuinely do not know the answer to that question.
I have the stats to show the higher the participation level in an Oxbridge (well Cambridge, but I'm confident it would be the same for The Other Place) Applicants thread, the higher the chance of an offer.

It kind of makes sense: if you can communicate in a public forum your passion (or interest) about your subject (and the uni) then you are more likely to be the kind of person they are looking for.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by jneill)
It kind of makes sense: if you can communicate in a public forum your passion (or interest) about your subject (and the uni) then you are more likely to be the kind of person they are looking for.
Hah, that's quite an interesting way of looking at it!
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highestmountain
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(Original post by jneill)
If prospective applicants bothered to use TSR beforehand they would a) get better advice (sometimes... ) and b ) see similar prior warnings about Oxbridge Applications and the various other outfits.

The very fact they can use Oxbridge facilties gives them implicit credibility, but the universities (and colleges) both prefer to receive the income without considering the damage it potentially does to them.
This was at LSE haha

I'd say the marginal benefit of me attending was still positive however, at times I did feel like **** with the implication given that the interview was the only thing separating candidates, as though all of my hard work in public exams like at AS prior to this stage would count for nothing. I'm grateful to have read the Ask an Admission's Tutor Thread because its rather nice to know that I won't be judged on two interviews alone but I guess that if Oxbridgeapplications were to raise the idea that many other parts of the application matter a lot (particularly UMS for Cmabridge), many of their clients would not feed them the $$$ as they'd lose hope :/
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Doones
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
Hah, that's quite an interesting way of looking at it!
Maybe Oxbridge should encourage prospective students to visit TSR - a link in their Prospectuses would be a good start...
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Doones
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(Original post by highestmountain)
This was at LSE haha

I'd say the marginal benefit of me attending was still positive however, at times I did feel like **** with the implication given that the interview was the only thing separating candidates, as though all of my hard work in public exams like at AS prior to this stage would count for nothing. I'm grateful to have read the Ask an Admission's Tutor Thread because its rather nice to know that I won't be judged on two interviews alone but I guess that if Oxbridgeapplications were to raise the idea that many other parts of the application matter a lot (particularly UMS for Cmabridge), many of their clients would not feed them the $$$ as they'd lose hope :/
But hosting it at LSE also gives them the implicit credibility conferred by their presence at a major and succesful institution even if it wasn't specifically Oxford or Cambridge. If they hosted their events at an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere I doubt it would be so impressive

And yes indeed, Ask an AT threads are the dog's *******s.
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Doones
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Just to add, £395 is the low end for them. The summer schools cost nearly £4k iirc.
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math42
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I guess it's unfair, but what can be done really... If I'd had access to such a thing for free I might have learned how not to present myself as an utter moron in person, and got an offer, but then again I wouldn't have met the offer so it's not too bad lol.
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by jneill)
Just to add, £395 is the low end for them. The summer schools cost nearly £4k iirc.
:lolwut:
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highestmountain
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
I agree that it's really unfair but I'm not really sure what the solution is. These companies aren't doing anything illegal so you can't shut them down. Oxford and Cambridge both have a wealth of admissions information on their website but not all students are aware that it's there and even those that do probably still feel uncomfortable doing all of the preparation themselves. The ideal answer would be to have admissions experts in all schools but clearly, that's not likely to happen in the near future

I suppose you've just got to have faith that the admissions tutors are able to look through the "coaching" and can see the potential in students, which they claim to be able to do.
I do have faith in them but can't help but to think they can't get it right all the time. Someone who shines at interview may well be on his/her 20th "attempt" at an interview whereas others will be on their first. Again - I'm not suggesting that the content of mock interviews themselves are important for this result but rather, its the act of verbalizing and communicating their subject on countless occassions which paves the way for this advtange to be gained. Small things like body language which the first timer will not have gotten the chance to pick up upon
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by highestmountain)
its the act of verbalizing and communicating their subject on countless occassions which paves the way for this advtange to be gained.
I absolutely agree with this, but you don't need to have professional mock interviews to do this. I didn't have any professional mock interviews but gave myself (sad, I know) and friends who couldn't escape in time lectures on stuff. You don't need to be asked questions by an academic to practice speaking spontaneously about your subject.
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troubadour.
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(Original post by 13 1 20 8 42)
I guess it's unfair, but what can be done really... If I'd had access to such a thing for free I might have learned how not to present myself as an utter moron in person, and got an offer, but then again I wouldn't have met the offer so it's not too bad lol.
Didn't you have four A*s?
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Doones
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(Original post by Plagioclase)
:lolwut:
Hmm, perhaps it was £2k, but still.

Strangely they don't list their prices on their web site. I can't imagine why not...

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