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Pooled for Linguistics from King's - Should I reapply? Watch

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    So unfortunately I got the news on Tuesday that I had been pooled for linguistics from King's and my file had been returned so no other colleges had picked me out. My best friend did a more strategic application as she picked her college based on the admission statistics and got in at Homerton. I'm unsure whether to take a gap year and re apply next year at a different, more strategic college. My grades at AS were AAB (the B was 3 marks off an A and I am re taking the coursework unit so that will be up to an A when I finish and I am predicted A*A*A at A2. I really enjoyed my interview and I loved Cambridge so much. I am also born on the 31st August so one of the youngest and I'm unsure if I will feel ready for university this year. However, I do have an unconditional offer from University of Birmingham so I don't know whether to just take that?
    What do you think?
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    No one seems to believe you can play the college system with any degree of precision, so I wouldn't strategize based on that. I doubt choosing Homerton had much to do with your friend's success.

    Regarding pooling, it is often a question of luck, of somehow getting the attention of the other colleges. My daughter was pooled and got an offer, but we don't know why.

    If you don't feel ready, take a gap year in a relevant discipline and re-apply.

    Good luck.
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    (Original post by katygalloway)
    So unfortunately I got the news on Tuesday that I had been pooled for linguistics from King's and my file had been returned so no other colleges had picked me out. My best friend did a more strategic application as she picked her college based on the admission statistics and got in at Homerton. I'm unsure whether to take a gap year and re apply next year at a different, more strategic college. My grades at AS were AAB (the B was 3 marks off an A and I am re taking the coursework unit so that will be up to an A when I finish and I am predicted A*A*A at A2. I really enjoyed my interview and I loved Cambridge so much. I am also born on the 31st August so one of the youngest and I'm unsure if I will feel ready for university this year. However, I do have an unconditional offer from University of Birmingham so I don't know whether to just take that?
    What do you think?
    On the contrary to public myths, the strategic game doesn't work for Cambridge application. Your chance of getting into Cambridge will not be affected by your choice of college.
    Please read this OP to understand why it doesn't work. (('About Colleges')
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post60704483

    Even at a college that fishes lots of candidates from the pool, they give offers only to competitive enough direct candidates and pick up necessary number of able candidates from the pool to fill the places, not pick them up after giving offers to all the direct applicants to them. And as explained in the link above, all colleges can see the details of all candidates to all other colleges from the very beginning of selection process. The system is there to ensure the university can get most able candidates no matter where he/she applied to. You were pooled, which means King's thought you were good enough for the university's standard but they didn't have enough place for you. And unfortunately you were in the competition with all other poolees as competitive as you but some of them were more competitive than you. I think the best thing for you is to get a feedback from the college you applied to, and find out why your application was not successful to decide if it's worth reapplying next year.If you think you can improve the cause of your position this year after reading the feedback. I'd say it's worth reapplying if you don't mind having a gap year. But until then, no one can tell you if it's worth it or not.
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    (Original post by katygalloway)
    So unfortunately I got the news on Tuesday that I had been pooled for linguistics from King's
    Also it might be worth bearing in mind that Linguistics has way fewer DoSes than colleges (based on what I can remember the King's DoS is currently DoS at Christs's and Robinson, and was DoS at Homerton until the beginning of this year). So *even if* strategic college choice made sense in general, it might work differently in linguistics, because if a particular interviewer really wants you and doesn't have space in the college you applied to they can pool you to one of their other colleges (essentially fish you out themselves).
    I'm only speculating though because I'm at one of the very few colleges where the DoS isn't responsible for any other ones

    In any case, best of luck with whatever you end up doing! Taking a year out might be beneficial for a variety of reasons (I did it myself), just make sure you've thought it through.
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    I think biborcsiga raises a good point specific to linguistics. But about college choice in general --_despite TSRians' adamance on it not mattering, the consensus is much more equivocal. Among the Cantabrigians that I know irl, most DO think it matters. Cambridge try hard to reduce the influence of college choice on outcome, but it nevertheless exists. Here is why:

    - The competition is much fiercer in re-interview round and if you don't stand out significantly, they are unlikely to give out offers even if they have remaining places. e.g. if you look at application stats, the winter pool intake in each college varies every year - although they can give out X spots, they often don't.
    I.E. you better make sure you can stand out head and shoulders in the pool. Which is difficult, cos it's the pool.

    - I fully believe in cognitive biases. Even trained, professional courtroom judges are prone to it (studies show that judges are way more lenient after lunch - legit...). Admissions officers are people. If you applied to a weaker college, even though admissions officers have access to the whole applicant field, standing out in interview compared to other direct applicants will likely make you seem more impressive than you really/already are.

    TLDR, it's easier to stand out among a weak applicant field than a pool field. Impressions matter.

    I was a dodo and applied to a competitive college this year. I don't think applying to a less competitive college would have gotten me in necessarily, but I would have stood a higher chance than I do now (currently in pool).
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    (Original post by elemy)
    I think biborcsiga raises a good point specific to linguistics. But about college choice in general --_despite TSRians' adamance on it not mattering, the consensus is much more equivocal. Among the Cantabrigians that I know irl, most DO think it matters. Cambridge try hard to reduce the influence of college choice on outcome, but it nevertheless exists. Here is why:

    - The competition is much fiercer in re-interview round and if you don't stand out significantly, they are unlikely to give out offers even if they have remaining places. e.g. if you look at application stats, the winter pool intake in each college varies every year - although they can give out X spots, they often don't.
    I.E. you better make sure you can stand out head and shoulders in the pool. Which is difficult, cos it's the pool.

    - I fully believe in cognitive biases. Even trained, professional courtroom judges are prone to it (studies show that judges are way more lenient after lunch - legit...). Admissions officers are people. If you applied to a weaker college, even though admissions officers have access to the whole applicant field, standing out in interview compared to other direct applicants will likely make you seem more impressive than you really/already are.

    TLDR, it's easier to stand out among a weak applicant field than a pool field. Impressions matter.

    I was a dodo and applied to a competitive college this year. I don't think applying to a less competitive college would have gotten me in necessarily, but I would have stood a higher chance than I do now (currently in pool).
    The stats, pure and simple, don't support that. I'll say it again: applying to a specific college makes little difference to your chances of getting into Cambridge.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    The stats, pure and simple, don't support that. I'll say it again: applying to a specific college makes little difference to your chances of getting into Cambridge.

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    Okay, would you mind being specific about what stats you're talking about?

    I agree that pooling helps alot with evening things out. But there is still a small advantage to applying to a less competitive college (due to the human element in the process), and small advantages matter when it comes to Cambridge...
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    (Original post by elemy)
    Okay, would you mind being specific about what stats you're talking about?

    I agree that pooling helps alot with evening things out. But there is still a small advantage to applying to a less competitive college (due to the human element in the process), and small advantages matter when it comes to Cambridge...
    The CAT provided stats a while ago, I'll try to find them.

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    (Original post by elemy)
    Okay, would you mind being specific about what stats you're talking about?

    I agree that pooling helps alot with evening things out. But there is still a small advantage to applying to a less competitive college (due to the human element in the process), and small advantages matter when it comes to Cambridge...
    I can't find the post by the CAT at the moment but feel free to ask about it in his current Feedback thread.

    But also I had a quick look at Linguistics Admissions Stats. As you know it's a small subject so there will be a lot of variation from year to year. But one thing that strikes me is how much shuffling around of candidates there is via the pool, etc. That would seem clear evidence that the pool is doing it's job.

    2015:
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    Note the high spike for King's. Much higher than any other college. I'll post another chart below.
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    Linguistics 2013 data

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    Again a very wide spread of small numbers across colleges. But most noticeably a MUCH lower spike for King's. This time Clare & Queens' are higher than King's

    This reinforces the dangers of trying to double-think which college to apply to based on stats...
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    (Original post by jneill)
    Linguistics 2013 data

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    Again a very wide spread of small numbers across colleges. But most noticeably a MUCH lower spike for King's. This time Clare & Queens' are higher than King's

    This reinforces the dangers of trying to double-think which college to apply to based on stats...
    I actually completely agree with everything you've said! However (although I am not sure what I'm saying applies to linguistics):

    1. the pool is effective in redistributing people OVERALL, but when thinking in the interests of an *individual* who is not a shoo-in applicant, I think the chances of standing among other pool re-interviewees is lower than standing out in a weak direct applicant field. Giving the impression of standing out matters, imo.

    2. It's undeniable that certain colleges are consistently less popular...
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    (Original post by elemy)
    I actually completely agree with everything you've said! However (although I am not sure what I'm saying applies to linguistics):

    1. the pool is effective in redistributing people OVERALL, but when thinking in the interests of an *individual* who is not a shoo-in applicant, I think the chances of standing among other pool re-interviewees is lower than standing out in a weak direct applicant field. Giving the impression of standing out matters, imo.

    2. It's undeniable that certain colleges are consistently less popular...
    Have you read these already?

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...5#post58873595

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...9#post59697259

    These links were in this OP with other quotes/info on why college choice doesn't affect the chance of getting offer to the university. http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/show...3#post60704483

    As you can see from those posts, all the colleges can see the details of all applicants to all other colleges from the very beginning of the selection process. So they have a very good idea how strong/weak their direct applicants are against the rest of applicants to other colleges. They're comparing your application against them, not just against the small collection of their directs applicants.

    I wouldn't say it's completely 100% perfect system. No system in the whole world is, and it's a human process, there're bound to be some elements that can be affected by AT/DoS's subjective views to some extent, but given the complexity of situation, I think the system has been working quite efficiently to eliminate the possibility of unfairness cased by a choice of college.

    It's a human process as you said, but the reason so many people of different roles to assess each candidate is to reduce the possibility of candidates being unfairly treated because of one individual's subjective view. (AT= moderator/checker of whole process, DoS = assessing candidates purely on academic ground, non-DoS interviewers = bring in other perspectives to the academic assessment)

    Even after these processes of cross-over assessment, it's still possible some candidates can slip through the net, which is unfortunate but they're very small minority in the big scheme of things and they're probably the borderline applicants.

    For those borderline cases where tiny differences in application profile (including intervene performance) can play a role either positively or negatively. They literally have to split a hair to decide which one to choose among the equally very competitive candidates. But unless you're among those borderline candidates, I really don't think a luck of any sort would play a big role in determining your fate. If it does, to some very small extent, it's more to do with your strength/weakness and characteristic of your application against that of other candidates, rather than your choice of college.

    All the so-called 'unpopular' colleges also pool many direct candidates. They tend to attract less-competitive candidates more than fair share because of this persisting myths of 'choice of college makes a difference.' But it really doesn't matter as they can see very well where the stronger candidates they could fish elsewhere. It's just that those things are very difficult to see from the statistic data unless you know the whole story behind what a simple chart can show.

    The reason drawing a conclusion from a few charts/tables without the knowledge of all other information behind them can be very misleading and dangerous.
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    (Original post by elemy)
    I actually completely agree with everything you've said! However (although I am not sure what I'm saying applies to linguistics):

    1. the pool is effective in redistributing people OVERALL, but when thinking in the interests of an *individual* who is not a shoo-in applicant, I think the chances of standing among other pool re-interviewees is lower than standing out in a weak direct applicant field. Giving the impression of standing out matters, imo.

    2. It's undeniable that certain colleges are consistently less popular...
    1. No candidate is a shoo-in. For example, people with 99+ UMS do get rejections.

    2. Doesn't make a difference to your overall chances for the reasons @vincrows has made clear.



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