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    There are THOUSANDS of great parents out there who do a fabulous job raising sensible, level headed children who with their help have learnt how to deal with disappointment and move on. We love you. Your children will make great students.

    However, this is the time of year when, as an academic working in admissions, I get phone calls from some parents totally astonished that their wonder-child hasn't got an offer. So, can I just ask SOME parents to prepare both themselves and their children properly for the reality of disappointment ...

    These are the most common reactions :

    1) "But he is predicted A grades." So are all the other people who we actually made offers to, and some of them have 3 A*s, and far better Personal Statements. It comes as shock to some parents who think their child is the school star to discover other people's children are actually better/brighter/more promising than theirs.

    2) "But he goes to Harrow". So what. Just because you bought him a secondary school education, it doesn't mean he is a better applicant for that reason.

    3) "But her father is a Barrister/famous Actor etc". So what. Our selection system is based on evidence of individual ability, not DNA.

    4) "I am very well connected/know the VC/can make a donation to the Uni". This is code for "But I'm a snowplough parent who has thrown money/influence at every problem my child has ever had and I've just discovered that my child isnt bright enough for your Uni and that my money can't fix this for them.")

    5) Applicant on the phone : "My father says you don't want me because I'm so brilliant that you cant accomodate me/my needs within your Uni". No, it was because you are not as bright as you/your parents think you are, and they have never prepared you for the reality of No.

    I must stress that this is only a tiny number of parents/applicants but you get the idea!
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    Is this an Oxbridge thing?

    Sounds very similar to what we were told at a departmental talk at Cambridge... although by the time we had been told that personal statement doesn't count for anything, predicted grades don't count for anything, AS and GCSE grades don't count for anything, where you went to school and who your parents or connections are, and which college you apply for similarly don't count....one could be forgiven for an interest in the crystal ball used for deciding who is deemed to be 'the brightest and the best' enough to be interviewed.

    (Child decided pre-AS result day that he wasn't going to apply)
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    (Original post by dirtmother)
    Is this an Oxbridge thing?
    I think the common 'disappointment' Oxbridge scenario is something like this 'I've always been the school star and never really had anyone else to beat. I've got to Oxbridge - and discovered I'm surrounded by other school stars, ie. I'm not 'special' at all. I'm devastated to discover that everyone else is apparently brighter than me and I'm only getting B grades for my essays. And I've never had to deal with anything like that before."
 
 
 
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