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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Surely it is obvious? If a single supplier has a low market share it indicates that there are plenty of other suppliers and that the supplier is not in a dominant position. You were the one who compared this to a marketplace.

    In the case of Oxford and Cambridge, the consumer does get to make a choice, anyway, by selecting which one he applies for. Oxford has lost forever the chance of recruiting anyone who selects Cambridge, even before it has a chance to expose that candidate to its selection process.
    You are implying that someone with two B's and a C is in the Oxbridge market.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    You are implying that someone with two B's and a C is in the Oxbridge market.
    You may be inferring that. I implied, and meant to imply, nothing of the sort.

    The truth is that pretty well the same number of people attain AAA+ these days as went on to undergraduate education in the 1960s and 1970s. The A-level no longer acts as a guide to ability and no longer does its job.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    You may be inferring that. I implied, and meant to imply, nothing of the sort.

    The truth is that pretty well the same number of people attain AAA+ these days as went on to undergraduate education in the 1960s and 1970s. The A-level no longer acts as a guide to ability and no longer does its job.
    Oxbridge has a low market share of the overall market. Most of this market is of no interest to Oxbridge. Oxbridge has a virtual monopoly position on the part of the market in which it operates. Very few people will turn an Oxbridge place down.

    You are still trying to say that distorting the market is justified by the conditions in which Oxbridge "trades".

    Is the market being distorted? As Joinedup said "Would applicants like to apply to oxford and cambridge in the same year if they could?". The level of distortion could only be measured by taking the source of the distortion away. If the market becomes unworkable then it was a big distortion.

    The UCAS form arrangement is all about a controlling player dictating how the market operates. The state of A levels and whether Oxbridge are medieval towns with planning constraints are simply not relevant to the cartel argument.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Yes, I did. I quoted Oxford University who said that it was a difficult process because they had a larger number of outstanding candidates than the number of places they could offer. I think I have quoted this more than once.
    Obviously they put that! What else would they write? "We interviewed large numbers of low standard applicants who really shouldn't have bothered applying"?

    My logic still applies. More places would mean more applicants and lower overall standard. You just think that we should better fund top universities. There is nothing more complicated going on here.


    I honestly think I have responded more to your/jneill/good bloke points than any of you have to mine. My answer to this one would be that for the consumertwo choices are better than one, three choices are better than two, four choices are better than three, etc. This continues ad infinitum/ ad nauseam but the marginal improvement is less each time. The number of 5 has presumably been chosen because the 6th choice doesn't add much (in UCAS's opinion - again I have no idea but let us assume that UCAS knows its customers). This is not at all the same as saying that you can only choose Oxbridge or Camford. That decision really was NOT made for the benefit of the consumer.
    They pick an artificial limit of 5 because its pragmatic. Are you going to argue that that is in applicant's best interests? What about medicine where its only 4 choices - all those poor biomedical science courses getting all those thousands of extra applicants because they're trampled on by the medicine cartel.

    Since we're quoting Oxford and Cambridge, why not see what they have to say about the current interview system that you want to abolish: "A good deal of the teaching in an Oxford college takes place in small classes or tutorials, and your interviewers – who may be your future tutors – are assessing your ability to study, think and learn in this way". I think its easy to argue that benefits applicants.

    Although its also irrelevant as Oxbridge are clearly competing fairly anyway.

    Tesco extra and express stores are THE SAME SUPPLIER. Oxford and Cambridge ARE MEANT TO BE IN COMPETITION.
    Its clearly still the same in terms of customer choice... but if you want to get tunnel vision about "competition" regardless of why that's a good thing then fine: a coffee shop who refuses to serve you if you have been to their rival next door. Weird but allowed. There are thousands of examples of institutions that limit their customer base and they're all allowed. Its the opposite - limiting customer's ability to choose other suppliers - that competition law exists for!

    If there is a major distortion of the market how can you say there is a non-issue? If there is not a major distortion of the market how can you say there would be chaos if you removed it? You can't have it both ways.
    It makes very little difference to the applicant, other than having increased choice* and a more robust selection process to ensure they are right for their course. So there is no market distortion.

    It makes a lot of difference to the universities as they'd have to revert to a grade-based, more random selection system and therefore struggle to maintain their current effectiveness.

    *Yes, increased. Its reasonable to assume that a significant proportion of those who apply to Oxford would also apply to Cambridge. Therefore you would have to use 2 choices for universities that now have close to double applicants, meaning only a small increase in chance of getting in. By necessitating two UCAS slots for Oxbridge you have reduced choice.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    You are still trying to say that distorting the market is justified by the conditions in which Oxbridge "trades".

    Is the market being distorted?
    It isn't really a market, anyway, and there is no trading. You are talking about a mechanism for application, and you must agree to the rules if you wish to apply to a UK university.

    The only people who complain are the two or three people every year who fancy their chances of getting an offer from both, or who really don't fancy their chances at all, and want to double them (as they think). Not having thought through what would really happen, they don't realise that they will have no more chance of getting in anyway, and probably would not get an interview, as both universities would simply halve the proportion of those invited for interview, leaving the borderliners having used up two choices to no effect.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    It isn't really a market, anyway, and there is no trading.
    Finally!
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    What impresses me is that people bother to defend the current university system at all.

    Indeed, all universities are profiting from manufactured inefficiencies.

    Forcing people to have to be admitted in universities and spend 3+ years there, to be able to obtain a recognized qualification, amounts to protectionism of the university academic industry. Since you will struggle to get a job in certain sectors without these qualifications and you will be unlikely to do be able to pursue a career in some form of academic research without these qualifications.

    This system funds lecturers, professors, tutors, research etc...

    A true fair system (that is a system that aims at efficiency) would entail allowing students to sit their qualifications externally, without passing through UCAS or any admissions system at all. Thus reducing barriers to entry into certain job markets.


    But universities don't have the best interests of students at heart. Oxbridge are just better at marketing than other universities, and the resulting branding power confers lobbying power.

    There is nothing elite about Oxbridge, apart from their branding and the endowments they receive as a result of that.

    But protectionism is protectionism, and what they are doing is of the same cloth as what others are doing, the latter are simply operating with fewer resources.

    Don't hate the playah hate the game.
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Apologies if this one has been done before.

    You cannot apply to Oxford and Cambridge in the same year. Isn't this anti-competitive? Although Oxford and Cambridge are recognised by most to be the best universities in the UK why should they get special treatment?

    Oxford (and presumably Cambridge) both say that they have too many good candidates for the number of places they offer. So why institutionalise a two-tier system where everyone who does not get into Oxbridge is considered second-rate?

    If they are so good why can't they work under the same rules as everyone else?
    Do you not realize the entire system involves protectionism?
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    (Original post by Pars12)
    Good for whom?
    For the people who get into Oxbridge
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    Oxbridge have more than their fair share of publicity, especially in the media.

    Take sports for example. Ared they really the two best teams at rowing, rugby, chess, etc?

    Why not have a national uni competition, where more than two unis compete.

    Similarly in uni challenge, Oxbridge have multiple entries. It's a little known fact that those who end up compeing on uni challenge are actually CHOSEN by the programme organisers beforehand.
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    (Original post by speakerfone)
    Oxbridge have more than their fair share of publicity, especially in the media.

    Take sports for example. Ared they really the two best teams at rowing, rugby, chess, etc?

    Why not have a national uni competition, where more than two unis compete.

    Similarly in uni challenge, Oxbridge have multiple entries. It's a little known fact that those who end up compeing on uni challenge are actually CHOSEN by the programme organisers beforehand.
    Like this for sport?
    http://www.bucs.org.uk/homepage.asp

    And re UC, you did watch the documentary?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b049fnd9

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    (Original post by speakerfone)
    Why not have a national uni competition, where more than two unis compete.
    Eh? Do you know nothing about university sport? Pretty well every university enters BUCS.
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    Wait, who suggested abolishing university interviews? Interviews are glorious.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Eh? Do you know nothing about university sport? Pretty well every university enters BUCS.
    Where's the publicity for national uni sports?

    There's the annual boat race but when and where does the national uni boat rac take place?

    What I do read is the headlines in the news, whenever it involves Oxbridge, it's mentioned, otherwised it's just plainly, "student / graduate ..... "
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    (Original post by warmday)
    Where's the publicity for national uni sports?
    Publicity is simply a matter of finding sponsors and getting the media involved. Do you want to spend your money on playing your sport, or do you want to spend your university career making the publicity happen so that lots of people watch you play it?
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    Publicity is simply a matter of finding sponsors and getting the media involved. Do you want to spend your money on playing your sport, or do you want to spend your university career making the publicity happen so that lots of people watch you play it?
    With publicity comes recognition and then they'll attract investors.

    Why else do companies advertise?
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    It isn't really a market, anyway, and there is no trading. You are talking about a mechanism for application, and you must agree to the rules if you wish to apply to a UK university.
    If university education was free I would agree with you but I get to see lots of glossy brochures (advertisements) and then pay thousands of pounds per year per child for the pleasure of it. It has all the look and feel of a market to me and I think I am entitled to some consumer protection.
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    Obviously they put that! What else would they write? "We interviewed large numbers of low standard applicants who really shouldn't have bothered applying"?
    Erm, if it's true, yes. My point is that they are saying it isn't. Unless you think they are lying?


    My logic still applies. More places would mean more applicants and lower overall standard. You just think that we should better fund top universities. There is nothing more complicated going on here.
    Not sure about your logic. The same number of applicants would be involved i.e. all applicants that apply to Oxbridge, most of whom end up at the other universities. Your problem is that you don't care what happens to them once they have been allocated to a non-Oxbridge university. They are intellectually sub-standard and not worth bothering about. This dividing line was of course created by Oxbridge.

    I am trying to look at it in terms of how you would efficiently allocate ALL of these students to the most suitable university. Setting Oxford and Cambridge up as something special would be extremely stupid if between them they don't have enough places for suitable students. The cartel arrangement is hard-wired into UCAS. Definitely a cartel because it's a mechanism to reduce consumer options. It will have the same consequences as a cartel, one of which is to prevent the other universities joining the Oxbridge group. This in turn will preserve the status quo.
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    (Original post by nexttime)

    Since we're quoting Oxford and Cambridge, why not see what they have to say about the current interview system that you want to abolish: "A good deal of the teaching in an Oxford college takes place in small classes or tutorials, and your interviewers – who may be your future tutors – are assessing your ability to study, think and learn in this way". I think its easy to argue that benefits applicants.

    Although its also irrelevant as Oxbridge are clearly competing fairly anyway.
    I didn't say I wanted to abolish interviews. I said that I have seen no evidence that the interview selection is any more effective than pulling names out of a hat.

    I also think that if the future tutors are trying to achieve that in two twenty minute interviews they are going to need a lot more training than they actually get. Anecdotally, I hear lots of stories about Oxford students who have significantly underperformed or overperformed interview expectations. Where is the evidence?
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    (Original post by Pars12)

    I also think that if the future tutors are trying to achieve that in two twenty minute interviews they are going to need a lot more training than they actually get. Anecdotally, I hear lots of stories about Oxford students who have significantly underperformed or overperformed interview expectations. Where is the evidence?
    Academics have a vested interest in the admissions system working and a minor personal interest in jettisoning something which is such a heavy call on their time.

    They are not adverse to playing the self-interest card. About 3 or 4 years ago Oxford stopping giving out offers before Christmas. They did so on the stated grounds that the academic calendar fell poorly that year (despite the fact that it had fallen similarly some years before and that had not required postponement of offers until the New Year) but having got a taste for reducing the pressure on themselves, they have done the same ever since.

    There is little doubt that if the academics thought that the present admissions system could be improved by getting rid of the present labour intensive system, they would do so and all get back to their research.
 
 
 

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