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    1. They are under the impression that Cambridge is elitist, artsy and discriminatory towards people like myself who come from an upper working-class background. According to my Mother, unless you speak with a particular accent, you won't be made to feel welcome. I know this is an outdated perception of Cambridge but they don't appear to be having any of it.

    2. Given that I'm Scottish, they concept of tuition fees is completely alien to them. Most of the people they know who have attended university in recent years essentially got by for free (in terms of tuition fees, that is) and so they think that £9000 a year, plus maintenance loans, is going to financially ruin me for the rest of my life. I've tried to explain, numerous times, that virtually everyone living in England is in the same boat and the idea that someone with a Mathematics degree from Cambridge is hard-off compared to everybody else is ludicrous but they won't listen. All they see is x amount of debt from Cambridge vs free tuition in Scotland.

    How exactly would you suggest I refute these objections? Is the debt that a three years undergraduate degree leaves a working-class student in actually significant? Or does it have very little impact on how your life will pan-out?
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    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    1. They are under the impression that Cambridge is elitist, artsy and discriminatory towards people like myself who come from an upper working-class background. According to my Mother, unless you speak with a particular accent, you won't be made to feel welcome. I know this is an outdated perception of Cambridge but they don't appear to be having any of it.

    2. Given that I'm Scottish, they concept of tuition fees is completely alien to them. Most of the people they know who have attended university in recent years essentially got by for free (in terms of tuition fees, that is) and so they think that £9000 a year, plus maintenance loans, is going to financially ruin me for the rest of my life. I've tried to explain, numerous times, that virtually everyone living in England is in the same boat and the idea that someone with a Mathematics degree from Cambridge is hard-off compared to everybody else is ludicrous but they won't listen. All they see is x amount of debt from Cambridge vs free tuition in Scotland.

    How exactly would you suggest I refute these objections? Is the debt that a three years undergraduate degree leaves a working-class student in actually significant? Or does it have very little impact on how your life will pan-out?
    1) actually the usual view of Cambridge is that it was historically "non-conformist" and is STEM-centric. What even is upper working-class?! but there are more "posh" people at Bristol and St Andrews than Cambridge. Only 37% of Cambridge students went to private school (not necessarily a good measure of poshness but there you go).

    2) you only start to repay the loan when you start to earn over £21k. If you go on to earn £31k you would repay £900 per year, the equivalent of a Starbucks a day... not bad value

    Also, because terms are short and you only pay for termly rentals the accommodation costs are lower anyway than other English unis.
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    Regarding the fear of posh elitism, I would suggest you visit Cam with them. My daughter is American, brought up on the Continent, and she has had no problems whatsoever with snobs. Of course, colleges differ - she is in Girton, which is very closely knit and diverse. Indeed, I am astonished how accepting and open Cam has been for her, though her accent has changed a bit. My perception is that there are very very few of the idiots you see in popular culture.
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    I have the same problem - my girlfriend is French and her and her family just can't seem to accept that involving money with education in anyway can be anything less than EVIL CAPITALISM DESTROYING THE WORLD. But actually explain to them how the loans work. You basically only pay it back if you earn enough to pay it back. Can't remember exactly, but I think you pay back fifty quid a month once your earning two grand a month, or something like that.

    Then, as someone says, get them to look round with you on an open day. No quicker way to show that the stereotype of Oxbridge is total crap. This worked on my parents and girlfriend.
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    (Original post by MouseyBrown)
    I have the same problem - my girlfriend is French and her and her family just can't seem to accept that involving money with education in anyway can be anything less than EVIL CAPITALISM DESTROYING THE WORLD. But actually explain to them how the loans work. You basically only pay it back if you earn enough to pay it back. Can't remember exactly, but I think you pay back fifty quid a month once your earning two grand a month, or something like that.

    Then, as someone says, get them to look round with you on an open day. No quicker way to show that the stereotype of Oxbridge is total crap. This worked on my parents and girlfriend.
    Except the oldness and history on show can make it look posh... unless you visit Churchill, etc

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    Third Oxbridge parent to post on this thread!

    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    1. They are under the impression that Cambridge is elitist, artsy and discriminatory towards people like myself who come from an upper working-class background. According to my Mother, unless you speak with a particular accent, you won't be made to feel welcome. I know this is an outdated perception of Cambridge but they don't appear to be having any of it.
    Some people in Cambridge might be like that - a very few - but you'll find that, at any university, there will be people who are XYZ and discriminatory towards people who come from a different background. It's life. In my daughter's experience at Oxford, no-one made her feel unwelcome, there were people who she didn't particularly like but she didn't mix with them - no different to any other social situation.

    If you apply (and it's only one out of five choices) then, as you go through the process, the more positive contact you get with Cambridge will help them change their perception.


    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    2. Given that I'm Scottish, they concept of tuition fees is completely alien to them. Most of the people they know who have attended university in recent years essentially got by for free (in terms of tuition fees, that is) and so they think that £9000 a year, plus maintenance loans, is going to financially ruin me for the rest of my life. I've tried to explain, numerous times, that virtually everyone living in England is in the same boat and the idea that someone with a Mathematics degree from Cambridge is hard-off compared to everybody else is ludicrous but they won't listen. All they see is x amount of debt from Cambridge vs free tuition in Scotland.
    Yeah this one's harder. Coming from the generation where not only were there no tuition fees, but you actually got grants towards living expenses, I can relate to your parents' worries. You could reassure them that applying to Cambridge isn't instantly landing with you with this massive debt - it's just keeping your options open until just before you make the final choice. If you gain a place, they might begin to feel differently about it.


    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    How exactly would you suggest I refute these objections? Is the debt that a three years undergraduate degree leaves a working-class student in actually significant? Or does it have very little impact on how your life will pan-out?
    Don't actually refute anything - just position it as something you'd like to explore & that you'll welcome their help in making the final decision further down the line, once all your offers are in.
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    Cambridge is for the brightest and the best, whatever your background. The Mathematics Tripos is the top mathematics degree in the world.
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    (Original post by Jantaculum)
    Third Oxbridge parent to post on this thread!


    Yeah this one's harder. Coming from the generation where not only were there no tuition fees, but you actually got grants towards living expenses, I can relate to your parents' worries. You could reassure them that applying to Cambridge isn't instantly landing with you with this massive debt - it's just keeping your options open until just before you make the final choice. If you gain a place, they might begin to feel differently about it.
    .
    Yay!

    And it's worth pointing out that Cambridge is no more expensive than any other English university. If anything it can be cheaper.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Except the oldness and history on show can make it look posh... unless you visit Churchill, etc

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    Well, yeah, but actually seeing that far from everybody has a 'posh' accent, and listening to tutors explain the admissions process cleared up a lot of misconceptions. The whole stereotype thing annoys me, because I think it is a main cause of unequal access etc to these places. The people who complain you won't get in without an accent are often the ones perpetuating the problem they complain about.
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    Going to Cambridge will probably help you in your career. I don't think anybody can *guarantee* you'll be £9000 x 3 richer than somebody who went to a Scottish University but statistically I think it might work out.

    Cambridge is an expensive place to buy but it's not too bad to rent still. Lots of new housing being built. And it's a really nice place to live :P

    To be honest re: the posh issue, I think quite a few of the Scottish Unis have their fair share of people from privileged backgrounds! Did the royal family not go to St Andrews?

    Besides, posh people aren't inherently evil or something. There's no real reason why you or your parents should shun people from other social backgrounds. University is the great leveller. You'll meet people from other walks of life no matter where you go.

    Ultimately you may not even get in so what's the harm in applying and seeing where it takes you? :P You'll kick yourself if you don't.
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    (Original post by seaholme)

    Cambridge is an expensive place to buy but it's not too bad to rent still. Lots of new housing being built. And it's a really nice place to live :P
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    Cambridge undergrad students don't buy, or rent, in the private sector. The colleges provide accommodation for all undergrad years.

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    (Original post by jneill)
    Cambridge undergrad students don't buy, or rent, in the private sector. The colleges provide accommodation for all undergrad years.

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    Cushty! That's amazing. Well then you'll actually be saving money potentially :P
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    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    1. They are under the impression that Cambridge is elitist,
    It is, in the good sense of the word: only the intellectual elite get in.

    artsy
    LOL, no.

    and discriminatory towards people like myself who come from an upper working-class background.
    Whatever upper working class is, this isn't true. The only discrimination is against people who aren't smart. Yes the people there will tend to be from wealthier backgrounds than the average university, but why would that bother anyone unless they were a reverse snob?

    2. Given that I'm Scottish, they concept of tuition fees is completely alien to them.
    Scotland has some great universities. None is in the same league as Cambridge. If you were tossing up Nottingham vs Edinburgh, this might be harder to judge.

    Is the debt that a three years undergraduate degree leaves a working-class student in actually significant? Or does it have very little impact on how your life will pan-out?
    The latter. Goodness, a maths degree from Cambridge is pretty much the most valuable degree in the world in terms of opportunities it brings.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    1) actually the usual view of Cambridge is that it was historically "non-conformist" and is STEM-centric. What even is upper working-class?! but there are more "posh" people at Bristol and St Andrews than Cambridge. Only 37% of Cambridge students went to private school (not necessarily a good measure of poshness but there you go).

    2) you only start to repay the loan when you start to earn over £21k. If you go on to earn £31k you would repay £900 per year, the equivalent of a Starbucks a day... not bad value

    Also, because terms are short and you only pay for termly rentals the accommodation costs are lower anyway than other English unis.
    Hi, the amount of money you payback is that a percentage of how much money you borrowed or based on a percentage of how much money you earn?
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    (Original post by khanpatel321)
    Hi, the amount of money you payback is that a percentage of how much money you borrowed or based on a percentage of how much money you earn?
    http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.u..._schema=PORTAL

    NB. Plan 2 is the current plan. Plan 1 was the previous plan.
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    (Original post by FrankTeller1234)
    1. They are under the impression that Cambridge is elitist, artsy and discriminatory towards people like myself who come from an upper working-class background. According to my Mother, unless you speak with a particular accent, you won't be made to feel welcome. I know this is an outdated perception of Cambridge but they don't appear to be having any of it.

    2. Given that I'm Scottish, they concept of tuition fees is completely alien to them. Most of the people they know who have attended university in recent years essentially got by for free (in terms of tuition fees, that is) and so they think that £9000 a year, plus maintenance loans, is going to financially ruin me for the rest of my life. I've tried to explain, numerous times, that virtually everyone living in England is in the same boat and the idea that someone with a Mathematics degree from Cambridge is hard-off compared to everybody else is ludicrous but they won't listen. All they see is x amount of debt from Cambridge vs free tuition in Scotland.

    How exactly would you suggest I refute these objections? Is the debt that a three years undergraduate degree leaves a working-class student in actually significant? Or does it have very little impact on how your life will pan-out?
    OK, the fourth parent, here.....

    To start with, as others have pointed out, your parents' perception about Cambridge being elitist/posh is not correct. Not in the way they seem to be thinking, anyway. So you need to, somehow, show them some proof to ease their concern.
    I know many, many Cambridge students over decades, including members of my family and close friends, and they all came from various backgrounds, and none of them left feeling alienated only because of their background for the duration of their course. Yes, some people do take a bit longer than others to get used to a new environment/people at the beginning, but it won't last very long. No different from any other institution/organization/etc.
    The only thing you need to be is being academically capable, hard-working and being genuinely passionate about the subject you're studying. That's all you need to be. Nobody cares about your financial/social background.

    As for the finance.....That's probably more difficult. But their concern of you becoming financially burdened is a bit over the top, I think. Do they seriously think all English university students are going to be ruined financially because of the student loans? The student loans is set up and structured so that people won't fall into that sort of trouble.
    However, in your case, am I right in thinking you'll be getting grants from SAAS, rather than SFE? If so, it may be a good idea to find out how much you're likely to get grants if you're going to a uni in England (or Scottish unis, if there's any difference).
    It's because one of the hidden problems of free tuition fee in Scotland (which SNP doesn't want to talk about and Scottish media doesn't seem to be covering about it well enough...) is that because the budget for education in Scotland is being stretched so thinly because of the free tuitions, it has resulted in Scottish Government (through SAAS) being less generous than English counterpart in grants they can provide, which actually has resulted in the decline of Scottish students from poorer backgrounds to pursuing higher education in recent years. A completely opposite effect from what was originally intended.
    So if you have to rely heavily on the grants from SAAS for maintenance during university course, that's something you need to investigate carefully.

    (Just for an additional info, if you're coming to English uni, Cambridge is probably the cheapest one to come as accommodation is provided by your college for duration of your course (or at least 3 years, in some colleges) which is much cheaper than renting privately and you only need to pay for the periods you're actually living there, unlike private accommodation for which you'll be on a yearly-contract.)

    But other than that, your parents are worrying about what they don't have to worry about. But that's 'parents' for you, sometimes....


    Edited to add:
    Go to their Open Day in June/July with your parents. I think that'd change their prejudice. It's very good.
    http://www.undergraduate.study.cam.a...idge-open-days
    (You have to register to book a place, in principle, but in reality nobody checks if you registered or not for general parts/sessions on the Open Day. Though they may check it for some departmental talks. (For which you may need to book a place, separately from the general one.)
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    Tell them to piss off and that you're paying for your education and are therefore free to do whatever you want. Tell them the extra money you'll have to spend will be rewarded almost double over, and if they're worried about debt, it'll be you who's paying it off, not them
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    I personally wouldn't waste my time trying to change the minds of those who have such preconceptions. Similar story here but I went ahead and applied anyway .
 
 
 
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