For sale: university places go to cash-rich foreigners

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Mysticmin
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#21
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At the risk of being yelled at...some of the overseas exams are of higher standards than the A-levels we sit. The admissions tutor at Imperial was saying how in parts of Asia, their A-levels were the same standard as ours ten years ago. It would make sense for them to get lower offers, if their exams are harder.
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Fluffy
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#22
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(Original post by Mysticmin)
The admissions tutor at Imperial was saying how in parts of Asia, their A-levels were the same standard as ours ten years ago.
But that would support the notion that A-Levels have gotten easier...

Batten down the hatched, there might be a storm
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Mysticmin
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(Original post by Fluffy)
But that would support the notion that A-Levels have gotten easier...

Batten down the hatched, there might be a storm
Lol, am I the only a-leveller who actually thinks they've gotten easier?
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Elle
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#24
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For Law this is certainley noticeable.. considering the level of competition among UK applicant's it's frustrating when you hear that an international student has been given a far lower offer. In my experience some of the worst offenders include Nottingham, LSE, Warwick and UCL.
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kingslaw
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I havent read the whole of this thread, but am I right in guessing that cash-rich foreign students are disagreeing with the fact that cash-rich foreign students get university places on easier terms?

It makes me sick when anybody gets a place above anyone else on the grounds that they have more money to spend, whether that comes in the form of ability to pay extortionate tuition fees, or the fact that they got a better education because their parents could afford to send them to private school. This is regardless of whether they are British, European, Asian or Martian.

However, I dont disagree with the concept of competion for British places from foreign students who are competing on even grounds. In the long term such competion can only push the quality of academia within the UK upwards through improvement in the UK schooling system. However, in the current situation where foreign students who are less capable than British students are getting preference because of their wealth, this does not happen as there is no incentive for the imporvement of UK schools - it'd make no difference.
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kildare
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(Original post by kingslaw)
I havent read the whole of this thread, but am I right in guessing that cash-rich foreign students are disagreeing with the fact that cash-rich foreign students get university places on easier terms?
Errr, it shows and well no you''re not.

Sorry mate :P
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kingslaw
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(Original post by kildare)
Errr, it shows and well no you''re not.

Sorry mate :P
My lazyness comes to haunt me. Curses!
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J.S.
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#28
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(Original post by Mysticmin)
At the risk of being yelled at...some of the overseas exams are of higher standards than the A-levels we sit. The admissions tutor at Imperial was saying how in parts of Asia, their A-levels were the same standard as ours ten years ago. It would make sense for them to get lower offers, if their exams are harder.

In the technical subjects, perhaps that’s the case. Regarding the Humanities and Social Sciences, with Asians, what I find is that they're often trained to repeat a set of facts, and that to them is what education is all about. It’s as though any input from the student is discouraged, and what’s required is rote learning, followed by repetition in exams. There’s no independent thought involved, nor is this attribute particularly well developed. Therefore, they tend to struggle a great deal on disciplines such as Law, Philosophy, Politics and the like - as their approach doesn't seem to work too well at university level in these disciplines. I think universities ought to be wary in accepting people from Asia with a string of 15 gazillion A grades, as often they've not acquired what it takes to go beyond the basic ability of a parrot.

If universities accept people bought up in this culture and having taken exams in the above manner, AND they accept such people with relatively lower grades, then that’ s despicable; after all, it’s not done in ignorance either. University admissions tutors are, on the whole, well aware of differences in education between the respective countries from which they regularly admit students, and more often than not they’re well aware they’re accepting people from abroad who are nowhere near as capable as many of whom they’ve rejected.

The only way to ensure any meaningful degree of selectivity in university admissions at the undergraduate level is to carry out panel interviews, and to have entrance tests that go well beyond A level in terms of assessing analytical thought. Aside from interviews, no matter how many times over you read someone’s personal statement, you just don’t know what you’re getting.
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Leekey
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(Original post by J.S.)
In the technical subjects, perhaps that’s the case.
Good to see the perhaps in there to make sure us techies aren't branded as incapable of analytical thought.
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ckwan16
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#30
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Well, the UK isn't the only place where different groups receive preferences in different ways.

In the US there are several questionable areas in admissions that have allowed certain types of students to gain uni admission over others who might be better qualified on paper.

1) Legacy Cases: Your parents are alum of the university. If you parents are donors to the university even better.

2) Affirmative Action: I'm not touching this subject with a ten footpole.

3) Donations: Parents donate money to school

4) Athletic scholarships: are you 7'6 and can leap out of a gym....

My personal opinion is that the UK needs to start charging British and EU students a more "competitive" tuition fee in order to not rely so heavily on international student funds. Some people will say that international students are taking advantage of the system, but I bet you that British and EU students would do the same thing if they could.
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Tajel
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#31
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(Original post by ckwan16)
Well, the UK isn't the only place where different groups receive preferences in different ways.

In the US there are several questionable areas in admissions that have allowed certain types of students to gain uni admission over others who might be better qualified on paper.

1) Legacy Cases: Your parents are alum of the university. If you parents are donors to the university even better.
This is definitely the case. Highly competitive unis here admit around twice as many legacies (proportionally) as they do non-legacies. If anything, it's a little surprising that this isn't more of an issue. Of course, since most such unis are private, they can admit whomever they wish. Financially, as ckwan points out, it make sense to 'keep it in the family.' That said, as applications to the most competitive schools have risen, even legacy admission rates have shrunk. At the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I feel that legacy admission is inherently unfair, but can I really say I won't approve in ~18 years when my son (due Dec 2 ) is applying? I'm not sure....

(Original post by ckwan16)
2) Affirmative Action: I'm not touching this subject with a ten footpole.

AA is such a hot potato in the US - it is, after all, paradoxical. Its aim - to reflect the racial makeup of the nation in its schools - is laudable, but it involves discrimination. Even positive discrimination as a counter to two centuries of negative discrimination runs contrary to many deeply help beliefs in the nation. However, after the recent U. of Michigan legal triumoh, it isn't going to go away.

(Original post by ckwan16)
3) Donations: Parents donate money to school

Well, you covered that in your first point. It is a factor, but perhaps not as much as you might think. An Ivy or similar institution might find some leeway if a large donation was in the offing, but the student would have to be pretty close anyway.
(Original post by ckwan16)

4) Athletic scholarships: are you 7'6 and can leap out of a gym....

True, but such students constitute a tiny minority of the body as a whole. There are several thousand four year colleges in the US, but a relatively small number are able to provide full athletic scholarships. An example might be the U. of Texas which can probably offer a couple of hundred such scholarships, but has over 50,000 students. Also, the number of such scholarships is strictly controlled by the NCAA, not by the university in question. I feel that criticising American unis for this system is harsh: in some ways, they have no choice because there is no NFL/NBA etc equivalent to the lower divisions in, for example, British soccer. A young star like Michael Owen will go to a club and sign as a professional. Here, the only accepted way to much of pro sports is through college. This is not a bad thing; even if the athlete does not graduate (as is often the case) s/he still has some college education.

(Original post by ckwan16)

My personal opinion is that the UK needs to start charging British and EU students a more "competitive" tuition fee in order to not rely so heavily on international student funds. Some people will say that international students are taking advantage of the system, but I bet you that British and EU students would do the same thing if they could.

Of course they would - and do in other countries. Having foreign (wherever you are) students is a good thing for your uni community. It's a given that Britain could fill its unis - as could the US - with properly qualified native students. I wouldn't want to attend such a uni. Would you?
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ckwan16
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#32
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I'm all for NCAA, but sometimes when it comes to the Division 1 big time money making sports (American football and basketball) things can be pretty shady. Also when you add up the total number of DI and DII athletes on scholarships, it becomes a fairly sizable number. There are many good student athletes but there are enough programs with low graduation rates (Oklahoma Football (American) and questionable admissions policies to make it appropriate to talk about it. College athletics is getting a little out of control and should be fixed, but there is too much money involved. Also NCAA provides the NBA and NFL with basically a free/cheaper minor league system so they really don't see a need to create a seperate minor league system Colleges don't complain because they make billions of dollars off college sports. This is a very debatable subject....but in the end, I still watch college sports...haha Go Cal Bears!!

Legacies are pretty much a b.s. way to get in and some people have argued that it serves as a form of affirmative action for the affluent. But like affirmative action, if you can benefit from it you would probably support it.

To make a long story short, there will always be many ways that students will be able to gain admission to college. There really is no perfect system and some group will always complain that another group is taking "their" places.

Having foreign students really does help universities in so many way. I'm all for it. It's just that some people have negative views.
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Tajel
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#33
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(Original post by ckwan16)
I'm all for NCAA, but sometimes when it comes to the Division 1 big time money making sports (American football and basketball) things can be pretty shady.
Absolutely. But you can't blame the system if some people choose to act (illegally) outside its noundaries, can you? For the main part, the shadiness tends not to be the admission of poorly qualified students - the unfair part we are discussing - but the making of illegal perks and payments to the athlete.

(Original post by ckwan16)
Also when you add up the total number of DI and DII athletes on scholarships, it becomes a fairly sizable number.
Being on a scholarship isn't the same thing as what the OP was complaining about.

(Original post by ckwan16)
There are many good student athletes but there are enough programs with low graduation rates (Oklahoma Football (American) and questionable admissions policies to make it appropriate to talk about it.
Absolutely. It's a big problem, and reflects poorly on student athletics. What is happening is that the big name schools are becoming little more than one year stops for some NBA stars. The NFL however, forbids underclassmen to enter the draft, though this is currently under legal attack.


(Original post by ckwan16)
College athletics is getting a little out of control and should be fixed, but there is too much money involved. Also NCAA provides the NBA and NFL with basically a free/cheaper minor league system so they really don't see a need to create a seperate minor league system Colleges don't complain because they make billions of dollars off college sports.
Yes, I don't see the minor league role ever changing. However, though the overall TV contracts are huge, colleges do not make as much as you say. The money has to be shared around a lot of institutions. Also, Title IX ensures that it has to be spent on non-earning sports for women and men: in other words, something has to pay for the wrestling team, or the soccer team or the crew. IIRC, no big name school makes a profit on its athletics. Two years ago, I read that Penn State (BCS, 110,000 average for home games, national following) lost around $2M overall.


(Original post by ckwan16)
This is a very debatable subject....but in the end, I still watch college sports...haha Go Cal Bears!!
Must suck to see Stanford consistently kick their butts!


(Original post by ckwan16)
Legacies are pretty much a b.s. way to get in and some people have argued that it serves as a form of affirmative action for the affluent. But like affirmative action, if you can benefit from it you would probably support it.
Well, it would serve as AA for the less affluent as well, would it not? After all, many schools do not permit their admissions office to take finance into account when deciding to admit. So, a less wealthy legacy would have the same advantage. If needs blind policies get less affluent people into schools and legacy admission gets their children in, why is this bad? Wouldn't that only be the case if they had become wealthy before their children applied? I can't believe that would always be the case.

(Original post by ckwan16)
To make a long story short, there will always be many ways that students will be able to gain admission to college. There really is no perfect system and some group will always complain that another group is taking "their" places.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. And in the US most of the top unis are private; they can admit based on whichever criteria (as long as they are legal, of course) they choose.

(Original post by ckwan16)
Having foreign students really does help universities in so many way. I'm all for it. It's just that some people have negative views.
I'm glad to say I never had anything other than a positive experiece as a foreign student. If you are in the same position (and why else would a Cal fan be posting on a British board? ), I hope you don't either. Americans at British universities are often 'accused' of being rich interlopers - the original subject of this thread - when the real villain is the British govt., whose misguided expansion of access and lowering of funding has turned once proud institutions into cash strapped feeders for industry.
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