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    (Original post by Hoofbeat)
    I don't think you can generalise like that. Indeed, some pooled students will not be the best applicants, but sometimes they can be equal to the other applicants but may have been interviewed later and thus if their college has already made a firm decision that they are definitely taking some of the people they interviewed earlier, then irrespective of their quality they will be pooled. I think it depends entirely on the subject involved, ie. some subjects have more departmental admissions proceedures (eg. Biochemistry where the students are all ranked and those that are ranked highest get their preferred college), but in other subjects it could entirely depend on whether you're interviewed first or last! However, I think you're certainly right that their will be some improvement in Hilda's Norrington table position, which may partly be due to the number of pooled applicants there to begin with.
    Do you actually know of colleges where halfway through their interviews they stop and say, 'ok we've found five good ones, anyone else from now on gets pooled'? I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but I cannot believe that they wouldn't take a fantastic candidate just because he was interviewed later - that would be against both the tutors' and college's interests!

    I think it is absolutely fair enough to say that on the whole pooled applicants are not the best - of course a few pooled applicants should have been chosen by their first colleges, and a few shouldn't have even been pooled. But on average surely you agree it is not controversial that the candidates a college takes first are stronger than those they pool?


    Also, I disagree with your comment:

    Indeed, it is true that more scientists get firsts than many arts subjects, which could be seen as an unfair advantage on the Norrington table. However, far more 2:2's and 3rd are given out in sciences than arts (how many 3rds do you ever see in History finals?!) so in my opinion that balances everything out.
    While it is true that far more scientists get more 2:2s and 3rds than arts students, my claim is still justified, for two reasons:

    1) The Norrington put a lot more weighting on firsts than 2:2s. You get 5 points for a first, 3 for a 2:1 and 2 for a 2:2. So for a very simple example, suppose you had a subject where two people got 2:1s. Then the average score is 3. In a subject where 1 person gets a 1st and 1 a 2:2, the average score is 3.5. So subjects with a lot more firsts AND 2:2s still do better.

    2) You might say that analysis is flawed because what if there are much more 2:2s and 3rds than 1sts? Well, there aren't. In science subjects, typically many more students get 1sts than 2:2/3rds. Some examples:

    Earth Sciences: 10 1sts, 2 2:2s, 0 3rds.

    Maths 4 years: 37 1sts, 9 2nds, 1 3rd.

    Biology: 23 1sts, 13 2:2s, 0 3rds.

    Same trend for all sciences AFAIK
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Currently Hilda's is MASSIVELY undersubscribed - in many subjects they have less applicants than places!
    While I agree it won't suddenly become Balliol, I think it's fair enough to assume that it will get a lot closer to other colleges.
    Hmm, sorry, I think I didn't express myself clearly there... Obviously it's fair enough to assume the number of applicants will approach that of other colleges, but that still doesn't mean those applicants will necessarily be better applicants.
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Hmm, sorry, I think I didn't express myself clearly there... Obviously it's fair enough to assume the number of applicants will approach that of other colleges, but that still doesn't mean those applicants will necessarily be better applicants.

    Certainly on average there is not need to assume they will be better. However, simply by having more of them, then there will be more good ones (as well as more bad ones of course). The average candidate's ability doesn't really matter much - it's just having enough so that there are more at the higher end of the spectrum.
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    (Original post by Popa Dom)
    I wondered about this last year, as I dont know if its actually true over the whole uni, but it seems to me that way more people have their surnames in the first half of the alphabet than the second (though then again it might be true over the country in general, I dont know). You just have to be around the poll room on union elections to see that the a-g queue usually goes to the back of the room while the other 2 are usually half that. And cos interviews are done alphabetcally I wondered if there was a link

    Over the country there are indeed far more people with surnames A-M than N-Z. Off the top of my head I think the halfway letter is H or something like that.

    I find it unlikely that there is a significant effect based on most colleges interviewing alphabetically.
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    Hehe you never know maybe that's why some colleges don't? (I know for a fact the biology interviews at Jesus weren't done in alphabetical order )
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    (Original post by kizer)
    Certainly on average there is not need to assume they will be better. However, simply by having more of them, then there will be more good ones (as well as more bad ones of course). The average candidate's ability doesn't really matter much - it's just having enough so that there are more at the higher end of the spectrum.
    Perhaps so...
    Oh well, we'll see in 2012.
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    (Original post by anone_hamster)
    Come on, that's a bizarre argument... you can't seriously believe that tutors are inept enough to find x candidates they are content with and then discount anyone afterwards who performs better? Decisions aren't made until they've seen everyone (although, of course, they are forming preferences as they go along).

    To suggest otherwise on here is irresponsible if this is being read by potential applicants - admissions tutors are not crazy old cranks, but approach the whole process pretty fairly really. Their interest is to tutor the brightest students they can find; they're not going to turn the best person they see all day away merely because he or she is seen last!
    It's not irresponsible in the slightest because it's fact that it happens. If you would like the name of a tutor who does exactly that then I can provide you with at least one, at his own admittance. The reason why it's ok to do this, is because the pooling system works - at least it does for subjects like Biology where admissions are effectively centralised so they can guarantee all the best applicants get a place. Nobody's saying that they'd turn down a genius because they already had 4 ok candidates - but there might be somebody who was a borderline applicant and is over looked for this reason.
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    Students who are pooled/made open offers aren't necessarily weaker when they get to uni - look at Stu, he got incredible marks in his third year exams (and his ranking was :eek2: ), and yet he had an open offer!
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    (Original post by kizer)
    pooled students are ones specifically chosen as not the best among a group of applicants.
    I don't think it is as cut and dry as that. I would say that it is possibly true that a college will choose the best applicants it sees, but it is quite possible that a student not good enough there, could be good enough, or better than those seen elsewhere!

    Also, you're assuming that ability is a) judged correctly at interview and b) that that ability is maintained throughout the course to have a noticeable impact 3 years later. It's not always a case of having ability, it's how you use what you have.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    It's not irresponsible in the slightest because it's fact that it happens. If you would like the name of a tutor who does exactly that then I can provide you with at least one, at his own admittance. The reason why it's ok to do this, is because the pooling system works - at least it does for subjects like Biology where admissions are effectively centralised so they can guarantee all the best applicants get a place. Nobody's saying that they'd turn down a genius because they already had 4 ok candidates - but there might be somebody who was a borderline applicant and is over looked for this reason.
    I'm not sure about details of the admission process in all subjects; but, as a matter of fact, admission letters are sent off after all candidates have been interviewed; I had an interview at another college, but was still accepted by my first choice; and I consider it very, very unlikely that a college would pool a stronger candidate whilst accepting a weaker one because the weaker one was interviewed first; I mean, just think about it... They make up their minds after interviews, they cannot do so earlier, and they take the best people that applied to their college - end of story. If some subjects are doing it differently, maybe, but I'd bet a lot that this is not how it's generally done, as it is neither in the interest of the student, nor in that of the college.
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    (Original post by Sternau)
    I'm not sure about details of the admission process in all subjects; but, as a matter of fact, admission letters are sent off after all candidates have been interviewed; I had an interview at another college, but was still accepted by my first choice; and I consider it very, very unlikely that a college would pool a stronger candidate whilst accepting a weaker one because the weaker one was interviewed first; I mean, just think about it... They make up their minds after interviews, they cannot do so earlier, and they take the best people that applied to their college - end of story. If some subjects are doing it differently, maybe, but I'd bet a lot that this is not how it's generally done, as it is neither in the interest of the student, nor in that of the college.
    I wasn't suggesting they would take a weaker candidate over a stronger, in fact I quite categorically said that wasn't the case. What I said was that with two candidates of equal quality the latter is likely to lose out and be pooled, but because admissions are oftened centralised the first college will still endeavour to make sure that this candidate gets a place, and therefore pooled candidates need not be the bottom of the pile.
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    (Original post by F1 fanatic)
    I don't think it is as cut and dry as that. I would say that it is possibly true that a college will choose the best applicants it sees, but it is quite possible that a student not good enough there, could be good enough, or better than those seen elsewhere!

    Also, you're assuming that ability is a) judged correctly at interview and b) that that ability is maintained throughout the course to have a noticeable impact 3 years later. It's not always a case of having ability, it's how you use what you have.

    I didn't explicitly state it the first time I raised the point, but of course I am talking about averages. I never said (and in fact have rigorously argued against elsewhere) the idea that the interview process is perfect, and gets everything right. But surely on average the candidates a college chooses first time are stronger than those a college chooses to pool?

    As for b), again I am talking about averages. While it is true that some pooled candidates will shine later on, and some immediately accepted candidates will turn out to be dunces, on average surely we can accept that stronger candidates at interview are more likely to do well later on also?
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)


    I wasn't suggesting they would take a weaker candidate over a stronger, in fact I quite categorically said that wasn't the case. What I said was that with two candidates of equal quality the latter is likely to lose out and be pooled, but because admissions are oftened centralised the first college will still endeavour to make sure that this candidate gets a place, and therefore pooled candidates need not be the bottom of the pile.

    But then if the candidates are of equal quality they are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, since they won't affect which group of candidates - those taken by their first choice colleges or those taken having been pooled - are stronger on average.
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    (Original post by Athena)
    Students who are pooled/made open offers aren't necessarily weaker when they get to uni - look at Stu, he got incredible marks in his third year exams (and his ranking was :eek2: ), and yet he had an open offer!
    Talking about averages - nobody is claiming that all candidates that are pooled always do worse at public exam time then all candidates who were not pooled.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    But then if the candidates are of equal quality they are irrelevant to the discussion at hand, since they won't affect which group of candidates - those taken by their first choice colleges or those taken having been pooled - are stronger on average.
    Except that the point is that one will be in the group of those accepted first time whereas one will be pooled e.g. to St. Hilda's. Therefore the candidates at St. Hilda's need not be weaker just because they were pooled.
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    (Original post by kizer)
    I didn't explicitly state it the first time I raised the point, but of course I am talking about averages. I never said (and in fact have rigorously argued against elsewhere) the idea that the interview process is perfect, and gets everything right. But surely on average the candidates a college chooses first time are stronger than those a college chooses to pool?

    As for b), again I am talking about averages. While it is true that some pooled candidates will shine later on, and some immediately accepted candidates will turn out to be dunces, on average surely we can accept that stronger candidates at interview are more likely to do well later on also?
    Well, I would argue that, on average, it isn't going to make much difference and that, on average, after 3 years you won't be able to tell the difference between someone who was pooled and someone who wasn't, since the gulf in abilities is really not that wide. I am of the belief that anyone who is interviewed by Oxford could do well there, it's just some are lucky enough to get chosen and some aren't.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)


    Except that the point is that one will be in the group of those accepted first time whereas one will be pooled e.g. to St. Hilda's. Therefore the candidates at St. Hilda's need not be weaker just because they were pooled.

    I agree, they need not. But my point is that if you add one number to two groups with different averages, then the group of numbers which originally had the larger average still will...

    Which is the mathematical way of saying that your example doesn't change the fact that candidates chosen first by colleges on average will still be stronger than those pooled.
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    (Original post by F1 fanatic)
    Well, I would argue that, on average, it isn't going to make much difference and that, on average, after 3 years you won't be able to tell the difference between someone who was pooled and someone who wasn't, since the gulf in abilities is really not that wide. I am of the belief that anyone who is interviewed by Oxford could do well there, it's just some are lucky enough to get chosen and some aren't.

    I disagree. Those people who apply to Oxford do not all have equal ability, they have a range of abilities. All could do well there, but the point is that very strong candidates are likely both to be picked by their first college, and do well in public exams. It won't be a strong effect, but it will be there.

    Your last statement seems to suggest that getting in to Oxford is based on luck alone - surely you don't actually think that?
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    I think we have to admit though that a certain amount may be down to the luck of the draw, questions asked, nerves on the day etc. Arguably those who don't cope well at interview wouldn't prosper under the tutorial system, but I don't necessarily think tutors can pinpoint at interview who will come top in the year in finals.
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    (Original post by Bekaboo)
    I think we have to admit though that a certain amount may be down to the luck of the draw, questions asked, nerves on the day etc. Arguably those who don't cope well at interview wouldn't prosper under the tutorial system, but I don't necessarily think tutors can pinpoint at interview who will come top in the year in finals.

    I totally agree that luck is involved, and I also entirely agree that tutors couldn't pinpoint who would come top of the year in finals.

    BUT neither of those points changes the fact that on average candidates who are chosen first by their college will be stronger than those pooled. From which it follows that colleges taking a lot of pooled candidates (like Hilda's) will be at a disadvantage compared to colleges that take hardly any pooled candidates (like Magdalene, Balliol and Christ Church).
 
 
 
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