How am I meant to compete with Independent schools?

    • Thread Starter

    So I attend a very poor performing state school. The surrounding area where I live is quite affluent and there is an array of independent schools, all which year on year achieve outstanding results. How am I mean to compete ? I've applied to all Russell group universities and Cambridge and now I'm feeling a bit low, even once I get there I won't have had the opportunities they've had. I am not bitter towards those who can afford to pay for their education by any means, but sometimes I just think I have a very little chance of getting in. Anyone else feel like this sometimes?

    They take into account contextual information, such as A-level attainment at your college, the area you live in, etc.

    I see what you mean though, apparently people who go to independent schools make up ~7% of people doing A-levels, but at top unis (I don't have actual statistics right now, but I remember reading an article about this) there is a disproportionate amount of people at top unis (Oxbridge, St Andrews, etc) who go to independent schools. I don't think it's really fair that someone, like me, who goes to a very below average state school is expected to achieve the same grades as someone who goes to Eton.

    If you go to an independent school it doesn't mean you don't need to work just as hard as if you go to a state school!

    No, state school pupils with the same A level grades do better than private school pupils at University ie they get better degree classifications. Private school students on average get perhaps half a grade better at A level than state school students.That should tell you that many private schools cram their pupils instead of teaching them properly. State school pupils may be taught better not worse than private school pupils. After all state schools have to have qualified teachers - the ropier end of the private schools may skimp on this and pay their teachers less.

    At A level you have to take a lot more responsibility for your own learning than lower down the school in preparation for independent learning at Uni. You don't say which subjects you are doing and what you are hoping to study at Uni. If you have applied for Cambridge it would be useful for you to look online at their example interviews. Also you should look at their flagging system. It might give you confidence that they will be looking for skills and qualities which reflect an ability to benefit from what they have to offer. Many interviewers at Uni and for jobs, may be looking out for what is known as 'distance travelled' ie where you started from, what advantages / disadvantages you have had and how you have coped, how well you have nevertheless done.

    You also need to realise that while they ( private school students) have been cushioned from life, leading a narrower life than you, you have been learning invaluable lessons about how ordinary people live , how to relate to them etc. When you come to get a job these are soft skills which you will have picked up which they will not. Think a barrister having to put a 'working class' client at ease, a doctor being able to illicit information from an inarticulate patient, a social worker needing to understand the difficulties her clients have, a politician explaining her policies.
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