Eating Disorder as a mitigating circumstance in UCAS reference

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    Does anyone have any experience or insight into how Russell Group universities (including Oxford) are likely to react to an applicant's reference citing anorexia as a mitigating circumstance? Are they more likely to:be more sympathetic to the candidate's application, perhaps ease the conditions of any offer, or maybe lower the threshold to get an interview?find implicit ways to reject the candidate, to avoid risk to their course and department?pay no attention to the illness during the application process, but then hopefully provide appropriate care and safeguards should the candidate be accepted?The applicant has asked for my advice, is already receiving out-patient treatment for the anorexia, and hopes to have made significant steps forward with the illness over the next year. However, it has had and will continue to have a significant impact on ability to study, both in terms of time and emotionally.I'm particularly interested to know if anyone's had any first-hand experience, or with friends/family who have.
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    (Original post by GaryUpland)
    ..........
    There has been a TSR member this year with exactly this issue in the Cam forum. There was no issue at all during the application process. In general (from my experience at Cam) the offer is unlikely to be lowered - the courses are tough enough without letting people in without the same foundation as the rest of their course. Also, the mitigation is already supposed to be accounted within the grade awarded, in many circumstances. However, in cases like this, there is often a note on the applicant's file saying 'accept with XXX' ie reduced grades, in the event that happens. I worked at another RG uni where this would also have been the case - standard process applied, and minimum acceptance grades put on file for us on decisions day if required.

    In the TSR case, the individual realised their anorexia was not sufficiently under control to cope with the rigors of going off to uni, and about 3 weeks before term started they contacted the Uni and College and I think the mutual decision was to defer for a year.

    If you go to the Cam forum you may be able to track down the post in the 2016 thread - sorry, can't remember the person's nick, so it might be a slog. Otherwise, there is often an Admissions Tutor, and they will know the exact details of consideration.

    What there won't be, is any underhand inference or suspicion- admissions teams aren't cabals of enclosed secret workers. It's either centralised - A team of highly process driven junior staff who have to record every breath they take - they'd have to have these illegal tactics written down in the policy document to get it to happen - so it won't happen. Or admissions decisions sit with academics in departments, and they are too left-wing, egalitarian, equality driven, pink fluffy bodies to ever dream of anything so devious. Also, if they got found out, they'd never work in academia again!!
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    Why should they get an advantage over the rest of us?
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    I think you need to be clearer about what, exactly, it's mitigating. And there would need to be evidence that the sufferer had sufficient insight into their condition and how it might affect their future academic work - a declaration of 'I'm anorexic, I didn't do as well as others you might be considering but give me a chance anyway' aint going to wash.
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    No, universities like Oxbridge are incredibly unlikely to lower the threshold for an interview or offer. Why would they?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    I think you need to be clearer about what, exactly, it's mitigating. And there would need to be evidence that the sufferer had sufficient insight into their condition and how it might affect their future academic work - a declaration of 'I'm anorexic, I didn't do as well as others you might be considering but give me a chance anyway' aint going to wash.
    (Original post by ed98)
    No, universities like Oxbridge are incredibly unlikely to lower the threshold for an interview or offer. Why would they?
    Precisely. At the end of the day, you (or your client or whatever) hasn't got the required grades. Why should they get it over people who have those grades?
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    To be honest mental health support at Oxford is not great, and due to the high workloads and stress, lots students take at least one year out of their course due to mental illness. An individual's experience will depend on their college/tutors/department as some are more supportive but many are pretty inflexible.

    In terms of offer grades, as someone already said, the exam boards should be made aware of extenuating circumstances and the university will not usually take into account circumstances that the exam board have already made allowances for.

    It won't harm their chances though.

    I have a friend from my course who was anorexic and is very involved with mental health charities, especially in regards to students' mental health. I can ask if she'd be willing to talk about her personal experience on Oxford admissions to your applicant, if they would like.
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    (Original post by x__justmyluck)
    To be honest mental health support at Oxford is not great, and due to the high workloads and stress, lots students take at least one year out of their course due to mental illness. .
    That's strange, because Cambridge's mental health support is excellent.

    Have you got any stats for 'lots' of students taking a year out for mental health reasons?
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    (Original post by x__justmyluck)
    lots students take at least one year out of their course due to mental illness.
    Outlandish claims like this not backed up with any evidence do not help people make an informed choice.
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    (Original post by x__justmyluck)
    To be honest mental health support at Oxford is not great, and due to the high workloads and stress, lots students take at least one year out of their course due to mental illness.
    Lots? Source...?

    And overall dropout rates at Oxbridge are the lowest of all UK universities.

    Edit to add: CUG ranked by decreasing completion rate:
    http://www.thecompleteuniversityguid...pletion&v=wide
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    There has been a TSR member this year with exactly this issue in the Cam forum. There was no issue at all during the application process. In general (from my experience at Cam) the offer is unlikely to be lowered - the courses are tough enough without letting people in without the same foundation as the rest of their course. Also, the mitigation is already supposed to be accounted within the grade awarded, in many circumstances. However, in cases like this, there is often a note on the applicant's file saying 'accept with XXX' ie reduced grades, in the event that happens. I worked at another RG uni where this would also have been the case - standard process applied, and minimum acceptance grades put on file for us on decisions day if required.

    In the TSR case, the individual realised their anorexia was not sufficiently under control to cope with the rigors of going off to uni, and about 3 weeks before term started they contacted the Uni and College and I think the mutual decision was to defer for a year.

    If you go to the Cam forum you may be able to track down the post in the 2016 thread - sorry, can't remember the person's nick, so it might be a slog. Otherwise, there is often an Admissions Tutor, and they will know the exact details of consideration.

    What there won't be, is any underhand inference or suspicion- admissions teams aren't cabals of enclosed secret workers. It's either centralised - A team of highly process driven junior staff who have to record every breath they take - they'd have to have these illegal tactics written down in the policy document to get it to happen - so it won't happen. Or admissions decisions sit with academics in departments, and they are too left-wing, egalitarian, equality driven, pink fluffy bodies to ever dream of anything so devious. Also, if they got found out, they'd never work in academia again!!
    Thank you very much for your thoughtful and sensitive response - very helpful, and re-assuring.
 
 
 
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