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    (Original post by alcibiade)
    I agree. What an oxbridge degree does is get your foot in the door more easily: grads get noticed and are one up on getting the interview, but that is just the first step in getting a job. Employers know grads can work, but there is also the question of technical qualifications and fit.
    Agree.
    On recruitment front Oxbridge degree sometimes can open a door more easily. But that's also often the only magic it does. Whether it leads to actual employment would depend on what happens/how employers assess you after the door is opened. And it's usually only for the first door it works. For the subsequent employment what/how you did in previous employment/s is much much more important.

    But as someone said earlier, it's also true many employers see Oxbridge graduates as a safer bet. As someone who were involved in employment process before, I must admit having been at intense and demanding environment like Oxbridge. gave me some level of assurance as that can mean they have good work ethic, are resilient under pressure and (I think it owes to their supervisions) good at dealing with adverse situations, including being better at producing a positive result from criticism, rather than overreacting and becoming defensive as some people tend to do.
    Recruiting someone is even more human-process than university admission assessment. It's much more difficult to predict how a graduate fresh from education will be like as an employee in the real world. And sometimes Oxbridge name does give you a glimpse of hope when you're not too sure.

    But other very top RG unis do have similar effects, too.
    Also, it's sometimes the case they have been better prepared for than Oxbridge graduates for some industries/positions because Oxbridge courses tend to be more academic and, to be frank, a bit old fashioned and too traditionalist while there're other unis (not necessarily top RG) do often provide more up-to-date course contents and style of teaching that's more practical and better linked to what's actually happening in the real world in that field.
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    (Original post by alcibiade)
    One thing to add about the subjectivity: admissions tutors want to find the people whom they would enjoy teaching. That's often a gut feeling, but at interview it's the chance to perform.
    To some extent, yes.
    Not too sure if 'enjoy' is the right expression. Yes, perhaps some element of that can affect their 'assessment' but I think they're looking more for whether a candidate would suit their supervision system.
    Even if one has a very strong set of academic profile, it doesn't mean they're a right kind of students who can get best out of supervisions. it's very different from lessons/exams they've had at school, it demands a certain kind of brain-works and ((perhaps more importantly) mind set to benefit from it. Someone with impeccable grades can be a supervision nightmare and someone with lesser grades can flourish out of it.
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    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    I know some who can and were rejected or pooled.
    You know about confirmation bias?

    I think I am allowed to ask questions..?!.. in order to make my mind up, NO?!
    Of course, and questions are great. Honestly.

    And that's why Cambridge unlike, say, St Andrews, Durham, Imperial, Warwick or LSE, have multiple admissions staff very actively participating on TSR - night and day, every day of the week.

    The problems arise when you don't believe the answers. Especially when similar answers are being given by multiple people independently. Both by "officials" and current/recent Cambridge students or even, ahem, parents.

    Sure, the "system" isn't perfect and could be improved. No-one, least of all Cambridge, has ever claimed otherwise. They even run an admission feedback thread on TSR every year and have implemented improvements as a result.

    But on the whole it seems to be more right than wrong.

    I wonder sometimes whether you are a parent, a helper, an AT, a DoS,...who are you?!!
    If you've been on the Cambridge forum for 2 years or so you already know the answer to that one. But it seems, again, you don't believe it.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    ahem, parents
    Looooool :rofl:
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    (Original post by jneill)
    You know about confirmation bias?


    Of course, and questions are great. Honestly.

    And that's why Cambridge unlike, say, St Andrews, Durham, Imperial, Warwick or LSE, have multiple admissions staff very actively participating on TSR - night and day, every day of the week.

    The problems arise when you don't believe the answers. Especially when similar answers are being given by multiple people independently. Both by "officials" and current/recent Cambridge students or even, ahem, parents.

    Sure, the "system" isn't perfect and could be improved. No-one, least of all Cambridge, has ever claimed otherwise. They even run an admission feedback thread on TSR every year and have implemented improvements as a result.

    But on the whole it seems to be right than wrong.



    If you've been on the Cambridge forum for 2 years or so you already know the answer to that one. But it seems, again, you don't believe it.

    ^ Essentially, this.

    Any claim that Cambridge is 'unaccountable' is, frankly, ludicrous. A brief sally through the recent activity from, inter alia, Christ's Admissions, Peterhouse Admissions, Medwards on this forum shows that Cambridge do all that they can to be as transparent as they practically can about the Admission's process. I don't see any other universities running fora on their Admission's system, nor do I see them receiving so much stick for trying to do what people demand of them.
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    (Original post by jadeemma)
    I've received an offer from Cambridge for Maths and heard how demanding the course is and the amount of hard work required! Does anyone wish they went to a different Uni? Plus what are the parties and nights out like?
    If your having doubts talk to your tutor and if you have one your UCAS referee your parents might also help (although they might also push you in the wrong direction) while getting an offer is to be admired and a great opportunity Oxbridge is not for everybody and it is hard work.

    whatever you choose do let the uni know if you decide to decline the offer if you have already firmed that is if not just don't put it down as your firm or insurance and go somewhere you'll feel happy.
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Any claim that Cambridge is 'unaccountable' is, frankly, ludicrous.
    To be fair to Melanie Leconte (as I think that it is her comment that you are referring to), I think that her objection is that is hard to "account for" some of the decisions taken on objective grounds. If we take her comment in this sense, then there is something to be said for it. It is not as though all candidates sit the same exams (as they used to) and Cambridge takes the top N.


    However, as part of the decision making process is based on the judgement of interviewers of the future potential of a candidate, (and has to be, given the requirement to open access to candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds), this is to some extent unavoidable. An "objective" accountable system is replaced with one that has a fair degree of subjective judgement built in.


    A brief sally through the recent activity from, inter alia, Christ's Admissions, Peterhouse Admissions, Medwards on this forum shows that Cambridge do all that they can to be as transparent as they practically can about the Admission's process. I don't see any other universities running fora on their Admission's system, nor do I see them receiving so much stick for trying to do what people demand of them.
    It has to be said that Cambridge is far more transparent in its processes than most other universities. Also, it leans over backwards to be fair to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
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    (Original post by Gregorius)
    To be fair to Melanie Leconte (as I think that it is her comment that you are referring to), I think that her objection is that is hard to "account for" some of the decisions taken on objective grounds. If we take her comment in this sense, then there is something to be said for it. It is not as though all candidates sit the same exams (as they used to) and Cambridge takes the top N.


    However, as part of the decision making process is based on the judgement of interviewers of the future potential of a candidate, (and has to be, given the requirement to open access to candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds), this is to some extent unavoidable. An "objective" accountable system is replaced with one that has a fair degree of subjective judgement built in.




    It has to be said that Cambridge is far more transparent in its processes than most other universities. Also, it leans over backwards to be fair to those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
    You make good points.

    I personally think that a degree of subjectivity is absolutely welcome in the process. I can't really think of any objective measures which could indicate whether a candidate would benefit from the supervision system, for example. Given the importance of small group teaching at Cambridge, there is little point in admitting an applicant who appears stellar on paper but in the subjective opinion of the AT's would not be able to benefit from it, even with sufficient support and exposure.
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    ITT: anecdotal evidence and generalisation
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    You make good points.

    I personally think that a degree of subjectivity is absolutely welcome in the process. I can't really think of any objective measures which could indicate whether a candidate would benefit from the supervision system, for example. Given the importance of small group teaching at Cambridge, there is little point in admitting an applicant who appears stellar on paper but in the subjective opinion of the AT's would not be able to benefit from it, even with sufficient support and exposure.
    I think it's fair to say that the one admissions element that does lack some transparency is the interview. It has been suggested by this forum that Cambridge could usefully do a study along the lines of their published analysis of GCSEs, UMS, STEP, etc as an indicator of Tripos success but for the Interview. Apparently, for various reasons, that's not viable.

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    (Original post by daniilS)
    ITT: anecdotal evidence and generalisation
    The thread is called "do you regret going to Cambridge University?". What were you hoping for, a randomised controlled trial?
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    Gregorius
    I would happily nominate your earlier post for Best Post of the Month.
    (Original post by Gregorius)
    . However, as part of the decision making process is based on the judgement of interviewers of the future potential of a candidate, (and has to be, given the requirement to open access to candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds), this is to some extent unavoidable. An "objective" accountable system is replaced with one that has a fair degree of subjective judgement built in.
    Exactly. And the 'subjectivity' is supported by their experiences, both as interviewers and academic staff who have overseen what happened to past candidates after they got in. It doesn't make them error-proof but much better and fairer than most other universities' aystem who select/deselect by what's on their application profile on paper.


    (Original post by jneill)
    I think it's fair to say that the one admissions element that does lack some transparency is the interview. It has been suggested by this forum that Cambridge could usefully do a study along the lines of their published analysis of GCSEs, UMS, STEP, etc as an indicator of Tripos success but for the Interview. Apparently, for various reasons, that's not viable.

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    It's not viable maybe because, again, it's a human and subjective process, how an interviewer scores each element of interview can be different from another interviewer assesses it and how each element is valued against other elements. One of the reasons why they usually recommend against re-applying to a same college who rejected them before.
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    (Original post by Gregorius)
    To be fair to Melanie Leconte (as I think that it is her comment that you are referring to), I think that her objection is that is hard to "account for" some of the decisions taken on objective grounds. If we take her comment in this sense, then there is something to be said for it. It is not as though all candidates sit the same exams (as they used to) and Cambridge takes the top N.
    I thank you for your fairness and your wise words as usual. That is exactly my objection.

    (Original post by jneill)
    I think it's fair to say that the one admissions element that does lack some transparency is the interview. It has been suggested by this forum that Cambridge could usefully do a study along the lines of their published analysis of GCSEs, UMS, STEP, etc as an indicator of Tripos success but for the Interview. Apparently, for various reasons, that's not viable.

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    Glad to see the above
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    how an interviewer scores each element of interview can be different from another interviewer assesses it
    They could control for that, assuming* interviewer X consistently marks relatively "high" or "low".

    *Of course it might not be a valid assumption, but if it isn't then more training is needed

    The fact is there is an interview score potentially available, but the problem is that many interviewers apparently don't score the interview in isolation, they score the overall application. Which is fine, but they could, and probably should, do both. Giving their interview score, and their score for overall application would provide the necessary data points.

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    (Original post by Gregorius)
    Ah, poor Cambridge, whatever it does it seems to be the recipient of accusations like this! Melanie, let me advance some suggestions in the hope of persuading you that you are being a tad unfair.

    Forty years ago I went to Cambridge to study maths - this is the system as it was then. All candidates took the Cambridge Entrance Exam. Most candidates for Cambridge prepared for the entrance exam which they took at the end of the term after they had finished A-levels - effectively the start of a third year of sixth form. A few candidates did attempt the entrance exams in their fourth term of sixth form, but that was seen as quite risky!

    The exam I took consisted of four three-hour mathematics papers, a physics paper and a general paper. The mathematics papers were at a level fairly well above current day STEP, with paper 4 (the "scholarship" paper) being a complete brute.

    A nice objective system? Well yes, but Cambridge (and Oxford) came under a lot of pressure to change the system because very few state schools were able to prepare candidates for the entrance exams. State schools (other than the best state grammar schools) tended to pair up with local independent schools to get their candidates prepared.

    If we roll the clock on to today, we see a system in place that is intended to be as fair as possible to a wide range of candidates from different backgrounds. (A lot of the exam component is based on A-levels, an exam that is far easier these days that it was in my day, so there is far less discriminatory power in them; so Cambridge has to deal with academic evidence that is, in some ways, much less useful than it used to be.) The idea of this "holistic" assessment is that (a) candidates from weaker schools are not disadvantaged and (b) future potential is balanced with past achievement.

    So, you will get candidates given offers at Cambridge who do not have stellar records of academic achievement. This is principle (a).

    But the other principle, that Cambridge are looking for potential, is of enormous importance, and might provide an explanation of why candidates, who to your eyes are just as good or better than some offer holders, don't receive offers. The fact is that mathematics at university level, and especially at Cambridge, is quite different from what you learn at A-level. Much of the A-level syllabus corresponds to a couple of units of a university "mathematical methods for applied maths" course; much of what you learn at university, especially the rigour, will be entirely new.

    Spotting whether candidates will be able to make that leap from school to university maths is difficult - doing well on STEP seems to be a necessary but not sufficient condition - after all, there are students who do well on STEP who flounder and do poorly in the Tripos. It took me a eighteen months to adapt to university maths, having done well in the entrance exams.

    Hence the interview system (and the new entrance tests, I presume) that is designed to try to work out how you think and how you'll adapt to the new situation. There are some people who can become exam-machines, stamping out good STEP II answers to order - but when you put something new in front of them, they flounder.
    Thank you for sharing this, it's great to have a new perspective and somehow reassuring.

    I am reacting more to some comments on the Cambridge threads than to Cambridge, because every time I login I have the impression it's a cult. If some ATs say that they get it wrong on their visits to schools, why some on here preach the contrary.
    It is a great institution and like every institution it has its strengths and weakness. If everyone goes into Cambridge well aware of this fact (instead of this perfect illusion) I guess there would less disappointment, depression and regret.

    [QUOTE=but when you put something new in front of them, they flounder [/QUOTE]

    OR,
    just care more about being there and learning Mathematics than the next one.
    When the stakes are high, the windpipe tightness.
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    (Original post by jneill)
    They could control for that, assuming* interviewer X consistently marks relatively "high" or "low".

    *Of course it might not be a valid assumption, but if it isn't then more training is needed

    The fact is there is an interview score potentially available, but the problem is that many interviewers apparently don't score the interview in isolation, they score the overall application. Which is fine, but they could, and probably should, do both. Giving their interview score, and their score for overall application would provide the necessary data points.

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    The way interviews are conducted is not uniform. Each interviewer has their own style/question and it also evolves during an interview differently from candidate to candidate depending upon how they react/cope with it.
    And because of that, it can make scoring of each element on same basis very difficult or even meaningless sometimes.
    As with the whole assessment process, it's a bit like putting many pieces of puzzle to complete a picture of jigsaw puzzle. Size and importance of each puzzle is different for each candidate's strength/weakness/personality. Giving it numerical value and disclosing it to public who are not aware/doesn't understand its complexity can be more misleading.
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    (Original post by Melanie Leconte)
    I know some who can and were rejected or pooled.

    It is about Mathematics after all... Srinivasa Ramanujan!



    I think I am allowed to ask questions..?!.. in order to make my mind up, NO?!

    I wonder sometimes whether you are a parent, a helper, an AT, a DoS,...who are you?!!

    :teehee::teehee:
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    (Original post by vincrows)
    The way interviews are conducted is not uniform. Each interviewer has their own style/question and it also evolves during an interview differently from candidate to candidate depending upon how they react/cope with it.
    And because of that, it can make scoring of each element on same basis very difficult or even meaningless sometimes.
    As with the whole assessment process, it's a bit like putting many pieces of puzzle to complete a picture of jigsaw puzzle. Size and importance of each puzzle is different for each candidate's strength/weakness/personality. Giving it numerical value and disclosing it to public who are not aware/doesn't understand its complexity can be more misleading.
    If the interviewers are all using their own subjective scores, then how on earth can one candidate's score be fairly compared to another's?
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    (Original post by Chief Wiggum)
    If the interviewers are all using their own subjective scores, then how on earth can one candidate's score be fairly compared to another's?
    ...and how can it not be random? A little shake/swap of interviewers and interviewees and end up with a different cohort.
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    (Original post by threeportdrift)
    And have you been back there in the last 20 years? Because I don't recognise any of that description from 2003-2008 while I was there.

    Just to help the balance, I had an absolutely fantastic time at Cambridge, I was there because I wanted to have my brain stretched, and it was, and it was fabulous to have all those opportunities within walking distance, food and a warm bed on hand, health services at your beck and call, faith, culture, art, history, performance, all immediately available and more sports and facilities that you could shake 20 different types of stick at.

    I had bags of time to make friends, go out in the evenings, play new sports, try new activities, because everything is possible and nothing is more than 20 minutes away, including your home.

    There's a brilliant diversity of people, and there are all sorts of 'difference' that are completely ignored because 'different' is entirely normal in Cambridge. Everyone has their own story and they are accepted for it.

    I can't think of any circumstance in life where you will ever have such opportunity laid out to pick and choose from, save if you stay employed by Cambridge or possibly go to the other place.
    I was there in 2006, the original poster was right, it was a boy's/girl's club filled with lots of very well to do conformist/boring people.
 
 
 
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