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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    xxx
    For the avoidance of doubt, my whole raison d'être for being on TSR is to *encourage* applicants to university, especially Oxbridge, not discourage it. If articles like BBC/Lammy discourage applicants then that's a serious problem.

    Anyone out there that wants to study at Oxbridge and is realistically on target to achieve the typical requirements for their course should apply. The guaranteed way to make Oxbridge inaccessible is by not applying.

    Of course Oxbridge can do more, and initiatives like the LMH Foundation Year are a helpful step to opening Oxbridge up further. I'd like to see similar programs offered by other colleges.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    And I don't understand your effort to contextualize your statement. The entire thread is about offer decisions!
    And it was pointed out very early on that the number of offers per 10,000 of population is not particularly relevant., What is relevant is the number of offers made to people from a given area per 10,000 applicants. It is clear there are more applicants for any university from areas close to it, and few from distant areas.
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    (Original post by auburnstar)
    I definitely agree with you Doones, and since I was last year given no feedback (I did pursue an FOI which gave some general, admittedly useful information), how do you think feedback could be improved? (Mostly curiosity)
    I haven't seen actual feedback in the flesh, but I understand it can be vague, incomplete, and varies significantly by college. A more standardised approach would probably be helpful.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    For the avoidance of doubt, my whole raison d'être for being on TSR is to *encourage* applicants to university, especially Oxbridge, not discourage it. If articles like BBC/Lammy discourage applicants then that's a serious problem.

    Anyone out there that wants to study at Oxbridge and is realistically on target to achieve the typical requirements for their course should apply. The guaranteed way to make Oxbridge inaccessible is by not applying.

    Of course Oxbridge can do more, and initiatives like the LMH Foundation Year are a helpful step to opening Oxbridge up further. I'd like to see similar programs offered by other colleges.

    The problem isn't the Lammy article. The problem is the inequality of the educational system in the UK, the class system and resulting lack of social mobility.

    I really think you would help more people if you were willing to have an honest and open conversation about the challenges they will face should they apply to Oxbridge. We can only challenge inequality if we firstly acknowledge that it actually exists.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    And it was pointed out very early on that the number of offers per 10,000 of population is not particularly relevant., What is relevant is the number of offers made to people from a given area per 10,000 applicants. It is clear there are more applicants for any university from areas close to it, and few from distant areas.
    If you applied a tiny bit of thought to this, you would realise that a major issue is that a lot of kids who should be able to be in a position to apply are, through no fault of their own, not able to. There a lot of reasons for this all of which are down to a lack of social, educational fiscal equality in the UK.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    For the avoidance of doubt, my whole raison d'être for being on TSR is to *encourage* applicants to university, especially Oxbridge, not discourage it. If articles like BBC/Lammy discourage applicants then that's a serious problem.

    Anyone out there that wants to study at Oxbridge and is realistically on target to achieve the typical requirements for their course should apply. The guaranteed way to make Oxbridge inaccessible is by not applying.

    Of course Oxbridge can do more, and initiatives like the LMH Foundation Year are a helpful step to opening Oxbridge up further. I'd like to see similar programs offered by other colleges.
    But it is the requirements that are the problem. And then there’s the process behind it.

    Two of the key issues I have is the early application deadline, and the fact you cant apply to both Oxford and Cambridge (never heard logic as to why that’s the case). This gives advantage to those who get better support and advice earlier.

    I agree, I’d like to see Oxbridge offer more foundation opportunities. You can see the success of them at places like Warwick on their prestigious courses.
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    (Original post by Good bloke)
    And it was pointed out very early on that the number of offers per 10,000 of population is not particularly relevant., What is relevant is the number of offers made to people from a given area per 10,000 applicants. It is clear there are more applicants for any university from areas close to it, and few from distant areas.
    Yup, the English regional offer success rate at Cambridge does vary but not hugely. The least successful English region is Yorkshire 23.5%, with the South East 29.3% most successful.

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Yup, the English regional offer success rate at Cambridge does vary but not hugely. The least successful English region is Yorkshire 23.5%, with the South East 29.3% most successful.

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    What about the disparity in the number of applicants Doonesbury? You know that this is the material issue at heart here, yet you conveniently avoid talking about it.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    It's more accurate I think to say it aspires to be, or at least, officially aspires to be. Clearly it isn't in practise, like it or not, there are cultural or actual blockages to students having access to Oxford and Cambridge from a wide range of backgrounds and areas across the country, even if they in all probability possess the relevant levels of academic merit, intellect and achievement. The filters set up to control who has access work selectively against them and that is clear, regardless of the intent behind them, or the extent to which those filters are tweaked to meet the stated aspiration.

    I say this a little cynically, as I don't think it's true that the majority or even most academics within Oxbridge running the selection process are exactly in favour of sudden increases in breadth of access. They undoubtedly favour some modest ameliorations and revisions whilst essentially maintaining the status quo of a white, upper middle class Oxbridge student body, related by blood, school or culture, wherever possible, to the previous ones. This is partly human nature and partly the defence of vested interest. Labour politicians are right to attack it.
    Could you be specific about the 'filters' you're talking about? Because as far as I can see, the real filter is some basic level of attainment in public examinations, followed by the same interview, and often admissions test, as every other candidate.

    I suspect most Oxbridge academics don't think all that much about access one way or another. They simply assess, when called upon to do so, the candidates who present themselves, and choose the ones who have potential and appear to be receptive students. This is an entirely proper way for them to behave.

    I'm afraid the bold reads as wild conspiracy theory, especially since there is a strong presence of foreign tutors in most faculties who I doubt have any particular affiliation in general to Old Etonians and the populace of Surrey.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    What about the disparity in the number of applicants Doonesbury? You know that this is the material issue at heart here, yet you conveniently avoid talking about it.
    Oh?

    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    And I don't understand your effort to contextualize your statement. The entire thread is about offer decisions!
    The number of applicants is much less in Oxbridge's control. That's what I've been saying throughout.
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    (Original post by Hugh's Swan)
    I think the other thing now is that the admissions system has been made doubly difficult since the 80s. Then, there was an entrance test, for my subject which I mugged up on, and a general paper, in which I remember mentioning something in the news I had heard that morning. But the difference was the entrance conditions were only TWO Es at A Level! So if you were good at your own subject, it didn't matter about the others.
    I'm always speaking from the point of view of maths (which I appreciate is probably atypical), but:

    (a) I feel the CCE for maths was incredibly stacked against 'normal' schools. Many questions required off-syllabus knowledge, a typical A-level teacher would be unable to do 90% of the questions, so the only solutions were ones you could come up with yourself, there were no teaching resources etc. Whereas a top private school would have specialist classes for it, a stack of resources built up over the years, model answers etc.

    (b) A major problem with the CCE was the fact you could take it 4th term/7th term. Obviously 7th term pupils were far more likely to do well in the exam, but then they were required to take a 'gap' year. This was obviously a lot more attractive to people whose parents could fund the gap year. [I know they professed to make allowances for 4th term entrants, but certainly for maths I feel this was exceedingly difficult - a mainstream schooled 4th term student just wouldn't have covered the material to even attempt most of the questions].

    (c) I know you sound like an exception, but in my experience there were very few people who were capable of doing well in the CCE but would struggle with getting AAA. I do know someone who didn't get straight As after passing the CCE, but that was basically because they completely slacked off after getting an EE offer. And I'd say that that slacking off (and the bad habits it encouraged) had a lot to do with them getting a 'Special' (special circumstances pass after failing the 1st year).

    I do totally accept that it sounds like it was a bad change from your point of view. But everyone I know was much happier with a move towards relying on public exams that your school was *supposed* to be able to teach, rather than the very strange looking exams set by Cambridge. Particularly in the context of "people being put off by Oxbridge having it's own special system", it felt a lot less intimidating after the change.
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    And why too avoid talking about the difference between the success rates of Wales and Scotland compared to the South East?

    You also know full well that within these regions things vary hugely. If you compare the rates of acceptance in Knowsley compared to some of the leafier areas of Cheshire, there would be a huge disparity.

    None of this fits your agenda though does it? You just want to persuade people that system is equally fair.
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    Go on Doonesbury. Please explain why the success rate is almost twice the rate in the South East as it is in Scotland.
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    Go on Doonesbury. Please explain why the success rate is almost twice the rate in the South East as it is in Scotland.
    They don't do A-levels.
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    Really? The admissions process doesn't take this into account?

    Let's talk about Wales then shall we?
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    You also know full well that within these regions things vary hugely. If you compare the rates of acceptance in Knowsley compared to some of the leafier areas of Cheshire, there would be a huge disparity.

    None of this fits your agenda though does it? You just want to persuade people that system is equally fair.
    What's the offer rate for those areas?

    Is the improvement of education in Knowsley the responsibility of Cambridge?

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    Stephen Kinnock is not happy about the Wales intake. Perhaps you could tell him he's got it all terribly wrong?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-41693117
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    (Original post by AnaBaptist)
    Go on Doonesbury. Please explain why the success rate is almost twice the rate in the South East as it is in Scotland.
    3 of the regions with the lowest acceptance rates are Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Overseas.

    From my own experience, I'd expect the biggest reason to be differing exam systems, meaning that applicants haven't had the opportunity to cover the required material. For example, in my college, it was almost unheard of to get in for Maths without doing FM A-level. But there wasn't a real Scottish equivalent, and I never met someone from NI with FM. My college did actually bend its requirements for Scottish/NI applicants, but there's only so much leeway you can give (people without FM definitely found things much harder during the 1st year).
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    I think Lammy is wrong and right. There certainly is a problem with representation of working class/ethnic minorities at Oxbridge, but it isn't the fault of Oxbridge if applicants from these backgrounds don't have the academic record. They can't accept people who they aren't sure will be able to keep up with the rigour of Oxbridge because that damages the reputation of the university; correct me if I'm wrong, but TEF take pass rates/degree classification into account, don't they?

    The problem is that private school students or middle class white children from the South have an advantage from the very beginning. They're brought up by educated parents who make sure they send them to better schools, they're socialised in the 'correct' way, they're brought up with a standard of success and have scholastic and professional opportunities that working class students (particularly minorities) do not. We cannot keep pretending like environment isn't important, and we certainly can't pretend that our society is in any way authentically meritocratic if we don't acknowledge that some kids have a far better chance of getting in because of their upbringing compared to their working class counterparts. Instead of forcing Oxbridge to become more lenient, we should be setting up schemes to encourage, incentivise and enable working class children to pursue Oxbridge from the minute they get to secondary school. I only learned about university and A level requirements in my last few months of AS - and that was far too late.

    But more than just getting academic levels up to scratch, we need to teach working class students to cope in middle-upper class environments. When I went to university and started to socialise with people from middle class backgrounds, I **** you not, it was like moving to another country. The culture shock was immense, and I don't even go to an incredibly impressive university. The alienation that ethnic minority and working class students must feel at Oxbridge is probably far worse. Teachers in working class communities, though some are good, a lot more care about spoon-feeding kids and getting them to just pass. It's a numbers game where they care more about their own annual performance evaluations than encouraging their students, and I don't blame them. But being told that you should be aiming for Cs when you know you can achieve As is demoralising. Working class and ethnic minority kids need to be taught to speak properly and with confidence, they need to be taught how to behave in certain social settings and network, as their middle class counterparts have. This, alongside academic performance, will help empower more working class students to apply to Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    What's the offer rate for those areas?

    Is the improvement of education in Knowsley the responsibility of Cambridge?

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    Barely any kids ever apply to Oxbridge from Knowsley. They are simply not in a position to do by the time they reach year 13. There are many reasons for this, and I think you know that.

    You can talk about 'acceptance rates' all day long, but you also know the real scandal is the lack of applications in the first place.
 
 
 
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