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Oxbridge = Inaccessible to most students? watch

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Many secondary school teachers are either unencouraging, or actively discouraging, students *they* incorrectly think don't fit the Oxbridge "mould". Most outreach is trying to convince those teachers to think otherwise.
    And if you don't apply, no matter how fair the system, you can't get in.

    (Not to mention it is teachers (not students) who have to write the reference, so having a good teacher-student relationship is important.)
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Many secondary school teachers are either unencouraging, or actively discouraging, students *they* incorrectly think don't fit the Oxbridge "mould". Most outreach is trying to convince those teachers to think otherwise.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    PRSOM.

    Bad advice over and under encouragement are probably the biggest contributors to this issue.
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    (Original post by auburnstar)
    And if you don't apply, no matter how fair the system, you can't get in.

    (Not to mention it is teachers (not students) who have to write the reference, so having a good teacher-student relationship is important.)
    Many students won’t have a good teacher-student relationship, of no fault of their own.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Many secondary school teachers are either unencouraging, or actively discouraging, students *they* incorrectly think don't fit the Oxbridge "mould". Most outreach is trying to convince those teachers to think otherwise.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    If that were true, I think it would be a pretty dire indictment of secondary school teachers.

    I don't think these teachers went into the profession to deliberately harm students: if Cambridge made it known to them that Cambridge couldn't give a damn about GCSE grades and would consider anyone with reasonable A level grades, then the teachers would pass the information on. Cambridge should just send an email to all head teachers reminding them that Cambridge doesn't give a damn about GCSE results and it's all to play for with A levels, for example. Everyone welcome. The £millions saved every year could be used for bursaries for low-income students and easing the fee burden on everybody.

    They could offer free training videos to teachers in the admissions process for Oxbridge: how to write a reference etc. If Ibz Mo can cobble together free training videos in his spare time; I am sure the paid staff at Oxbridge could come up with something. They are supposed to work in the field of education after all
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Many students won’t have a good teacher-student relationship, of no fault of their own.
    I agree there are injustices in the Oxbridge admissions system.

    It can’t be fair, for example, that some applicants to Oxbridge - just because of who they are - get special treatment.

    For example, I know 100% for sure of some prospective students who because of who they know and the schools they've attended have managed to get through their personal contacts:
    • Coaching from actual Oxbridge tutors on how to prepare their personal statements; UCAS form; SAQ statement and other stuff (given free)
    • Interview practice with actual Oxbridge tutors (!!)
    • Help to prepare for the admission tests (I am not joking)

    Whilst all other students just have to go it alone and rely on teachers at their school. How can that be fair?

    That’s the kind of thing David Lammy should be jumping up and down about.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    I agree there are injustices in the Oxbridge admissions system.

    It can’t be fair, for example, that some applicants to Oxbridge - just because of who they are - get special treatment.

    For example, I know 100% for sure of some prospective students who because of who they know and the schools they've attended have managed to get through their personal contacts:
    • Coaching from actual Oxbridge tutors on how to prepare their personal statements; UCAS form; SAQ statement and other stuff (given free)
    • Interview practice with actual Oxbridge tutors (!!)
    • Help to prepare for the admission tests (I am not joking)

    Whilst all other students just have to go it alone and rely on teachers at their school. How can that be fair?

    That’s the kind of thing David Lammy should be jumping up and down about.
    ^^
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    I agree there are injustices in the Oxbridge admissions system.

    It can’t be fair, for example, that some applicants to Oxbridge - just because of who they are - get special treatment.

    For example, I know 100% for sure of some prospective students who because of who they know and the schools they've attended have managed to get through their personal contacts:
    • Coaching from actual Oxbridge tutors on how to prepare their personal statements; UCAS form; SAQ statement and other stuff (given free)
    • Interview practice with actual Oxbridge tutors (!!)
    • Help to prepare for the admission tests (I am not joking)

    Whilst all other students just have to go it alone and rely on teachers at their school. How can that be fair?

    That’s the kind of thing David Lammy should be jumping up and down about.
    This is very very true. I have a family friend who got his PS written for him last year (including an SAQ statement) by some Oxbridge website. He also had 5 preparation interviews (I thought this was a bit excessive..) 2 were with Oxbridge tutors and 3 were with his school teachers who attended Oxbridge. He was also provided with 5 mock admission tests and MCQ preparation.

    Then there's me, writing my PS alone guessing at the type of things they want to hear about. No interview prep except talking points through with myself and talking to one teacher who barely knows about Oxbridge. For the admissions test, I have 2 past papers available online. Probably why in my schools 50 history no-one has been accepted to Cambridge. 1 student got into Oxford 6 years ago and it's like an urban legend at my school as its so unheard of.

    I'm in the dark about everything. Definitely some injustice
    Btw he got in and I bet I won't.
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    (Original post by GovernmentEarner)
    Then there's me, writing my PS alone guessing at the type of things they want to hear about. No interview prep except talking points through with myself and talking to one teacher who barely knows about Oxbridge. For the admissions test, I have 2 past papers available online. Probably why in my schools 50 history no-one has been accepted to Cambridge. 1 student got into Oxford 6 years ago and it's like an urban legend at my school as its so unheard of.
    This is somewhat OT, but TSR has a lot of helpful resources regarding PS and admissions tests (depending on subject). Have you had a look around the relevant forums?
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    It can’t be fair, for example, that some applicants to Oxbridge - just because of who they are - get special treatment.
    Just to be clear: are you suggesting that private school or state school students are getting this 'special treatment'?
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    (Original post by GovernmentEarner)
    This is very very true. I have a family friend who got his PS written for him last year (including an SAQ statement) by some Oxbridge website. He also had 5 preparation interviews 2 were with Oxbridge tutors and 3 were with his school teachers who attended Oxbridge. He was also provided with 5 mock admission tests and MCQ preparation.

    Then there's me, writing my PS alone guessing at the type of things they want to hear about. No interview prep except talking points through with myself and talking to one teacher who barely knows about Oxbridge. For the admissions test, I have 2 past papers available online.

    I'm in the dark about everything. Definitely some injustice
    Btw he got in and I bet I won't.
    Perhaps this happens but is very rare and will have cost your friend a few thousands and if they needed that amount of coaching to get in then they will come a cropper when they actually get to Camford.

    Of course it takes a place from a genuine applicant but I really think it's a tiny minority. Personally I think Oxbridge should stop allowing them to use university or college facilities. It implies they are condoned and affiliated to the universities, when they aren't.

    By the way, the success rate for regular uses of the TSR Oxbridge applicants thread is better than those admissions "consultancies".
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    This is somewhat OT, but TSR has a lot of helpful resources regarding PS and admissions tests (depending on subject). Have you had a look around the relevant forums?
    But that's not the point is it? With all due respect, it's not the same as being helped by actual Oxbridge tutors.

    Do you think that it is fair that some people just because of who they are, and who they know, get all the help I mentioned?
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    (Original post by GovernmentEarner)
    This is very very true. I have a family friend who got his PS written for him last year (including an SAQ statement) by some Oxbridge website. He also had 5 preparation interviews (I thought this was a bit excessive..) 2 were with Oxbridge tutors and 3 were with his school teachers who attended Oxbridge. He was also provided with 5 mock admission tests and MCQ preparation.

    Then there's me, writing my PS alone guessing at the type of things they want to hear about. No interview prep except talking points through with myself and talking to one teacher who barely knows about Oxbridge. For the admissions test, I have 2 past papers available online. Probably why in my schools 50 history no-one has been accepted to Cambridge. 1 student got into Oxford 6 years ago and it's like an urban legend at my school as its so unheard of.

    I'm in the dark about everything. Definitely some injustice
    Btw he got in and I bet I won't.
    I really feel for you. You're right: it's not fair.

    And that's why I think the £millions they spend on telling people Oxbridge exists should be spent on training teachers properly to help people like you.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    But that's not the point is it?
    Sorry, I take trying to help a real applicant, with real, immediate concerns, over point-scoring. Your priorities apparently differ.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Sorry, I take trying to help a real applicant, with real, immediate concerns, over point-scoring. Your priorities apparently differ.
    Eh?
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    But that's not the point is it? With all due respect, it's not the same as being helped by actual Oxbridge tutors.

    Do you think that it is fair that some people just because of who they are, and who they know, get all the help I mentioned?
    Many comprehensives/sixth forms pair up with local private schools to arrange Oxbridge assistance for their pupils, including mock interviews with Oxbridge tutors. By no means all, but many do.

    Also, as per my earlier comment about the commercial consultancies, the success rate for applicants who actively engage with TSR resources *is* very good.

    The world is not a level playing field, and Oxbridge can do more to level it, but a good candidate without a public-school or otherwise privileged background can still be a competitive candidate. The resources are there.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Perhaps this happens but is very rare and will have cost your friend a few thousands and if they needed that amount of coaching to get in then they will come a cropper when they actually get to Camford.

    Of course it takes a place from a genuine applicant but I really think it's a tiny minority. Personally I think Oxbridge should stop allowing them to use university or college facilities. It implies they are condoned and affiliated to the universities, when they aren't.

    By the way, the success rate for regular uses of the TSR Oxbridge applicants thread is better than those admissions "consultancies".
    It did cost him a lot I believe £3,000 overall. He's a really nice guy and Oxbridge was his dream and he knew he wanted to make full use of his chances. I have been to an Oxbridge event and I spoke to over 20 applicants and none of them did this, so you're right it probably is quite rare. TSR ftw I guess haha
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    This is somewhat OT, but TSR has a lot of helpful resources regarding PS and admissions tests (depending on subject). Have you had a look around the relevant forums?
    Yeh to be fair TSR does give me help in talking to other applicants, but I probably could use it more effectively.
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    (Original post by GovernmentEarner)
    Yeh to be fair TSR does give me help in talking to other applicants, but I probably could use it more effectively.
    I generally help out on the maths forums, and the STEP/MAT resources there are pretty amazing when I compare to when I was an applicant. I don't know what subject you're applying for and I've no idea what it's like in other forums, but if you give a shout out for help I think there's a good chance there's someone who can do so.

    I also don't want to put words in the mouths of people like Doonesbury but if you ask in this thread I think there's a fair chance that there'll be someone from Oxford/Cambridge who might try to get you some more help / past papers.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Many comprehensives/sixth forms pair up with local private schools to arrange Oxbridge assistance for their pupils, including mock interviews with Oxbridge tutors. By no means all, but many do.

    .
    I don't think they should need to pair up because the teachers should be able to do it themselves: the state education budget is huge. And the £millions Oxbridge spend on outreach would be better directed to training teachers in all aspects of the Oxbridge process so they can pass it on to all students who look to them for advice now and in the future.

    Instead Oxbridge spend a lot on expensive initiatives like running Summer Schools for a week for a privileged minority (you said yourself the other day that it was harder to get onto a Summer School than into Oxbridge!). The help provided at a Summer School is limited to those lucky few who get to attend, whereas by training teachers properly the knowledge can be used to help students for many years to come.

    The TSR is really great but students shouldn't need to rely on you.
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    (Original post by AllonsEnfants!)
    I don't think they should need to pair up because the teachers should be able to do it themselves: the state education budget is huge. And the £millions Oxbridge spend on outreach would be better directed to training teachers in all aspects of the Oxbridge process so they can pass it on to all students who look to them for advice now and in the future.

    Instead Oxbridge spend a lot on expensive initiatives like running Summer Schools for a week for a privileged minority (you said yourself the other day that it was harder to get onto a Summer School than into Oxbridge!). The help provided at a Summer School is limited to those lucky few who get to attend, whereas by training teachers properly the knowledge can be used to help students for many years to come.

    The TSR is really great but students shouldn't need to rely on you.
    You can't train a secondary school teacher to be an actual Oxbridge interviewer.

    The summer schools that Oxbridge spend money on are free and arranged with UNIQ/Sutton Trust to reach those less-privileged potential applicants. (Not private schools, ideally first in family to go to university, low POLAR demographic, etc.)
 
 
 
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