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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    True, but Access courses aren't available everywhere (my local college only does Access to Nursing, and the next closest college has just closed their Access course dept). The bigger problem is that Access to HE students do not have access no maintenance loans, if you're studying whilst working full-time then getting the grades necessary for Oxbridge is very difficult indeed.
    OU credits? (I do agree the FY should be expanded though - assuming the results for the early cohorts merit it...)
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    OU credits? (I do agree the FY should be expanded though - assuming the results for the early cohorts merit it...)
    That is technically possible (although I've never actually spoken to anyone who got into Oxford or Cambridge with just OU credits), but there are student finance issues to take into account if you take OU credits and then begin a new degree from scratch.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    That is technically possible (although I've never actually spoken to anyone who got into Oxford or Cambridge with just OU credits), but there are student finance issues to take into account if you take OU credits and then begin a new degree from scratch.
    The gift year though?
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    The gift year though?
    It depends on how long you study with the OU. If you do all 120 OU credits, the minimum you'd need for Oxbridge, in one year then you'd only lose a year of your finance entitlement (essentially, the gift year). If you take 60 credits a year (which is recommended, and for some subjects, required) then you would have to pay the first year's tuition fees of your Oxbridge degree yourself. If you don't have to work it is doable, for everyone else, it isn't.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    That would be the same for applying to many "top" universities. It's not an issue that Oxbridge should be expected to fix.
    In fact, given that most schools do give Oxbridge applicants some level of special treatment, I'd suspect the picture is a lot *worse* for people applying to other universities.

    When looking at a combination and thinking "what a bad choice", it's also worth remembering that subject choices are made a long time before the admissions cycle; certainly at my school there wasn't "serious" discussion about university choices etc. until it was far too late to change exam combinations.

    Also sometimes course clashes (or lack of teachers) mean certain options just aren't available.

    I think there's certainly room for schools to improve their advice to people choosing A-levels and subsequently applying to universities, but I think it's a huge disservice to focus exclusively on the admissions process for Oxford and Cambridge, while ignoring that similar issues are undoubtedly occuring with every other university as well.
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    (Original post by Snufkin)
    Am I right in thinking the Oxford (LMH) foundation year is only for people under 19? Not sure how useful that is if you're targeting poor, disadvantaged prospective students.
    The reality is that true mature student undergraduate education has died and without a change to funding arrangements will not revive,

    The official Lucy Cavendish (I mustn't call them Lucie Clayton- I have visions of girls getting out of limousines with books balanced on their heads) thread reported a couple of years ago on TSR that the mean age of their undergraduates was 22 with a modal age of 21.

    Any institution has a problem if the people to which it is the most attractive are the people who are barely eligible to get in. If a bank account has a minimum deposit of £1000, but most account holders only invested £1000, the bank would think there was something seriously wrong. Likewise, Saga would be reinventing any product whose take-up was greatest amongst 50 year olds.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    In fact, given that most schools do give Oxbridge applicants some level of special treatment, I'd suspect the picture is a lot *worse* for people applying to other universities.

    When looking at a combination and thinking "what a bad choice", it's also worth remembering that subject choices are made a long time before the admissions cycle; certainly at my school there wasn't "serious" discussion about university choices etc. until it was far too late to change exam combinations.

    Also sometimes course clashes (or lack of teachers) mean certain options just aren't available.

    I think there's certainly room for schools to improve their advice to people choosing A-levels and subsequently applying to universities, but I think it's a huge disservice to focus exclusively on the admissions process for Oxford and Cambridge, while ignoring that similar issues are undoubtedly occuring with every other university as well.
    One criticism that is always made of nationalised industries, and for the most part education is as nationalised as the coal industry once was, is producer capture. The industry is run in the interests of those who work in it rather than its customers.

    Oxbridge admissions are different. They require more work on the part of teachers. The applications have to go in earlier. In the case of Cambridge an extra form has to be filled in. Exams have to be set. Interviews require more than the mumblings of Kevin the teenager. You can see why the idle use elitism as an excuse not to get off their backsides, Poor schools are only able to attract poor teachers, particularly below senior management level (where there may be glory or at least pots of money).

    To all intents and purposes applying to Bristol and London Met are identical. The school is required to do no more.

    In is only because of the prestige of Oxbridge that they are able to get away with a different admissions process and even then there are plenty of schools who fail to buy into that process. Any lesser university that tried to do anything different would find itself informally blacklisted. Various universities have adopted a new optional maths test this year. but fewer than 100 schools have enrolled as test centres, I suspect we won't see the test again.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    One criticism that is always made of nationalised industries, and for the most part education is as nationalised as the coal industry once was, is producer capture. The industry is run in the interests of those who work in it rather than its customers.

    Oxbridge admissions are different. They require more work on the part of teachers. The applications have to go in earlier. In the case of Cambridge an extra form has to be filled in. Exams have to be set. Interviews require more than the mumblings of Kevin the teenager. You can see why the idle use elitism as an excuse not to get off their backsides, Poor schools are only able to attract poor teachers, particularly below senior management level (where there may be glory or at least pots of money).

    To all intents and purposes applying to Bristol and London Met are identical. The school is required to do no more.

    In is only because of the prestige of Oxbridge that they are able to get away with a different admissions process and even then there are plenty of schools who fail to buy into that process. Any lesser university that tried to do anything different would find itself informally blacklisted. Various universities have adopted a new optional maths test this year. but fewer than 100 schools have enrolled as test centres, I suspect we won't see the test again.
    The separate application processes must be a barrier to entry.

    I understand the justifications of why they need to exist, but as that statisticians on here have pointed out, the main issue is not getting enough applications in the first place.

    The earlier application deadline will exclude people. Whether it’s needing more time to decide where to apply to through lack of knowledge, or needing more time to be convinced that it is the right place to go. Even schools who are bought into the process but are lacking resource are only going to be able to help so many student to a certain level by such an early deadline, especially given the additional processes needed to be completed

    And I suspect that like other universities who have no or few clearing places, this also impacts the diversity as those who exceed their predicted grades then have little opportunity to upgrade to the highest standards (not solely an Oxbridge issue).

    It’s interesting to see the Brasenose rep suggest a centralised process could make their situation worse in terms of creating more bias in the selections process towards certain groups. I don’t think that is necessarily the cause of the bias, as plenty of other universities use the same system and don’t have the same problem.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    The separate application processes must be a barrier to entry.

    I understand the justifications of why they need to exist, but as that statisticians on here have pointed out, the main issue is not getting enough applications in the first place.

    The earlier application deadline will exclude people. Whether it’s needing more time to decide where to apply to through lack of knowledge, or needing more time to be convinced that it is the right place to go. Even schools who are bought into the process but are lacking resource are only going to be able to help so many student to a certain level by such an early deadline, especially given the additional processes needed to be completed

    And I suspect that like other universities who have no or few clearing places, this also impacts the diversity as those who exceed their predicted grades then have little opportunity to upgrade to the highest standards (not solely an Oxbridge issue).

    It’s interesting to see the Brasenose rep suggest a centralised process could make their situation worse in terms of creating more bias in the selections process towards certain groups. I don’t think that is necessarily the cause of the bias, as plenty of other universities use the same system and don’t have the same problem.
    There's something in this (the early deadline problem) and yet other universities with the standard deadline are less diverse (on the state school v public school measure) than Cambridge: Bristol and St Andrews amongst them.

    Also on another topic I'd say the process for places like St Andrews, LSE and Durham is much *less* transparent than Oxbridge. Anywhere with low offer rates needs to do much better at explaining what their criteria are. I don't see reps from those universities on TSR, for instance.

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    There's something in this (the early deadline problem) and yet other universities with the standard deadline are less diverse (on the state school v public school measure) than Cambridge: Bristol and St Andrews amongst them.

    Also on another topic I'd say the process for places like St Andrews, LSE and Durham is much *less* transparent than Oxbridge. Anywhere with low offer rates needs to do much better at explaining what their criteria are. I don't see reps from those universities on TSR, for instance.

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    Only less diverse in certain categories and measures. More diverse in others.

    Indeed, it would be nice to see other Oxbridge colleges also represented on TSR as well as other “selective” universities.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Only less diverse in certain categories and measures. More diverse in others.

    Indeed, it would be nice to see other Oxbridge colleges also represented on TSR as well as other “selective” universities.
    /goes off to check POLAR and BME at Bristol...
    (Will be interesting especially given they have contextual offers.)

    Edit: according to that WonkHE link nope - they do poorly for POLAR and BME (in some measures but see post below...)
    http://wonkhe.com/blogs/data-univers...missions-bias/
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    /goes off to check POLAR and BME at Bristol...
    Please do. If you do, please try and find the BME broken down into the varying different groups.
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    (Original post by J-SP)
    Please do. If you do, please try and find the BME broken down into the varying different groups.
    Interesting - they are comparable to a few tenths of a percent for applicants, except specifically for BME, Cambridge over indexes for Asians.

    2016 data:
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    Maybe their contextual offer program is indeed helping.

    There's a mountain of data in that UCAS file and it's hard to digest it all... ho hum.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Oxbridge admissions are different. They require more work on the part of teachers. The applications have to go in earlier. In the case of Cambridge an extra form has to be filled in. Exams have to be set. Interviews require more than the mumblings of Kevin the teenager. You can see why the idle use elitism as an excuse not to get off their backsides, Poor schools are only able to attract poor teachers, particularly below senior management level (where there may be glory or at least pots of money).
    But I think even a poor school will at least try for an Oxbridge applicant (though the extra hurdles may trip them up); I've never seen a school that didn't trumpet any Oxbridge success to the rooftops, so they pull out the stops.

    So I think the guidance for average A-level students is going to be worse. (In fact, I don't think we had *any* real guidance when choosing A-levels, although I myself was a special case (took 4 A-levels before entering the 6th form) so I may have missed out seeing some of the guidance given. Pretty sure I didn't, though).

    To all intents and purposes applying to Bristol and London Met are identical. The school is required to do no more.
    Well, except Bristol is going to require better results, be less forgiving about strange subject choices etc. But people getting rejected from Bristol (or London Met) because they're trying to do a Physics course without A-level maths aren't going to get the same media attention.

    Or more likely, (because applying to a course you're not taking the right A-levels for is a really bad mistake), there are going to be people compromising on university and/or course, because their school didn't advise them properly when they chose their A-levels. As memory serves, this was a reasonably common experience for people in my school. (To be fair, people's goals often change after they start A-levels; there's only so much planning for the future you can do).
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I myself was a special case (took 4 A-levels before entering the 6th form) so I may have missed out seeing some of the guidance given. Pretty sure I didn't, though).

    .

    :adore:

    :congrats:

    :emo:
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    (Original post by the bear)
    :adore:
    My O-levels were pretty crap though... My results that year included AA11 in M/FM A-level / S-level, and a grade C Russian O-level. And people were most surprised that I'd passed Russian.

    [Incidentally, talking about "needing to plan ahead"; I'd more-or-less dropped out of school in my 2nd year. For most subjects this wasn't an issue, but curse you Cambridge with your requirement for a foreign language, which meant I had to choose the only language I could reasonably attempt in 2 years (at my school)].
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    [Incidentally, talking about "needing to plan ahead"; I'd more-or-less dropped out of school in my 2nd year. For most subjects this wasn't an issue, but curse you Cambridge with your requirement for a foreign language, which meant I had to choose the only language I could reasonably attempt in 2 years (at my school)].
    You had to have a foreign language O-level?!
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Interesting - they are comparable to a few tenths of a percent for applicants, except specifically for BME, Cambridge over indexes for Asians.

    2016 data:
    Spoiler:
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    Maybe their contextual offer program is indeed helping.

    There's a mountain of data in that UCAS file and it's hard to digest it all... ho hum.
    The debate in my opinion should be expanded to other elite universities too, where a lack of transparency is equally apparent, it is unfair to single out Oxbridge.However, it is an issue that then expands into society.

    The solution is complex, me thinks. In terms of applications, it is about encouraging students to apply in the first place. Here there is still some way to go in terms of breaking down stereotypes. I have many friends at university from completely different backgrounds to me and they are great individuals. We need to educate people that snobbery can go both ways.

    The solution in terms of admissions. I have listened to the BBC4 debate and find myself disagreeing with the Oxford Admissions representative. A Level grades are an indication of attainment and not academic potential. That attainment is helped by "privilege" (financial, parental support, type of school etc) I suspect many of us will agree on this.

    The argument that there should be lower academic offers for individuals from less privileged backgrounds should be explored more and not dismissed outright. There "appears" to be a genuine lack of understanding of how difficult it is to ensure students with potential from certain backgrounds, have access to the support required to attain AAA or A*AA etc. For some degrees where prior knowledge is required this may not be practical. However, these universities do offer courses where it may be able to consider lowering offers in some cases and where applicable.

    As I say, a complex issue that is prevalent amongst many "elite" universities, not just Oxbridge.
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    You had to have a foreign language O-level?!
    Yeah, it was part of the matriculation requirements. (I was told unoficially "if you don't have it, the college can work around it, but it will make life much easier if you have it" ).

    Apparently, there was a possible "exam-hack" for this as well; there was a "Classical Studies" (name may be wrong) A/O level (like the A/S now) that was something like 50% Latin and 50% Roman history. And it counted for the foreign language requirement. Since an Oxbridge level candidate could reasonably expect to score near full marks on the history component, even a really poor knowledge of Latin would be enough to push you over the pass mark. [I don't think this is apocryphal, but it's long enough ago that I could be wrong].
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    (Original post by 210555)
    The debate in my opinion should be expanded to other elite universities too, where a lack of transparency is equally apparent, it is unfair to single out Oxbridge.However, it is an issue that then expands into society.

    The solution is complex, me thinks. In terms of applications, it is about encouraging students to apply in the first place. Here there is still some way to go in terms of breaking down stereotypes. I have many friends at university from completely different backgrounds to me and they are great individuals. We need to educate people that snobbery can go both ways.

    The solution in terms of admissions. I have listened to the BBC4 debate and find myself disagreeing with the Oxford Admissions representative. A Level grades are an indication of attainment and not academic potential. That attainment is helped by "privilege" (financial, parental support, type of school etc) I suspect many of us will agree on this.

    The argument that there should be lower academic offers for individuals from less privileged backgrounds should be explored more and not dismissed outright. There "appears" to be a genuine lack of understanding of how difficult it is to ensure students with potential from certain backgrounds, have access to the support required to attain AAA or A*AA etc. For some degrees where prior knowledge is required this may not be practical. However, these universities do offer courses where it may be able to consider lowering offers in some cases and where applicable.

    As I say, a complex issue that is prevalent amongst many "elite" universities, not just Oxbridge.
    Yup I don't disagree. (Although the data I linked earlier from Cambridge showed the more A*s at A-level the better the performance in Tripos - it was analysed by school type, but not by POLAR etc... and there's the correlation/causation thing...)

    And LMH's Foundation Year looks for one grade below the usual standard (e.g. BBB instead of AAA) so it will be interesting to see how well that cohort progresses through Oxford.
 
 
 
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