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    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    What's wrong with having elite universities take the highest-achieving students? Personally, I couldn't care less whether Oxbridge was made up completely of miners' children from Newcastle, refugees, asylum seekers or doctors' children from Chelsea, if they're the highest performing of all applicants. Everyone is able to apply to Oxbridge - work hard, apply yourself in school, have some ambition and you'll stand a chance.
    This is the biggest problem. Too many people don't, largely through no fault of their own.
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    I think to some extent it's articles like the one in the BBC and the comments on it on Facebook that put people off from applying - it really does my nut in! I'm working class, disabled, went to a failing school and got into both Oxford and Cambridge because I didn't let myself be deterred by some kind of perceived cultural difference (so what if I speak like a chav? so what if my mum worked in tesco? doesn't mean I couldn't do just as well academically!) and because I had the initiative to research the admissions process and criteria (+ extenuating circumstances form) myself rather than helplessly viewing it as an insurmountable hurdle. TSR was actually useful for that incidentally So basically I think it comes down to whether students take the initiative or not - and if they don't they probably wouldn't do very well at Oxbridge anyway.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Another factor often ignored is your peer group. I went to a fairly decent London comprehensive that would generally get 1-2 people into Oxbridge a year. It had been about 10 years since we'd had anyone get into Cambridge for maths though. And then in my class, we had four people who applied, and we all got in. And I'm sure a big part of that is that there were 4 of us, who could help each other and push each other on.


    .
    Yes, totally agree. People should be hanging around and working with other ambitious people to help themselves. Schools, particularly comprehensives, should set up something like a G and T group that brings them together. That'd be a good idea.


    (Original post by DFranklin)
    I really don't think it's that easy. For most subjects, the interview is a huge factor; it's really hard for a typical school to come close to simulating that environment. I guess it wouldn't be impossible for colleges to give mock interviews in, say, the summer term preceeding applications, but it would be a pretty huge bump in the academic workload, not to mention logistics issues etc.

    As far as available resources - it's really noticeable how much more information/support is available for STEP/MAT compared with when I was doing A-levels, where typically you'd have 3-4 past papers (often donated from people who'd actually sat that exam, so you'd only have papers for years people actually took the exam) and virtually nothing in the way of worked solutions. I've been helping people here with STEP for 10 years, and I feel the extra support has clearly made a difference in the preparedness of candidates for STEP over the last 10 years.

    What's particularly interesting in terms of "level playing fields" is the realization that the top private schools always did have close to that level of resources (through a long history of people taking the exams, plus teachers able to teach (and solve) at that level). Looking back, the discrepancy feels horrendously unfair - I feel we had so little support in comparison. I'd be interested to know if admissions tutors have noticed a shift in preparedness.




    [But this of course, would argue that the system (for maths) has become less biased towards the top schools over the years. Again, I'd be interested to know if this is actually the case at all].
    Yeah you're right, I think making more info publicly accessible would just be start and will still help.

    The onus is on the school to help kids understand exactly what they need to know. As someone going to a public school and applying to unis for 2018 entry, I have often helped out lots of prospective oxbridge applicants with what they need to do etc etc. That's not because im cocky, but because I use this site and it's given me a lot of info. Our school doesnt get many oxbridge students in (albeit more than most schools, about 6 every year). A good example is a pupil who did not know that the TSA for oxbridge is similar to critical thinking.

    I also think maths is a bit of an outlier due to the nature of the subject
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    I think to some extent it's articles like the one in the BBC and the comments on it on Facebook that put people off from applying - it really does my nut in! I'm working class, disabled, went to a failing school and got into both Oxford and Cambridge because I didn't let myself be deterred by some kind of perceived cultural difference (so what if I speak like a chav? so what if my mum worked in tesco? doesn't mean I couldn't do just as well academically!) and because I had the initiative to research the admissions process and criteria (+ extenuating circumstances form) myself rather than helplessly viewing it as an insurmountable hurdle. TSR was actually useful for that incidentally So basically I think it comes down to whether students take the initiative or not - and if they don't they probably wouldn't do very well at Oxbridge anyway.
    So the BBC should stop reporting on this? That's your solution?
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    Of course, it is going to be inaccessible to most, most people do not get the grades and relevant experience that Oxbridge is looking for. While I do believe there is a problem with elitism, I don't think it is caused by Oxbridge, rather an entire societal issue as a whole (less fortunate people coming from less fortunate areas and thus going to worse schools etc). But as a whole, everybody knows how hard it is to get into Oxford or Cambridge, even those who are from well-off backgrounds who do really well have trouble getting in, that is kind of the point of the top unis in the country, if they let anybody and everybody in, they would no longer be the top universities xD
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    (Original post by FloralHybrid)
    Yes. You absolutely can. And many do.

    But my point still stands - As a general rule, those from higher social background tend to be more academically able, because of how they're taught to nail the exams.

    I agree it's a shame that motivation comes from parents though.

    But at the end of the day, Oxbridge pick the best applicants.
    I think it is also worth noting that perhaps the children who do better in exams who are from a more privileged background may do better simply because they are more intelligent.
    This is not to say that those from poorer backgrounds are unintelligent and I am aware of other factors such as private tuition and unequal opportunities. However, statistically speaking, if someone is privileged it is because their parents have done well financially due to their own intelligence. Therefore there are many cases in which the intelligence is passed on.
    Of course this is not true in all cases, but it is worth noting.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    So the BBC should stop reporting on this? That's your solution?
    No, the BBC should stop sensationalising it - the headline on FB replaced 'more elitist' with 'posher'. They also barely mention the fact that they get fewer applications from the underrepresented areas, and then they have a video with a caption implying once again that Oxbridge isn't for 'people like me' basically, when there is no 'type' that can get into Oxbridge, people from any background can, and it's this constructed divide that puts people off!

    (Original post by Duncan2012)
    What does family income have to do with grammar schools? The reason most people can't go to grammars now is that demand far outstrips supply.
    Until I got to uni I didn't even know grammar schools still existed, I thought they were like something in Enid Blyton books :erm: So I think the reason most people don't go is because there isn't one nearby? Then again, until I got to uni I thought everyone went to the nearest school and that doesn't seem to be the case either :emo:


    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Yes, totally agree. People should be hanging around and working with other ambitious people to help themselves. Schools, particularly comprehensives, should set up something like a G and T group that brings them together. That'd be a good idea.




    Yeah you're right, I think making more info publicly accessible would just be start and will still help.

    The onus is on the school to help kids understand exactly what they need to know. As someone going to a public school and applying to unis for 2018 entry, I have often helped out lots of prospective oxbridge applicants with what they need to do etc etc. That's not because im cocky, but because I use this site and it's given me a lot of info. Our school doesnt get many oxbridge students in (albeit more than most schools, about 6 every year). A good example is a pupil who did not know that the TSA for oxbridge is similar to critical thinking.

    I also think maths is a bit of an outlier due to the nature of the subject
    My school used to have one of these when Labour were in power but I think the new government cut the funding for it :/
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    Until I got to uni I didn't even know grammar schools still existed, I thought they were like something in Enid Blyton books :erm: So I think the reason most people don't go is because there isn't one nearby? Then again, until I got to uni I thought everyone went to the nearest school and that doesn't seem to be the case either :emo:
    Yeah, it was definitely one of the more interesting discoveries when I went to Cambridge. Specifically chose Churchill on the basis that it had a higher state school %age than anywhere else, and then when I got there, discovered "yeah, but nearly every state student went to a grammar school". I really didn't expect the comp school %age to be as small as it was.

    That said, (as I'm sure you'd agree, looking at your previous posts) people shouldn't let it put them off - I still found it a welcoming environment, I had no difficulty making friends etc.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Yeah, it was definitely one of the more interesting discoveries when I went to Cambridge. Specifically chose Churchill on the basis that it had a higher state school %age than anywhere else, and then when I got there, discovered "yeah, but nearly every state student went to a grammar school". I really didn't expect the comp school %age to be as small as it was.

    That said, (as I'm sure you'd agree, looking at your previous posts) people shouldn't let it put them off - I still found it a welcoming environment, I had no difficulty making friends etc.
    That's one of the reasons why my boyfriend chose Churchill too. That also raises another point - they should break down the statistics by course and not just by college. I think the sciences and maths are much more evenly balanced than MML (my subject), classics, land economy etc.

    Absolutely - there was nobody I didn't find to be reasonably normal (in the sense of not posh, plenty of people weird in other ways )
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    Absolutely - there was nobody I didn't find to be reasonably normal (in the sense of not posh, plenty of people weird in other ways )
    Funnily, there was someone in my year who was worried people would think he was posh, so he adopted a fake cockney accent, and his parents were so horrified they sent him to elocution lessons :rofl: [He wasn't actually that posh, but it was a truly appallingly bad fake accent...]
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    (Original post by 04MR17)
    This is the biggest problem. Too many people don't, largely through no fault of their own.
    And that's often down to people telling them aren't good enough. In contrast, people who maybe aren't so capable are frequently told they should go for it.

    I hate to think about how much underachievement (and over achievement) happens and the wasted potential out there.
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    (Original post by Spoderman:))
    I think it is also worth noting that perhaps the children who do better in exams who are from a more privileged background may do better simply because they are more intelligent.
    This is not to say that those from poorer backgrounds are unintelligent and I am aware of other factors such as private tuition and unequal opportunities. However, statistically speaking, if someone is privileged it is because their parents have done well financially due to their own intelligence. Therefore there are many cases in which the intelligence is passed on.
    Of course this is not true in all cases, but it is worth noting.
    Yes, that's true. Also, many students likely haven't hit their full academic potential from lower social classes.
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    (Original post by DFranklin)
    Funnily, there was someone in my year who was worried people would think he was posh, so he adopted a fake cockney accent, and his parents were so horrified they sent him to elocution lessons :rofl: [
    Mockney and Estuary English seem to have become less fashionable than they were 15-20 years or so ago, when Princess Anne was raising her daughter in Dagenham Palace.
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    Yeah in a way the bbc are just discouraging people from applying by making it seem really elitist.
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    I think to some extent it's articles like the one in the BBC and the comments on it on Facebook that put people off from applying - it really does my nut in! I'm working class, disabled, went to a failing school and got into both Oxford and Cambridge because I didn't let myself be deterred by some kind of perceived cultural difference (so what if I speak like a chav? so what if my mum worked in tesco? doesn't mean I couldn't do just as well academically!) and because I had the initiative to research the admissions process and criteria (+ extenuating circumstances form) myself rather than helplessly viewing it as an insurmountable hurdle. TSR was actually useful for that incidentally So basically I think it comes down to whether students take the initiative or not - and if they don't they probably wouldn't do very well at Oxbridge anyway.
    Can I ask, were you actively encouraged by those around you or did you get told you wouldn't be up for it?
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    (Original post by Spoderman:))
    This is not to say that those from poorer backgrounds are unintelligent and I am aware of other factors such as private tuition and unequal opportunities. However, statistically speaking, if someone is privileged it is because their parents have done well financially due to their own intelligence. .
    Or their parents have just been wealthy enough from the outset, or through a particular skill that has no link to intelligence at all. There are masses of wealthy stupid people out there, who just have the fortunate position of being so wealthy they just pay for expert or "intelligent" advice to maintain their wealth.
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    That also raises another point - they should break down the statistics by course and not just by college. I think the sciences and maths are much more evenly balanced than MML (my subject), classics, land economy etc.
    Oxford's stats have that breakdown:

    https://public.tableau.com/views/UoO...showVizHome=no
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Oxford's stats have that breakdown:

    https://public.tableau.com/views/UoO...showVizHome=no
    Didn't an AT point out that students from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately applied for the most popular courses?
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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Didn't an AT point out that students from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately applied for the most popular courses?
    Yes. So I'd expect medicine, engineering and maybe maths to have a higher proportion of state schooled students.


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    (Original post by black1blade)
    Yeah in a way the bbc are just discouraging people from applying by making it seem really elitist.
    This. The article is a click-bait, reported statistics and facts are unsurprising and don't show worrying "backwards" trends, but rather state the obvious (e.g. London+south east makes up slightly less than 50% of the intake).
 
 
 
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