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    (Original post by Hirsty97)
    Of course Pupil A is more likely, but it's not impossible for Pupil B. If B's application is considerably weaker than A's, then it is unfair on A to let B in at the expense of A. A still had to work hard for those grades. Of course there are nuances here, it's unreasonable to expect someone from a more economically deprived background to have travelled extensively and have as much extra curricular activity. But I think they have to be strict with exceptions and not let anyone in if they fail to meet the entry requirements.
    Thanks for your considered response.

    I think it's very difficult to gauge fairly how relatively disadvantaged Pupil B has been. It's just as difficult to gauge how relatively advantaged Pupil A has been, though. And I agree that Pupil A having advantages doesn't mean that they had those grades put into their lap; they did still have to work for them.

    How else do you level the playing field, though? The alternative to adjusting requirements is ignoring the disparity between the backgrounds of each, and saying it should have no bearing. Which doesn't seem fair either.
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    (Original post by Etoile)

    Well if the news is the only reliable place you hear about it then it probably will have an effect on you, and it plays into a cycle where people think that Oxbridge is posh so don't apply there, and then it becomes posher because fewer normal people apply there! I don't think people should listen to it, but they do so we have to deal with that.
    Well, you're wrong. Oxbridge's reputation for being posh doesn't come from the news. It comes from a much more powerful influencer which is pure word of mouth. It's a generic stereotype. The fact that BBC has reported that doesn't change anything.

    Also, Oxbridge is posh. You make it sound like a massive misconception.

    If you're serious about trying to improve state school representation at Oxbridge, please don't be an idiot and blame the BBC.

    If anything, state school kids will be more likely to apply since they know that because of their contextual background they'll have a good chance.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Well, you're wrong. Oxbridge's reputation for being posh doesn't come from the news. It comes from a much more powerful influencer which is pure word of mouth. It's a generic stereotype. The fact that BBC has reported that doesn't change anything.

    Also, Oxbridge is posh. You make it sound like a massive misconception.

    If you're serious about trying to improve state school representation at Oxbridge, please don't be an idiot and blame the BBC.

    If anything, state school kids will be more likely to apply since they know that because of their contextual background they'll have a good chance.
    I'm not blaming the BBC, I literally said that they were playing into the existing stereotype - they're not exactly helping the cause. I don't see them reporting on all the school groups from target areas that are brought to visit the colleges every week, the summer schools, etc.
    Maybe I have been absurdly lucky but I've never felt like either of them (having now been at both) have been very posh. Yes, some of the buildings are nice, yes there is the option to go to nice dinners, but I've never met anyone who struck me as particularly posh and I've never felt like I had a different student experience to other unis other than the teaching structure or that I didn't fit in here even though before uni I didn't know what hummus or pesto were and had never seen a mango before It's not like we're marching around with our butlers carrying our books as we go off to a white tie event every night with fine crystal and silverware - my reality is just me in the library/computer room all day, beans on toast for tea, hanging out in friends' rooms in the evenings.

    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    No Medicine? Or Engineering?

    Posted from TSR Mobile

    Engineering was actually about half/half too actually: 782 state school applicants (207 offers) and 707 private school applicants (202 offers). I didn't count medicine because for some reason the number of applicants is just showing as #### but it was 279 state school offers vs 172 private school offers.
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    (Original post by *pitseleh*)
    Thanks for your considered response.

    I think it's very difficult to gauge fairly how relatively disadvantaged Pupil B has been. It's just as difficult to gauge how relatively advantaged Pupil A has been, though. And I agree that Pupil A having advantages doesn't mean that they had those grades put into their lap; they did still have to work for them.

    How else do you level the playing field, though? The alternative to adjusting requirements is ignoring the disparity between the backgrounds of each, and saying it should have no bearing. Which doesn't seem fair either.
    Nothing will ever truly be 100% equal as equality is just a social construct. To aim for 100% equality between everyone is lunacy. Strive to provide opportunities for everyone by all means. If the government tries to enforce equality is almost invariably makes things worse i.e affirmative action not only stokes resentment between economic classes and demographics but it also bad for an employer. How is an employer supposed to distinguish between someone who went to a top university on their own merit or someone who got it with lower grades than the entry requirement but was admitted because of quotas? Fortunately there are more opportunities for everyone now than there was in the past. But not everyone has the capacity to be a PHD. It could be because of a lack of discipline, cognitive ability etc. With technology now the cost of education is much lower i.e I went from being a B student at maths to now working at an A* from utilising resources on the internet and learning from self-study.
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    I'm not blaming the BBC, I literally said that they were playing into the existing stereotype - they're not exactly helping the cause. I don't see them reporting on all the school groups from target areas that are brought to visit the colleges every week, the summer schools, etc.
    Maybe I have been absurdly lucky but I've never felt like either of them (having now been at both) have been very posh. Yes, some of the buildings are nice, yes there is the option to go to nice dinners, but I've never met anyone who struck me as particularly posh and I've never felt like I had a different student experience to other unis other than the teaching structure or that I didn't fit in here even though before uni I didn't know what hummus or pesto were and had never seen a mango before It's not like we're marching around with our butlers carrying our books as we go off to a white tie event every night with fine crystal and silverware - my reality is just me in the library/computer room all day, beans on toast for tea, hanging out in friends' rooms in the evenings.


    Yeah but like that's the thing, Oxbridge is like our equivalent of ivy league so obviously they're going to report this.

    And just like Oxbridge, Ivy league schools get berated for not fulfilling the "american dream" by having proportionally low numbers of underprivileged students.

    Yes, you're right there's two sides to the story. But fact is students from private schools, grammar schools and schools that feed into oxbridge a lot have an unfair advantage due to having a large alumni network and prepare students very well with interview practise using real past questions, mock tests for the oxbridge tests etc etc. Oxbridge have turned a blind eye to it and it's time they do something to level the playing field.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Yeah but like that's the thing, Oxbridge is like our equivalent of ivy league so obviously they're going to report this.

    And just like Oxbridge, Ivy league schools get berated for not fulfilling the "american dream" by having proportionally low numbers of underprivileged students.

    Yes, you're right there's two sides to the story. But fact is students from private schools, grammar schools and schools that feed into oxbridge a lot have an unfair advantage due to having a large alumni network and prepare students very well with interview practise using real past questions, mock tests for the oxbridge tests etc etc. Oxbridge have turned a blind eye to it and it's time they do something to level the playing field.
    They absolutely haven't turned a blind eye - they try as much as possible to even the playing field and spend millions on it every year, but they can't really stop schools/parents from doing all they can to prepare students. In fact the whole reason why they have interviews is so that they can see your thought processes, so they try to ask questions that you can't be coached for as much as possible or it defeats the whole purpose. I wasn't interviewed for Oxford, but in my two Cambridge interviews they didn't actually ask me that many questions but used one or two as a springboard for a discussion. For the tests, they provide specimens on their websites so that anyone can practice, and my boyfriend went on a summer school type deal at Cambridge where people from schools without a history of Oxbridge admissions could be given extra help for STEP. This is also why the Sutton Trust/UNIQ summer schools and the CUSU shadowing scheme exist - to level the playing field. I think my old Cambridge college also recently ran something aimed at getting girls to apply for economics and they run medicine access days too. Having just looked at (as an example) Trinity's website too, they're running various taster and residential schemes and even a programme for teachers and pretty much all Oxbridge colleges do the same. They all have full time schools liaison officers and access officers on the JCR committees. It's just very hard to overcome the constant portrayal of them as inaccessible!
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    They absolutely haven't turned a blind eye - they try as much as possible to even the playing field and spend millions on it every year, but they can't really stop schools/parents from doing all they can to prepare students. In fact the whole reason why they have interviews is so that they can see your thought processes, so they try to ask questions that you can't be coached for as much as possible or it defeats the whole purpose. I wasn't interviewed for Oxford, but in my two Cambridge interviews they didn't actually ask me that many questions but used one or two as a springboard for a discussion. For the tests, they provide specimens on their websites so that anyone can practice, and my boyfriend went on a summer school type deal at Cambridge where people from schools without a history of Oxbridge admissions could be given extra help for STEP. This is also why the Sutton Trust/UNIQ summer schools and the CUSU shadowing scheme exist - to level the playing field. I think my old Cambridge college also recently ran something aimed at getting girls to apply for economics and they run medicine access days too. Having just looked at (as an example) Trinity's website too, they're running various taster and residential schemes and even a programme for teachers and pretty much all Oxbridge colleges do the same. They all have full time schools liaison officers and access officers on the JCR committees. It's just very hard to overcome the constant portrayal of them as inaccessible!
    Millions? cmon that's a complete lie.

    All they need to do is provide more information and clarity about the interview. A few specimen papers isnt enough.

    Their summer schools are nothing, all top unis offer some sort of scheme similar to that.

    They're doing nowhere near enough, sorry
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    I am all for improving state education across poorer or less educated parts of England, if that is suggested to be an issue here, but good lord am I tired of hearing complaints about 'underrepresentation' in general. Obviously in concentrated areas of wealth and education there is going to be a bigger emphasis for children on education and aspiration in general, and therefore higher educational attainment and a greater proportion of Oxbridge applications. There is nothing either surprising or problematic about this. What is important is that anyone from any background, if they get the grades and show the relevant qualities in interview, can get in. In this sense -- by far the most important and pertinent sense -- Oxbridge is completely accessible to all.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Millions? cmon that's a complete lie.

    All they need to do is provide more information and clarity about the interview. A few specimen papers isnt enough.

    Their summer schools are nothing, all top unis offer some sort of scheme similar to that.

    They're doing nowhere near enough, sorry
    Nope - Oxford alone (and that's the university itself, not including the colleges' individual spending) pays for "outreach programmes costing £4m a year, summer schools and £8m annually in financial support." Cambridge says " It is estimated that, in 2017–18, overall expenditure [on widening participation and outreach] by the collegiate University will be approximately £9.5m, including bursaries and other financial measures."

    Yes, isn't it good that other universities now participate in a scheme originally just run at Oxbridge!

    What more is there to say about the interview when every one is unique? Depending on subject you will be asked about an unseen text you had a half hour to read beforehand, or asked to solve a problem, or asked about something on your personal statement.

    What do you think they should do then?
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Millions? cmon that's a complete lie.

    All they need to do is provide more information and clarity about the interview. A few specimen papers isnt enough.

    Their summer schools are nothing, all top unis offer some sort of scheme similar to that.

    They're doing nowhere near enough, sorry
    Yes millions, Cambridge:

    "In 2013-14, in addition to the £6.5
    million distributed to students from
    low income households through the
    Cambridge Bursary Scheme, the
    University, Colleges and Cambridge
    University Students’ Union (CUSU)
    spent £4.4 million delivering
    outreach initiatives"

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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    Yes millions, Cambridge:

    "In 2013-14, in addition to the £6.5
    million distributed to students from
    low income households through the
    Cambridge Bursary Scheme, the
    University, Colleges and Cambridge
    University Students’ Union (CUSU)
    spent £4.4 million delivering
    outreach initiatives"

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    That's bursary and all those proceeds go to kids who meet the offer and actually go to Cambridge. Im talking about evening the playing field for applicants.

    Okay yeah I know millions is unrealistic but there's still room for improvement imo :/
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    Nope - Oxford alone (and that's the university itself, not including the colleges' individual spending) pays for "outreach programmes costing £4m a year, summer schools and £8m annually in financial support." Cambridge says " It is estimated that, in 2017–18, overall expenditure [on widening participation and outreach] by the collegiate University will be approximately £9.5m, including bursaries and other financial measures."

    Yes, isn't it good that other universities now participate in a scheme originally just run at Oxbridge!

    What more is there to say about the interview when every one is unique? Depending on subject you will be asked about an unseen text you had a half hour to read beforehand, or asked to solve a problem, or asked about something on your personal statement.

    What do you think they should do then?
    Okay well summer schools as I said is standard at top unis. But oxbridge application is different.

    NOTE: Im specifically talking just about applicants and the application process. Which schools that have high number of students going to oxbridge have an advantage in. You're yet to admit how unfair it is.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Okay well summer schools as I said is standard at top unis. But oxbridge application is different.

    NOTE: Im specifically talking just about applicants and the application process. Which schools that have high number of students going to oxbridge have an advantage in. You're yet to admit how unfair it is.
    It's not really that different - I had an interview at UCL too and I don't hear anyone criticising them. Schools that perform well, especially academically selective schools (and the top private schools are highly selective) do appear to have an advantage because they produce high-achieving applicants. I don't see what Oxbridge can do about that other than saying they won't accept more than x students from a certain school regardless of how good they are, and they won't do that because it's not fair on the other students that go there that their place goes to a lesser applicant from a different school. My comprehensive state school was deemed inadequate by Ofsted so I filled out an extenuating circumstances form to make sure that was clear to Cambridge, and they automatically take the school into account as part of the general contextual data anyway.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    That's bursary and all those proceeds go to kids who meet the offer and actually go to Cambridge. Im talking about evening the playing field for applicants.

    Okay yeah I know millions is unrealistic but there's still room for improvement imo :/
    The £4.4 million isn't bursary (that was the £6 million). It's directly on Outreach, specifically:

    "Through these
    initiatives, we were able to deliver
    approximately 167,000 student and
    17,000 teacher interactions through 3,400 events.

    "Of the 90,000 students we have
    engaged with and been able to track
    over the last three years, almost
    20,000 went on to apply to the
    University, with just fewer than 5,600
    being admitted."



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    (Original post by Etoile)
    It's not really that different - I had an interview at UCL too and I don't hear anyone criticising them. Schools that perform well, especially academically selective schools (and the top private schools are highly selective) do appear to have an advantage because they produce high-achieving applicants. I don't see what Oxbridge can do about that other than saying they won't accept more than x students from a certain school regardless of how good they are, and they won't do that because it's not fair on the other students that go there that their place goes to a lesser applicant from a different school. My comprehensive state school was deemed inadequate by Ofsted so I filled out an extenuating circumstances form to make sure that was clear to Cambridge, and they automatically take the school into account as part of the general contextual data anyway.
    Because UCL's not Oxbridge. And the rigorous prep done by academically selective schools/privates is clear.

    I am EXTREMELY lucky in that I go to a school near harrow school and so we do preparation there and I see a noticeable difference in preparation. From very well written mock papers to thorough interviews with made up question is oxbridge style.

    The difference really is clear.
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    Class war is so last century, guys. C'mon grow up and just be secure in yourselves and show a bit less hate toward people (parents) who want the best for their children. After all isn't that exactly what you're going to want?
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    (Original post by Doonesbury)
    The £4.4 million isn't bursary (that was the £6 million). It's directly on Outreach, specifically:

    "Through these initiatives, we were able to deliver approximately 167,000 student and 17,000 teacher interactions through
    3,400 events.

    "Of the 90,000 students we have engaged with and been able to track over the last three years, almost 20,000 went on to apply to the University, with just fewer than 5,600 being admitted."



    Posted from TSR Mobile
    I've been on one of the events they organised. First of all it's really not helpful for the specific application process. It helps to understand Cambridge as a uni if you know nothing about it. Speaking to students was my only real opportunity to understand how to prepare for the process that really helped.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    In this sense -- by far the most important and pertinent sense -- Oxbridge is completely accessible to all.
    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.
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    (Original post by itsfantanoo)
    Because UCL's not Oxbridge. And the rigorous prep done by academically selective schools/privates is clear.

    I am EXTREMELY lucky in that I go to a school near harrow school and so we do preparation there and I see a noticeable difference in preparation. From very well written mock papers to thorough interviews with made up question is oxbridge style.

    The difference really is clear.
    My point is that OXBRIDGE CAN'T STOP SCHOOLS FROM DOING THAT which is why they spend so much money on ways to prepare students through tasters, summer schools, workshops etc. and target underrepresented schools for it. The country is divided up by colleges and each region and area of London has a specific college that is responsible for outreach there, with a list of schools to focus on. What do you want them to do, pay for people to coach students from comprehensives?

    All of that prep by schools is unnecessary anyway - students should be preparing themselves. I didn't really have prep sessions and I got in because I took it upon myself to look at the test beforehand, learn vocab, look up the first year reading list and read stuff off it to put on my personal statement, etc. That initiative is one of the traits you need to succeed at Oxbridge!
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    (Original post by Etoile)
    My point is that OXBRIDGE CAN'T STOP SCHOOLS FROM DOING THAT which is why they spend so much money on ways to prepare students through tasters, summer schools, workshops etc. and target underrepresented schools for it. The country is divided up by colleges and each region and area of London has a specific college that is responsible for outreach there, with a list of schools to focus on. What do you want them to do, pay for people to coach students from comprehensives?

    All of that prep by schools is unnecessary anyway - students should be preparing themselves. I didn't really have prep sessions and I got in because I took it upon myself to look at the test beforehand, learn vocab, look up the first year reading list and read stuff off it to put on my personal statement, etc. That initiative is one of the traits you need to succeed at Oxbridge!
    Well my point is that they can make more of that sort of stuff publicly accessible and have more resources to help. Maybe they can send it out to schools to offer more clarit and help better prepare students. That's literally it. A couple specimen papers isnt gonna cut it.

    Well guess what! none of the harrow boy tw ats that get in took "initiative" they got everything fed with a silver spoon.
 
 
 
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