Edinburgh uni is ELITIST - do NOT apply if you are taking an access course! Watch

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FreeDerry
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I don't use TSR very often but feel the need to warn prospective access students (or mature/disadvantaged students in general) about how the University of Edinburgh appears to be aeons behind the times in terms of widening participation. They actively mislead people taking access courses and seem to have a very snobbish and elitist attitude when it comes to 'non-standard qualifications'.

I had spent some time prior to applying emailing their admissions department to be certain that my qualification (access) would be accepted for the degree I was applying for (Classics and Italian). I was then informed via email that my access course was acceptable and that I would need to achieve 45 merits (no language A level needed). I did find it slightly suspicious that they took weeks to respond to my query and finally got back to me on the 15th of January (UCAS deadline day) but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and actually changed one of my university options (KCL) to Edinburgh because of this reassurance.

Interestingly, I was rejected not long after I submitted my application. My initial thoughts were 'oh, perhaps they didn't like my personal statement' (fair enough), however they informed me the reason for the rejection was because my qualifications were 'not appropriate' for my degree choice. I was perplexed by this, as I had just been given confirmation by their admissions department that an access course was acceptable. After emailing them questioning this it later transpired that I was not eligible as I haven't done a language GCSE (in any language) in the past two years and they want evidence of linguistic ability. This was not made clear to me in any of my correspondences with the university.

The irony of this is that I am bilingual in Spanish (which was mentioned in my personal statement - I'm not sure if they bothered reading it) and took 4 language GCSEs (including Latin and Italian) all at A* along with French AS. Whilst I did take these GCSEs four years ago and not two, surely bilingualism is more than enough evidence of 'linguistic ability' and compensates for 'not having done a GCSE in any language in the past two years'? Mysterious indeed...

Now I am not simply lashing out due to the 'bitterness of rejection' as some might believe, as I was lucky enough to receive offers from UCL, St Andrews, Durham and Cambridge (none of which had such petty and arbitrary rules about GCSEs). The Edinburgh rejection makes absolutely no difference to me and honestly it was my last choice out of the five. However, what does infuriate me is that their duplicity might affect future applicants who could end up wasting one of their university choices on an institution that evidently considers itself above the 'access plebs' (the lack of information for access students on their website is also indicative of this).

I am currently attempting to correspond with the university about this matter although they have yet to respond to my latest email where I point out the above facts and expose their contradictions. I am somewhat doubtful they will reply.

If you are an access student considering applying to Edinburgh, please think twice about it. The behaviour I have experienced from them indicates it is an institution that is reluctant to accept anyone that doesn't fit into their bourgeois privileged mould (the fact they are less committed to access than Cambridge is very telling).

Apologies for the length of this, I have tried to keep it as brief as possible but hopefully it might help anyone considering applying to Edinburgh on an access course or as a mature student. There are also some more facts/nuances to this that I may not have mentioned here or haven't explained clearly, in which case feel free to message me or comment.
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999tigger
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Not really seeing it.

Many unis have an active recent qualification criteria.
Access courses arent accepted everywhere,
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zetamcfc
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(Original post by FreeDerry)
I don't use TSR very often but feel the need to warn prospective access students (or mature/disadvantaged students in general) about how the University of Edinburgh appears to be aeons behind the times in terms of widening participation. They actively mislead people taking access courses and seem to have a very snobbish and elitist attitude when it comes to 'non-standard qualifications'.

I had spent some time prior to applying emailing their admissions department to be certain that my qualification (access) would be accepted for the degree I was applying for (Classics and Italian). I was then informed via email that my access course was acceptable and that I would need to achieve 45 merits (no language A level needed). I did find it slightly suspicious that they took weeks to respond to my query and finally got back to me on the 15th of January (UCAS deadline day) but I gave them the benefit of the doubt and actually changed one of my university options (KCL) to Edinburgh because of this reassurance.

Interestingly, I was rejected not long after I submitted my application. My initial thoughts were 'oh, perhaps they didn't like my personal statement' (fair enough), however they informed me the reason for the rejection was because my qualifications were 'not appropriate' for my degree choice. I was perplexed by this, as I had just been given confirmation by their admissions department that an access course was acceptable. After emailing them questioning this it later transpired that I was not eligible as I haven't done a language GCSE (in any language) in the past two years and they want evidence of linguistic ability. This was not made clear to me in any of my correspondences with the university.

The irony of this is that I am bilingual in Spanish (which was mentioned in my personal statement - I'm not sure if they bothered reading it) and took 4 language GCSEs (including Latin and Italian) all at A* along with French AS. Whilst I did take these GCSEs four years ago and not two, surely bilingualism is more than enough evidence of 'linguistic ability' and compensates for 'not having done a GCSE in any language in the past two years'? Mysterious indeed...

Now I am not simply lashing out due to the 'bitterness of rejection' as some might believe, as I was lucky enough to receive offers from UCL, St Andrews, Durham and Cambridge (none of which had such petty and arbitrary rules about GCSEs). The Edinburgh rejection makes absolutely no difference to me and honestly it was my last choice out of the five. However, what does infuriate me is that their duplicity might affect future applicants who could end up wasting one of their university choices on an institution that evidently considers itself above the 'access plebs' (the lack of information for access students on their website is also indicative of this).

I am currently attempting to correspond with the university about this matter although they have yet to respond to my latest email where I point out the above facts and expose their contradictions. I am somewhat doubtful they will reply.

If you are an access student considering applying to Edinburgh, please think twice about it. The behaviour I have experienced from them indicates it is an institution that is reluctant to accept anyone that doesn't fit into their bourgeois privileged mould (the fact they are less committed to access than Cambridge is very telling).

Apologies for the length of this, I have tried to keep it as brief as possible but hopefully it might help anyone considering applying to Edinburgh on an access course or as a mature student. There are also some more facts/nuances to this that I may not have mentioned here or haven't explained clearly, in which case feel free to message me or comment.
I'm guessing this was a requirement and since you didn't fulfill it, they rejected you.
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FreeDerry
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(Original post by zetamcfc)
I'm guessing this was a requirement and since you didn't fulfill it, they rejected you.
I believe the university misled me, as I emailed admissions asking them if my qualifications were acceptable, they told me they were and made absolutely no mention of needing to have completed a GCSE in a language in the past two years. The fact I am bilingual also makes a mockery of such a requirement - does a GCSE in a language prove more linguistic aptitude than bilingualism?
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Eirini Kakari
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My brother is studying physics at Southampton Uni. He was rejected too by Edinburgh Uni. It seems they get many applications. To be honest it was his last choice too because they had the worst student satisfaction rate by far
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FreeDerry
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(Original post by 999tigger)
Not really seeing it.

Many unis have an active recent qualification criteria.
Access courses arent accepted everywhere,
What are you not seeing? The university informed me that they accept access qualifications but they made no mention of the 'two year language GCSE rule' to me in our correspondence, thus misleading me and wasting one of my university options.

The vast majority of universities do accept access courses btw, especially for humanities.
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NYU℠
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I fail to see how this is “elitist.”

Perhaps the person with whom you were emailing did not understand your query properly. It appears that your Access credentials were sufficient, with the exception of needing a language. I further don’t see how being bilingual, more specifically, how making a statement in your personal statement that you’re bilingual would be very relevant. A mere claim of being bilingual doesn’t actually tell the admission committee anything beyond the fact that you believe yourself to be or are representing yourself as being bilingual.

This seems more like an issue of failure to communicate, than the alleged elitism.
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FreeDerry
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(Original post by NYU2012)
I fail to see how this is “elitist.”

Perhaps the person with whom you were emailing did not understand your query properly. It appears that your Access credentials were sufficient, with the exception of needing a language. I further don’t see how being bilingual, more specifically, how making a statement in your personal statement that you’re bilingual would be very relevant. A mere claim of being bilingual doesn’t actually tell the admission committee anything beyond the fact that you believe yourself to be or are representing yourself as being bilingual.

This seems more like an issue of failure to communicate, than the alleged elitism.

I consider it elitist in the sense that they are making it very difficult for people with non-standard qualifications to apply due to the contradictory and unclear information they supply (and this is usually for people that have suffered some kind of disadvantage in life, particularly those on access courses). Their website is very unclear about access qualifications and I really had to dig deep to find anything that mentioned them (in the end I had to email admissions for further clarification). This in itself suggests to me that they are not particularly keen on access students applying or they would make more of an effort to make access criteria visible on their website. The fact they took so long to respond to my query about my access qualification (only responding on the UCAS deadline day) is also highly questionable. Mentioning I am bilingual in my personal statement was only one aspect of my application (and they could have simply asked for proof of this). As I have four language GCSES at A* I was convinced that I did meet their criteria and I was not told otherwise by the admissions officer I communicated with via email. After sending admissions detailed information about my qualifications, I received this response:

Thank you for this information.You would be eligible to apply for MA Latin Studies with the Access Course you are completing, however, for MA Italian and Classics you would need a language other than English at GCSE Grade B or above. You can find more information here:https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees/index.php?action=programme&code= QR83In your Access to HE Diploma, you would need to obtain 60 credits with 45 Level 3 Credits at Merit Grade or above.



Notice how whilst 'GCSE Grade B or above' is mentioned, the fact it has to have been completed in the past two years is not stated. As I already had so many language GCSEs that were completed not particularly long ago, I don't think it was wrong of me to assume that they would be more than sufficient for meeting the criteria (especially as there was no clear information on this on their website). If they had stated 'GCSE Grade B or above completed in the past 2 years' then it would have been a different matter and I simply wouldn't have bothered applying. I essentially wasted a university choice on them which ultimately didn't affect me at all but might affect future access students which is why I am issuing this warning.
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NYU℠
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(Original post by FreeDerry)
I consider it elitist in the sense that they are making it very difficult for people with non-standard qualifications to apply due to the contradictory and unclear information they supply (and this is usually for people that have suffered some kind of disadvantage in life, particularly those on access courses). Their website is very unclear about access qualifications and I really had to dig deep to find anything that mentioned them (in the end I had to email admissions for further clarification). This in itself suggests to me that they are not particularly keen on access students applying or they would make more of an effort to make access criteria visible on their website. The fact they took so long to respond to my query about my access qualification (only responding on the UCAS deadline day) is also highly questionable. Mentioning I am bilingual in my personal statement was only one aspect of my application (and they could have simply asked for proof of this). As I have four language GCSES at A* I was convinced that I did meet their criteria and I was not told otherwise by the admissions officer I communicated with via email. After sending admissions detailed information about my qualifications, I received this response:

Thank you for this information.You would be eligible to apply for MA Latin Studies with the Access Course you are completing, however, for MA Italian and Classics you would need a language other than English at GCSE Grade B or above. You can find more information here:https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees/index.php?action=programme&a mp;amp;code=QR83"]https://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergraduate/degrees/index.php?action=programme&a mp;amp;code=QR83[/url]In your Access to HE Diploma, you would need to obtain 60 credits with 45 Level 3 Credits at Merit Grade or above.



Notice how whilst 'GCSE Grade B or above' is mentioned, the fact it has to have been completed in the past two years is not stated. As I already had so many language GCSEs that were completed not particularly long ago, I don't think it was wrong of me to assume that they would be more than sufficient for meeting the criteria (especially as there was no clear information on this on their website). If they had stated 'GCSE Grade B or above completed in the past 2 years' then it would have been a different matter and I simply wouldn't have bothered applying. I essentially wasted a university choice on them which ultimately didn't affect me at all but might affect future access students which is why I am issuing this warning.
This still all boils down to “the entry requirements weren’t clear, so I didn’t get in and feel I wasted my time.”

This doesn’t point to elitism. This points to a failure in communication around a, perhaps, unusual circumstance regarding admission.

You didn’t get in. That’s not sufficient reason to label the university “elitist.”

You try to rescue your argument through definitional fiat by defining elitism as a function of difficulty of accessing information related to your specific qualifications and admissions. But outside of your argument here, I don’t think I’ve ever come across elitism defined as such.

You then try to bolster this accusation by assuming that this failure of communication is a product of intentionality on their part — that it is difficult to find this information because they don’t want these students. But there’s no evidence of this beyond your conjecture. Plenty of universities have entry requirements that are difficult to understand or access for any number of people.

You could make the argument that any number of universities are elitist, but this doesn’t appear to be a fruitful line of argument to that ends.
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FreeDerry
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(Original post by NYU2012)
This still all boils down to “the entry requirements weren’t clear, so I didn’t get in and feel I wasted my time.”

This doesn’t point to elitism. This points to a failure in communication around a, perhaps, unusual circumstance regarding admission.

You didn’t get in. That’s not sufficient reason to label the university “elitist.”

You try to rescue your argument through definitional fiat by defining elitism as a function of difficulty of accessing information related to your specific qualifications and admissions. But outside of your argument here, I don’t think I’ve ever come across elitism defined as such.

You then try to bolster this accusation by assuming that this failure of communication is a product of intentionality on their part — that it is difficult to find this information because they don’t want these students. But there’s no evidence of this beyond your conjecture. Plenty of universities have entry requirements that are difficult to understand or access for any number of people.

You could make the argument that any number of universities are elitist, but this doesn’t appear to be a fruitful line of argument to that ends.

Doesn't the university have a duty to make the entrance requirements clear so people don't waste their time (or rather a valuable university choice)? The 'failure of communication' and lack of clarity on the university's part directly disadvantages access students which in my opinion does make it elitist as they are excluding people by giving them contradictory or unclear information. I am not defining elitism as 'difficulty of accessing information' but rather that the university is acting in an elitist manner by obscuring information that could benefit less advantaged individuals. By not including clear information about access courses on their website they are discouraging access students from applying as they are unable to find information pertaining to their qualifications which can lead to the conclusion of 'they probably don't accept access courses, maybe I shouldn't apply' (I know I initially thought this). 'Plenty of universities have entry requirements that are difficult to understand or access for any number of people.' - What do you mean by this? The majority of universities I came across when deciding on where to apply were very clear in stating their access course requirements.

This is not just about me (although I am using my experience as an example) and I am not labelling the university elitist because I didn't get in - I got into Cambridge, which some would argue is one of the most elitist universities in the country on the access course that Edinburgh clearly thinks so lowly of. I am 'labelling' Edinburgh elitist for all the reasons I have mentioned above.

To me this all boils down to 'the university purposefully obscures information for access course students (many of whom are from lower income backgrounds or disadvantaged in some way) in order to discourage them from applying to maintain their middle class contingent and as such, is elitist'.
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Snufkin
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I can't find anywhere on their website that says they require a recent language GCSE, and if they didn't specify that in your email conversation with the admissions tutor then you have every right to be annoyed - but I'm not sure that amounts to elitism. Incidentally, I had the opposite experience with Edinburgh: I asked them if they accepted Open University credits for admission, they said no, I applied anyway... and got in. :lol:

I think Access course students who want to go to Edinburgh should still apply, but make sure to contact the admissions office beforehand and check that you have understood all their entry requirements properly.
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FreeDerry
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(Original post by Snufkin)
I think Access course students who want to go to Edinburgh should still apply, but make sure to contact the admissions office beforehand and check that you have understood all their entry requirements properly.

I would have certainly agreed with this before I applied and I actually did everything you mentioned. I was very thorough in checking their website and sent the admissions office detailed information about my course. I thought I had covered and checked everything, but they still essentially deceived me which is why I'm warning people to be careful with them.
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username4102278
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Recently did an Access to Science course, we all got offers from Edinburgh without issue, I got two in fact.

Go have a cry about getting rejected buddy, they take access students all the time, they just didnt want you.
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username4102278
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Detailed requirements for all applicants
To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: A language other than English at Grade B, English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: A language other than English at Grade B or 6, English at Grade C or 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: A language other than English at 5, English at 5 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.


Took me all of 10 seconds to find this. Starting to see why you got rejected
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Notoriety
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To me, the problem comes from them not telling you about the GCSE requirement rather than them being opposed to widening participation or Access students.

Additionally, when a uni does not like a student, they often point to quals not being up to scratch because it is an easy justification. Easier than saying "nah, not really our type".

You seem to be suffering from a bruised ego. You seem to have the idea that because you got into Cambridge you must get into Edinburgh, but no. They can select whoever they like and they are not so meek that they must follow Cambridge's practices. Indeed, with Access, you will find with several courses less established unis having much more challenging requirements than the more prestigious unis. It is just how it goes, Access being less common at the top unis and slightly more prominent at the less established ones, such that the less established unis have a more "enlightened" admission policy re Access.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by champonix)
Detailed requirements for all applicants
To be considered for an offer of a place all applicants must meet the following requirements:
  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: A language other than English at Grade B, English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: A language other than English at Grade B or 6, English at Grade C or 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: A language other than English at 5, English at 5 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.


Took me all of 10 seconds to find this. Starting to see why you got rejected
Maybe you should read the OP before making smart aleck comments - the OP met the entry requirements listed on the Edinburgh website.
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username3012438
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Lol Edinburgh is far from elitist.

They give massive scholarships to people from very poor backgrounds.
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username4102278
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(Original post by Snufkin)
Maybe you should read the OP before making smart aleck comments - the OP met the entry requirements listed on the Edinburgh website.
Maybe you should stick to licking windows and leave comments to those of us that can read.

The OP is complaining about the fact that he was too stupid to read the entrance requirements and that HE DID NOT have a language qualification at the requested level.

Wasting staff time when you're literally too dense to read the entry requirement tab on the course description page should be a disqualification by itself.
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Snufkin
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(Original post by champonix)
Maybe you should stick to licking windows and leave comments to those of us that can read.

The OP is complaining about the fact that he was too stupid to read the entrance requirements and that HE DID NOT have a language qualification at the requested level.

Wasting staff time when you're literally too dense to read the entry requirement tab on the course description page should be a disqualification by itself.
Evidently you have not read the OP's post. Edinburgh requires a language GCSE, the OP has four language GCSEs and an AS in French. They do meet the entry requirements as set out on the website.

And please don't be rude, thanks.
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(Original post by Snufkin)
Maybe you should read the OP before making smart aleck comments - the OP met the entry requirements listed on the Edinburgh website.

This is not quite true. The website does not say the requirements for Access students, other than that students should check in with the College Admissions Office.

The Advanced Highers, A-Level and IB requirements all mention GCSE requirements and the guidance given is that language courses have extra requirements from Access students. Perhaps OP was too specific and only asked CAO about the Access course suitability, i.e. the modules taken, such that they were disinclined to tell the student "Don't forget about the extra requirement: you need a language GCSE in the past two years."
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