Cambridge plans to recruit poorer students Watch

Spirithorse
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Cambridge University is to open its doors to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who show great potential but have not met the entry grades.

Vice-chancellor Prof Toope said it was time to dispel the stereotype of the highly selective university as a "bastion of privilege".

Under the plan, some students who have faced "educational challenge" will be asked to join a transition programme.

Presently, entry to Cambridge requires at least three As or A*s at A-level.

Applicants also need to perform well in an interview.

Read the full story here

What do you think?
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Doones
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(Original post by Spirithorse)
Cambridge University is to open its doors to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who show great potential but have not met the entry grades.

Vice-chancellor Prof Toope said it was time to dispel the stereotype of the highly selective university as a "bastion of privilege".

Under the plan, some students who have faced "educational challenge" will be asked to join a transition programme.

Presently, entry to Cambridge requires at least three As or A*s at A-level.

Applicants also need to perform well in an interview.

Read the full story here

What do you think?
This is great news! Hopefully the Transitional Year will be fully-funded (like LMH at Oxford).
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Notoriety
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Don't know enough about it to know if it's worthwhile or not.
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Doones
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(Original post by Spirithorse)
Presently, entry to Cambridge requires at least three As or A*s at A-level.
Just a small correction needed:
It's A*A*A for most sciences or A*AA for most arts & humanities.

AAA isn't enough for any Cambridge course.
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ThomH97
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Why don't they get applicants to do a test at interview (already do in some cases) and give weight to that?

Cambridge will still be a "bastion of privilege", but changes to that need to come far earlier in education.
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fallen_acorns
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Seems positive to me.

I think its a little late to make a huge difference - the intervention in education for most needs to come far far earlier than the age of 18.. but I can't see why it wouldn't be a good thing, and it seems well thought out.
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Notoriety
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(Original post by fallen_acorns)
Seems positive to me.

I think its a little late to make a huge difference - the intervention in education for most needs to come far far earlier than the age of 18.. but I can't see why it wouldn't be a good thing, and it seems well thought out.
Completely agree.
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Heyok
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That s bad. There is going to be a lower number of white privileged men from upper class.Extremely unfair.
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username4267864
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depends on how big the gap is how much a diffrence that * makes. letting weaker students in risks having to dumb down the education to cater to them. this will reduce the quality of education. the uni may then lose its reputation against the world
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Doones
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(Original post by username4267864)
depends on how big the gap is how much a diffrence that * makes. letting weaker students in risks having to dumb down the education to cater to them. this will reduce the quality of education. the uni may then lose its reputation against the world
That's not the objective. Prof Toope says:

"We will not lower our academic standards for admission. We will, however, continue to actively encourage applications from those eligible students – undergraduate and postgraduate, from the UK and from overseas – who may have been disadvantaged as a result of their educational journey."

I imagine the Transition Year may well have lower academic requirements given the context of each applicant (as per LMH's Foundation Year). But on completion of the Year they will be expected to be up to the same level (and potential) as "standard entry" applicants.
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Dysf(x)al
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Done right this could be great. Done wrong it could be terrible. By all means they should try to recruit disadvantaged students but this should be done by school and area data and not by parent job title (different firms may define different titles differently) or salary (a family with many children in London is far worse off than a family with one child in the north, even if the salaries are the same). Also they should absolutely not give entry to substandard students who will likely struggle with the course, regardless of their situation.

Imho the real difference is to be made earlier on by making sure all schools have the funding to support applicants and offer the required subjects (e.g. Further Maths). I know a few people whose schools seem to be completely useless when it comes to Oxbridge applications. Even mine (which is far from disadvantaged) still spreads false information like "you should apply to colleges with high offer rates".
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Doones
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(Original post by Dysf(x)al)
Done right this could be great. Done wrong it could be terrible. By all means they should try to recruit disadvantaged students but this should be done by school and area data and not by parent job title (different firms may define different titles differently) or salary (a family with many children in London is far worse off than a family with one child in the north, even if the salaries are the same). Also they should absolutely not give entry to substandard students who will likely struggle with the course, regardless of their situation.

Imho the real difference is to be made earlier on by making sure all schools have the funding to support applicants and offer the required subjects (e.g. Further Maths). I know a few people whose schools seem to be completely useless when it comes to Oxbridge applications. Even mine (which is far from disadvantaged) still spreads false information like "you should apply to colleges with high offer rates".
Have you seen the contextual information Cambridge already uses? Parent's job title isn't one of them...

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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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As someone who probs would have benefitted from a foundation year at Oxbridge, I'm still not 100% sure about the whole idea of a foundation year tbh. But then I don't know enough about how Oxford's LMH one is working.

Agree with some of the other posters above that widening access is generally a great thing, but that greater efforts (not necessarily by Oxbridge, imho) need to be made earlier on in the educational process :yep:

All in all: a great day for (filthy) Tabland :yep:
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Keslo
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(Original post by Doonesbury)
Just a small correction needed:
It's A*A*A for most sciences or A*AA for most arts & humanities.

AAA isn't enough for any Cambridge course.
What about Land Economics
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Zacken
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(Original post by Keslo)
What about Land Economics
What about it? The typical offer is A*AA (which you'd know if you spent 30 seconds looking it up).
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Keslo
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(Original post by Zacken)
What about it? The typical offer is A*AA (which you'd know if you spent 30 seconds looking it up).
Yeh your right my bad, got confused with a course from LSE
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Izzythestudent
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ouch. if you have that much potential, you can get 3 As at A level even if you come from an underprivileged background. I come from a working class family & I am predicted higher grades than 3 As (just as an example). I's great they are trying to be less exclusive, but working class people can still achieve good grades if they work hard. Okay, 3 A*s may be hard, but letting in someone with 3 Bs because their parents don't earn as much as everyone else appears discriminatory within itself. It's not about privilege, it's about work ethic.
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the bear
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i still think that there should be a new college especially for these type of students; it could be sponsored by a supermarket or mobile phone/ leisurewear company ?
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Doones
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(Original post by Keslo)
What about Land Economics
A*AA. And back when UMS was a thing it had among the highest Best 3 UMS averages of any course.
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Izzythestudent)
ouch. if you have that much potential, you can get 3 As at A level even if you come from an underprivileged background. I come from a working class family & I am predicted higher grades than 3 As (just as an example). I's great they are trying to be less exclusive, but working class people can still achieve good grades if they work hard. Okay, 3 A*s may be hard, but letting in someone with 3 Bs because their parents don't earn as much as everyone else appears discriminatory within itself. It's not about privilege, it's about work ethic.
That's not what they're saying, at all. Cambridge isn't going to be offering on 3 Bs to anyone, regardless of parental income. They're suggesting a foundation year or bridging scheme so they can meet the A level admission standard - the standard isn't changing.

Applicants from underprivileged backgrounds face more challenges to get to the best universities (such as Cambridge), more just the hurdle of getting A*A*A/A*AA. What do you do if you don't have any books, paper or pens in your house? How do you prepare for an interview in terms of talking lucidly and intelligently about the passion you have for your subject when you have no-one around you with whom you can practice having intelligent, focussed discussion?
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