Is the Oxbridge application system broken? Watch

username4337698
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
So many smart people don't get in each year. Don't the people at Oxbridge ever think about correcting their system. Why is this broken system still seen as legitimate?
Why does that make the system broken? Unless there’s some radical change to the univeristies like building new colleges or offering online learning (both of which would be detrimental to Oxford and Cambridge in my opinion) they can’t take on more students.
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artful_lounger
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They only have x number of spaces, what do you expect them to do? There are lots of highly performing students who apply, at the end of the day they only take on as many as they can (which is already more than most universities anyway - they are very large universities with some very large cohorts for some courses).

If you are performing at a level which would make you a realistic Oxbridge applicant, but miss out, then inevitably you will do quite well coming out of e.g. LSE, Imperial, Warwick, UCL, Edinburgh, St Andrews etc, etc. The difference between Oxbridge and those universities (in the relevant courses) is very narrow as far as future prospects go.

Sour grapes isn't a good look.
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anonymousebonita
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I’m terms of acceptance rates though, oxbridge seem to have higher acceptance rates (roughly 18%) than other easier to get into unis like Edinburgh (10%). I don’t understand this, especially since Edinburgh is more populated than oxbridge?
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username4337698
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
So many smart people don't get in each year. Don't the people at Oxbridge ever think about correcting their system. Why is this broken system still seen as legitimate?
It's probably better than most other universities, they are careful with each application. Okay, in hindsight there will be mistakes but that is inevitable given competitivity.
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(Original post by anonymousebonita)
I’m terms of acceptance rates though, oxbridge seem to have higher acceptance rates (roughly 18%) than other easier to get into unis like Edinburgh (10%). I don’t understand this, especially since Edinburgh is more populated than oxbridge?
Compare the offer rates instead
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username4337698
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
They only have x number of spaces, what do you expect them to do? There are lots of highly performing students who apply, at the end of the day they only take on as many as they can (which is already more than most universities anyway - they are very large universities with some very large cohorts for some courses).

If you are performing at a level which would make you a realistic Oxbridge applicant, but miss out, then inevitably you will do quite well coming out of e.g. LSE, Imperial, Warwick, UCL, Edinburgh, St Andrews etc, etc. The difference between Oxbridge and those universities (in the relevant courses) is very narrow as far as future prospects go.

Sour grapes isn't a good look.
In terms of market mechanisms it makes a lot of sense that due to a growing demand they would expand to take in more students. But no. Why would they do that. It's almost as if they don't want people to be successful or to have amazing lives and access to education. It's so evil. The people that come out of oxbridge have their lives all sorted out and amazing. That is quite a significant difference compared to all the other unis.
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FloralHybrid
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
So many smart people don't get in each year. Don't the people at Oxbridge ever think about correcting their system. Why is this broken system still seen as legitimate?
Contrary to what a lot of people think - It’s not a broken system at all.

They get so many applicants, and they chose the best ones. Just like any other university. Does it mean ‘smart’ people don’t get in? Sure. But that isn’t their fault.
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username4337698
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by anonymousebonita)
I’m terms of acceptance rates though, oxbridge seem to have higher acceptance rates (roughly 18%) than other easier to get into unis like Edinburgh (10%). I don’t understand this, especially since Edinburgh is more populated than oxbridge?
Acceptance rates don't mean it's easier to get in, the standard is higher over fewer applicants, so the proportion of successful ones doesn't mean much.

(Original post by Lucasash9)
The universities take in so much money each year. Why can't they expand so that they can sustain a growing demand. They seem so insistent on not expanding that it feels like they don't want other people to have access to higher quality education.
You can see the effects of rampant expansion at other universities, building massive new halls every year, and having incredibly crowded campuses. I think it would completely ruin Oxford and Cambridge if they did this, as they'd have to cut back on teaching and other aspects of the college life to cope with the larger numbers, which kind of defeats the point.

It's not like saying an airport terminal or a shopping centre should be expanded so that more people can use it, if you just take on more students that will be to the detriment of everyone's experience.
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username4337698
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
So many smart people don't get in each year. Don't the people at Oxbridge ever think about correcting their system. Why is this broken system still seen as legitimate?
There are a limited number of places. The system works - it's much better than most other universities' systems.
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
But unlike every other university they have entrance exams that are engineered to throw people at the deep end and discourage people making it seem like university is like that. It's going to be ridiculously hard and awful when the reality is that it is much more manageable than it seems.
Do you not think that asking everyone to do a standardized test (everyone has exactly the same paper) is really quite a fair way of dealing with admissions?
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username4337698
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
They don't care about the application. That's the point. They care about how well you do in a test that has limited resources for preparation and is made for genetically enhanced people instead of those who are resilient.
Lemme tell you a story about someone with 4A* predictions (but no AS grades) and stonking references with an application good enough to get an interview at Imperial who completely choked in second half of paper 2 in Cambridge's NSAA. He forgot the law of parallel components having the same potential difference which completely screwed him over, failing miserably at easy 1 mark questions and getting rejected pre-interview.
It sucks. But that's the application that they received. They have every right to think there's something suspect about the predicted grades on the application, about the references, when the applicant is screwing up easy questions. And yeah it is partly my fault for not revising what I'd known was my worst area in physics.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
In terms of market mechanisms it makes a lot of sense that due to a growing demand they would expand to take in more students. But no. Why would they do that. It's almost as if they don't want people to be successful or to have amazing lives and access to education. It's so evil. The people that come out of oxbridge have their lives all sorted out and amazing. That is quite a significant difference compared to all the other unis.
Universities are not abstract commodities. Both universities have considerably expanded, and continue to do so. However property is at a premium in both cities, and the need to provide high quality education means they can only grow at a certain rate without negatively impacting that.

Besides that, people who go to Oxbridge don't "have their lives all sorted out and amazing". I literally know someone who went to Oxford, did Maths & CS, and ended up in a mediocre sysadmin role in a regional office of a moderate sized national corporation. Hardly "sorted out and amazing"...decent, sure, but unexceptional. I also know people who went to "bad" universities and excelled there, then went on to do graduate degrees at Oxbridge or elsewhere and are doing very well.

You are over-exaggerating the importance of where you study, it is only a critical matter if you want to go into banking, which also happily accept graduates from the aforementioned "alternatives", and which isn't a necessary or even sufficient condition to have a "good" life.

The complete lack of critical thinking ability on display is really just confirming for everyone who reads this thread that Oxford made exactly the right decision in rejecting you. Your suggestions to "improve" the system suggest you probably think the solution to poverty is to just print more money as well...
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username4337698
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
Do you not think that asking everyone to do a standardized test (everyone has exactly the same paper) is really quite a fair way of dealing with admissions?
There already is a standardized test. It's called A levels. Besides, those test attempt to insert a belief of how difficult university life is when really it isn't so bad. These standardised tests don't test for other qualities such as resilience and rely on genetically enhanced being from super rich families completing the test whilst people who are willing to develop and become better are left behind to rot.
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by Lucasash9)
Expansion implies growth. Overcrowding implies absence of growth when needed. Builiding massive new halls every year isn't a problem. Expansion has to be handled adequately. I get that sometimes it isn't and that can have huge problems but then that becomes a problem of management and not a problem of expansion.
So I build some new halls, and take on a few thousand extra students...

How do they fit in the lecture theaters? How do you timetable their supervisions/tutorials? When can they eat in the hall? Is there space for them in the library/gym?

Either they have a worse experience from the lack of available resources/facilities, or I have to expand everything to cope, which would be almost impossible in a mediaeval city.
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username4337698
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
So I build some new halls, and take on a few thousand extra students...

How do they fit in the lecture theaters? How do you timetable their supervisions/tutorials? When can they eat in the hall? Is there space for them in the library/gym?

Either they have a worse experience from the lack of available resources/facilities, or I have to expand everything to cope, which would be almost impossible in a mediaeval city.
How do they fit in the lecture theatres? Build new lecture theatres. Build other things as well. Build new resources. It's not that hard to think about.
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