Why are other UK universities overshadowed by Cambridge and Oxford?

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jason0597
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I've been thinking about my rejection from Cambridge and the other offers I got, and I thought about the fetishisation of Oxbridge. These 2 universities get so much more attention than other universities and it baffles me. Why is everyone obsessed with them?

There are other amazing universities in the UK: ICL, UCL, Edinburgh, Durham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and more, and there have been cases where people have gotten offers from one (or more!) of these institutions yet they've turned them down in favour of Oxbridge.

And I'm here to ask: What makes Oxbridge so much better than all these other universities? What do they offer that's so grande? What's so special about them?

I was able to come up with their exhaustive history and reputation (Oxford and Cambridge are 1000 and 800 years old!!!), which has allowed them to slowly seep into society as the best universities ever built, or how a lot of Nobel prize winners and politicians have graduated from them, but then again, did these people succeed because of Oxbridge, or were they good enough already before they got in?

What are your thoughts?
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Shiv7
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(Original post by jason0597)
I've been thinking about my rejection from Cambridge and the other offers I got, and I thought about the fetishisation of Oxbridge. These 2 universities get so much more attention than other universities and it baffles me. Why is everyone obsessed with them?

There are other amazing universities in the UK: ICL, UCL, Edinburgh, Durham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and more, and there have been cases where people have gotten offers from one (or more!) of these institutions yet they've turned them down in favour of Oxbridge.

And I'm here to ask: What makes Oxbridge so much better than all these other universities? What do they offer that's so grande? What's so special about them?

I was able to come up with their exhaustive history and reputation (Oxford and Cambridge are 1000 and 800 years old!!!), which has allowed them to slowly seep into society as the best universities ever built, or how a lot of Nobel prize winners and politicians have graduated from them, but then again, did these people succeed because of Oxbridge, or were they good enough already before they got in?

What are your thoughts?
I think it's a typical case of success attracts further success. I'd agree with your point that there are many other fantastic universities in the country, but you can't help but accept that Oxbridge really does stand out. They usually have leading academics as lecturers for one. Every single individual at Oxbridge are amazing in terms of academics and have always been at the top of their class in school, something unique only to Oxbridge.
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jason0597
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(Original post by Shiv7)
I think it's a typical case of success attracts further success. I'd agree with your point that there are many other fantastic universities in the country, but you can't help but accept that Oxbridge really does stand out. They usually have leading academics as lecturers for one. Every single individual at Oxbridge are amazing in terms of academics and have always been at the top of their class in school, something unique only to Oxbridge.
I don't think that you would find people who weren't top of the class at their school at e.g. Imperial College, their entry requirements are crazy
But as for leading academic lecturers, perhaps, but other universities have leading academics as well, perhaps not in the same numbers as Oxbridge but they still do
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Sinnoh
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I think tutorials/supervisions are a big part of it too. Very few universities actually do that
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londonmyst
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Some people just prefer to have Oxbridge on their CV.
Plenty of students don't even consider applying, they prefer Regents, St Andrews, Buckingham or Richmond The American International University.
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Shiv7
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(Original post by jason0597)
I don't think that you would find people who weren't top of the class at their school at e.g. Imperial College, their entry requirements are crazy
But as for leading academic lecturers, perhaps, but other universities have leading academics as well, perhaps not in the same numbers as Oxbridge but they still do
Of course other universities have them too, but Oxbridge have them in abundance. Every professor is at the top of their respective field.
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viddy9
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(Original post by jason0597)
And I'm here to ask: What makes Oxbridge so much better than all these other universities? What do they offer that's so grande? What's so special about them?

I was able to come up with their exhaustive history and reputation (Oxford and Cambridge are 1000 and 800 years old!!!), which has allowed them to slowly seep into society as the best universities ever built, or how a lot of Nobel prize winners and politicians have graduated from them, but then again, did these people succeed because of Oxbridge, or were they good enough already before they got in?

What are your thoughts?
Oxbridge attracts the best and the brightest because of its stringent entry requirements. Of course, not all of the best and brightest get into Oxbridge, but one way to put it is that the average IQ of Oxbridge students is no doubt significantly higher than the average IQ of students who go to other universities, even extremely good ones (St Andrews, Durham, Imperial and so on). My educated estimate, based on my knowledge of the psychometric literature, would be that the average Oxbridge student has an IQ of around 130 (top 2% of the population).

I know Oxford best: it has high entry grades, requires excellent GCSEs, requires you to do very well in an aptitude test, and succeed in a rigorous interview too. In other words, it puts its applicants through more filters than any other university.

The result is that you have an extremely intelligent and motivated group of students, allowing you to attract the best academics from across the world, who in turn go on to win accolades such as the Nobel Prize which further boosts the appeal of Oxbridge to intelligent university applicants.

It’s a bit like the debate about grammar schools. Research has shown what should have been obvious: grammar schools do well because students have to do an IQ test to gain entry. If they lowered their entry standards, the quality of grammars would quickly decline. The corollary to this, of course, is that grammar school students would do just as well in decent state schools as they do in grammars (and indeed the research demonstrates this).
Last edited by viddy9; 2 years ago
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Other_Owl
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They are constantly in the top 10 universities of the world.
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the bear
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they attract the brightest and the best young people from our country and across the world

:smug:
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viddy9
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(Original post by jason0597)
I don't think that you would find people who weren't top of the class at their school at e.g. Imperial College, their entry requirements are crazy
But as for leading academic lecturers, perhaps, but other universities have leading academics as well, perhaps not in the same numbers as Oxbridge but they still do
Indeed. See the distinction I made above: not all people who were top of their class necessarily get into Oxbridge, but the average Oxbridge student will have been top of their class.
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jameswhughes
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(Original post by jason0597)
I've been thinking about my rejection from Cambridge and the other offers I got, and I thought about the fetishisation of Oxbridge. These 2 universities get so much more attention than other universities and it baffles me. Why is everyone obsessed with them?

There are other amazing universities in the UK: ICL, UCL, Edinburgh, Durham, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and more, and there have been cases where people have gotten offers from one (or more!) of these institutions yet they've turned them down in favour of Oxbridge.

And I'm here to ask: What makes Oxbridge so much better than all these other universities? What do they offer that's so grande? What's so special about them?

I was able to come up with their exhaustive history and reputation (Oxford and Cambridge are 1000 and 800 years old!!!), which has allowed them to slowly seep into society as the best universities ever built, or how a lot of Nobel prize winners and politicians have graduated from them, but then again, did these people succeed because of Oxbridge, or were they good enough already before they got in?

What are your thoughts?
I'd say it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation, having the best people makes your university the best in the country, which attracts the best people etc.
There's also the history and the living in a college which isn't available at other places, where you just get halls for a year then have to support yourself.

As for offers, everyone who gets an offer will accept it as their firm which won't be the case at other universities. A lot of the offers aren't particularly high as you can only ask for the top A-Level grades (A*AA or AAA is standard for most courses at top universities these days anyway), and so most people who get an offer will get in. That means they have to cut it down a lot with admissions tests and interviews.

I know people who were rejected by Durham but went to Cambridge, so it's not like other universities guarantee you a place either. :lol:
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Doones
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(Original post by jameswhughes)
I know people who were rejected by Durham but went to Cambridge, so it's not like other universities guarantee you a place either. :lol:
And St Andrew's.

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Doones
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(Original post by ltsmith)
i've noticed this aswell. in the US, HYPMS don't overshadow other amazing schools like berkeley, MIT, caltech, cmu but here oxbridge overshadows even ICL and LSE.
What's the M in HYPMS?

But yes... :yep:
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