jejehe
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I worked my ass off in first year, missing social events and missing out on other parts of my life with the goal of getting a first. I got a 2.1 and so a pass, missing out on the distinction. I won’t get a special gown. I won’t get a better room. I won’t get the financial reward. I won’t get the free dinners.

I was 1 mark away from all that. Honestly, I know it’s plain stupid, but Oxford as a system builds everything on getting a 1st.
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J Papi
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:'(

should've gone to Durham
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999tigger
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Cant decide where this falls on the sympathy scale.
Put a poll up.
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OxFossil
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A post that contains so much more than first appears. The privilege system that accords 'scholars' visible status symbols as well as tangible rewards like higher places in room ballots is invidious. Students have been railing against it for many years, but it persists. Why? Is it because it's proved an effective way to get lazy students to work harder? Is it because opposition is often effectively silenced by awarding dissidents a scholarship? Or does it reveal the truth that Oxford's attempts to become more inclusive are mere window dressing for an instituion that is actually structurally wedded to inequality? What is the purpose of higher education, after all - to educate us in matters of fact, to furnish us with a well-stocked mind, or to learn how to play the game? It's also a neat demonstration that one's well being depends more on comparisons with those one considers to be one's peers than any absolute measure (cf 'absolute' v 'relative' poverty). Clearly, the real reason it endures is because it provides an effortless way for PPE tutors to get tutorial students who've evidently done no reading to fill a whole hour with animated discussion.
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the bear
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tbh it is rather sad basing your life around getting a "special gown".... are you Harry Potter ?

:emo:
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RichE
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I agree with Oxfossil that this is an invidious system, but it also isn't an Oxford-wide problem. I've never been at a college providing such a list of benefits to scholars. There is an entitlement to a long gown and some smallish financial gain, but this is comparable to benefits that come the way of top musicians and athletes. It's a shame some few colleges are still operating such a system.
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Oxford Mum
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Same with my son's girlfriend. She just got a bit of money to buy a gown and a bit left over. No other privileges.

Also, OP, your mark in prelims does not count towards your final degree mark. But then you knew that already.
(Original post by RichE)
I agree with Oxfossil that this is an invidious system, but it also isn't an Oxford-wide problem. I've never been at a college providing such a list of benefits to scholars. There is an entitlement to a long gown and some smallish financial gain, but this is comparable to benefits that come the way of top musicians and athletes. It's a shame some few colleges are still operating such a system.
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PeteM01
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(Original post by OxFossil)
A post that contains so much more than first appears. The privilege system that accords 'scholars' visible status symbols as well as tangible rewards like higher places in room ballots is invidious. Students have been railing against it for many years, but it persists.
But isn't simply being at Oxford a 'visible status symbol'?

We had not heard of the scholarship system before, so it came as a nice surprise: small discount on battels for the rest of the course, annual scholars' dinner and a reception with the college head. I also had the impression (evidence base rather limited) that state school kids predominated amongst the scholars, perhaps because they felt they had to 'prove' themselves in the first year or perhaps having had more time and freedom in their school years meant less incentive to party at university.

On the downside, being a scholar provides extra pressure to perform well during the rest of the course and those sleeves are a serious disadvantage in a hot exam season...In the longer term, I can't imagine it making the slightest difference; there are no 'Double Firsts' at Oxford, for example. Enjoy it if you get it and don't give a damn if you don't.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by OxFossil)
A post that contains so much more than first appears. The privilege system that accords 'scholars' visible status symbols as well as tangible rewards like higher places in room ballots is invidious. Students have been railing against it for many years, but it persists. Why? Is it because it's proved an effective way to get lazy students to work harder? Is it because opposition is often effectively silenced by awarding dissidents a scholarship? Or does it reveal the truth that Oxford's attempts to become more inclusive are mere window dressing for an instituion that is actually structurally wedded to inequality? What is the purpose of higher education, after all - to educate us in matters of fact, to furnish us with a well-stocked mind, or to learn how to play the game? It's also a neat demonstration that one's well being depends more on comparisons with those one considers to be one's peers than any absolute measure (cf 'absolute' v 'relative' poverty). Clearly, the real reason it endures is because it provides an effortless way for PPE tutors to get tutorial students who've evidently done no reading to fill a whole hour with animated discussion.
Most colleges have discontinued room ballot preferences for distinctions in the Prelim (first public examination), including Brasenose. More generally, we can’t see anything wrong with celebrating academic achievement. That doesn’t preclude recognising other types of achievement.
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vicvic38
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(Original post by jejehe)
I worked my ass off in first year, missing social events and missing out on other parts of my life with the goal of getting a first. I got a 2.1 and so a pass, missing out on the distinction. I won’t get a special gown. I won’t get a better room. I won’t get the financial reward. I won’t get the free dinners.

I was 1 mark away from all that. Honestly, I know it’s plain stupid, but Oxford as a system builds everything on getting a 1st.
Hahahaha should have gone out and partied like me. Passed, so got essentially the same as you, and had a lot more fun.
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Oxford Mum
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My son was a bnoc ( big name on campus) so had a lot of fun. Paid with it with 2:2 though. Younger son ( the medic) - in the first and second years you can only obtain a pass or a merit. Not only has he never got a merit, he doesn’t know anyone who has. Would like to get the best mark he can for his final degree, obviously, but the important thing for him is to pass and become the best doctor he can possibly be.

Op you only got one mark off that distinction, but now you can do it, and can work towards it for your finals. However, please do not beat yourself up if you don’t achieve your dreams. Regret is pretty much pointless and anyway you have a place at a great university and are achieving well. That would be enough to make me, and the vast majority of employers, very happy
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OxFossil
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(Original post by BrasenoseAdm)
Most colleges have discontinued room ballot preferences for distinctions in the Prelim (first public examination), including Brasenose. More generally, we can’t see anything wrong with celebrating academic achievement. That doesn’t preclude recognising other types of achievement.
Indeed, only the most obtuse and mean-spirited ideologue would object to 'celebrating academic achievement'. But a good result in Prelims should be reward enough in itself, and as Oxford Mum implies, few employers will care about scholarships that mean little to anyone outside the university itself. It's the petty privileging of the scholar (including the the special gown) that is problematic, as it is especially designed to make distinctions within the student body. That many colleges have taken steps to remove certain favours - as you point out - is a tacit acknowledgement of the downside of the practice. A student at my daughter's old college was devastated to find that, after Prelims, he was the only one of her friendship group still with a Commoner's gown. It reinforced his sense of 'imposter syndrome' and demotivated him. A practicing Christian, he was also keen to read Grace at the start of Hall, but that was denied him, as it's a privilege reserved for scholars. There is a particular perversity attached to additional book prizes being given not to those students who are struggling and need extra help, but to those who are already excelling.
But, as the man said, "Que scay-je?"
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Kiki09
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(Original post by OxFossil)
But, as the man said, "Que scay-je?"
The Grace thing is mad. I have distinct memories of the hall stuff running around trying to find a scholar who was prepared to read Grace because the usual readers (mainly Classicists who didn't mind the Latin) and all the scholars who were at dinner refusing. It is entirely possible that someone who was not a scholar would have loved the opportunity. Tying reading Grace into active participation in the life of the Chapel would have made more sense...

I actually felt sorry for the Scholars in my year as I think they got an extra dose of Imposter Syndrome. Not only did they have to feel they belonged at Oxford but they also felt they had to live up to that early achievement. I know that some of the Scholars in my year who didn't achieve a 1st in their finals felt it very hard (though most know have very good careers so it didn't really matter!). As a Commoner in my short gown I didn't have that pressure.

Scholars didn't get any room choosing privileges though and book and travel grants were available to everyone.
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BrasenoseAdm
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The room ballot system just put scholars / exhibitions in the top half of the ballot. Since statistically half would be in that position anyway, it was discontinued. Plus some subjects held the Prelim at different times, including after the ballot was run. We consulted and a majority of students (award holders and non award holders) favoured changing things so we listened and changed things.
(Original post by OxFossil)
Indeed, only the most obtuse and mean-spirited ideologue would object to 'celebrating academic achievement'. But a good result in Prelims should be reward enough in itself, and as Oxford Mum implies, few employers will care about scholarships that mean little to anyone outside the university itself. It's the petty privileging of the scholar (including the the special gown) that is problematic, as it is especially designed to make distinctions within the student body. That many colleges have taken steps to remove certain favours - as you point out - is a tacit acknowledgement of the downside of the practice. A student at my daughter's old college was devastated to find that, after Prelims, he was the only one of her friendship group still with a Commoner's gown. It reinforced his sense of 'imposter syndrome' and demotivated him. A practicing Christian, he was also keen to read Grace at the start of Hall, but that was denied him, as it's a privilege reserved for scholars. There is a particular perversity attached to additional book prizes being given not to those students who are struggling and need extra help, but to those who are already excelling.
But, as the man said, "Que scay-je?"
Last edited by BrasenoseAdm; 8 months ago
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