Will I get 'positively discrimnated' if I apply to Oxford?

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ra.dhxy
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I am a student at a prestigious private school in London on a bursary (means and ability tested) and have been attending for a little under 2 years. I am looking to apply to Oxford for PPE, however, I have read many times that recently oxford seems to decline more students from private schools due to their 'unfair' advantage over other students from government-funded schools.

Seen as I moved to this school for better education, and am on a bursary, does this apply to me? I used to be at a state school and applied to study a-levels purely because I wanted a better A-Level education, and was awarded a bursary. Thus, will I get discriminated against, and how do I convey this information to Oxford when making my application?
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by ra.dhxy)
I am a student at a prestigious private school in London on a bursary (means and ability tested) and have been attending for a little under 2 years. I am looking to apply to Oxford for PPE, however, I have read many times that recently oxford seems to decline more students from private schools due to their 'unfair' advantage over other students from government-funded schools.

Seen as I moved to this school for better education, and am on a bursary, does this apply to me? I used to be at a state school and applied to study a-levels purely because I wanted a better A-Level education, and was awarded a bursary. Thus, will I get discriminated against, and how do I convey this information to Oxford when making my application?
Don't believe everything that you read. Oxford selects based on academic ability and potential. Candidates from excellent schools that haven't benefited as much as those from less good school would have, are at a, legitimate, disadvantage.

Don't worry about any of this - apply and see what happens. There's always an element of chance, especially on admissions tests and interviews, so roll the dice, but have a good back-up plan. Many excellent candidates get rejected every year - grades alone are not enough.
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PeteM01
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Don't worry, privately educated students are still over-represented at most Oxford colleges...
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by PeteM01)
Don't worry, privately educated students are still over-represented at most Oxford colleges...
Are they?

I went to Oxford from a state comprehensive, over 30 years ago. A high proportion of the kids in my school really didn't care much about education (including leaving at 16) - I suspect that the same is not true in public schools.

It's easy to knock Oxbridge on this, but they bend over backwards to assess their candidates, but there's only so many failings in the prior 13 years of education that they can reasonably discount.
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Em.-.
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No it will not work against you. The university does try to take 10% of students from “deprived areas”, however this doesn’t mean state school people, only those who are eligible for contextual offers.

The university has interviews which help distinguish quality of teaching from natural ability. So if a private school students isn’t naturally gifted but have been given excellent teaching which is the reason for their good grades they may be rejected, but a state school student of equal grades (or possibly slightly worse grades) who proves to be “naturally intelligent” in interviews will more likely get the offer as it will be assumed if they were taught properly at Oxford they would do excellent in exams. Of course if the private school student does great with their grades and also the interviews then the private education won’t work against them.

As I said, Oxford are looking for people who don’t only have excellent grades, but also appear to have natural ability for problem solving and critical thinking, and for other subjects where it’s more about memory and not working things out, then they want to see passion and dedication to working hard.

They don’t have to take a certain number of state school students, only a certain number of those from deprived backgrounds, so these people will have a slight advantage over both private and most state educated people.

40% of Oxfords students come from private schools, I believe this is the highest percent in the U.K.

The university wants to keep its reputation for being brilliant academically, so they are just going to take those who they think will be the best, no matter education background. (The only requirement being to take 10% from “deprived” backgrounds.)
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londonmyst
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No.
Positive action (legal discrimination) and positive discrimination (unlawful) are two very different things.
I'm told that Oxbridge mainly select applicants based upon academic achievement, good references, positive interview performance and extra-curricular activities.
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PeteM01
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(Original post by RogerOxon)
Are they?

I went to Oxford from a state comprehensive, over 30 years ago. A high proportion of the kids in my school really didn't care much about education (including leaving at 16) - I suspect that the same is not true in public schools.

It's easy to knock Oxbridge on this, but they bend over backwards to assess their candidates, but there's only so many failings in the prior 13 years of education that they can reasonably discount.
I agree that the reasons for the disparity are often beyond Oxford's control. For 2018, there were only 8207 applications from state schools compared to 4265 from private schools, which is in itself quite astonishing. However, even from this self-selected and presumably very well-qualified state school applicant pool, the success rate is lower than for the private school group (18% vs 23% applications/admittances), and this is stable over several years of data. I think Oxford itself explains the lower success rate in terms of the courses most often applied for by the state schoolers, with medicine being over-represented. This sounds plausible to me.

However, the most obvious lesson for the OP is that there is no evidence of increasing 'positive discrimination' over the last few years.
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by londonmyst)
I'm told that Oxbridge mainly select applicants based upon academic achievement, good references, positive interview performance and extra-curricular activities.
You're missing academic potential. ECs must be directly relevant to the course.
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Ogwin123
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It is true that in recent years Oxford has been making a very strong push towards accepting more state school applicants, increasing the number accepted from around 60% to 70% in the last two years. Whether this is the result of active positive discrimination is impossible to know, you can make your own conclusions from this data. The reality is that if you are exceptional, which you will have to be to get into PPE, whether or not you went to a private school will make very little difference. Whilst Oxford does want to increase the number of state school applicants, it is unlikely that this is done at the expense of well qualified private school applicants.
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artful_lounger
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I would note that you have used the term "positive discrimination" completely incorrectly - positive discrimination is when a someone is given additional consideration/favour/whatever due to being part of a group which has been historically discriminated against, e.g. affirmative action programmes. Essentially, they are experiencing prejudicial treatment (discrimination), but to their benefit (positive), supposedly anyway. Such an approach does not necessarily imply discrimination against a group which has historically not been discriminated against and so the term doesn't apply in the context you are using it in. If you were a BAME student at an under-performing state school and were given an offer you believed was purely because you were a BAME student at an under-performing state school, rather than your actual academic ability or potential, then you would be believing you were the target of positive discrimination.

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That all aside, both Oxford and Cambridge still have very high proportions of private school students compared to other universities and certainly disproportional to the proportion of the UK school age population that attends those schools. This is in part due to their adherence to the principle of favouring "academic potential and ability" - students attending private schools often (although not necessarily always) often do better in exams due to the increased amount of funding those schools have for teaching and teaching facilities, more likely to be encouraged to participate in and be prepared for e.g. olympiads etc, and also often due to coming from wealthier backgrounds, are less likely to have external pressures on their studies due to poor nutrition, needing to work, having parents that work long hours and thus have more limited oversight of their studies etc, as well as being able to afford e.g. private tutors and so on for subjects the student is having difficulty in.

They do look at grades in context as well, so if someone was going to Eton but only barely meet the minimum requirements for a given Oxbridge course and have among the lowest results/performance in their year group, that isn't going to be as impressive as someone else going to an under-performing state school, having the same grades, but being by far and away the best in the year group and achieving those with far fewer resources. This isn't' discrimination "against" the former applicant, this is the university realising the latter applicant has overcome more barriers and, essentially, had to work harder for the same grades, and appropriately recognising that to ensure they are not disadvantaged by a system as described above which otherwise would favour someone who might go to a highly performing state school and essentially, slack off, but due to the educational benefit offered by that school are still able to get top grades.


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OxFossil
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The formal process to recognise disadvantage is the 'flagging' system, which is described in the link. Applicants from a school which underperforms, from a household in a deprived postcode area, and those with a history in the care system are flagged so that they are highly likely to get an interview. The less objective process of post-interview selection is harder to quantify, but there is obviously a moral expectation that a flagged candidate should be chosen over a non-flagged candidate if the two are otherwise identical. In practice, there is clearly a degree of subjectivity when it comes to ATs judging the respective merits of individuals at this stage, and individual ATs will still tend to prefer certain types of candidate backgrounds or presentations over others. http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ontextual-data
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Lucifer323
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(Original post by ra.dhxy)
I am a student at a prestigious private school in London on a bursary (means and ability tested) and have been attending for a little under 2 years. I am looking to apply to Oxford for PPE, however, I have read many times that recently oxford seems to decline more students from private schools due to their 'unfair' advantage over other students from government-funded schools.

Seen as I moved to this school for better education, and am on a bursary, does this apply to me? I used to be at a state school and applied to study a-levels purely because I wanted a better A-Level education, and was awarded a bursary. Thus, will I get discriminated against, and how do I convey this information to Oxford when making my application?
Hi, don't worry about this matter at all.
I have made similar comments about Imperial College in other threads .

Imperial College is very cliquey University. But Oxford are CHAMPIONS in this area!!

The greatest clique on planet Earth!! Even Harvard will find it difficult to compete!!!

At Oxford the selection process depends on many factors. One is ability, but ability on it's own leads you nowhere....

Let's see what counts:

Class and Social Status
Private or State Educated (with more chances to private educated Students)
Contacts & Connections you or your family msy have with the College and its staff members.

Actually good contacts and good connections i.e who you know is the greatest factor in all aspects of life including academic life.

There have been posts and debates where graduates have claimed, yes but we have been to Oxford or Imperial without much of the above.....
This doesn't change the fact that Oxford is a clique and in a clique who you know and what your background is, matters through most!!

Classical examples of Oxford Graduates most primr ministers and several politicians. A clique promoting certain individuals who later on can damage through natonal interest in the case of Brexit .

Don't assume that Oxford produces 'clever' grafustes . Because it can produce David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and all these Charlatans and Clowns.

Avoid Oxford in general.
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AhmedAMajeed
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(Original post by Lucifer323)
Hi, don't worry about this matter at all.
I have made similar comments about Imperial College in other threads .

Imperial College is very cliquey University. But Oxford are CHAMPIONS in this area!!

The greatest clique on planet Earth!! Even Harvard will find it difficult to compete!!!

At Oxford the selection process depends on many factors. One is ability, but ability on it's own leads you nowhere....

Let's see what counts:

Class and Social Status
Private or State Educated (with more chances to private educated Students)
Contacts & Connections you or your family msy have with the College and its staff members.

Actually good contacts and good connections i.e who you know is the greatest factor in all aspects of life including academic life.

There have been posts and debates where graduates have claimed, yes but we have been to Oxford or Imperial without much of the above.....
This doesn't change the fact that Oxford is a clique and in a clique who you know and what your background is, matters through most!!

Classical examples of Oxford Graduates most primr ministers and several politicians. A clique promoting certain individuals who later on can damage through natonal interest in the case of Brexit .

Don't assume that Oxford produces 'clever' grafustes . Because it can produce David Cameron, Boris Johnson, and all these Charlatans and Clowns.

Avoid Oxford in general.
I can feel the saltiness oozing out of this waffler - possible reject?

I got an offer to study Medicine last month and I have no connections whatsoever, study in an inner city state school, come from a BAME background, and don't have the Bank of Mum and Dad to rely on.

Back to the original question though, Oxford really do try and select the most gifted students, but weigh in contextual factors. This doesn't mean they will select a less able student just because their dad doesn't own a Ferrari, it means that during decision making, if two students are seen to be equally matched, the less privileged student would be selected. This is completely logical - less privileged kids have to work harder to attain the same results.

You go to a private school, but are on bursary. If you have a way of telling Oxford this, please let them know - I don't know if they have access to this information. Regardless, if you are talented, and have perform well when good performance is needed, you will get a place - simple as.
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syrialove1981
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Oh boo hoo. Privileged kid crying over democratic access to elite education alert. 🙄 get over yourself
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Lucifer323
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(Original post by AhmedAMajeed)
I can feel the saltiness oozing out of this waffler - possible reject?

I got an offer to study Medicine last month and I have no connections whatsoever, study in an inner city state school, come from a BAME background, and don't have the Bank of Mum and Dad to rely on.

Back to the original question though, Oxford really do try and select the most gifted students, but weigh in contextual factors. This doesn't mean they will select a less able student just because their dad doesn't own a Ferrari, it means that during decision making, if two students are seen to be equally matched, the less privileged student would be selected. This is completely logical - less privileged kids have to work harder to attain the same results.

You go to a private school, but are on bursary. If you have a way of telling Oxford this, please let them know - I don't know if they have access to this information. Regardless, if you are talented, and have perform well when good performance is needed, you will get a place - simple as.
Perhaps you misunderstood me a little.
Well, I was also accepted for different courses many years ago without connections.

This doesn't mean that what I said above is not true. Especially the further you go up.

Politics, connections & contacts, class and status, count a lot for decision making.

Most students, especially the younger ones, make statements out of naivity and lack of experience.

As you grow older and wiser (I hope) you will find out that who you know counts most than what you know. In everything pretty much.

Something I hate and despice but it's the reality.
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AhmedAMajeed
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(Original post by Lucifer323)
you will find out that who you know counts most than what you know. In everything pretty much.
We know that is the case for most things. The fact that you now talk about how it's prevalent in everything makes me question why you bothered attacking Oxford for it?
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Lucifer323
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(Original post by AhmedAMajeed)
We know that is the case for most things. The fact that you now talk about how it's prevalent in everything makes me question why you bothered attacking Oxford for it?
Oxford is the greatest clique.
Then it's UCL & Imperial.

I have criticized equally the other two Unis.

Have a look at the BMJ report for scientific misconduct and academic corruption.
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AhmedAMajeed
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(Original post by Lucifer323)
Oxford is the greatest clique.
Then it's UCL & Imperial.

I have criticized equally the other two Unis.

Have a look at the BMJ report for scientific misconduct and academic corruption.
If I, a complete idiot, got offers from both Oxford and UCL, I doubt the likelihood of both being anywhere near the "cliques" you claim they are. I know anecdotal evidence is weak, but surely you understand my perspective.
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Lucifer323
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(Original post by AhmedAMajeed)
If I, a complete idiot, got offers from both Oxford and UCL, I doubt the likelihood of both being anywhere near the "cliques" you claim they are. I know anecdotal evidence is weak, but surely you understand my perspective.
It doesn't matter whether you proclaim youself to be an idiot and you get offers from both.

Start searching what Oxford is and with time you will get to similar conclusions.

These are well protected cliques which are mainly unaccountable to the rest of us, the public. That's why they are self regulated. So they can do whatever they want.

Now if you are in business you know which is which as we say. Oxford is by far the place! Even Harvard is behind them...

Have a look at the BMJ Report for British Universities.
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lifeshard..
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oxford and cambridge are confusing. i went to an under performing secondary school where most dont even go onto uni but 2 kids from the year above me went to college and both are studying at cambridge (out school has had only a handful of students which have gone in the past). i have a scholarship at a private school now (was also dreaming like you but my brain has broken since gcse) and they dont know the last time that someone got accepted to oxbridge. multiple applicants with most failing after interview. if your sixth form has a reputation for successful oxford applicants then you have a high chance as you would have the proper support. but trying is not a bad thing, you have another 4 options after that
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