The Student Room Group

Oxbridge must help pupils from state schools

Interesting article:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2024/mar/10/oxbridge-must-help-pupils-from-state-schools-succeed-college-head-says


"Helen Mountfield, the principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, said her college was able to recruit 93% of its undergraduates from UK state schools and see them flourish because of the extra effort it put in.She said: “We pride ourselves on taking in people on what we see is their intellectual aptitude. Sometimes they haven’t had the maths coaching they need, or they haven’t had as much individual support in how to structure an essay, for example. ....."

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Reply 1
She is right, and they are doing a pretty good job of it over at mansfield. I know that Pembroke are making (as usual) big efforts in this regard too, but there is always more to do.
Is this a kind of discrimination against private school applicants? All private schools should boycott Mansfield College
Reply 3
If you have to tell an Oxford entrant how to structure an essay, they needed to be at a different university, not getting intellectual poverty points applied by you.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Picnicl
If you have to tell an Oxford entrant how to structure an essay, they needed to be at a different university, not getting intellectual poverty points applied by you.
How did you learn to structure an essay? Did you work it out yourself? Or were you taught?

The point here is that some schools do not teach how to structure an essay, while other schools will, so universities need to be aware of this and provide teaching resources for the students that were not taught this skill in school.
Reply 5
Original post by Fibonacci28
How did you learn to structure an essay? Did you work it out yourself? Or were you taught?
The point here is that some schools do not teach how to structure an essay, while other schools will, so universities need to be aware of this and provide teaching resources for the students that were not taught this skill in school.
It'd Oxford, arguably the best university in the world. It's not their job.
Reply 6
Original post by Picnicl
It'd Oxford, arguably the best university in the world. It's not their job.
Thankfully, they disagree.
Reply 7
Original post by gjd800
Thankfully, they disagree.
Not thankfully for those who could actually write essays, state educated or not, yet who didn't get in Oxbridge because the focus was on 'passion' (something anyone can have, university educated or not) rather than precision of their entrants.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by Picnicl
Not thankfully for those who could actually write essays, state educated or not, yet who didn't get in Oxbridge because the focus was on 'passion' (something anyone can have, university educated or not) rather than precision of their entrants.

It's not primarily passion, it's potential, aptitude and the quality of your ideas.
Reply 9
Original post by melancollege
It's not primarily passion, it's potential, aptitude and the quality of your ideas.
I agree - "passion" was just a straw man argument. The term isn't used in the original article, nor by anyone in this thread. Surely the only metrics that really count are either "where one thinks an applicant could be progress to by the end of 3 or 4 years", or "how much progress might be made in those years (even if they don't turn out a 1st class degree)". There's a lot of teaching and learning that can be done in that time, and current levels of knowledge and training rather pale in comparison with the long-term view.
Original post by Anonymous #1
Is this a kind of discrimination against private school applicants? All private schools should boycott Mansfield College

There is no discrimination against pupils at private schools. Approximately 8% of pupils in the UK attend private schools. Not all of those pupils apply to Oxbridge. Those of the 8% who do apply obtain about a third of the places available at the two universities.
Original post by Picnicl
It'd Oxford, arguably the best university in the world. It's not their job.

That is a curious statement. My essay writing improved throughout my time at Oxford, because of the excellent tuition which I received. There would be little point to a university if it were not to teach people.
Reply 12
Original post by Picnicl
Not thankfully for those who could actually write essays, state educated or not, yet who didn't get in Oxbridge because the focus was on 'passion' (something anyone can have, university educated or not) rather than precision of their entrants.

This is not an argument and really shows your ignorance.

I have never, ever taught a final-product student. Not once. And I've taught some very capable young people. Everybody has strengths and respective weaknesses, and everybody can improve. This is simply about casting one's net slightly wider to help capable kids improve.

You clearly don't understand the selection process, tutorial process, or in fact how we - or they - teach. If you did, you'd not say silly stuff like this.
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 13
Original post by gjd800
This is not an argument and really shows your ignorance.
I have never, ever taught a final-product student. Not once. And I've taught some very capable young people. Everybody has strengths and respective weaknesses, and everybody can improve. This is simply about casting one's net slightly wider to help capable kids improve.
You clearly don't understand the selection process, tutorial process, or in fact how we - or they - teach. If you did, you'd not say silly stuff like this.

Your position is leftist as is no doubt Oxford to some extent these days. Oxford has not so been leftist in this way for the vast majority of its history.
Reply 14
Original post by Picnicl
Your position is leftist as is no doubt Oxford to some extent these days. Oxford has not so been leftist in this way for the vast majority of its history.

Oxford hasn't been meritocratic for the majority of its history. I am not sure what your point is here.
Original post by RichE
Oxford hasn't been meritocratic for the majority of its history. I am not sure what your point is here.



I suspect that there is no point but Trollery, but, if the poster is by some chance being serious, he or she is perhaps yearning for an imagined past in which "breeding" is what counts, not merit. It appears that some people may really think that a place at Oxford or Cambridge is some form of entitlement.

Here's some fun from the World of US law schools -

https://abovethelaw.com/2024/03/entitled-law-school-hopeful-with-150-lsat-blames-imaginary-black-person-for-his-rejection-letters-deletes-twitter-account-in-shame/
Reply 16
You are all being so hypocritical. There is nothing meritocratic about letting in to Oxford someone who is worse at writing essays than someone at, say, London Met.
As always, you can't just bang out a few contextual offers and then pat yourself on the back for having levelled the playing field.

Some students need more help during their studies than others. When they get the help they need, they more often than not perform well.

I find it hard to even raise an eyebrow about it, much less have it raise my blood pressure.
Original post by Picnicl
You are all being so hypocritical. There is nothing meritocratic about letting in to Oxford someone who is worse at writing essays than someone at, say, London Met.

Who is this fictitious "someone"?
Reply 19
Original post by Picnicl
You are all being so hypocritical. There is nothing meritocratic about letting in to Oxford someone who is worse at writing essays than someone at, say, London Met.

You're so short-sighted. You don't sound like someone who has seen a student develop over 3-4 years. The initial status of a student's knowledge or training matters little one year later, in fact sometimes as little as a term later.

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