Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Spence_Affair

    This case about ten years ago about a girl who didn't get in to read medicine (of all things) at Cambridge despite getting 10A*s and being predicted 4As. I came across it somehow and am a little bewildered: people from all classes and backgrounds are rejected every year with flawless grades. It's the interview that matters and hers obviously didn't go that well. What was the problem?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by serrellen)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laura_Spence_Affair

    This case about ten years ago about a girl who didn't get in to read medicine (of all things) at Cambridge despite getting 10A*s and being predicted 4As. I came across it somehow and am a little bewildered: people from all classes and backgrounds are rejected every year with flawless grades. It's the interview that matters and hers obviously didn't go that well. What was the problem?
    One would assume that it was because she was a common, working-class, northern lass, who thought she was perfect.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by serrellen)
    at Cambridge
    Oxford! Presumably not much of a big deal if people can't remember the College or University. :p:


    But I suppose it was at the time because a politician & a headmaster with their own agenda wanted to try & make it one...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Because Oxbridge bashing seems to sell papers and make politicians popular. Odd when you consider most senior journalists and frontbench politicians went there.
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    PS Helper
    (Original post by Elles)
    But I suppose it was at the time because a politician & a headmaster with their own agenda wanted to try & make it one...
    :ditto:
    Several people tried to use her case as a prime example for Something Or Other (and didn't even mind twisting the odd fact for that). Laura Spence herself probably didn't realise that until it was already too late.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hobnob)
    :ditto:
    Several people tried to use her case as a prime example for Something Or Other (and didn't even mind twisting the odd fact for that). Laura Spence herself probably didn't realise that until it was already too late.
    Unfortunately reality getting in the way made them look a tad foolish... Especially when you know the medics who did get into that college that year!


    Perhaps there was some value in drawing attention to the variation in numbers of direct applicants per place at different colleges?
    Medicine have since overhauled their system so shortlisted candidates are interviewed at 2 different Colleges. (Although Magdalen specifically were always really successful at informal 'pooling' - so not the best example to have picked..!)
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    It was blown out of proportion. Yes, she probably was good enough to deserve a place. But so many people get rejected each year, from state and private schools, with an equally good academic profile
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    Because Oxbridge bashing seems to sell papers and make politicians popular. Odd when you consider most senior journalists and frontbench politicians went there.
    not really.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    The media/Labour government jumped on the bandwagon. I think it's fair to say that many Laura Spence equivalents also didn't get in (and didn't throw a media tantrum), whilst many people better than her did. I gather she's graduated from Cambridge now anyway - good luck to her
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Square)
    not really.
    To which bit?
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    PS Helper
    (Original post by Elles)
    Unfortunately reality getting in the way made them look a tad foolish... Especially when you know the medics who did get into that college that year!
    :p:
    Still, people think of it as the "Laura Spence case" not the "Gordon-Brown-makes-a-fool-of-himself-by-not-checking-his-facts-before-openly-declaring-how-outraged-he-is case". The people who ignored the facts and tried to instrumentalise the case for their own agendas did look like fools, but she was probably the one who was most harmed in the process.
    Perhaps there was some value in drawing attention to the variation in numbers of direct applicants per place at different colleges?
    Medicine have since overhauled their system so shortlisted candidates are interviewed at 2 different Colleges. (Although Magdalen specifically were always really successful at informal 'pooling' - so not the best example to have picked..!)
    Hmm, possibly... I don't really know anything about how exactly admissions for medicine work / worked back then, but I'd have thought the university were aware of that already. After all, they do keep track of the numbers and distribution of applicants among the colleges, don't they (even though they're not published in the Gazette)?:dontknow:
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hobnob)
    Hmm, possibly... I don't really know anything about how exactly admissions for medicine work / worked back then, but I'd have thought the university were aware of that already. After all, they do keep track of the numbers and distribution of applicants among the colleges, don't they (even though they're not published in the Gazette)?:dontknow:
    Sure, they would have been monitored & they were actually published in the prospectus back then too! The College she chose was the most numerically competitive for Medicine & I think had the highest ratio of direct applicants for any subject at any college (or perhaps second to E&M somewhere) on a 3 year average.
    (I was looking as prospectuses 2001/2002 time. :p:)

    I seem to remember some people bringing up the issue of whether things would have been different if she'd applied to a different college with fewer applicants - although as I said Magdalen seemed to have a good reputation for successfully informally pooling applicants anyway.

    Then Medicine switched to the automatic 2nd college interview system (04/05?) & I wonder if high profile cases like that (there were some other Medicine ones elsewhere too... Bristol?) might have provided more impetus to actually make an official & visible change to attempt to standardize across the university/increase numbers of interviews. Although there's now BMAT controversy instead.



    Edit - this makes sense in my head but perhaps not on TSR.
    I have just finished & am on holiday as opposed to vacation - why am I on TSR? ::vroam:
    Offline

    9
    ReputationRep:
    Half the people at Durham got 3/4 As at A level and were rejected for a place at either Oxford or Cambridge, so I don't see that it's a particularly big deal.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Xenopus)
    Half the people at Durham got 3/4 As at A level and were rejected for a place at either Oxford or Cambridge, so I don't see that it's a particularly big deal.
    It's gotta be more than half surely?
    • PS Helper
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    PS Helper
    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    It's gotta be more than half surely?
    Presumably some Durham applicants didn't actually apply to Oxford or Cambridge in the first place. It happens, you know...
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    Because Oxbridge bashing seems to sell papers and make politicians popular.
    This.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by hobnob)
    Presumably some Durham applicants didn't actually apply to Oxford or Cambridge in the first place. It happens, you know...
    I know it happens, but when I was at interview I was pretty much the only person who hadn't also applied to Durham (then again the applicants being interviewed when I was there were prospective history and law students, and Durham is particularly strong for both subjects as far as I know).

    I'm not saying all Durham students are Oxbridge rejects, but there must be a relatively high percentage of people at Durham who applied to Oxford or Cambridge as well (same for other top unis really).
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Xenopus)
    Half the people at Durham got 3/4 As at A level and were rejected for a place at either Oxford or Cambridge, so I don't see that it's a particularly big deal.
    Not sure how relevant it is, but there's attempts made at the typical outrage even when the opposite, someone gaining a place at Oxford and not at Durham, happens. I remember someone wrote a pretty stubborn letter to The Times fairly recently which basically said "Oxford accepted me, so how dare Durham reject me?" - or something along those lines.
    Offline

    3
    ReputationRep:
    Because she was northern and working-class so some people obviously decided that it was her background which had prevented her from getting a place. If she were southern and middle/upper-class, nobody would have said anything.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Media hype
 
 
 
Poll
Do you agree with the PM's proposal to cut tuition fees for some courses?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.