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    (Original post by Sanyore)
    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.
    TBF to an extent Durham brought that upon themselves with the old system where you ranked your universities in order of preference when you applied and Durham wouldn't take you if you put Oxford or Cambridge in front of them.
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    The fact is, the Laura Spence affair wasn't about Laura Spence or Oxford at all. It was about Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

    People say Gordon Brown didn't know what he was talking about but the truth was he was well aware of the facts. Politics is all about creating a narrative that you can sell to the electorate and Gordon Brown's speech to the TUC was about creating this narrative; Blair as the product of the establishment, member of the elite, him as being prepared to take on the upper classes so that when the time came for him to move against Blair, he could count on the unions' support.

    Not only that, but it was revenge for Blair's earlier victory over college fees. Brown certainly knew that the affair would lead to Blair being attacked on both sides; the left for letting Oxford get away with it and the right for 'social engineering'. Brown lit the blue touchpaper and stood well back as it blew up in Blair's face.
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    She didn't have the minimum of 3 sciences, and she was from a state school.
    Who cares?
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    (Original post by Ben77mc)
    She didn't have the minimum of 3 sciences, and she was from a state school.
    Who cares?
    what? :confused:

    Who cares? Presumedly the people who posted. :p:
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    (Original post by Ben77mc)
    She didn't have the minimum of 3 sciences, and she was from a state school.
    Who cares?
    What the hell has being from a state school got to do with it? :confused:
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    What the hell has being from a state school got to do with it? :confused:
    at the time it seemed as though they were judgemental of that.
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    Because it suggested that despite flawless grades, her humble background resulted in her being denied a place; this raised questions regarding social predjudices and snobbery being inherent in academic institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge which is a serious matter. :hmmm:
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    Because it suggested that despite flawless grades, her humble background resulted in her being denied a place; this raised questions regarding social predjudices and snobbery being inherent in academic institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge which is a serious matter. :hmmm:
    But plenty of people with flawless grades get rejected every year - that was my point. If politicians were to take it on themselves to question whether a black person with flawless grades was rejected really because of their race, or a mentally ill person because of their disability, or a girl because of her gender... well, you could claim anyone was discriminated against for one reason or another. The fact remains that every year there are lots of Laura Spences from a variety of backgrounds, classes and ethnicities and they don't all become contentious national issues.
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    (Original post by serrellen)
    But plenty of people with flawless grades get rejected every year - that was my point. If politicians were to take it on themselves to question whether a black person with flawless grades was rejected really because of their race, or a mentally ill person because of their disability, or a girl because of her gender... well, you could claim anyone was discriminated against for one reason or another. The fact remains that every year there are lots of Laura Spences from a variety of backgrounds, classes and ethnicities and they don't all become contentious national issues.
    But that is the point about Oxbridge; not enough students do come from a variety of backgrounds and classes. I'm sure plenty of applicants just like Spence also were rejected, but the Press cannot run stories on them all can it?
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    But that is the point about Oxbridge; not enough students do come from a variety of backgrounds and classes. I'm sure plenty of applicants just like Spence also were rejected, but the Press cannot run stories on them all can it?

    You still aren't getting my point. Sure, "not enough" (how many is "enough", anyway?) students come from a variety of backgrounds. But Oxbridge is known for valuing academic potential above all else. You could claim to have been rejected because you are female (Oxbridge's patriachy...), because you are black (Oxbridge's lack of ethnic diversity...), because you have a lip piercing or are from a poor background or any number of things. Probably with each individual candidate who is rejected there is something you could focus on and claim it was the 'real' reason for their rejection. But in actuality, the interview is 'it' and hundreds of people are turned away with flawless grades. So why make an issue of Laura Spence in particular?

    I think, really, the point has already been addressed. Laura Spence's case was focussed on by the media and politicians because she became part of a political war.
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    Because it suggested that despite flawless grades, her humble background resulted in her being denied a place; this raised questions regarding social predjudices and snobbery being inherent in academic institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge which is a serious matter. :hmmm:
    Tbh though. having flawless grades isn't a guarantee of getting a place at Oxford or Cambridge, especially for medicine.
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    It's particularly distressing when people harp on about her Harvard "scholarship". :sigh:

    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    But that is the point about Oxbridge; not enough students do come from a variety of backgrounds and classes.
    This is largely because not enough applicants come from a variety of backgrounds and classes. Sure, private school students might be better prepared for interview, but the fact remains that Oxbridge have no chance in hell of hitting the absurd targets set for them until they receive significantly more high-quality, state-educated applicants. The problem is not the universities but our secondary education system.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    It's particularly distressing when people harp on about her Harvard "scholarship". :sigh:
    .
    Why?

    (Original post by BJack)
    This is largely because not enough applicants come from a variety of backgrounds and classes. Sure, private school students might be better prepared for interview, but the fact remains that Oxbridge have no chance in hell of hitting the absurd targets set for them until they receive significantly more high-quality, state-educated applicants. The problem is not the universities but our secondary education system.
    Totally agree with this.
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    It's worth pointing out that the percentage of Oxbridge students who are from state schools is roughly equal to the percentage who apply who are from state schools.

    As BJack said, the problem is getting enough good state school applicants to apply (and the fact that many state schools don't do enough to push intelligent students to reach their academic potential).
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    (Original post by Sanyore)
    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.
    I got accepted by Cambridge, Warwick, LSE and Goldsmiths for social sciences... but rejected from Edinburgh.

    i'm broke, i'm bored, anyone dare me to kick up a media stink? "one generation removed from scotland and they have prejudice", "i'm a celtic supporter, so i was rejected"?



    (JOKE. Edinburgh actually were unable to offer me a place due to their own Zero or Access year, and were really lovely about it all)
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    (Original post by serrellen)
    Why?
    Harvard doesn't offer undergraduate scholarships for academic achievement. There is just very generous financial aid for all students.
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    (Original post by serrellen)
    (Original post by BJack)
    It's particularly distressing when people harp on about her Harvard "scholarship". :sigh:
    Why?
    a big deal was made over her "winning" a scholarship, those involved making out it was a personal achievement.

    in actual fact Harvard awards that particular scholarship according to a means-test. so that part wasn't an achievement after all.
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    (Original post by Elles)
    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:
    my bro applied in the year they introduced the 2nd college system i think. he had exactly the same academic credentials (10A*s, 4As), plenty of extra curriculars (eg captaining wales u16s at cricket, playing for wales at badminton etc) and is a pretty friendly, hardworking guy and went to a welsh state school. he didn't get in, but we certainly did not make a media frenzy out of it. i applied and got in. as it happens, there are more good candidates than there are places and oxford make it pretty clear that they put more weight than anywhere else on the interview. stellar grades you may have but your grades and bmat get you the interview, the interview gets you the place.

    it was a big deal because people relish any opportunity to bash oxford and make it out to be some stuck up backwards institution. i personally think it's just sour grapes. at least oxford gave her an interview. my bro got rejected from nottingham without an interview which really baffles given his grades and whatnot. one of my friends in oxford got rejected from southampton whilst two others got rejected from all their other choices, but who cares if anywhere else is unfair right?
    oxford medicine has the most transparent applications procedure, and it's a pity that people can't appreciate it.

    Edit: terribly sorry I have got the dates wrong! somebody said it was in the same year as my bro but having looked at the wikipedia article it was not! my bro was '03 application but laura spence applied in '99
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    The school she went to is actually pretty good by Newcastle standards. I feel sorry for the poor girl, everyone she meets must think she is some kind of moaning cow, when it wasnt her who *****ed about not getting in.
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    (Original post by chocolatebear)
    my bro applied in the year they introduced the 2nd college system i think. he had exactly the same academic credentials (10A*s, 4As), plenty of extra curriculars (eg captaining wales u16s at cricket, playing for wales at badminton etc) and is a pretty friendly, hardworking guy and went to a welsh state school. he didn't get in, but we certainly did not make a media frenzy out of it. i applied and got in. as it happens, there are more good candidates than there are places and oxford make it pretty clear that they put more weight than anywhere else on the interview. stellar grades you may have but your grades and bmat get you the interview, the interview gets you the place.

    it was a big deal because people relish any opportunity to bash oxford and make it out to be some stuck up backwards institution. i personally think it's just sour grapes. at least oxford gave her an interview. my bro got rejected from nottingham without an interview which really baffles given his grades and whatnot. one of my friends in oxford got rejected from southampton whilst two others got rejected from all their other choices, but who cares if anywhere else is unfair right?
    oxford medicine has the most transparent applications procedure, and it's a pity that people can't appreciate it.

    Edit: terribly sorry I have got the dates wrong! somebody said it was in the same year as my bro but having looked at the wikipedia article it was not! my bro was '03 application but laura spence applied in '99
    To be fair to Laura Spence, she didn't kick up a fuss. It was her headteacher and Gordon Brown. I think all she's ever said on the matter was that she could see why Oxford rejected her and that she is (now) probably glad that they did.
 
 
 
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