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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:09 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:02 pm
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For those in the know re Oxbridge and other Russell Group admissions, offers - do the jobs of parents come into the mix? or is it state school/area that determines socio-economic mix
Is DN better to put builder or construction industry - ie try to dress up builder??


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:13 pm 
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I am pretty sure that DS just ticked the box "prefer not to say" to just about every question that was "for statistical purposes only"... they are deciding if they want the kid there, not their parents.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 7:56 am 
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Do you know what, I only have direct experience of Cambridge but with their fantastic open access policies and their commitment to getting more working class or underprivileged students it may be more dressing down your jobs! :lol:

(they commit to looking very closely at applications from children in low participitation areas for example and look very closely at what kind of schools students attended, and so how much an 'a' at GCSE for example would be worth from an underperforming school.......compared to a GS or indie.)

Joking aside, they couldn't give a monkeys. They just want the brightest, most teachable and passionate students, ones that they want to spend 3 years in supervision groups with.

We answered all the questions and my DD still got in! Good luck!


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:17 am 
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Location: Herts
That is great to hear but SPSG still gets 54% of their girls into Oxbridge even though most of them live in million pound plus houses and have been in private school since they were 4 and have had one of the most expensive private secondary school educations it is possible to buy.

Only 7% of a cohort come from private education but they get a huge percentage of the Oxbridge places.

I don't think Oxbridge put any value at all on parent's occupation and are looking for the most academic students but they still need to do a better job at opening their doors to all and making it a level playing field.

A couple of very hard working students from our local college with a clutch of A*'s at GCSE's ( and predicted the same at A level) went to an open day and came back determined not to apply, not because of the staff; but because of the attitude of the private school applicants around them. Another forum member posted recently that a private school applicant had actually said to her dd, "I didn't think state school students applied." Another student we know was the only girl on her engineering course at Oxford and did not last the year as the other male students made her dread going into class.

So the staff don't care what your parents do or where you went to school but it seems that some of your colleagues on the course do. It was like that when I went to university. I was hoping it had changed; but I keep hearing reports to indicate that in some areas it has not. DG


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:29 am 
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I hear you DG, but my DD didn't feel like that at her open day or indeed at interview - she is in her gap year and about to start Cambridge this year....so watch this space for on the spot news on this issue.

So far, she said there were as many 'fools and fops' as there were at her GS, which ridiculously affluent as a rule. She said the public school kids were trying to be more 'street' in her college, which is known to be left wing and very outspoken. She chose it for its huge proportion of state school kids.

She also made the point that in her area of interest, it will be full of private school children and she may as well get used to that now. We all know that children vary wherever they come from and it's more about their personality, values and downright manners by this age. We come from a working class area but DD would certainly pass as a very middle class girl if you go by accent and educational achievement alone. She's always found that tricky in our area with local friends who used to tease her mercilessly!

My DD would have a very stern word with anyone who tried to pull the class and money card on her, and I hope she'll be robust enough to manage any prejudice. She has a lot of friends at Cambridge already through her interest in youth politics and they are lovely lovely young people who like coming to our inner city home, whatever their own homes are like, it's just not been an issue for her. I really hope I can post late in the year with the same news...... :?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:36 am 
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Location: Herts
I hope so too. I will await updates with keen interest but she sounds very grounded and I am sure she will thrive. Is there a way of finding out which colleges have the highest percentage of state school students? How do you know that fact about her college? DG


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:46 am 
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Daogroupie wrote:
"I didn't think state school students applied." DG

Sadly, I think most don't.
I went to Oxford from a grammar school back in the 1990s. I only met 4 people who admitted coming from Comprehensives in the whole time I was there (maybe there were closeted Compies out there meeting in secret??) All 4 were from the leafiest of leafy Comps and one or both parents were school teachers. To my knowledge I was the only person in my year who didn't have at least one parent with a University degree.

At the end of my first term I volunteered to stay in college and help look after the interview candidates - my mission, to adopt the state-schoolers and fill them with confidence (as on my interview visit I had felt as if I had wandered into a Merchant Ivory film by mistake.)

I met two and, when I asked my tutor about it he assured me that they were the only two who had applied. He assured me they tried to see anyone who came from a school they didn't recognise (which is why they had seen me! - not the quality of my General Essay then :? ) I sympathised with don-world and almost blamed the unambitious schools and pupils for not giving Oxford a try ....

But that was more than 20 years ago, Oxford!!

If they really want pupils from ordinary schools, and heaven knows they need the fresh blood, they should be trying all the time to find new ways every year to get them in - and make them feel welcome when they get there.

neveragain* - good on your DD - congratulations - hope she is enjoying her gap year :) - but coming up from an affluent Grammar (or even a bog standard one like mine was) is not at all like coming from a real Comprehensive.

DD's old school (a nightmare Comp from which she was rescued by my sheer bl***dy mindedness in the face of the LEA) took a select few Year 11s up to Oxford the year before last. A girl who is a friend of my daughter came home very depressed.

"I wish I'd never gone. They should have taken us to the Zoo instead - I'm as likely to end up a giraffe as an Oxford graduate." :(


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:02 am 
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I agree re the school issue, but I think my point is not so much about accessibility but more back to the OP point about parental background so whilst my DD got into an affluent GS, she is from a disadvantaged area with ridiculously low participation in further education let alone Oxbridge.

She is a bit worried about the social class stuff but mainly can't wait to be with people who think more like she does.....and her friends that are there are very similar to her in that sense - it's like a daily version of the now show in our house at tea time, she very ironic and politically savvy and funny....god, I hope she'll be ok :cry:


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:18 am 
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neveragain* wrote:
....god, I hope she'll be ok :cry:

Assuming that, Oxbridge being what Oxbridge is, not that much has changed in 20 years she'll have the time of her life. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:10 am 
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It is certainly worth looking at profiles of the different colleges as there are some at Oxford and Cambridge that are dominated by wealthy public schools types and where not coming from that background or wishing to be part of that set might make it more difficult but I have close knowledge of quite a few children from average homes who have had a great time at Oxford and Cambridge.
I think the answer is that if fellow students are bothered about your background or financial situation then they probably are not the ones you would want to be friends with. Keep looking and you will find decent people who simply don't care about those things.
Having a particular interest, whether politics, music, sport etc is a great way to meet like minded people with a focus on your shared passion rather than where you come from.


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