Looking for the helpful Cambridge admissions tutor who posted a while age..

(358 Posts)
seeker Mon 20-May-13 22:16:18

......if you're around, could I ask a couple of questions, please?

funnyperson Thu 13-Jun-13 21:24:35

What you mean, I think, creamteas is that if some of the elite population paid for a five star vaccine programme and the rest of the population would be unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated, diseases would still spread. The unprotected population would not survive. The protected population would also be at risk as they would be more likely to come into contact with disease before completing the vaccination course.

In general it is good for a country to raise levels of education for all.

The downside is that at the top, requirements can become horrendous. For example this year the entry point for Delhi university is above 99% for some subjects.

creamteas Thu 13-Jun-13 21:12:47

Bonsoir I'm all for increasing education, but I don't think that is what we were discussing.

As far as I could tell, you were arguing for preserving educational inequalities and I was arguing against.

Giving good eduction to a minority and does nothing to increase the level of education all round. So to use your example, vaccinating the elite against all diseases and the rest protected against only half the protection.

funnyperson Thu 13-Jun-13 18:00:15

Hmm yes though I am a supporter of free vaccination at the point of delivery, of decreasing inequalities in vaccination uptake, of increasing access to vaccines for hard to reach groups, and maximising vaccination uptake of the population as a whole, so as to increase herd immunity, and ultimately eradicate disease.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Jun-13 17:04:19

If people have learned things and developed, that is good for them and for society. Whether their parents coughed up or not is immaterial. Education is like vaccination - the more there is of it, the better for all of us.

creamteas Thu 13-Jun-13 16:57:26

I am, the individualized self interest (micro) compounds into a system replicating privilege not merit (macro)

Bonsoir Thu 13-Jun-13 15:58:10

No it doesn't, creamteas. Stop looking at it on a micro level and try to understand the macro level.

creamteas Thu 13-Jun-13 15:38:40

Buying advantage for your own DC is the best way to give to society as a whole

I really don't understand the logic in this. Buying advantage just ensures that the class divide remains in place, and birth continues to be rewarded not merit.

It doesn't develop society at all, it stifles the talent of those without and rewards mediocrity from those with privilege.

Bonsoir Thu 13-Jun-13 13:59:15

There is absolutely nothing wrong with buying advantage for your DC, provided it isn't cheating. The more developed the average person in a society is, the better the society works. Buying advantage for your own DC is the best way to give to society as a whole.

creamteas Thu 13-Jun-13 13:17:19

So there are quite a few people around here who actually do believe in buying advantage

I think people who support buying advantage for their DC is probably a MN majority view. Not me though grin.

UptheChimney Thu 13-Jun-13 13:06:59

Word factory - it is their job if they want the brightest pupils

As wordfactory says, it really is not an academic's individual responsibility, nor that of a Department, or even an entire university, to right the wrongs of British economic divides.

We can do what we can in formal, structural ways, to try to mitigate the effects of economic advantages that start before children even get to school.

Although I do find it interesting that any mention I've made on MN of getting rid of fee paying schools is met with deeply felt outrage and opposition. So there are quite a few people around here who actually do believe in buying advantage.

But that universities should fix all that?

Farewelltoarms Thu 13-Jun-13 11:59:22

I've only got 6 As in my o levels (other four Bs and Cs) and it was absolutely never a problem in making a successful application to Oxford.
The thing about Oxbridge is everyone knows someone really clever, sometimes the cleverest person in the school, who's been rejected. So those who are accepted go there with raging imposter syndrome, convinced that everyone else must be far cleverer than they are.
I was shocked and relieved by just how normal and not impossibly bright most people were when I arrived. There were some serious plodders.
Applying to specific colleges for specific subjects means it's utterly arbitrary who gets in and this over-emphasis on Oxbridge success is a total nonsense.

gazzalw Thu 13-Jun-13 11:50:29

Grammar schools in the 1970s and young people who got into Oxbridge weren't all the highest performing at O or even A Level. As I said upthread someone who was a 'division two' (not someone anyone would have marked as Oxbridge material) pupil managed to get into Oxford to read English....

funnyperson Thu 13-Jun-13 10:40:53

Of course they get it wrong. Frequently, I imagine. There are so many bright sparky applicants that many will be rejected, not because they have anything less than those who are accepted but because the admissions people got it wrong or couldnt take everyone. I don't know where or when you did Olevel or gcse gazza but when I did them in the ark ages it was common to get all A's for the brighter girls and by no means all would get accepted for oxbridge though it was generally thought that if a bit of an effort were made one would get in.
I dont think the Oxford or Cambridge lot are so 'fiercely clever' as all that. I do think they get a very very good education though which helps them make the most of their undergraduate brains so that they are confident enough by the time they come out. In fact I think the education they get at Oxford is really so excellent that any very bright child should be encouraged to make very serious efforts to apply

gazzalw Thu 13-Jun-13 07:22:22

Yes, I know but shocking nevertheless.... this was in the 80s....

Just to say that all of SIL's female Cambridge friends are a very sparky, feisty, vocal and successful lot (know less about her male cohort), even though they haven't all gone down the traditional City routes. They just have an aura about them which I think they all had when they got offers to go there.

Incidentally, just to show how O Level/GCSE grades have changed. When we did them, even at very, very good grammar schools it was just about unheard of for even the very, very bright pupils to get more than 6/7 As (amongst their clutch of 13/14 O Levels). Twixt me and DW we can only think of one pupil within our peer groups who managed to get all As.

I think the Admissions Tutors know their job and know what that 'elusive quality' is that they are looking for. I'm not sure they often get it wrong, are you?

Slipshodsibyl Wed 12-Jun-13 15:04:37

Gazzalw, that would not happen now.

wordfactory Wed 12-Jun-13 14:33:17

It isn't you know.

It's their job to find smart people who have the necessary skills/aptitude/persnoality and will thrive. It's their job to find the right match.

LittleFrieda Wed 12-Jun-13 14:23:11

Word factory - it is their job if they want the brightest pupils.

gazzalw Wed 12-Jun-13 13:45:48

When SIL applied to Cambridge, one of the Admissions Tutors (to a college she didn't receive an offer from), remarked upon the tightness of her suit - seriously.......

wordfactory Wed 12-Jun-13 13:20:55

littlefrieda I agree.

And within reason Oxbridge will acommodate/contextualise.

But there comes a point where it is not the universities job to resolve school level/societal failings!

LittleFrieda Wed 12-Jun-13 12:47:31

Wordfactory - the reasons bright students don't always get A* grades at GCSE are nothing to do with difficulty of the exam.

Slipshodsibyl Wed 12-Jun-13 12:27:20

'One would expect higher percentages of top grades in 'elective' GCSEs versus 'standard'

I thought that I pointed that out when I said the highest achieving of the cohort would take subjects like Add Maths and Latin. I was trying to counter an impression that I get (perhaps from other discussions) that strings of A* grades are fairly common among the population and that schools which don't have lots of A* s are failing. Perhaps some are, but in practice, hitting the top grade across a large number of subjects is an achievement that shouldn't be taken as a given.

Yellowtip Wed 12-Jun-13 12:14:09

Clearly there's a difference between being in the top 3% for a single subject and managing to be in the top few % in each and every subject, or even the majority of subjects, across a spectrum of subjects. Especially when the exams are all taken as linear in a single sitting. The percentages of those achieving that narrow further than the top 3%, which is why not everyone at Oxford and Cambridge achieve it, or there would be empty seats. Of course it doesn't explain those endless stories of the 12A* applicants who were shown the door....

Bonsoir Wed 12-Jun-13 11:51:17

Comparing percentage success rates at A* GCSE isn't very useful, given that practically every teenager takes English Language but very few take French or Latin. One would expect higher percentages of top grades in "elective" GCSEs versus "standard".

Slipshodsibyl Wed 12-Jun-13 11:03:41

www.youtube.com/watch?v=_1AQaFcn_rI

Well let's hope this Don, talking at the start of the clip, isn't in admissions!

Slipshodsibyl Wed 12-Jun-13 10:58:19

I agree a good handful is requisite for Oxbridge, though to be one of three in 100 to get A* in English Lang is tough - about 5 get it in Lit. However Oxbridge say they are after the top 3% in broad Ability terms. This isn't very many children.

in reality, top grades are not won in large numbers, easily? That's all I mean.

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