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Am I remembering right that someone on here is. A Cambridge admissions tutor?

(26 Posts)
seeker Mon 20-May-13 18:52:40

If you see this, can I ask a couple of questions?

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 21:07:09

Seeker, you might get a better response in Further Education rather than education - I think they hang out there.

MrsTarizSachick Mon 20-May-13 22:11:35

seeker - Does this mean that if your DD doesn't get into Cambridge we can expect you to be ranting about Cambridge the same way as you currently rant about selective secondaries? grin

How can you be against elitist secondary education but for elitist universities?

seeker Mon 20-May-13 22:14:30

Thank you, LRD- I'll try there.

Yellowtip Mon 20-May-13 22:17:47

seeker Kent grammars are the epitome of middle class entrenchment and only 10 A* at GCSE will suffice.

Yellowtip Mon 20-May-13 22:25:22

LRD she says anyone can get in with AAB, which is patently nonsense for ordinary kids, let alone grammar school kids. seeker the reality is that 3A* won't cut the mustard at Oxford from a grammar without huge mitigation and even Cambridge (which looks more to AS) would expect a seriously, seriously stellar performance at AS to counterbalance those sort of grades from a good grammar. I love the stereotype though, it has to be said.

Yellowtip Mon 20-May-13 22:29:52

Also (sorry, monopolising for now) I would be terrified of jinxing a DC in the middle of their AS exams by asking publicly about Cambridge. I'd wait until they were over and had a seriously positive vibe or more likely I'd hang fire until August.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 22:31:55


Huh? Sorry, maybe my post wasn't clear - I am definitely not anything to do with Cambridge admissions, I just had a feeling the OP might get a better response in another section. No point talking to me about any of it.

Yellowtip Mon 20-May-13 22:39:29

I'm not thinking of you LRD. Another poster is very misleading on the Cambridge front (for ordinary applicants not going down the Access route) but claims to be a seasoned part of Admissions.

seeker Mon 20-May-13 22:40:55

LRD- thank you. I don't understand any of that either. Best ignored, I think!

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 22:41:46

I think you typed my name by mistake then, sorry.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 22:42:25

(to yellow, not seeker. This thread is confusing me intensely and I only posted to point directions to someone who could answer.)

Yellowtip Mon 20-May-13 22:46:15

It's not in the last confusing if you read the post: it says she (the Cambridge admissions guru, not LRD) is unrealistic. It's perfectly clear.

LRDtheFeministDragon Mon 20-May-13 22:49:03

Ok, sorry, I found it confusing.

All I wanted to do was to suggest FE might get better replies - I don't have any opinion on anything else.

BoffinMum Tue 21-May-13 22:20:04

I have been in the past ... some people do get in with AAB, yes, but it is usually either people going down the Special Access route, or for some slightly less popular subjects in years with fewer applications, where people were probably predicted AAA but slipped a grade because of a mental block in one A2 paper (the others being top quality performances). Alternatively if there is something stellar about someone at interview, there is a small chance admissions officers will look past AAB grades in the occasional rare circumstance. However normally offers are along the lines of A*AA, that kind of thing. However I would say anyone with AAB grades should consider applying because you never know your luck.

daphnedill Wed 22-May-13 02:47:14

I've read this thread and am somewhat bemused. I am the mother of a ds who is at a state comp and is predicted 11 A*/As at GCSE (all academic subjects). I have no reason to believe he won't get them and go on to achieve similar grades at AS and A2. DS is in Year 10, but thinking about Oxford or LSE. He's doing three GCSEs early (maths, geography, history) and is almost certain to achieve A* in all of them. He has just the right attitude to learning which top universities want and I have no doubt that he'll find himself a niche somewhere in a top uni, without his parents forking out loads of dosh or agonising over the politics of choosing the right school/subjects, etc.

Why can't parents accept that if their kids aren't cut out for Oxbridge, that's the way it is? There was a time when pupils gained Oxbridge places without admissions tutors having to take the yummymummy factor into account. If a dc needs so much support to get into a top uni, are parents prepared to support their kids for the rest of their lives, if they can't stand on their own two feet?

seeker Wed 22-May-13 05:28:21

This thread gets more bizarre by the day!

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 22-May-13 06:46:47

Am I really the only MN poster who doesn't take predictions as grades already achieved?

seeker Wed 22-May-13 06:51:37

No you're not. Well, there's the two of us!

mummytime Wed 22-May-13 06:56:17

Daphnedill lots of young people get A/A* at GCSE and much lower at A'level.

In my experience, chatting to admissions people, what Oxbridge is looking for is: bright students, not just ones who are good at study or passing exams. That is why some students predicted 4 A* will be rejected, but very occasionally someone who under achieves will get in anyway.

BoffinMum Wed 22-May-13 08:05:52

The interviews are what wins or loses it for many candidates. Sometimes admissions tutors just decide they have to have someone, and if the person subsequently rings up after results have come out, and they have missed their offer but still performed well, it is fine and they are given a place anyway. That is where you get some if the AAB entrants from. The reason for this is that we know A Levels aren't perfect, and students may take a few risks that don't pay off at 6th form level, but some subsequently do brilliantly at university, where tidy results are less important.

BoffinMum Wed 22-May-13 08:11:35

When we look at the form, we circle 5 a minimum of 5 or 6 As or A* at GCSE as one of the things we like to see. Predictions are discussed but not obsessed about, so anything AAB or higher would mean we weren't surprised the candidate had applied.

It's the personal statements that stand out for me. Having done admissions in two universities, the Oxbridge ones stand out as being hyperarticulate and a lot less formulaic. Applicants have often synthesised the future subject knowledge from their degrees with their own lives and experiences in a way that is quite jaw dropping.

Yellowtip Wed 22-May-13 08:17:22

Jaw dropping if genuinely the artist's own work Boffin........

Slipshodsibyl Wed 22-May-13 08:35:41

Just to add to the good advice, certain Cambridge tutors have said during this academic year that the interview is diminishing somewhat in importance. I understand this is in the interests of access because certain groups might be advantaged at interview by background. They stated High grades are key and I know of a number of children from middle of the road comps as well as highly selective schools who have slipped a grade (one last year from a very average comp got 2A* and and A but her Science offer was for three A* which seemed very harsh) or got an A* in the wrong subject(s) and were rejected. There seems to be considerable variation between Colleges and of course, subject, in this area. I don't know anyone who has been on the access scheme but over the past few years, think they would need to be in fairly difficult circumstances in order to be cut any slack.

I don't mean to put people off as the standard offer is A*AA, but it isn't a given and if they ask for the A* (s) to be in specific subjects, it can be easy to miss, especially in Arts/Humanities and you cannot know what the offer will be until you get it.

If you manage to get an offer, Oxford's are often a bit less tricky to actually achieve.

It's still worth a try if you are in the ball park.

Yellowtip Wed 22-May-13 09:10:15

Slipshod would you say that Cambridge tends to over offer more than Oxford and then culls by A*?

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