How can these students go to Oxbridge?

(139 Posts)
Fiona2011231 Thu 21-May-15 15:37:12

To protect the privacy of the students, I do not include their names and their school here.

I read the article in our local newspaper about some students at the local state school, which is not exactly famous for their academic performance.

These are their grades:

"Student, 18, achieved 4 A*s and will be studying Politics at Cambridge University.

Joining him at Cambridge will be A, who achieved 2 A*s and 2 A grades, and C, who gained 2 A* a B and a C grade.

D will go to Oxford to study Classics after achieving 4 straight A grades and another E is USA-bound after securing a place at the Ivy League University, Princeton, to study Liberal Arts. E achieved 3 A grades in English Literature, French and Maths.

It seems that some of the cases here did not achieve excellent grades.

If this observation is correct, why were they accepted by these most prestigious universities? In the case of Oxbridge, do you think it may be because the universities considered their background, perhaps being poor, and that they come from a state school. So by accepting these students, the universities can fulfill their quota imposed by the government?


OP’s posts: |
SummerDreams13 Thu 21-May-15 15:44:41

Oxbridge doesn't take people on the basis of academic achievement alone - they try to assess potential and, critically, how well they think the student will handle a very unique style of teaching (and associated pressures).

I got low A level results and was rejected from other universities, but was accepted into Oxbridge as I had lived independently (and successfully) from the age of 16 so they knew I could handle that aspect. On top of that they liked me and thought I would be interesting to teach smile had 3 very happy years there and left with a first, proving the grades you achieve at 18 aren't necessarily reflective of what you might have got in a different set of circumstances.

I can't speak highly enough of them for giving me a chance as without their offer, I wouldn't have got into HE.

mateysmum Thu 21-May-15 15:45:02

A*AA would be a normal offer for Oxbridge. Don't know about Cambridge, but at Oxford many subjects have both aptitude academic tests and rigorous academic interviews in addition to A levels and these will weigh heavily in the offer. 2 x A* plus B,c is less usual, but as you say from a poor performing state school, plus the other factors, that may be the explanation.

American unis go a lot by the SATS tests, it's a totally different admissions system.

Ionone Thu 21-May-15 15:45:59

There is no government imposed quota. What are you on about? In other news, you might want to get your OP edited or indeed deleted as it's perfectly possible to find out who you are talking about in that post and you have rather invaded their privacy (not to mention being a little rude about their academic achievements).

mateysmum Thu 21-May-15 15:46:31

Agree SummerDReams. They don't just box tick for admissions. They look for a rounded and interesting intellect.

Lilymaid Thu 21-May-15 15:48:17

You must have read this article some time ago as it refers to A Level results in August 2014. Why are you discussing this now?
By the way, it is easy to Google the details and find out the names of the students and college.

NerrSnerr Thu 21-May-15 15:48:46

They will look for other things. Music and sporting talents, great achievements and things. It's not just about grades.


AtomicDog Thu 21-May-15 15:51:42

The government has imposed quotas on universities, have they? Is that for proportion of students from state-educated backgrounds, or impoverished backgrounds?

Teacuptravells Thu 21-May-15 15:52:34

I got into Oxford and my grades slipped due to time in hospital/family life. They still took me!

Indiansummers Thu 21-May-15 15:54:26

Bearing in mind Oxbridge normally specifies A*AA and based on the grades in your OP, what would be 'excellent' A'level grades in your opinion?

FrChewieLouie Thu 21-May-15 15:55:33

'Quota imposed by the government', riiight hmm.

I am personally suspicious of this culture of 'A* = clever and everything else = rubbish' and so, to their eternal credit, are Oxbridge.

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-May-15 16:00:37

Those are the actual grass the students achieved. They might have been given higher offers but not got those grades for all sorts of reasons. If the uni really liked them at interview (or lots of students who were given high offers underperformed that year) then the uni is totally within their rights to accept whichever students they think have the greatest potential.

What's your issue with this?

Ionone Thu 21-May-15 16:00:42

By the way, the college concerned has a good Ofsted (recent, under the more stringent new guidelines), so it can't be that bad.

PurpleDaisies Thu 21-May-15 16:01:03

Grades not grass in the first sentence!

Muddymits Thu 21-May-15 16:02:39

Because their lower achieving comprehensively educated students statistically speaking out perform their privately educated peers.

Muddymits Thu 21-May-15 16:04:32

Yeah and actually what a shitty misinformed post. Get it pulled it is identifying and invades the students privacy.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 21-May-15 16:07:12

Oxford at least looks at a lot more than just grades. I was predicted excellent grades, but utterly bombed at the interview due to shyness, low confidence, lack of social skills, and an inability to think on the hoof. So I was rejected. It of course doesn't help that all the private school kids are drilled in how to do interviews etc-

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 21-May-15 16:07:49

Anyone who thinks getting As at a dodgy state school in any way equates to getting As at a private school or grammar is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Want2bSupermum Thu 21-May-15 16:09:41

They have a rigorous selection process and use A'Levels as a guide. Well done on the school pushing these kids to apply. I went to a private school and was told I'm not Oxbridge material. Ironically I dated someone at Cambridge and over dinner they asked why I hadn't applied. They said some schools like to think they are doing the university a favor by selecting the most academic when what they are looking for is a certain mindset/ attitude. This is why they have gone to schools and pushed for those who want to attend to apply.

Indiansummers Thu 21-May-15 16:13:15

I'm surprised anyone would begrudge these students whoever they are for their offers. Can't you just be pleased for them? Or is there more to it that required a thread hmm

AlmaMartyr Thu 21-May-15 16:13:34

They look for other things, not just grades. I'm pretty sure this has been the case for a while but seems to get overlooked quite a bit.

Indiansummers Thu 21-May-15 16:15:17

Still waiting for OP's example of excellent grades hmm

Ionone Thu 21-May-15 16:18:11

It's not even a dodgy school! It's got a good ofsted and it's in Hornchurch in Essex which is, I think, a fairly OK area.

In any case, whichever school they went to these students all did really well both with their exams and their university places.

Eastpoint Thu 21-May-15 16:21:28

I know quite a few pupils got 3 A offers from Oxford this year, hope all goes well for them after half term.

stareatthetvscreen Thu 21-May-15 16:25:31

lol how can you get higher grades anyway??

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