Sutton Trust Summer Schools. Anyone successful?

(73 Posts)
Myidentity Sat 06-May-17 20:49:06

DC rejected from Bristol offer for medicine. Some 1200 applied and 160 successful.
Bristol says:"There were a number of applications which met all of the above criteria, where this happened places were offered to students with the highest performance at GCSE(or equivalent.)
Criteria were:
* Will be first in generation in family to attend uni.
* Have achieved at least 5A/A* at GCSE
* Are taking relevant subjects in relation to course applied for
* Attend schools or colleges with a low overall A-level points score
* Come from neighbourhoods with low overall progression rates to higher education
* Under age of 18 at time of summer school
* Have been in care system

A number met ALL the criteria. Really! Is this probable? Or do you think people are lying about their circumstances to get a foot in the door.
DC says that people are making up lots of "interests" non academic achievements on applications, knowing full well that unis do not have resources to corroborate them all. Very sad if the insane competition is leading to this deceit.

OP’s posts: |
TwoDaysLater Sat 06-May-17 22:02:17

Im suprised that so many were in the care system. Surely thst would be hard to make up.

I looked on whatdotheyknow website (Freedom of information) and there was THIS freedom of information request which I thought was fascinating although not what you were asking.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 06-May-17 22:33:14

Of course it's probable. Do you have any idea how many children are in care? As of a year ago, over 50 thousand children were in care in England. Of course, only a fraction of those will be of university-applying age, but, conversely, there will be quite a number of 17 year olds who are no longer in care, but who were at some stage in their lives - making them eligible.

I cannot imagine that non-academic interests or achievements (made up or not) would have a huge impact on assessment of applications. Much more likely they'd look at the whole package - that is, after all, what the universities themselves will do.

I have a friend who was in foster care almost all of her childhood, and who got a PhD. That is vanishingly rare. She says that one of the things that made it so difficult for her to succeed - and there are lots of things - was that people persistently assume that it's really, really unusual for children to be taken into care, and that it's such an anomaly you couldn't easily provide tailored support. It is a really big issue. If there are only 160 places, why shouldn't they go to the 160 children who met all the criteria?

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 06-May-17 22:43:50

When it says a number met all of the criteria, it doesn't mean all 160, it means more than 1.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sat 06-May-17 22:57:43

True, but it's not impossible 160 met all of those criteria.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sat 06-May-17 23:38:12


HappyAxolotyl Sun 07-May-17 07:42:44

What an offensive post.
Yes, my ds has a place at a Sutton Trust Summer School, and I can assure you there were no lies or deceit on his application.
We consider he is very lucky to have this opportunity, but if he hadn't got a place would have understood that there were young people whose need was greater.


TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 09:38:56

Happy. I don't think you need to be offended. I'm sure the OP wasn't suggesting everyone had lied. She was surprised because she was thought everyone who got a place on the medicine stream met everyone of the criteria ...

PS. Well done to your D.C. for getting a place. They are really competitive. My DC didn't do them but some of them did residential Headstart courses and found them to be really useful. They helped them work out exactly what they wanted from their university and course. It was also useful for giving them something to talk about in their personal statements

Wecks Sun 07-May-17 09:44:12

Medicine is very competitive. It also seems to be one subject where extra curricular activities do count (in most subjects they really don't).
DC says that people are making up lots of "interests" non academic achievements
I know a DC who has an offer to do medicine from Bristol. He comes from a privileged background. However he has spent the last umpteen years volunteering every spare minute as well as doing work experience. He has really worked hard, not just a token week but over a long period of time. His ambition was always to do medicine and he started doing the extra curricular towards that at in about year 9. I imagine those interviewing are perfectly capable of identifying where the PS is a fiction.

As to Sutton Trust, it was heavily promoted at my DC college but very few I know got places. DS1 was successful and he did meet the Sutton Trust criteria though he didn't apply for medicine and had zero extra curricular.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 07-May-17 09:47:07

Um, two, actually the OP is suggesting people lied. She says so right in her post. And of course it's offensive - whether she thinks everyone lied or just some of them.

TBH I think it's offensive to the trust, too - she doesn't seem to have much confidence in their ability to assess participants, and I'm sure they're pretty used to checking things out.

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 10:08:04

Um, two, actually the OP is suggesting people lied. She says so right in her post

Yes I know that, but I said she didnt suggest EVERYONE lied - which she didn't 🤷🏻‍♀️

TBH The chances are that some people did lie, hopefully it is a very, very few though. I know kids who lied on their UCAS applications about extra curricular stuff.

HappyAxolotyl Sun 07-May-17 12:02:23

TwoDays and Myidentity, why should medicine be different to any other subject??
Surely if you have a very bright child who has grown up disadvantaged they are deserving of studying any subject they wish.

The Sutton Trust application is based on facts. I can't even remember there being a part for interests.

My ds is deserving of his place; there were no lies or deceit involved.

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 12:35:15

TwoDays and Myidentity, why should medicine be different to any other subject??

Err I never said it wasn't confused

Surely if you have a very bright child who has grown up disadvantaged they are deserving of studying any subject they wish

Absolutely agree with this. I don't think anyone would disagree 🤷🏻‍♀️

The Sutton Trust application is based on facts. I can't even remember there being a part for interests.

I'm not sure there is a bit for interests either.

My ds is deserving of his place; there were no lies or deceit involved

That's great. I certainly didn't suggest anyone lied to get on Sutton Trust courses I only mentioned that I was aware that some kids exaggerate or lie about extra curricular stuff on their UCAS form. I doubt it matters much though as generally universities don't much care about extra curricular stuff or interests anyway.

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 12:37:29

Sorry I should have said that's it's possible that a VERY few people lied to get on a Sutton Trust Summer program. I suspect if you were going to lie the easiest and most effective would be to deny that you parents went to university. Surely no one would check that. It's just done on Trust.

Myidentity Sun 07-May-17 16:25:31

Some people commit benefit fraud. Whenever there is monetary advantage to be gained, you will find that there are people who will cheat the system.
I'm sure that the Sutton Trust does its very best to weed out the chancers. But it is not a detective agency. It would be quite easy to claim that neither parent had attended university, I should imagine. Which charitable organisation is going to have the staff to check that one out?
Nobody in their right mind would deny a leg up to the truly disadvantaged and I'm sure the majority of the candidates fall into this category.
My evidence to suggest that some people are fabricating is anecdotal. But where there are such huge advantages to be had following a prestigious vocational degree with a high employment rate, it would be totally naive to suggest that there's a zero rate of fraud at the application stage.
I am querying the wording in Bristol's email. It could be inferred that all the candidates had to satisfy all the criteria, from the letter. It avers that a number of candidates satisfied all the criteria, even before the number of GCSEs was taken into consideration.

OP’s posts: |
tropicalfish Sun 07-May-17 16:30:09

medicine is one of those subjects that is highly competitive and if you think getting into the summer school is hard wait till you have applied to do it at university, and you have done the ukcat and bmat exams and trawled round the country doing stressful interviews and voluntary work thereby probably affecting the outcome of your A levels in a negative way.

I think its much easier for students that have parents in the know offering them guidance and paying for extra courses. Really the sutton trust's aim is to target their help at the people most likely to need it and you could be certain there are going to be enough students whose parents haven't been to university.

ttlshiwwya Sun 07-May-17 17:30:34

I suspect Bristol's explanation was an over simplification of the selection. My DS2 was successful this year for a Nuffield summer placement which has similar criteria and similar success rate. He was told that preference goes to kids who meet all the criteria (rightly so) however if places remain they look at firstly those who meet all but one and then all but two etc. . Nuffield also appear to look at personal statement - or at least that was the reason he was given for why he got a place when the other equally well qualified applicants from his school didn't. I suspect if you like my son and the other applicants don't meet two of the criteria then the odds are low and there is a huge element of luck. He was concerned that because he goes to a school which only permits 6 subjects for examination (we are in Scotland) he would be rated lower than others who have 8+ passes but was told quality not quantity counted.

He has had a preliminary meeting with the other successful applicants and from what he said about the others they are all legit so I suspect they are good at weeding out the very small numbers who lie.

Myidentity Sun 07-May-17 22:07:34

Some of the requirements for outreach courses are outdated, IMO.
Non-university parents might be wealthy enough to afford the supplementary courses mentioned above, or private education even. Plumbers spring to mind!
Then there are working class graduates, who defied the odds in the 60s/70s/80s, who must feel that their own children are being shut out of a world that they had a fleeting access to.
The widening of opportunities needs to start earlier on with better access to shadowing schemes, tip top STEM tuition, careers advice etc.
I'm suspicious of the accuracy of postcode indicators of deprivation, also. Many inner cities have streets once synonymous with poverty, but now dotted with extravagant apartments- all within the same postcode.

OP’s posts: |
TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 22:29:22

OP, It's not at all relevant to Sutton Trust but you might be interested to read this recent Independant article about Bristol University 'Bristol Scholars' scheme which was aimed to help local disadvantaged children but ended up with a third of its participants being from private schools shock

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 07-May-17 22:43:03

The non-university parenting bit isn't purely about wealth, is it?

Yes, they are not a detective agency, and yes, some people may lie.

But far more people, clearly, have sour grapes.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 07-May-17 22:46:48

dd has been accepted for a nuffield research placement. She doesn't know where yet, they still need to match her.
Both parents did go to university and there are other criteria she doesn't match either, but she still got a place. It's clearly not as black and white as it looks on paper.

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 23:19:30

But far more people, clearly, have sour grapes

Not sure who you are being snidely about hmm but I've not got sour grapes. My kids only ever applied to Headstart who don't base their admissions on disadvantaged groups and they all got places. As I mentioned earlier in the thread my DCs found the Headstart courses really useful.

LRDtheFeministDragon Sun 07-May-17 23:26:15

I meant the OP.

I think it is really low to accuse other candidates of lying. And that applies to everyone who's suggested this - including those who may claim to have no reason to feel jealous.

Of course it is possible some people lie. They might lie about things that the people involved in selection processes don't care much about. Or they might lie directly about the criteria. But it's much more likely that these are simply oversubscribed courses, and the conspiracy theory posts are just that.

It is really unpleasant to cast doubt on the honesty of people selected on the basis of disadvantage. It's a shitty thing to do.

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 23:45:59

I think it is really low to accuse other candidates of lying. And that applies to everyone who's suggested this

Ok then that would be me then 😂

I just said that chances were that a few applicants did lie but that 'hopefully it was VERY VERY few' (I even used capital letters to stress the few'ness). Apparently they had over 10,000 applications in 2014 according to Wikipedia. I don't think suggestion that there is a possibility that some may have lied is 'low'. People lie on UCAS applications and on job applications. I'm not casting doubt on all UCAS applicants and jobseekers to by saying that am I? 🤔

TwoDaysLater Sun 07-May-17 23:48:33

Eek, sorry for all the typos blush

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