This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Oxbridge ‘criteria’(37 Posts)
Is there anyone on here applying to Oxbridge this year from a more northern (say North of Leicester), non-selective, state/academy school?
Particularly those who are the first ones in their family to go (no siblings, parents, grandparents, uncles/aunts).
Asking for someone whose Dd is not sure it’s for them. She thinks she’ll be the only one not fulfilling any of those 4 ‘criteria’.
Well, I don't fit your criteria because dd isn't old enough to apply yet, and if she does, the no-relative thing won't apply anyway. However, I went to Cambridge from a state comprehensive (albeit in the south of England) and I can assure you that your dd definitely wouldn't be the only one who meets all of your criteria - I had plenty of friends who did, and that was over 25 years ago.
She should probably pick her college carefully, but if she likes the look of the course that she wants to apply for, I definitely wouldn't let the stereotypes put her off. Yes, there are lots of public school educated kids who have had generations of their families go to Oxbridge, but there are plenty of ordinary kids there too.
Nah, there'll be loads. [/flippant]
My son's at Cambridge at the moment. Northern (people up here think my Leicestershire self is a southerner) non-selective state-funded school. Admittedly both parents (and all his aunts and uncles - though none of the previous generation) went to university - though mostly not Oxbridge - which mainly meant that he wasn't eligible for some of the access programmes. Another boy from his school is there, as well as a girl who moved to a different non-selective state school for sixth-form.
Your friend's daughter will be ticking all the Widening Participation boxes for Oxbridge. (What year is she at the moment? They run some things from Year 10, I think.)
What does her school say? If they have little experience it might make things harder. Son's school advised him very well, going by some of the posts on Mumsnet... but he reckons he's been told that [a town not far from us] hasn't had any Oxbridge places (like, ever).
The proportion of state-school entrants at Oxbridge is lower than that at other universities, which is why they're putting so much effort into increasing them. Depending on the school they may also ask for slightly lower results (one star rather than two!) or possibly guarantee interviews
someone tell me if I'm talking shit here
Oh come on mumsnetters there must be someone applying this year who fits all 4? I am not losing this bet!
We're in the North and ds1 is comp. school educated and has got an interview at Cambridge next week. His Mum did go, but she was also from a comp school, from the North and he's not applying to do the same subject. So that more or less fits the bill, right..?!
I don't know anyone applying this year who fits the bill, but I was at Cambridge in the late 1980s and there were loads of people who ticked all those boxes back then, and the proportion of state school entrants has risen sharply since then.
Has the girl in question been to an open day? It might reassure her.
My DD fits all your criteria and is applying this time.
Depending on the school they may also ask for slightly lower results (one star rather than two!) or possibly guarantee interviews someone tell me if I'm talking shit here
Yeah, this is not true.
My DDs boyfriend at Cambridge ticked all those boxes - and he was hardly unusual.
Yeay thankyou Justneedatemporaryna
Are you looking for advice/reassurance for your relative or to win a bet?
Titchy both, for a friend, in the nicest possible way .
It won't win your bet but DD's is 2nd is 2nd year Oxbridge, far enough birth to consider Leicester south, and is 1st gen to go to uni, never mind Oxbridge. And was at state non selective school
DD applied 4 years ago. We are in the north of the country. Went to normal state school. I did go to my local polytechnic many years ago, no one else in the family did a degree. DH left school at 16. DD turned down her interviews at Oxbridge as she had an offer from her first choice uni by then which was a much better fit for her (particularly the course)
Friend's son applied last year & met your 4 criteria. Had interview at Oxford for PPE but got no further. Happily studying at second choice now.
I find it a shame that “Northern” is a criteria here. It needs to be understood that poorer people and ordinary families do exist south of Leicester. I really do dislike this idea that Northern people somehow cannot fit in or are different from people who live in the south. Would you say that about DC from Clacton or Margate? Or are they rich and southern so somehow a different breed of DC?
Tell your friend’s DC to just get on with it. Being Northern and and state educated is no barrier. At all! Other than in DC’s mind. Get over it! Sorry about the bet but as state educated students are now 60% at Oxford I cannot see why that background is an issue either.
We are level with Leicester. DD was the 1st in her non-selective state school to go to Oxford. She’s just finished her 1st term and is doing ok. She’s not the 1st to go to uni, but is the 1st to go to Oxbridge.
My line manager’s daughter is at a non-selective state school in South Yorkshire and has an interview at Cambridge for medicine. No family history of Oxbridge as far as I’m aware (although her parents both went to university, and her father has a PhD).
I don't get the "northern" criteria either. Are places like the south Wales valleys, or inner city Birmingham considered to be the financial and social equivalent of Brighton or Hampstead once you e passed Leicester then? Do you have to be northern to be under privileged? How does that work in places like Harrogate or Edinburgh?
My DD is from the Midlands and considered a northerner at Oxford! There are lots of students at Oxford who fulfil your 4 criteria.
Hello, just saw this had opened up again unexpectedly.
Bubbles I am very bemused you said this ‘I find it a shame that “Northern” is a criteria here. It needs to be understood that poorer people and ordinary families do exist south of Leicester.’ Also onceandneveragain ‘Do you have to be northern to be under privileged’ ?!?To both of you, why would being ‘northern’ equate to being poor?! It’s not all grim up north you know. Your logic is bizarre.
My friends have no financial worries I am aware of, the Northern thing was talked about because her vowel sounds were different. And it was obvious everyone (from the U.K.) was from the South. She is not ‘underprivileged’ and goes to a state school which is better than the public school I went to (my Dd went there too).
I feel a bit responsible because I said there were thousands of posts about this year’s Oxbridge applicants on mumsnet that they should read. They read many and they came to the conclusion in my original post hence my bet.
Thank you HainaultViaNewburyPa
Zanda it was you that made it sound like the Northern thing was an issue - as those four 'criteria' were a checklist of not fitting in at oxford due to not being like every one else there, who, were presumably southern, privately/grammar educated, with a family history of being highly educated. If all the other criteria were clear and universally acknowledged indicators of privilege your friend's dd felt she didn't meet then of course I and the other posted assumed you thought the fourth 'Northern' one was the same, why wouldn't we?
At no point did you mention or suggest 'vowel sounds' being an issue, - and even so my point would still apply i.e. someone from Birmingham or Wales wouldn't speak 'RP' english and would have very different vowel sounds from someone who lives in Berkshire!
I am very doubtful that every single person she met (I assume on an interview day) was from the south tbh, or even somewhere more 'southerly' than her. If that was the case why would she even worry about the other criteria, she's obviously going to stand out enough being the only Northerner in the whole of Oxford
Just think it's a bit much for you to accuse us of having bizarre logic and perpetuating the stereotype that it's 'grim up north' when actually we were doing the opposite - i.e. defending the fact that three of your criteria were obvious indicators of being underprivileged (compared to the assumptions of average Oxford candidates) whereas the fourth (being Northern!) wasn't!
Oh dear. You assumed too much. None of the criteria I mentioned are ‘factors of underprivilege’ in this case. The person in question (apologies if you are still reading this) is at a state school that gets good results. My Dd got good grades from there last year. Like another pp upthread, my Dd didn’t want to go to Oxbridge because she preferred a course elsewhere. Like yet another pp upthread, there’s no ‘reduced’ offers because there is no underprivilege in this case.
The bet started because we were discussing how it is human nature that people tend to flock to people/things similar to them, especially in new situations. That was the jist. She had mentioned the introductions she had had. And I wanted to show there were others from similar backgrounds to her too.
I think I will leave it now as I don’t want anyone getting put off and it’s not ‘my story’. Maybe there’s less northerner parents on these threads but it’s clear the students are out there . So if it’s a good fit they need to go for it.
Good luck to all.