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HE: Oxbridge and other Unis

(118 Posts)
Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 11:33:26


I'm looking to home ed my DS at secondary level (in a year's time). I'm just starting to investigate the ins and outs of this, but I was talking with an Oxford-educated friend of mine about this and he said that Oxbridge don't like home educated children and usually won't take them. Is this true? And what is their rationale? My DC may not want to study there when they reach that stage, but I wouldn't like to think I'd reduced their options.

Also, how do universities in general feel about exams being taken 1,2,3 at a time, rather than 9 or so GCSE's or 3 A'levels all being taken in one year?

Any advice would be really appreciated smile

bruffin Fri 16-Nov-12 11:48:22

from the group informed choices leaflet

"Some schools are now entering pupils early for GCSE, AS-level and
A-level. You should be aware that some universities or their individual
subject departments may want to see that you have taken a number of
advanced level qualifications all at the same time; for example, they may
want to see three A-levels taken in Year 13. This can be because they
want to know that you can comfortably manage a workload of this size
in your advanced level studies. Admissions policies may therefore differ
in relation to A-levels taken early, and whether these are included in
offers made or not."

"A number of institutions ask that grades and number of subjects are achieved
at one sitting. Some do not accept ‘re-sits’ at GCSE or standard level
qualifications. If you think this might affect you and a university’s policy is
not clear from its published admissions policies, it is sensible to check with
Admissions staff before applying."

bruffin Fri 16-Nov-12 11:50:28

that should say
Russell Group Informed Choices

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 11:55:05

I think generally universities want exams to be taken in one sitting.

Oxbridge is obviously particularly competitive, so anything that might disadvantage you is beet avoided. Don't think HE would count against you, but GCSEs donenin series might well.

Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 11:56:09

Thanks Bruffin, that's really helpful. I can't check every single university website on the basis that DC might one day want to go there so I guess I'll have to ensure that the majority of GCSEs and A'levels are taken together.

Do you know if there's any truth in my cousin's claim that Oxbridge don't like HE children, regardless of how many exams they took in one year?

Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 11:57:14

Sorry, I crossed with Seeker! Thanks for that feedback! I'm getting more excited about this venture, the more I plan for it!

SDeuchars Fri 16-Nov-12 12:02:28

I don't think there is any truth at all. When was your cousin there? Does he have anything to do with admissions NOW? If not, it is almost certainly an ignorant (in the sense that it is not based on knowledge) assumption.

Anecdote: There is an ex-HE girl at Oxford now; a boy was accepted at Cambridge a couple of years ago; my DD applied to Oxford and did not get negative messages at an open day.

You may find that unis do not have a problem with spread-out exams when the special circs are explained. Also, you could do five GCSEs simply to get into college and then A-levels could be done on the normal schedule, three or four over two years. Finally, from Sept 2013, colleges can accept 14yos and access funding for them without having to go through the LA.

singingmum Fri 16-Nov-12 12:05:52

When my HE son looked at oxford I helped and found that they linked to a page that actually stated HE was viable alternative and ive heard of them accepting a HE person on the basis of an essay nothing else.
I have also read that some uni's prefer them in the end as they are already able to research etc independently which a lot of school age children aren't able to do

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 16-Nov-12 12:06:54

I went to Cambridge (matric 93) and there were a couple of home educated undergrads there. Both were spectacularly bright (graduated with double firsts) and had been through a fairly traditional home ed (i.e had done A-levels at the usual time, all at once etc). Actually, now I think about it, I think one might have gone back into school for 6th form- cant really remember as was quite a while ago

I'm not sure if home ed kids are in proportion to the undergrad population - that is, I guess, what you need to find out.

SarkyWench Fri 16-Nov-12 12:07:57

I used to be a RG admissions tutor.
I only remember ever seeing one application from a HE student. The fact that they were HE did not count against them. The fact that they were missing some of the key qualifications that we expected did count against them. It was a shame as they were obviously smart but had had some poor decisions made for them about GCSE subject choices.
So I'd say that there is no problem in principle but (as with all kids) make really sure that they get decent advise on subject choices.
(This problem is not limited to HE btw).

Chopchopbusybusy Fri 16-Nov-12 12:11:17

Email or phone the admissions department and ask them. They will give you the up to date information.

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 12:17:21

" ive heard of them accepting a HE person on the basis of an essay nothing else. "

I've heard third hand about this too. But I suspect it might not be true. Does anyone know the truth of this?

seeker Fri 16-Nov-12 12:21:13

"You may find that unis do not have a problem with spread-out exams when the special circs are explained."

I don't think that being HE alone would count as special circumstances, though.

They would look at health problems, AEN and whatever in exactly the same way for HE as for schooled applicants.

SDeuchars Fri 16-Nov-12 12:29:59

By "special circs" I meant the cost and access to GCSE-level exams. That is why we are trying to persuade government to make it easier (but, TBH, it seems unlikely, see Elizabeth Truss's evidence to the Education Select Committee, Q241 on).

Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 12:35:51

Thanks for all the replies.

May I ask, what is an "RG" admissions tutor? I'm not very au fait with all the abbreviations.

Singingmum: that's great to hear that there was a specific reference to HE kids on the Oxford website. I had found my cousin's claim a little surprising because you'd think HE was very similar to the college tutorial system at Oxbridge: small groups, 1 to 1s etc.

My cousin was there in the early 90s, so not the most up-to-date information, but, the more adamant a person is, the more they seem to be believed!

RichManPoorManBeggarmanThief Fri 16-Nov-12 12:46:41

you'd think HE was very similar to the college tutorial system at Oxbridge: small groups, 1 to 1s etc.

Ha ha- NO!! Not unless you treat your son like pond life, fall asleep while he's talking, and make rambling statements, with "hmm?" on the end, to indicate that you require a response grin.

HolofernesesHead Fri 16-Nov-12 12:52:00

smile Richman!

Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 13:16:45

grin I may be guilty of some of the above .... blush

SarkyWench Fri 16-Nov-12 13:21:09

Sorry, RG = Russell Group.
So Not Cambridge, but the next tier down.

Crummymum Fri 16-Nov-12 13:23:23

Doh! I don't know why I didn't think of Russell Group. Am tired!

SDeuchars Fri 16-Nov-12 15:01:56

the more adamant a person is, the more they seem to be believed!

That's what Oxbridge teaches, isn't it? That's why so many politicians come from Oxbridge. They can talk up a storm.

julienoshoes Fri 16-Nov-12 16:56:27

I don't know personally of any home educators getting into Oxbridge or RG Uni's without any sort of educational qualifications.

I do know of formally HE youngsters accepted at Oxford who have done their qualifications at different sittings, because of the cost. I know of one such young man there right now.
Ditto Bristol, Warwick, Edinburgh and others.

The Cambridge formally HE youngster I know of, did re enter the system to take qualifications all in one go, but she too was autonomously educated up until that point.

SDeuchars Fri 16-Nov-12 17:31:17

Don't want to nitpick, but I believe Julie means "formerly", rather than "formally" - just in this instance it could be a bit confusing to use the wrong one! grin

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Fri 16-Nov-12 17:39:00

Every Oxbridge college has an admissions tutor and I think there is also an overall admissions office. Best thing is to call or email and ask for a chat about it.

There are always urban myths about people getting in because they gave a smart alec answer or whatever but I'd be very surprised if they were true, certainly over the last twenty years or so. I used to know a Cambridge admissions tutor and he was very serious about openness, transparency etc and shit-hot on state school admissions too. So far as I could tell they really agonised about the process (in a good way).

Not sure how representative he was, but if you got through to someone similar I think they'd be very happy to answer your questions honestly. They're not trying to catch anybody out.

MulledWineOnTheBusLady Fri 16-Nov-12 17:39:52

Sorry, the "I think" should really have been in front of that sentence. I think that's how it works. Brain no work.

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