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Oxbridge admission stats

(24 Posts)
SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sat 29-Sep-12 00:23:12

Just looking at Hampton School.

They get 90%+ GCSE A*/A and A Level A*/B.

Highly selective.

Overall last year 78% to Russell Group Universities, which seems fair enough, but only 10% to Oxbridge, which seems low given the results.

This in spite of an 'Oxbridge Programme' www.hamptonschool.org.uk/The-School/Sixth-Form/Extra-Page-(5)/Extra-Page-(2).aspx

At RGS, Guildford, another highly selective local school, 85% go to RG, which is similar, but 25% to Oxbridge.

Both schools get similar results.

Any theories why this might be?

(Note both are independent schools and there is obviously pressure about the numbers of privately educated students at Oxbridge, a pressure that I believe can currently be gamed by switching to the state sector at 16. I'm not sure if poor past Oxbridge success rates would encourage Oxbridge candidates to switch at this point, GSG claims 'not all the brightest choose to apply – school is relaxed about this' [to Oxbridge], which seems odd.

exexpat Sat 29-Sep-12 00:42:08

I wouldn't look at a single year to get a proper idea - do you have access to stats going back a few years? There can be huge swings from year to year depending on individual abilities and interests etc.

Eg at DS's school (small, independent, not London/home counties, moderately selective but prob less academic than the two you mention), numbers getting Oxbridge places have varied from one to seven or eight in recent years.

harvestvestibule Sat 29-Sep-12 00:52:00

I agree with the above poster.Oxbridge isn't everyone or even most people's cup of tea.You would need to look at several years to get a meaningful comparison.And remember something obscure at Oxbridge is not as good as a place at say Leeds to do dentistry.

Copthallresident Sat 29-Sep-12 00:53:21

Erm, why do you think unis, including Oxbridge, aren't able to spot who has been educated privately to 16. Heres a bit of insight to the process www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/10/how-cambridge-admissions-really-work Perhaps Hampton being a school that feeds from state schools a lot more than some, actually do have a lot more pupils that chose otherwise. It might surprise you to know that in spite of a fairly pressuring regime next door that is also the case. Perhaps you should focus on whether your child actually wants this, and if so, on supporting them with their passsion for their subject, extra reading, thinking etc, which after all is what it is about, rather than trying to find some better angle on getting in.....

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sat 29-Sep-12 01:23:19

They only have 2011 and 2012 on their website, and the numbers are 17 in both cases out of 170.

The numbers to local universities (considering that Hampton is in outer London) are not particularly high to skew things - the top five destinations in 2012 were Nottingham, Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Leeds, with only a small number to London.

RGS publish their destinations for last seven years, and out of 120-140 leavers, Oxbridge very consistent, 34, 28, 29, 35, 35, 31, 29.

Obviously Oxford or Cambridge not necessarily the best for every course, and it's a lot easier to get an Oxbridge Classics place than Medicine, say, but the difference seemed quite wide.

The most academically successful schools seem to send a similar proportion to Oxbridge, with the top like St Pauls, Westminster sending almost half, so I was surprised to see Hampton and RGS with apparently such a big difference even though the exam results/league tables look similar.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sat 29-Sep-12 01:34:07

Personally speaking I bollocksed up my Oxford interview having done very well on the exam, but then I did my Cambridge exam hungover and having forgotten the syllabus/content, but showed insight in the interview so they let me in.

I'm sure they must make allowances for candidates having done 'Oxbridge preparation' courses and interview preparation (I'd never done any) at private schools, and it is quite hard to get a feel for where the balance is in terms of having benefited from the coaching and more being expected of you because of your background. Having experience of the process myself I'd be able to give my DCs some of the guidance that I didn't get myself, and that would perhaps not be picked up by admissions tutor, whereas they would assume an independent school candidate has been extensively coached.

Kez100 Sat 29-Sep-12 06:06:03

I'm not sure if you can apply for both nowadays.

I've no experience of Oxford or Cambridge but know that medicine is very much in favour currently with excepti

Kez100 Sat 29-Sep-12 06:08:18

ionally able students. Thats extremely competitive and rather than worry about getting into Oxbridge they probably cast their net wider to get the right course.

MordionAgenos Sat 29-Sep-12 07:57:09

You couldn't apply for both 28 years ago either. In the same year. You could apply one year to one of them, fail to get in, go nowhere else, apply again the next year and get in, I do know someone IRL who did this.

blondefriend Sat 29-Sep-12 09:14:56

Having been to Cambridge admissions lectures I can say that the idea that state school students are given priority over independent is rubbish. These universities want the BEST student and don't care where that individual comes from. Also interviews are not a big part of their selection process and Cambridge isn't overly concerned about gCSE results (however Oxford is). If you want your child to go to Oxbridge (or any of the top universities) then look at things like the availability of EPQs.

Many students do not just want to go to Oxbridge. There are other advantages of the London universities etc and a school which just pushes the Oxbridge students is, in my opinion, doing a disservice to its other students.

MirandaWest Sat 29-Sep-12 09:24:49

I think you can apply to both if you're a potential organ scholar but apart from that you need to make a choice between Oxford and Cambridge.

Yellowtip Sat 29-Sep-12 10:18:19

You're looking at it the wrong way round: St. Paul's and Westminster are completely exceptional in terms of these stats; I don't think there's much to diss about RGS either.

LittleFrieda Sat 29-Sep-12 10:38:13

It might be worth looking into their A level subject offering. Does the weaker school offer some soft A levels or do critical thinking or general studies? Or look at the FT league table score for both schools.

titchy Sat 29-Sep-12 10:45:29

Why does it matter what other kids do? I'd your child wants Oxbridge and is able, both schools have enough critical mass of successful applicants to give your dc the best chance. If they are joined by another 8 or 25 fellow pupils really doesn't matter.

Yellowtip Sat 29-Sep-12 11:02:29

I've just looked at the link. Perhaps they're over-preparing at Hampton. What on earth is the 'Individual Oxbridge Planner' when it's at home? Maybe the students need to be a bit less spoon-fed and a bit more independent? Seems pretty over the top to me.

LittleFrieda Sat 29-Sep-12 11:24:50

Hampton gets only 66% of its A level entries at A grade or higher and RGS gets 76%. This probably acconts for some of the difference.

Also entries per candidate are interesting:

Hampton entries per candidate 3.4 core entries per candidate 3.1
RGS entries per candidate 3.3 core entris per candidate 3.2

RGS students sit more core A levels and they score more A/A* grades.

BeckAndCall Sat 29-Sep-12 11:50:09

My DS was at RGS and my DD's boyfriend was at Hampton so I know both schools pretty well.

One of the differences at RGS is the number of Boys taking sciences - many boys do Maths and further Maths a level, putting up their average a levels per student numbers. A significant number of RGS boys study medicine too which changes their Oxbridge profile ( as many choose UCL or Imperial over Oxbridge). ( so many RGS parents are doctors, their children follow them into the medical profession)

If you're looking to choose between them, I'd say they're both great places which give boys the best chance of reaching their potential.

Copthallresident Sat 29-Sep-12 12:47:44

blondefriend Also interviews are not a big part of their selection process Depends on how you look at it. Cambridge pool many more applicants than they take. It includes in the pool all applicants that are judged to be of Cambridge standard including those who stood out academically on paper but didn't interview well. The interview can make a crucial difference. It is all in the article I linked to above.

That article also puts into perspective the comments on state school v indie. Of course universities judge a candidates results in the context of the school they go to. A candidate who has/is predicted to achieve A*AA from a poor performing school has displayed greater motivation than one who comes from a top performing indie. We know that such candidates do perform better at university but only if the candidate has had a good enough education in the first place. There is a sad example in the article above of a candidate they have to turn down because her teaching has simply been too inadequate to prepare her for study at Cambridge. However it is not as simple as state school v indie. It is about good schools v poor schools, sending your child to a good state school isn't going to give you an advantage.

The reality is that to get into Oxbridge your child needs not only to be very bright, predicted A*/As, well read and with a passion for their subject but to convince the tutors who interview them , who are also the tutors who will teach them, not just that they have the qualities to succeed on the course but that they will be a pleasure for them personally to teach, and to have picked the right course at the right college ie one that is not hopelessly oversubscribed that year(and actually there are courses that are relatively easy to get on because other universities are higher in the subject tables). Plenty of very able candidates fall at one of those hurdles, to our great pleasure (I teach on a RG/1994 uni course that is No2 in the subject tables!!!)

Annelongditton Sat 29-Sep-12 13:45:14

Actually Hampton only got 14 Oxbridge places from this years cohort, they have listed the final destinations of the previous years gap students at the end of their leavers list. Similarly, they only seem to have a couple going to study medicine.
Is Hampton highly selective? At 11+ there are Tiffin and many other grammar schools in the surrounding areas, state school entrants to Hampton on the whole are likely to be those who didn't get places. At 13+ the 1st choices are Westminster,St Pauls, and KCS, which have far higher success rates for Oxbridge. RGS is further out, there is less competition for the brightest pupils so they should have better results. Hampton is selective, but it is not "highly selective", if you bear that in mind their results are very impressive.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sat 29-Sep-12 17:55:05

Good point Anne.

GCSEs are not that challenging, and it could well be that the 90%+ A*/A is a reflection of effective teaching on bright, but not necessarily Oxbridge calibre, students, whereas as you say in Guildford/Farnborough/Dorking/Woking and other areas around RGS there are neither selective state nor more selective private options.

The next school behind RGS in Surrey is Charterhouse, and it's a different kidn of school.

Weissbier Sat 29-Sep-12 20:39:35

Copthallresident is absolutely right. The reason these universities interview in such detail, taking up so much professorial time, is in order to be able to judge the individual. The tutors will see straight away how much and/or well somebody has been taught, and interview accordingly. This helps fairness. It's not about private v state.

That said, schools with good Oxbridge records know how to prepare their candidates and these schools are usually private. Some teachers know exactly what to do. They will make wise recommendations regarding courses and colleges; they will hold exacting and imaginative classes for their Oxbridge candidates, working on further reading; they will hammer home to their students that it is a good idea to prepare for an Oxbridge interview just as hard as they will for their A-Levels the following summer; they will organise mock interviews and they will teach them interview techniques ("remember to make it clear how much you love your subject", "don't say you've read something you haven't", "bear in mind the tutor may be playing devil's advocate. If they tell you you have just said something stupid, consider whether you have or not, and either revise your opinion or argue back"), and so on. With bright enough students, this isn't the same as spoon-feeding (the tutors spot that immediately), it's teaching them ways of thinking and of communicating them effectively.

A bright candidate from an inner-city comp will hopefully get in regardless, thanks to the individual interview system. But obviously an experienced school will make a difference, or the stats would not be as they are. No matter how bright you are, if you haven't been warned a distinguished professor may pretend to disagree to see if you can defend your argument, that can be very tricky to handle at 17.

It is important not to make Oxbridge into the be-all and end-all. When I went to one open day the principal said "if you feel the world will end if you don't get in, don't apply". He was right. There are people who stay bitter forever about their Oxbridge rejection at 17, and people for whom their crowning life achievement remains their Oxbridge acceptance at 17...leading an adult life is hard enough without an Oxbridge-shaped chip on your shoulder before you even begin.

Yellowtip Sat 29-Sep-12 22:19:16

Weissbier I'd have judged it to be spoonfeeding when you get onto 'Individual Oxbridge Planners' etc.

Yellowtip Sat 29-Sep-12 22:20:53

Completely agree about the world ending comment however. But on the whole parents can prevent that view, and should.

Weissbier Sun 30-Sep-12 14:24:13

Yellowtip spoon-feeding doesn't work. The tutors see through it. They ask you questions to see how you think, not what you can remember. Effective Oxbridge preparation is about introducing students to ways of thinking, not telling them what to say - and no matter how clever you are, how you think is a mixture of your native wit and your education. Whether an individual Oxbridge planner provides intelligent preparation or attempts to spoon-feed depends on how clued-up he is, not on the fact he's an individual Ox. planner. I do agree that the school's marketing department's constructed a page designed to appeal to ambitious parents, but like you say at the end of the day parents must make sure they pull themselves together about this issue themselves.

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