Advanced search

Oxbridge and State Schools

(209 Posts)
RiversideMum Wed 27-Mar-13 05:49:02

Feeling a bit cross about a presentation DD attended at a local school for all the secondaries in the area. It didn't seem hugely encouraging given that the DCs there had been invited to attend by their schools and therefore had the potential to be applicants. Now in my heart of hearts I'm not sure that DD is Oxbridge material, but for her to come away for the presentation saying "I don't think I would fit in" is somewhat disappointing.

lljkk Wed 12-Jun-13 18:09:14


stephtbrown Wed 12-Jun-13 17:34:01

My daughter applied last year (successfully- to Oxford) and said that no one had even looked at her personal statement at interview. Interviewers know that those personal statements can be written by teachers or parents and are therefore hardly ever a good reflection of the student.

She was the same when applying, petrified that she would be surrounded by geeks, in the end we got her a tutor who was fantastic. He was from the college she wanted to apply to so coached her for interview for 4 months, which gave her an incredible amount of confidence!

For anyone still unsure about Oxbridge I can highly recommend a tutor (we did a lot of research and went with a small company run by Oxbridge graduates, beware there are a lot of scams out there!), if it means the difference between them getting in and not I think having Oxbridge on their CV won't do them any harm in the future!
If anyone has any questions about Oxbridge I've been through two lots of applications with my daughters, one to Cambridge and one to Oxford, and I know how stressful it is!

Happymum22 Sat 08-Jun-13 13:40:59

DDs went to a very academic girls school, probably 60% applied to oxbridge and about 40% got in. There were a fair number of surprises in who got rejected or offered. When I look at it, it is the ones who aren't necessarily the outgoing, incredibly all-rounded, fabulous at everything types. It was more the very focused, very passionate types who had done lots extra- but all very focused to their field.
A lot who were expected to get in were the ones who couldn't talk endlessly and articulately about their subject, showing they had a real interest in it.
It is also very dependent on the tutor as well.
Generally, though, with the ones who didn't get in - a few years down the line- they have realised (not in a bitter way) that oxbridge probably wasn't for them and they are much happier and better where they are. The ones who go almost always seem to fit in instantly and find themselves amongst very like-minded people with similar personalities.

Whatever it is they do- they do seem to do it right!

Ilovegeorgeclooney Fri 07-Jun-13 19:48:24

My DD2 should start at Oxford in September she seems to have got in on her answer to the question "What would you rather be a circle or a square?".

MrsFrederickWentworth Fri 07-Jun-13 18:58:37


Copthallresident Sat 13-Apr-13 08:52:03

Agreed, DD one of only three of her peers, both those emerging from her uni and those who went to her school, both highly selective, and including Oxbridge graduates, with anything at all lined up (and one has an internship organised by Daddy and the other a clinical masters.). Friend's DCs are still building up CV s of unpaid internships 3 or 4 years out of uni. It is a very difficult environment. Isn't even Law a problem now with so many emerging from the hugely expanded Law College courses and too few places to do articles available?

Our graduates seem to do well but they have a language that is in demand and tend to be going overseas to work.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 18:32:06

Should have added that your DD must be hugely impressive.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 18:31:34

I'm interested in the difference in environment. DD2 has an offer but with conditions (lower than she'd feared however). I don't like this point when they emerge from their undergraduate years. Law seems very straightforward from that point of view.

Copthallresident Fri 12-Apr-13 17:27:38

"yellowtip" started off as unconditional offer with fee waiver but just heard she has landed an internship which assuming she doesn't mess it up will access her funding as well. Completely different environment to the humanities.

Yellowtip Fri 12-Apr-13 11:22:19

I'd strongly counsel against it Copthall. Oxford Police Station is definitely not my nick of choice (dreadful overhead lighting and incredibly busy).

I'm wondering about something you said earlier about your DD being given a good deal for her MSc? Is that in the sense of easily attainable offer or funding or something else or a combination of two or more?

Copthallresident Thu 11-Apr-13 22:34:13

Yellowtip Police station? Is that then something that prospective parents should arrange to ensure success wink

Yellowtip Thu 11-Apr-13 18:31:04

I'm firmly in the same category though I did chauffeur to interview and would do so again: I'm given a fairly safe exclusion zone and work around that to do my own stuff. If called, I respond and we meet for tea or coffee or in the Parks and I'm usually expected to commiserate and tell them how stupid they are and how could they possibly have said that. Apart from DD1 (who I'd food poisoned on the eve of her interview) there's always been another sibling around, helping at interviews themselves (and observing extremes of parental behaviour....) which is nice. And then of course it was quite reassuring for DD2 to have DD1 and myself around to accompany her to the police station for the evening the night before her last interview, since we had to be there quite a while.

Copthallresident Thu 11-Apr-13 15:53:11

Russians Don't worry. I am delinquent too, they have clearly achieved in spite of me...........

nemno Thu 11-Apr-13 14:42:47

Just another anecdote but it supports that Cambridge entry doesn't depend on massive (or even very much) preparation. My niece was offered a place. She was from a middle ranking comp, mostly Bs (some As) at GCSE and only applied right on the Oxbridge deadline because it was one of very few places to offer her course (History with/and something). Her dad drove her to interview and sat chatting with other parents outside the interview hall (in some sort of waiting room.) She didn't make her offer though.

RussiansOnTheSpree Thu 11-Apr-13 14:20:49

Although I suspect now that they were more invested than I realised at the time, had I even dreamed that my parents were as invested in me going to Cambridge as some MN posters appear to be about their kids doing the same, it would have had a very negative impact on me.

I constantly worry that I'm over invested in my kids' education. But compared to some MN posters I'm positively delinquent. I don't know whether to take heart from this, or worry about that too!

Propitious still hasn't answered my question, I see.

Copthallresident Thu 11-Apr-13 13:32:01

Propitious A historian now involved in cross disciplinary studies of another culture which makes me all the more aware that the perspectives that journalists take on issues can result in them writing about things in a way that is not just one sided but downright ignorant and misleading. I can count on the fingers of one hand the journalists that write about the culture I study with any real insight and knowledge, the rest write equipped only with easy stereotypes and prejudice that have you shouting and throwing things at the wall.................the same applies when it comes to fair admissions, Telegraph "Private school pupils discriminated against" Mail "4A* star student from state school rejected". Obviously they are not going to balance their stories with the finer details of the use of contextual data in admissions processes.

Outreach is just what it says, Oxbridge especially target their outreach activities everywhere, to all state school pupils. The mentoring charity is by dint of it's mission London centric but my uni offer study weeks etc. to all state school students and will fund travel if necessary. I agree that the unis have not yet reached the point where the playing field is entirely level, we know that because of how much better the disadvantaged do when enabled. However unis want the best students and are constantly fine tuning their processes to ensure they get them. That is why the Fair Admission Tzar (another bit of soundbite politics) abandoned his plans for State / Private quotas when he came to appreciate that unis had long moved beyond such crude measures of disadvantage.

As far as Yellowtips comments go, perhaps you are unaware of just how off the wall your original post sounded, and even your watered down version. They would most certainly deter applicants if taken seriously (hopefully they too evaluate sources). My DD and her peers were determined, quite rightly, that the whole UCAS process was their business and parental advice was only to be given when asked for. A few parents who tried to be controlling got short shift, and even were counter productive. Good, that is as it should be as they take the first step to adult life. By far the most common reason for students dropping out is that they were influenced by parents into choosing courses and unis that were not right for them.

Chauffeuring was allowed of course wink

Yellowtip Thu 11-Apr-13 09:44:22

My reasons for 'spinning' are fairly straightforward. Suggesting a need to network, especially furiously, or alternatively a need for 'high table' debates over supper is very off-putting to those who have access to neither. Simple.

Yellowtip Thu 11-Apr-13 09:40:37

I'm returning to the thread Propitious not 'wading in' and you appear to have asked me a question directly, and it's that to which I'm responding confused.

Goodness knows where you get hysterical from: I'm as unhysterical about this sort of stuff as it's possible to be I'd have thought. Indeed I'd go so far as to say that obsessive parental 'networking' of a statistically already advantaged child, physically draining mock interviews and chaperoning of the order you describe would count as significantly more hysterical than anything I've ever done. I mean, I'm quite enthusiastic when the offer letters come through but even then it falls massively short of hysteria.

RussiansOnTheSpree Wed 10-Apr-13 22:52:20

Propitious You didn't answer my question.....

Propitious Wed 10-Apr-13 22:20:19

Wondered when Yellowtip would wade in!

Yellowtip: You're presuming quite a lot about me, my motivations, actions, and my DC...based on a few bare snippets of info garnered here.

Did I march DC down the corridor to the interview? The bedroom DC had been allocated when we arrived could only be reached via the corridor where said interviewees were waiting (and was accessible to anyone else in the college that day, to boot). Why not escort 16yr old DC up to the room for a look at part of the college DC may one day inhabit? You no doubt have your own reasons for spinning my early comments about that into the stilted image all too clear in your most recent comment. Ditto 'high table' talk, ditto interview prep etc. etc.

Your comment seems a little hysterical..?

Ok. Back on subject...

You're right, not a historian! (Are you?)

You have my genuine thanks for the outreach work you do. There's definitely not enough and the reach across the country needs to be greater..but you probably know that already. There are parts of the country where your work is unknown (mine, certainly!) and hope your funding body has further plans...if so, not before time.

(Your DD: NLC or St.P's? Both excellent schools.)

Copthallresident Wed 10-Apr-13 21:44:05

propitious You are clearly not a historian. A journalist from the Evening Standard is peddling an agenda and will hear, and print, selectively, what they want to print.. I can assure you they have no interest in the success stories of the mentoring charity I am involved in or my unis outreach programmes. It is not what they think their middle class readers want to hear, or indeed what their proprietor wants them to hear.....

Also, what Yellowtip said. Sad sad

Yellowtip Wed 10-Apr-13 21:36:01

Delete a that.

Yellowtip Wed 10-Apr-13 21:35:27

Propitious tbh with a strike rate like mine (assuming that I set out to strike, which actually I didn't) then the answer is that clearly that no, as a state school parent, I didn't need to learn anything from the independent schools' 'focussed' approach. Nor did I network. At all. That sort of stuff is absolute absolute rubbish in the modern Oxbridge world. You've admitted that you tick all the advantaged boxes and that yet, despite that, you still prostrated yourself to network on behalf of your accelerated child and that you now attribute his success to those efforts. I don't think you should kid yourself overly: give him the credit instead. Poor kid, that's surely the least he deserves after all those wasted hours of ashening in front of your friend and being marched humiliatingly to the interview room by an exceedingly ambitious mum.

Propitious Wed 10-Apr-13 21:20:42

Re. The London Standard. Isn't the most important thing the veracity of what's said/reported by (whatever) the publication/source?

Copthallresident Wed 10-Apr-13 21:00:33

Also, always evaluate your sources, the London Standard? Really?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now