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Is Oxford University In A Decline?  
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Posted (1 year 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2157 times:

In the past it was no 1 and it was super hard to get in.

Recently I realize that it is a lot easier to get in. A few of my Hong Kong friends, while they might be good students, are NO WHERE close to top students, managed to get in to do masters.

Why is that? Is Oxford in a decline? What about Cambridge?

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinebaguy From Australia, joined Mar 2006, 546 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2142 times:

It's not easy to get into Oxford… at least not if you're British, and there is now an emerging bias against private schools… UK universities can get far more money from international students than they do from UK nationals.

User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3590 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 2102 times:

Oxford appears to have vastly increased its postgraduate intake in recent years with over 60% of them being from abroad, this will definitely have made admission a little easier. In contect however they only have around 6000 foreign postgraduate students at any time, so its still not easy to get a place, even with the necessary funds.

User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2032 times:

But I know a lot of jerks who managed to get into Oxford. And they are NOT top students AT ALL. A lot easier that's right. Camrbridge would never take these crap.

But again education is not everything. Lots of Harvard graduates went bankrupted and lots of primary school or F5 graduates are super rich. For example Sir Richard Branson, Sir Ka Shing Li, Bill Gates etc


User currently offlinePhilBy From France, joined Aug 2013, 649 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (1 year 18 hours ago) and read 1933 times:

Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
Is Oxford in a decline? What about Cambridge?

As a light-blue I would have to say that it would be hard for Oxford to decline further without becoming an ex-poly.  
Quoting United Airline (Thread starter):
A few of my Hong Kong friends, while they might be good students, are NO WHERE close to top students, managed to get in to do masters.

There was some suggestion in the press some years ago that there was some positive discrimination towards higher paying foreign students. However...
At either of these universities pure academic skill is not the only thing taken into account during the applications process. I've known people with a top academic record have difficulty getting entry and others of lesser academic record with more extra curricular interests having no difficulty. If you apply for a maths course and state that your hobbies are maths, maths and maths some colleges are likely to reject you.
On a second note my experience with the 'modern economies' (or whatever the current term is) is that due to culture those that apply over here are very motivated and very prepared compared to the average european student and this may give them an advantage. In europe it is pretty much expected that you will go to university. Further east I feel that the culture is not that a university place is automatically available but that you must really work hard for one.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 5, posted (1 year 18 hours ago) and read 1914 times:

It was A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT harder to get in many years ago. I mean Tony Blair/Margaret Thatcher's time......

My few friends are not top students academically or in any extra curricular activities. Wonder why they were taken


User currently offlineRomeoBravo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (1 year 17 hours ago) and read 1903 times:

$$$$$$$$$$$$$

User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3590 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (1 year 17 hours ago) and read 1901 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 5):
It was A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT harder to get in many years ago. I mean Tony Blair/Margaret Thatcher's time......

My few friends are not top students academically or in any extra curricular activities. Wonder why they were taken

Not entirely true, in the case of Margaret Thatcher it would have been very difficult, no family history of attending Oxford, grammar school pupil from a provincial town, father owned a corner shop etc, meanwhile for Tony Blair, the son of a lecturer in law at Durham University and a pupil at Fettes school regarded as the Scottish Eton it would have been comparatively easy as status and connections ranked equally if not higher than qualifications at that time.

We do need to distinguish between undergraduate and post graduate admission to top UK universities, for undergraduates A*, A, A is regarded as the minimum A level requirements, no longer are talented rugby and cricket players admitted to land economy courses with a B and two C's.

Postgraduate admission however does see a lot of foreign paying students admitted.


User currently offlinePlymSpotter From Spain, joined Jun 2004, 11655 posts, RR: 60
Reply 8, posted (1 year 5 hours ago) and read 1793 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 3):
But I know a lot of jerks who managed to get into Oxford. And they are NOT top students AT ALL. A lot easier that's right. Camrbridge would never take these crap.

Do you have anything to back this up with? I know a bunch of people who were (or still are) complete jerks, but their grades are top notch and they excel in their studies.


Dan  



...love is just a camouflage for what resembles rage again...
User currently offlineDIJKKIJK From France, joined Jul 2003, 1802 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (12 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1647 times:

I don't know about the undergraduate or masters level, but Oxford still does some top research work, particularly in the biological and physical sciences.


Never argue with idiots. They will bring you down to their level, and beat you with experience.
User currently offlineIH8BY From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2005, 1142 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (12 months 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1627 times:

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 8):
Do you have anything to back this up with? I know a bunch of people who were (or still are) complete jerks, but their grades are top notch and they excel in their studies.

I went to a high school which had high average academic grades - most people in theory had the qualifications that on paper Oxford or Cambridge wanted. Many applied, and quite a lot got in (c. 25-30% of the average year). The general rule seemed to be that, yes, academic qualifications were important and the exceptional academic achievers were admitted. However, beyond that, the quality that distinguished the rest was their confidence. What they're looking for is people who not only have good ideas but are able to develop and express them - that's one of the reasons why the undergraduate (I appreciate that postgrad is different and varies from course to course but this is still important) admissions process is so centred around the interview.

Sometimes, however, the confidence they're looking for can manifest itself as insufferable arrogance outside the context of the interview. I suppose that's one of the reasons why Oxford in particular produces so many politicians...  



Have you ever felt like you could float into the sky / like the laws of physics simply don't apply?
User currently offlineyowza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4891 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (12 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1511 times:

Quoting PhilBy (Reply 4):
At either of these universities pure academic skill is not the only thing taken into account during the applications process.

This is the thing many people just don't seem to understand. Grades are a factor but not the only factor by a long shot. That said, admissions are getting increasingly picky even with prospective students that appear well-rounded. If you look at the base profile of most kids that come out of the UK private school system (myself included) they are all very similar:
- 3-6 A-Levels with good grades:
- 3+ sports; rugby, hockey, cricket
- Music; at least 1 instrument and 1 choir
- Political society and/or Debating Society
- Combined Cadet Force
- Volunteering of some kind, usually tied to the Duke of Edinburgh's award
- Some kind of charity work

While this kind of profile was once good enough to open many doors, increasingly universities are tiring of seeing this profile and are looking at other options for seats. Good on them!

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 7):
Fettes school

Fettes College although we have disowned him for his political leanings.  

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlinejohns624 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 923 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (12 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 1507 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 3):
But I know a lot of jerks who managed to get into Oxford. And they are NOT top students AT ALL. A lot easier that's right. Camrbridge would never take these crap.

Somebody sounds jealous...


User currently offlineBongodog1964 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2006, 3590 posts, RR: 3
Reply 13, posted (12 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 1483 times:

Quoting yowza (Reply 11):
Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 7):Fettes school
Fettes College although we have disowned him for his political leanings.

Do you think he has any political leanings ? My theory is that he chose Labour as he felt he stood a better chance there. He certainly did little for the traditional side of the party. Tony always seemed rather attracted to power and fame, the phrase "champagne socialist" could have been invented for him


User currently offlineGDB From United Kingdom, joined May 2001, 13208 posts, RR: 77
Reply 14, posted (12 months 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1393 times:

Quoting Bongodog1964 (Reply 13):
the phrase "champagne socialist" could have been invented for him

He'd blanch at the 'Socialist' tag there.
Besides, that slur was once also used at, of all people, Nye Bevan, the left wing firebrand, from the then raw Welsh mining towns, who founded the NHS.
It's from the Tory press.


User currently offlinePhilBy From France, joined Aug 2013, 649 posts, RR: 1
Reply 15, posted (12 months 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 1372 times:

Quoting yowza (Reply 11):
If you look at the base profile of most kids that come out of the UK private school system (myself included) they are all very similar:
- 3-6 A-Levels with good grades:

One of the basic principal expressed by certain of our leading universities a decade or two ago is that the standard/capability of student doesn't change, only the difficulty of the exams. Therefore the grade boundaries were set by percentage of entrants. Suddenly A-grade at A-level is almost the median grade so we now have A* (soon to be followed by A** and A***)
Not that many years ago 6 A-levels was almost unheard of as there was not enough study time in the year to take that many subjects (except general studies which no-one really considered an A-level). Now the number of hours per subject has reduced but obviously not the standard of teaching.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (12 months 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 1357 times:

Quoting PlymSpotter (Reply 8):
Do you have anything to back this up with? I know a bunch of people who were (or still are) complete jerks, but their grades are top notch and they excel in their studies.
Quoting johns624 (Reply 12):
Somebody sounds jealous...

Not at all. I know many graduates from top schools. It's just that I realize that when my parents were young or in the 70s or 80s it was almost impossible to get into Oxford. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO hard. Nowadays I find a few friends' friends who are not straight A undergraduates being admitted to Oxford for postgraduate studies. They couldn't even find jobs in Hong Kong upon graduation coz they sucked in interviews. Stanford too. Is it due to the fact that there were very very few University graduates in Hong Kong back in the 60s and 70s?

Besides being in a top school is not everything. Lots of top school graduates went bankrupted and lots of high school or even primary school graduates became very rich. Bill Gates didn't even finish Uni.......... And I have seen many rich top school graduates not working at all depending on their parents' support. That sucks

So it depends on the individual.

Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Yale etc however did not lower their standards.


User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 17, posted (12 months 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1344 times:

My parents are both masters degree holders. But most of their friends are not University graduates even though some of them are very very rich and they run very successful businesses.

On the other hand many of my friends around my age are U grads.


User currently offlineyowza From Canada, joined Jul 2005, 4891 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (12 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 1314 times:

Quoting United Airline (Reply 16):
Cambridge, Harvard, Princeton, Yale etc however did not lower their standards.

From this statement it sounds as if you don't know much about US colleges. The elite schools make accommodations for "diversity" and as a function of that some (let's be charitable) anomalies occur. I'm a product of HBS and let me tell you there were a few total plonkers on campus. This should surprise nobody...

Quoting United Airline (Reply 16):
Bill Gates didn't even finish Uni

True, but he did apply and get in before dropping out of Harvard. I'm having a hard time understanding the point of these random categories you're lumping people into.

YOWza



12A whenever possible.
User currently offlineUnited Airline From Hong Kong, joined Jan 2001, 9169 posts, RR: 15
Reply 19, posted (12 months 1 day ago) and read 1265 times:

Yes he dropped out. Michael Dell dropped out of U of Texas at Austin too. Sir Richard Branson, Sir Kar Shing Li are the ones who never went to Uni.

Quoting yowza (Reply 18):
From this statement it sounds as if you don't know much about US colleges. The elite schools make accommodations for "diversity" and as a function of that some (let's be charitable) anomalies occur. I'm a product of HBS and let me tell you there were a few total plonkers on campus. This should surprise nobody...

I know. Well said.


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