Oxbridge ‘over-recruits from eight schools’

A BBC article on the ‘over-recruitment’ of students to Oxford and Cambridge from eight of the UK’s top schools suggests that there is an unfair bias in the recruitment approach. It is likely true that both universities would benefit from greater diversity among their student bodies.

However, it must also be remembered that students are sent to these schools because of the greater chance of successfully entering these prestigious universities. Oxford and Cambridge want the chance to recruit the very best students, and the figures quoted in the article suggest that these schools do an outstanding job at preparing students for academic excellence.

There may be other reasons why recruitment from state schools and others schools might be very low. Schools with limited experience in preparing a student for an Oxbridge application might discourage students from applying because of the great difficulty of gaining admission.

However, if I meet students who are very unfamiliar with the process (often very close to the university application deadline of 15 October) and who have not thoroughly researched the entrance requirements and the reasons for choosing Oxford or Cambridge, I can also be quite skeptical about a student’s possible success. Students who have not even heard of the entrance test and interview requirements, have not put time into practicing these aspects of admission and have not done much to make their application stand out through participation in interesting extra activities are unlikely to succeed.

Academic excellence is a given when it comes to entrance into these universities but that is not all that is required. The eight schools mentioned in the article almost certainly begin the preparation process for Oxford, Cambridge and other top Russell Group universities at an early point, allowing students to develop a top quality application which demonstrates a student’s all round excellence.

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