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Kids and University and making you think
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jibberjim




Joined: 15 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
Quote:
only seek evidence of interest and ability in the subject you are applying for, with extra-curricular activities being ignored completely.


[...] second even sadder still


But having lots of extra-curricular activities on your uni CV are just something that is easy for a middle class parent to game - that is not what selection would hope to achieve. Being able to articulate an actual interest in the subject sounds like a reasonable expectation, not sure there's any point on anything else.

On the dress code:
http://www.oxbridgeapplications.com/blog/wear-oxbridge-interview/
Oxford folk wrote:
Having said all these, donít wear something that you feel just isnít you. You want to go in and show your interviewer who you are, what you know and what you love, but also your ambition to learn and your respect for the university Ė just make sure your clothes reflect this.

Seems reasonable to me, mind you that is what I go for in an interview too.
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explorerJC




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PostPosted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 7:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Indeed...by second point, I meant the second general point raised which was about most Uni applications simply being accepted because education is now a numbers game...
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SloggingScotsman




Joined: 18 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
Indeed...by second point, I meant the second general point raised which was about most Uni applications simply being accepted because education is now a numbers game...
while it pains me to say it, I do agree with Ejc again here.

While I am both deeply educated (e.g. In accountancy and economics) I am also widely educated, from my good old days Scots education to weekly deep reading of the Economist, and taking a second degree, numerous MOOC from MIT, Harvard etc, in everything from big data to terrorism and counter terrorism, through anthropology, maths, biochemistry, even a pre med course in immunology or similar.

My point is that a good education is valuable. It helps open your mind, it helps you see connections you simply could not do without it, it can even be fun. It helps you make sense of the world and how things work. It helps with context, interconnectivity, the bigger picture (eg why flu vaccinations can be an important political issue, which you may not get just from politics or immunology but combine them and voila). Etc.

Making higher education simply a numbers game and while it could help improve education levels, if it is just a numbers game (as I suspect it largely now is) then without the rigour, innovation will become more difficult.
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Whisk




Joined: 09 Jun 2005
Posts: 8431
Location: London

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jibberjim wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Quote:
only seek evidence of interest and ability in the subject you are applying for, with extra-curricular activities being ignored completely.


[...] second even sadder still


But having lots of extra-curricular activities on your uni CV are just something that is easy for a middle class parent to game - that is not what selection would hope to achieve. Being able to articulate an actual interest in the subject sounds like a reasonable expectation, not sure there's any point on anything else.

On the dress code:
http://www.oxbridgeapplications.com/blog/wear-oxbridge-interview/
Oxford folk wrote:
Having said all these, donít wear something that you feel just isnít you. You want to go in and show your interviewer who you are, what you know and what you love, but also your ambition to learn and your respect for the university Ė just make sure your clothes reflect this.

Seems reasonable to me, mind you that is what I go for in an interview too.


One of my colleagues was bemoaning how hard it is for an Eton boy to get into Oxbridge these days after her son got rejected by Oxford. As someone who went to Cambridge from a very ordinary comprehensive, with minimal help from my parents (they both left school at 15) and none of the private tutoring that seems to be the norm now, I probably wasn't as sympathetic as I could have been Rolling Eyes Wink

It's 27 years since I applied, so maybe different now, but I wasn't asked anything about my extra curricular activities at my interview. The director of studies who was interviewing me was only interested in my academic abilities and my ability to work through questions in a logical way, even if I didn't know the answers immediately. If anything, having lots of extra curricular interests might be seen as potential distraction from your studies.

If you have a particular sporting ability that the director of studies has an interest in (e.g. rowing) then it might count in your favour, but you'd still have to have the academic ability to get by as well. One year post-grad courses might be a bit different, but for undergraduate studies academics come first.
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Cat5 in the Hat




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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blair said that anyone/everyone should have the chance to go to University. Thus began the great drain on technicians et al and the creation of 'everyman' degrees such as flower-arranging, colouring-in and their ilk.

We need to roll back the system some years and provide government funded places for subjects where we have a great need of candidates (e.g. STEM) and let those that attend university 'to get a degree' self-fund.

I worked very hard to get to university, and then even harder to prove to a large Aerospace company that I was worthy of their grad scheme, when considered alongside Oxbridge and similar candidates (I got what I wanted, then turned them down).

Whilst I am keen for my children to go in to tertiary education it would need to be something worthwhile and benefit their future, especially at today's prices.
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SloggingScotsman




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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thinking back to school, re STEM, while my science was good and maths ok, I never even considered STEM degrees. Mind you I was more interested in economics and global politics. (For any Scots here you may remember my all time favourite subject...modern studies...all about America, Russia and China, politics and economics.)

I do agree Cat5 that STEM needs rigour and funding.
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Whisk




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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I studied engineering at uni and was sponsored by Ford, so spent my gap year and two summer holidays working for them. Unfortunately, by the start of my final year (93/94) the recession was well under way and Ford politely informed us that they weren't hiring any graduates. Very few other firms were hiring, so I ended up going into accountancy and ultimately banking. Most of the guys who did want to stay in engineering ended up signing up for post-grad courses in the hope that things would be better when they finished.

TBH engineering was basically just an applied maths degree. I did learn some useful skills that have helped me out in my career, but if I had my time again I'd probably go for one of the pure sciences or something completely different like economics.
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Cat5 in the Hat




Joined: 14 Mar 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whisk wrote:
TBH engineering was basically just an applied maths degree. I did learn some useful skills that have helped me out in my career, but if I had my time again I'd probably go for one of the pure sciences or something completely different like economics.


I have a similar viewpoint. I studied aerospace engineering, and now working in a broader engineering environment I wished I had studied plain old mechanical engineering.

I guess had you worked solely in engineering I suspect you'd have found your course gave quite a good grounding. Accountancy does seem a popular subject with engineering degree holders.
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SloggingScotsman




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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can recommend a good economics degree. I specialised in econometrics (maths/stats) and international finance. It has served me very well.

To give but one example how this has enabled me (and if I ever get into politics potentially society as a whole), at university I learned about how taxes work from a national and an international economic perspective. In my Price Waterhouse days I learnt how they worked at the sharp end of life. Equally when I ran my own business. Now with a couple of more decades of life experience, the circle has turned and I retain an interest in global tax policies.

Likewise stuff that I learnt in the economics of politics course has proven itself to me in recent years through recent carp.

Though I accept that pure economics can be a bit ideological, but combined with an independent mind and wide life experience it becomes a powerful tool, that quite frankly affects everyone, from making people feel good about tax cuts, through motivating behaviour, through sadly to being the final straw that can lead to suicide.

It is for these reasons of social harmony, and causing real harm to people, that I now firmly believe that economics is as important as STEM in society, though it should only be wielded with objectivity and compassion and not ideology.
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explorerJC




Joined: 20 Oct 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
Blair said that anyone/everyone should have the chance to go to University. .


And so they should.....but that shouldn't mean that everyone gets there...
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Tony Stark




Joined: 26 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oxford/Cambridge are still running at between 20 and 10 applicants per place for the maths / science / engineering degrees, so they have a lot of leeway to take the best academic achievers, but still sneak in a few future donors (increasingly foreign these days). Chinless wonders can still access via the arts and humanities, where some courses have only one or 2 applicants per place with not many of them being of the urban/ethnic comprehensive-educated demographic. Post-grad courses seems to be the way to get the monied people in now without attracting accusations of bias regarding gender/race/class.

Oxford Brookes and UEA seem to be doing very well at convincing foreigners that they are paying for a place at Oxford/Cambridge as they have an extraordinary rate of expansion mainly based on international students.
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Cat5 in the Hat




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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
Blair said that anyone/everyone should have the chance to go to University. .


And so they should.....but that shouldn't mean that everyone gets there...


That's a better summation of what I was trying to say.
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explorerJC




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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
Blair said that anyone/everyone should have the chance to go to University. .


And so they should.....but that shouldn't mean that everyone gets there...


That's a better summation of what I was trying to say.


Smile

It took me a long time to get there....it would have been wasted on me as a teenager but at least it would have been free
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SloggingScotsman




Joined: 18 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

explorerJC wrote:
Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
explorerJC wrote:
Cat5 in the Hat wrote:
Blair said that anyone/everyone should have the chance to go to University. .


And so they should.....but that shouldn't mean that everyone gets there...


That's a better summation of what I was trying to say.


Smile

It took me a long time to get there....it would have been wasted on me as a teenager but at least it would have been free
Education is never wasted Ejc, it enables ( or at least should). Well assuming you think about what you are learning. That said I agree that university isn't for everyone, nor should it be.

I know someone who started on a two year college course, and the college turned into a university, so her two year course became a degree, with honours no less.
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