• Member Since 28th Oct, 2012
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Pineta


Particle Physics and Pony Fiction Experimentalist

More Blog Posts393

Sep
17th
2017

Popular Science Books and University Admissions (with a picture of filly Twilight) · 8:36pm Sep 17th, 2017

New Particle Gadgeteering post: Popular Science Books and University Admissions, possibly of interest to anyone in the process of applying to university…

…I also forgot to announce the previous post on Fimfiction, so here’s a link to that (with a picture of Rainbow Dash and Stellar Eclipse): Beauty, Science, and the Eclipse.

Comments ( 4 )

Are extracurriculars as big a part of the admissions process in Britain as they are here in the United States? When I was applying to college eight years ago, every application asked for a list of clubs I'd joined if not more, and most of them heavily implied they'd consider it seriously. Scholarships were even worse; one of them bragged that they'd rejected people with perfect SAT scores in favor of people who did worse on the SAT but had demonstrated more "leadership."

(Meanwhile in the magical land of Equestria, Twilight has found out that you really need those extracurricular activities with your friends to understand magic...)

Oxford and Cambridge admissions are based on academic potential. The precise selection criteria depends on the degree, but the key question is How well will they do on this course? We do always interview candidates rather than just look at test scores. I can't speak for other universities. I expect some do take more notice of extracurricular activities. It's clear the culture is different in the US, with things like sports scholarships, which don't exist here.

When I read lists of all the clubs students do, it seems to me to tell me more about their background than their ability or future potential. Kids from upper and middle class families get signed up for all sorts of things by pushy parents, while those from deprived towns don't have the opportunities even if they want to.

Of course there are an awful lot of sports, music and other activities going on, but this is secondary to academic work. I would like to say that while we are obsessed with academic excellence, we would always put student welfare first. Unfortunately I know some of my fellow tutors don't always see it quite that way and some students are under a lot of pressure and their friendships are a crucial support.

4671829

When I read lists of all the clubs students do, it seems to me to tell me more about their background than their ability or future potential. Kids from upper and middle class families get signed up for all sorts of things by pushy parents, while those from deprived towns don't have the opportunities even if they want to.

A cynical reading of admissions processes would say that — for those at the top of the class pile, choosing who is most likely to be in those ranks in the next generation — this is a feature, not a bug. :P

4672011
Officially that's not how it works... But I find I am getting more cynical the longer I do this job.

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