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Cambridge and Oxford

  1. Jan 3, 2008 #1
    Really random question.

    Why can't you apply to both Cambridge and Oxford in the same year? Aren't they two different schools? Who decided this and for what reason? How do they stop you?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 3, 2008 #2

    Astronuc

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    Perhaps it's a gentlemen's agreement. I've never heard of that before, but then I was never inclined to apply to either. Where did one learn that one cannot apply to both schools simultaneously?
     
  4. Jan 3, 2008 #3
    I can't actually find a real "source," but if you google the following phrase
    then you will get tons of hits with people talking about it.
     
  5. Jan 3, 2008 #4
    Its funny becuase I have been trying to find a reason why, and I haven't found one yet.
    I just keep finding out that you can not apply to both at the same time.
     
  6. Jan 3, 2008 #5

    dst

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    Yeah, hit "I'm feeling lucky" and see what comes up :rolleyes:
     
  7. Jan 4, 2008 #6

    morphism

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    The rule applies only to your first undergraduate degree as far as I'm aware. It is official, as can be seen on the UCAS FAQ page (UCAS is the system through which one applies to British schools -- somewhat like the OUAC in Ontario).

    Why there's such a rule, I don't really know. Maybe it has to do with the how the application to Oxbridge is: the deadline is earlier and you have to go interview, after which you may or may not get a conditional offer (based on your grades) that guarantees admission once met. (At least this is the common case.) And since a LOT of people will want to apply to one of the schools, the rule may be in place to cut down the numbers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2008
  8. Jan 4, 2008 #7
    If you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCAS, there is a sentence that says you cannot apply to both and then there is "citation needed" flag next to it.

    EDIT: read the above post
     
  9. Jan 4, 2008 #8

    mgb_phys

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    It is (or was true) for applying through UCAS.
    The reason as far as I can tell is to make them appear 'special', having little silly rules like this add to the mystique - it's part of the branding.
     
  10. Jan 4, 2008 #9
    You can apply to both if you're an organist. My roommate did that.
     
  11. Jan 4, 2008 #10

    Moonbear

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    It would make sense for admissions from their side of the picture. If they don't allow you to apply to both, and they are the only two universities that are so prestigious, then when they send out acceptances, they can be reasonably well assured that those students will actually enroll. It avoids them winding up with an overly large or overly small class due to guessing at how many will enroll at their school and how many at the other once acceptances are sent out.
     
  12. Jan 4, 2008 #11

    mgb_phys

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    Moonbear is right - it does make admissions a lot easier.

    In the UK you apply for universities places about a year ahead of your exams at 18.
    But the university loses money if it doesn't fill places or if it overfills them so it has to play an airline style game of overbooking courses on the assumption that some wll not get the required grade.
    There is then a mad panic for a month in august as people who did not get the required grade try and find another university with lower offers, and people who got higher decide to take a year off and apply to a 'better' course.

    Oxford / Cambridge (used to) short circuit this by simply giving offers of 2 grade E passes (the lowest possible allowed) to candidates it wanted, in my day it used to set it's own exams a year early as well. Then it could be pretty sure that they would achieve their grades - so by not competing with each other they can be sure that nobody with a 2E offer would go somewhere else.
     
  13. Aug 21, 2008 #12
    I didn't realise that! I knew that public schools had 'old boy connections' with specific colleges so that the British establishment could continue its self-perpetuating elite. Being from the unwashed working classes, even though I was getting straight As in science, my bog standard comprehensive didn't encourage me to apply. If you look at the percentages of public school types still going to both you'll see things haven't changed in the last few decades (got worse actually).
     
  14. Aug 21, 2008 #13

    mgb_phys

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    Correct, by having a set of odd rules it is difficult for those not in the know to apply. So a lot of schools that have never had an oxbridge applicant don't try - see catch22.

    Cambridge was trying to fix that (at least in the sciences) because it was really hurting it's image - they were rigging the figures and even then could only just show 50% from state schools.
    But then the whole farce of GCSE combined science hit. If no state schools taught separate sciences they had a choice. Accept pupils that were completely unprepared for the course or only accept students with the required subjects which largely meant public schools.
     
  15. Aug 21, 2008 #14

    cristo

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    These rules are quite clearly spelled out in the info accompanying the application form, and they are hardly complicated!

    But yes, nowadays you do have more of a chance of getting into Oxbridge if you are a girl in a state school in the north of England.
     
  16. Aug 21, 2008 #15

    mgb_phys

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    But they do add an extra layer of complexity.
    >You have to apply to a college.
    How do I know which one?
    >Read the college prospectus
    Which all say "blah was founded in xxcentury by sir blah and is committed ... excellence ... etc"
    Or you could do your ugrad at Imperial and go there for your PhD :approve: !

    Cristo: How is the appliction process is coping with GCSE and everybody getting 5A's ? - I ran away to the land of big grants and sunshine!
     
  17. Aug 21, 2008 #16

    cristo

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    You mean A levels, right?

    A growing number of universities are now requesting that applicants take these extra exams (the STEP or AEA): I think warwick, durham and a few others required it (for maths) about 5 years ago, so probably more now. The government have also pledged to introduce new A* grades into A levels sometime in the next few years (here is a random article on trials of the grades). Whether this will work is another question.
     
  18. Aug 21, 2008 #17

    mgb_phys

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    I haven't heard anything good about GCSE science, I assume it had a knock-on effect at A level.

    So gone full circle then.

    Brilliant, so there is no such thing as grade inflation, but we are going to split the A grade into AA to AE. Until everybody starts getting AA then presumably we add AAA.
     
  19. Aug 21, 2008 #18

    cristo

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    Oh, I think I know what you mean now. I'm not entirely sure about this, but I heard that GCSE science was being watered down a lot. In my opinion, separate sciences should be taken as a default, with weaker students allowing to opt for the dual award rather than the other way around, but then what do I know?


    LOL, yea, it doesn't look too promising.
     
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