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How you were accepted into college during the preindustrial era

  1. Nov 23, 2009 #1
    Did they even have entry level exams to use to determined if students would be admitted into a universities back in the 1600's and prior to that time or are the college entry exams a 20th century creation and only the very wealthy attended college up until the introduction of entry exams and meritocracy were used for admitting students.
     
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  3. Nov 24, 2009 #2

    tiny-tim

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    Hi noblegas! :smile:

    At Oxford and Cambridge (the only two English universities before 1800), admission was to the college rather than to the university, and was called http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriculation#United_Kingdom".

    I don't think there was any entrance exam until Responsions (in Oxford) or Previous Examination (in Cambridge) were introduced, I think just after 1800 … see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsions" [Broken]
     
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  4. Nov 24, 2009 #3

    mgb_phys

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    And remember the only thing they really taught were latin and greek - so you could become a clergyman. So the entry test was pretty much just translation.
     
  5. Nov 24, 2009 #4
    hahahahaha oh that's a good one! meritocracy! lol although I guess being able to throw "a great spiral pass" is a merit to some. The U.K aint much better if I'm honest though...... :(
     
  6. Nov 24, 2009 #5

    cristo

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    It's only going to get worse as universities are given the freedom to increase tuition fees without limit (though I don't think one can get admitted to university solely on sports talent over here...)
     
  7. Nov 24, 2009 #6

    mgb_phys

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    Except for US olympic rowers
     
  8. Nov 24, 2009 #7

    f95toli

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    Hm, some of the rowers in Oxford and Cambridge aren't exactly famous for their academic achivements...
     
  9. Nov 24, 2009 #8

    mgb_phys

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    A few years ago there was so many professional rowers on post-grad courses at the Dept. of Land Economy at Cambridge that they were planning to rename the dept because it had become a joke.
     
  10. Nov 24, 2009 #9

    cristo

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    My point is that it is not nearly as widespread as football 'scholarships' are in the US. I think we can safely discard Oxford and Cambridge when talking about universities in general!
     
  11. Nov 24, 2009 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Give it a few years, we have spent the last decade pretty much copying every innovation in the US public school system.
    About the only US educational project not adopted was Sesame street - about the only thing that worked!
     
  12. Nov 24, 2009 #11

    tiny-tim

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    Trivium and quadrivium

    Hi mgb_phys! :smile:

    No, they were taught first the three subjects known as the trivium: grammar logic and rhetoric, and then the four arts known as the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy.

    So the trivial subjects (yes, that is where it comes from! :wink:) would have needed Latin (and maybe some Greek), but the arts were essentially maths and music, and wouldn't have (except of course that a lot of the texts would have been in Latin or Greek).

    And yes, every clergyman needed a degree, but that doesn't mean that every degree produced a clergyman (if you'd studied logic and rhetoric in medieval Oxford, you'd have known all about that! :wink:)

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrivium" [Broken] …
    See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium_(education)#Description"
     
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  13. Nov 24, 2009 #12
    Re: Trivium and quadrivium

    From reading the article on medieval universities you provided, I know how medieval universities were developed and what subjects were taught at the university and that a course you signed up for was based on the book that was assigned for the class. However, it still does not explain how you were admitted into a university and whether or not the wealthy were only admitted and what kind of grading system they used to determine if a student passed the course that they were taken.
     
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  14. Nov 24, 2009 #13

    f95toli

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    Re: Trivium and quadrivium

    It also doesn't mean that people who did get degrees actually knew anything about the subject. It was for example not at all unusal for students to pay someone else to write their thesis.
    Carl von Linné (the famous botanist) used to supplement his income by writing theses for his students when he was a professor in Uppsala, note that this was not considered cheating in any way since the main idea of the thesis defence was for the student to show that he could defend an idea in front of an audience (in latin).
    Also, far from all students attended lectures. Spending a couple of years at a university was simply considered part of the upbringing among the upper classes.
     
  15. Nov 24, 2009 #14

    tiny-tim

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    Yes, I can't find any information on that …

    I assume that there was no entrance exam or other entrance requirement until about 1800.
    There were scholarships for poor students right through from at least the thirteenth century until the present day.
    I'm pretty sure medieval English undergraduates never wrote theses.
     
  16. Nov 24, 2009 #15

    mgb_phys

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    Re: Trivium and quadrivium

    I was thinking of 1800 when they had pretty much becoming a CofE dumping ground for younger sons.

    The 4 arts came up recently.
    The UG science course at Cambridge is a bit odd, in the first 2 years they have to do a range of 'natural sciences' - which means a student will work hard in their 'major' physics/chemistry and maths and then take a 'throw away' course (the first 2 years didn't count to your degree).

    There are a couple of science depts that existed solely on the back of teaching the throw away course.
    The astronomy dept decided to teach an ugrad course which was the most popular option for the students.
    The other depts objected to the competition with a range of excuses, astronomy isn't a real science, its not useful etc and the final - we have always one it this way!

    My prof came up with the ultimate argument (at least for a UK institution) of precedence. We were proposing to teach natural philosophy (physics) geometry (math) alchemy(chemistry) and finally astronomy = a perfect medieval science curriculum.
     
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