Oxbridge, a portmanteau term used to refer to the two prestigious British universities, Oxford and Cambridge, has long been seen as a symbol of academic excellence and intellectual achievement. However, despite their reputations for academic excellence, these universities have been criticised for their lack of diversity and limited social mobility. In this blog, we will explore the associated issues and opportunities related to social mobility at Oxbridge.
- The first issue associated with Oxbridge and social mobility is the lack of diversity. Both universities have come under fire for their low numbers of students from disadvantaged backgrounds, particularly those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. In recent years, both institutions have made some progress in increasing the number of students from diverse backgrounds, but there is still a long way to go.
- The second issue is the perceived elitism and exclusivity associated with Oxbridge. This is not helped by the high entry requirements, the stringent admissions process, and the emphasis on extracurricular activities. Students from state schools, particularly those in disadvantaged areas, are less likely to have access to the resources and opportunities that would help them meet these requirements, making it harder for them to gain entry.
Despite these issues, there are also opportunities associated with Oxbridge and social mobility.
- The universities have a long history of providing an excellent education, and graduates from these institutions are highly sought after by employers. This means that students who do manage to secure a place at Oxbridge have a better chance of securing a good job and advancing in their chosen career.
- Moreover , both universities have made efforts to increase social mobility in recent years. This includes outreach programs, bursaries and scholarships, and adjustments to the admissions process to take into account applicants’ backgrounds. These initiatives have resulted in an increase in the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and have helped to create a more diverse student body.
- It is important to note that the universities have a responsibility to use their influence and resources to effect positive change in society. Oxbridge graduates are more likely to occupy positions of power and influence, and they have a duty to use this influence to create a more equal and just society.
In conclusion, Oxbridge and social mobility are complex issues with no easy solutions. While the universities have been criticised for their lack of diversity and limited social mobility, they also provide an excellent education and opportunities for graduates. It is important that both institutions continue to make efforts to increase diversity and promote social mobility, and that they use their influence and resources to effect positive change in society. By doing so, they can help to create a more equal and just society for all.
What does this mean for prospective students?
For prospective students, the issues and opportunities related to social mobility at Oxbridge have several implications that should be taken into account when considering whether to apply to these universities.
- It is crucial to recognize that gaining entry to Oxbridge can be a challenging process, particularly for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Therefore, prospective students should be prepared to work hard and seek out all available support and resources to help them meet the high entry requirements.
- It is essential to be aware of the initiatives that both universities have put in place to increase social mobility. Prospective students should research these initiatives and consider how they may benefit from them, such as applying for bursaries and scholarships, or participating in outreach programs.
- Moreover, prospective students should also be aware of the potential benefits of studying at Oxbridge, including the high-quality education, networking opportunities, and potential career prospects. However, they should also consider whether they are comfortable with the perceived elitism and exclusivity associated with these universities.
- Overall, prospective students should carefully consider the issues and opportunities related to social mobility at Oxbridge before making a decision on whether to apply. They should take into account their own circumstances and aspirations, as well as the potential benefits and challenges associated with studying at these universities.
Some tips for oxbridge applications
If you are a prospective student from a disadvantaged background, applying to Oxbridge can be a daunting prospect. However, there are several tips that you can follow to improve your chances of success and overcome some of the challenges associated with social mobility at these universities. Here are some tips for your Oxbridge application based on social mobility:
- Take advantage of outreach programs: Both Oxford and Cambridge have a range of outreach programs designed to encourage applications from students from disadvantaged backgrounds. These programs can provide valuable support, advice, and guidance on the application process, as well as giving you an insight into what it’s like to study at Oxbridge.
- Research the colleges and courses: Different colleges and courses at Oxford and Cambridge have different entry requirements and selection criteria. It’s important to do your research and find out which colleges and courses may be more suitable for your background and qualifications. This can help you make a more informed choice when deciding where to apply.
- Seek out support and resources: There are many support and resources available to help you with your Oxbridge application, including schools, colleges, and charities. For example, the Sutton Trust and Target Oxbridge are charities that offer support and guidance for students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are applying to Oxbridge.
- Highlight your achievements: While the application process for Oxbridge can be challenging, it’s important to remember that admissions tutors are looking for students who demonstrate academic excellence and potential. You should therefore highlight your achievements, such as high grades, academic awards, and relevant work experience, to demonstrate your suitability for the course.
- Be prepared for the interview: The interview constitutes a crucial aspect of the Oxbridge application process and can evoke anxiety in many applicants. Nevertheless, it is essential to keep in mind that the interview serves as a platform for showcasing your aptitude and passion for the subject matter. Adequate preparation is key to success, which involves conducting comprehensive research on the course and the college, and honing your interview techniques through practice sessions with peers or mentors.
Overall, applying to Oxbridge as a student from a disadvantaged background can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that there are many support and resources available to help you. By following these tips and seeking out all available support, you can increase your chances of success and overcome the barriers to social mobility at these universities. Rostrum provides support for all your requirements associated with the Obridge admission process. With one on one counselling, we enable you to present the best version of yourself to the admissions team. For more information, schedule a free first consultation today.
HOW ROSTRUM CAN HELP
Rostrum Education offers a range of resources to help prospective Oxbridge students deal with the complex issues of social mobility, diversity, and elitism associated with the prestigious universities of Oxford and Cambridge. They acknowledge the challenges faced by students from disadvantaged backgrounds when applying to Oxbridge, including the lack of diversity and limited social mobility. They encourage students to seek out all available support and resources, such as outreach programs, research the colleges and courses that suit their background, seek out scholarships and bursaries, highlight their achievements, and be well-prepared for the interview. Rostrum Education believes that by doing so, prospective students can overcome some of the challenges associated with social mobility at Oxbridge and make a more informed choice when deciding where to apply.