Comment: An End to Oxford Application Fees?

first_imgIf it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, is it a duck? Yes. So if there is something that looks like a barrier to applying to Oxford, and seems to act like a barrier to applying to Oxford, is it a barrier? Not always. The £10 application fee for undergraduate admissions quacks because it is a barrier. But we should be wary of throwing out babies out with the bath water. Or, to hideously combine these already out of control metaphors, rubber ducks with the bath water. There are some extra processes built in to applying to Oxford, like aptitude tests and interviews, that look like a barrier to applying, seem to act like a barrier to applying, but aren’t a barrier to applying. So why don’t they quack?The short answer is that some perceived barriers benefit applicants: they allow Oxford to gain a much greater understanding of a student’s potential, so the University can confidently choose the very best from the brightest. Working out who is really, really good, rather than just really good, when everyone who applies has perfect grades and a treasure chest of extra curricular achievements, is a challenge to say the least. Few universities benefit from this challenge. Oxford needs different admission processes to meet this challenge.By barriers, in the context of admissions, I mean things that block the progress of students of greatest potential, whatever their background. For Oxford to admit the best from the brightest, it must invest in extra stages to get rounded pictures of applicants. After all, academic potential cannot be accurately represented by a series of past achievements printed on a piece of paper. Therefore the University invests more time and energy than other higher education bodies rigorously interviewing applicants. The interviews allow tutors to stretch potential students’ thinking, to analyse their motivations, and to assess whether they will respond successfully to tutorial teaching. Candidates will not receive adequate care and attention from tutors if there are ten people being interviewed per place. To ensure tutors can conduct meaningful interviews, aptitude tests are used in some subjects to help short-list candidates to approximately three per place during interviews. This also prevents students with no chance of getting an offer wasting time and money coming to Oxford. This guarantees that the University admits the very best from its talented pool of applicants.Charging £10 to apply to Oxford quacks, waddles and swims like a duck, and is one that should be shot. The fee is a barrier that discourages students from applying to Oxford, because they see the application as a costly gamble. By charging students to apply, this university encourages a false assumption that life here is more expensive than everywhere else. Considering the relatively small sums it raises, compared to the millions the University invests every year into its access work and bursaries, there is no reason why the University should undermine its good work on outreach by demanding that prospective applicants buy the opportunity to be considered by Oxford.It is inevitable that this fee will go – Oxford is the last remaining University to charge for this – but its demise is also desirable. I believe applications will increase as more talented students apply speculatively; after all, it won’t cost them anything to do so. This will help our work widening access and making sure Oxford University admits the best students, whatever their school, and whatever their background.James Lamming is the Vice President of OUSU.last_img read more

Barnsley firm secures a string of deals

first_imgBarnsley-based Fosters Bakery has struck a deal that will see the company supply its frozen baked bread to Greece, through The Greek Coffee Company. It has also just launched four products in Asda, and two via a sandwich- maker into Boots the Chemist.Fosters will produce various Asda own-brand rolls, as well as a chocolate hot cross bun and milk-roll fingers, available nationwide. The additional business has meant the bakery has had to take on 16 new full-time staff.”This new business is a result of keeping our focus during tough times and continuing to innovate in our products, people and pro-cesses,” said MD John Foster.last_img read more

TENNIS : Syracuse rides aggressive play to sweep in final homestand

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Down 5-4 in the third set of her senior day match, with the game tied at 30, Emily Harman ripped a hard serve that caught Boston University’s Vivien Lazsloffy off guard. Laszloffy managed to make contact, but the ball sailed up to hit the roof.The play was a microcosm of Syracuse’s focus on aggression and dictating tempo this weekend.‘Aggression is everything,’ head coach Luke Jensen said. ‘We’ve got to come at them with a little bit more force, and I thought we did that.’No. 47 Syracuse (12-4, 5-1 Big East) earned a weekend sweep of Binghamton (5-8, 1-1 America East) and BU (5-8, 1-1 America East) with back-to-back 7-0 shutouts in the last home matches of the season. The team’s match scheduled for next weekend against Army has been canceled due to Army travel budget restrictions. The Orange extended its winning streak to five, and has won 10 of its last 11.The team is peaking at the right time, making NCAA tournament aspirations an attainable goal this season. The surge correlates with Syracuse’s increased ability to put its up-tempo game plan into action.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFreshman Komal Safdar used her aggressive mentality to jump out to an early lead and wear her opponent down. Steadily working her way back from injury, Safdar put together a strong offensive performance against BU, attacking the net and forcing her opponent off balance.‘The first and last thing (volunteer assistant) coach (Len) Lopoo said to me was ‘quick start,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, quick start,” Safdar said. ‘I started off with some momentum, kept going and then kept the energy.’The team’s seniors, Harman and Alessondra Parra, each earned victories in their final matches at Drumlins Tennis Center. Parra maintained her desired tempo throughout the match despite her opponent’s efforts to slow down the pace.But Parra didn’t get a chance to make a play for the last point of her home career. BU’s Monika Mical committed a double fault on match point, giving Parra the victory. Parra constantly misdirected shots against Mical and played with a mix of power and precision.Parra was fired up for her last home match, coming out aggressive from the beginning.‘I didn’t want to let up at all, and I wanted to give it everything I had,’ Parra said. ‘I didn’t want to look back and wish I would have tried harder.’Syracuse forced the tempo right again against Binghamton. Harman and Parra were paired together at No. 1 doubles, and they pushed their opponents into the backcourt on most points.When Harman and Parra were serving, a distinct pattern emerged. One produced a hard serve, causing Binghamton to send a weak return that was usually in the air for more than a second. The other then attacked the net, spiking the ball and winning the point.Parra felt that Harman could have almost won without any help.‘Honestly, Harman is so good at doubles,’ Parra said. ‘She makes my job super easy. I really feel like I just stand there sometimes.’The seniors defeated both doubles opponents this weekend 8-2.In both matches, Harman worked especially hard for the victory, with a similar pattern emerging. She would come out firing, producing misdirection and change-of-pace shots that seemed to confuse the opponent. Harman’s Binghamton opponent, Jill Santos, repeatedly shook her head and smiled after falling victim to constant changeups.‘My game is a lot different than a lot of other people,’ Harman said. ‘Anytime I come out and play very aggressive against someone, that’s not something that they see a lot, and they’re going to be confused a little bit.’But then Harman struggled in the second set, losing it to each opponent. She failed to make quick adjustments after receiving new balls, and she lost many points by overshooting the court.But she found a way to win. Her match Sunday was the last in play, for a good half-hour. All eyes were on Harman, and she was two points away from losing the final home match of her Syracuse career.She made sure that wouldn’t be the case.‘It’s great to see Harman tough out that win,’ Jensen said. ‘It would have just been a bad taste in our mouth if we lost that final match. But she finished strong, very confident. The team is very confident.’[email protected]center_img Published on March 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm Contact Kevin: [email protected]last_img read more