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Two brains or half a brain?

(18 Posts)
Greatnan Sat 15-Sep-12 08:54:18

David Willetts is supposed to be the brightest member of the Government. He has just told us that the reason that the top universities have vacant places is because students have decided to go to other universities. Well, well, who would have thought it?

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 09:10:22

You have to be a minister to come up with that kind of insight! And who would have thought that allowing universities to charge £9000 a year would have affected enrolments?

JO4 Sat 15-Sep-12 09:20:41

Well I think it's the students who are displaying lack of brain power.

If they are turning down the chance of going to Oxford or Cambridge just for the sake of a few extra thousands on a loan on which they will hardly notice the repayments.

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 09:27:03

Oxford and Cambridge haven't been listed as having a problem. Leeds, Sheffield, Queen Mary London and another five or six 'Russell group'. I don't remember off hand which they were. It was to be expected that when they were allowed to charge those fees, most universities would go for the maximum because otherwise, it would look as though they thought they were not top notch.

Greatnan Sat 15-Sep-12 10:03:05

I don't think it is just the tuition fees that puts some people off Oxbridge.

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 10:21:25

You're probably right, Greatnan. So many myths.

medic Sat 15-Sep-12 10:22:38

Cambridge has until this year been rated as THE BEST IN THE WORLD - now it is second to Masachussets.

absentgrana Sat 15-Sep-12 10:26:18

medic I don't think these sorts of ratings are particularly helpful. Best for research, best for teaching, best in every subject? Do MIT and Cambridge teach and research in exactly the same subjects? Who compiles the ratings and how familiar are they with different cultures and languages?

Greatnan Sat 15-Sep-12 10:31:54

Apart from the studying, I think the social life is a big part of university for most young people. I believe some of them feel marginalised at Oxbridge and unable to compete financially with the 'trust fund kids'.
My oldest grandson went to Durham and certainly had a very good social life and made many good friends, but he had to work at three jobs to 'keep his end up' with them.

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 10:36:55

My DS and one of my DDiLs went to Oxbridge (as did I and my DH but that was so long ago it was a different world). That's why I said, "So many myths''.

JO4 Sat 15-Sep-12 10:45:42

What myths? My DD went to Cambridge. It was good. Was twenty years ago but that's a drop in the ocean to a place like that.

harrigran Sat 15-Sep-12 11:02:35

My DD went to Cambridge to study medicine, she loathed it and came back north to continue her degree.
Durham is great Greatnan it is 10 miles from where I live and we visit often.

Gagagran Sat 15-Sep-12 11:11:16

Both my DS and DD went to Cambridge and we are certainly not trust fund class! My Father-in-law left school at 14 and worked in a mill for 50 years so my children come from humble stock. Both made good friends they still have, from a wide social class and both have made full use of the first class education they received as well as having a wonderful social life. I would encourage any bright student to aim high and try for Oxbridge - it is still the best investment they could make.

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 11:13:59

Myths like they are all toffs, myths like you won't be able to make friends, myths like it is so high-powered you won't survive! Myths like you will be humiliated in the interview. I know this sort of thing puts people off applying and also puts teachers off suggesting it.

Lilygran Sat 15-Sep-12 11:19:27 Absent this is the link to the methodology of the ranking (if I've managed to do it right!).

JO4 Sat 15-Sep-12 11:27:34

DD had a good bunch of friends at Cambridge. She is, in fact, spening today with her best friend who she met at uni. And they have a very good pastoral system. Very caring.

And it's a fantastic place for visiting. smile

annodomini Sat 15-Sep-12 12:18:50

One of the biggest thrills I had as a FE teacher was when one of my open learning mature students was accepted to study ('read') English at Oxford. The college's admission tutor wrote to me and asked me to send him more good students - sadly no others were inclined to travel much further than Manchester. But it was so encouraging to know that such a prestigious institution was keen to have mature students.

absentgrana Sat 15-Sep-12 13:06:15

Thanks Lilygran.