Student selection and choice 1

August 22, 2003

It is a shame that David Mycock, a student at Derby College, was put off applying for Oxbridge by what he saw as the "elitist" attitude of recruiters at a Manchester fair ("I've struck elitist Oxbridge off my list", THES , August 15).

Mansfield College heads a consortium of seven Oxford University colleges dedicated to increasing recruitment from further education. We employ a full-time recruitment officer, who organises events at colleges throughout the UK. Our annual round of open days includes one aimed at further education candidates.

Our best ambassadors are undergraduates who have made it to Oxford from colleges. They take part in the regional forums that we, along with Cambridge University, hold. These are designed to dispel myths about Oxbridge and to give advice, including mock interviews.

We also run an e-mentoring scheme whereby further education students exchange information, via email, with an Oxford undergraduate. The maturity of further education students is a great plus in our experience. They represent a large, untapped pool of talent. It is in everyone's interest to encourage such students to apply.

Diana Walford
Mansfield College, Oxford University

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