Time to privilege talent over luck 4

September 28, 2007

We are concerned that your coverage of the Sutton Trust report will discourage the very students that we are keen to encourage to apply. We are confident that students with the right subject mix of A levels and with good grades will stand an excellent chance of being admitted.

While it is true that a large number of pupils from a small number of schools apply to Oxford University, the reverse is also true: a small number of pupils apply from a large number of schools. And it is these young people who may be the only straight-A students in their schools that we are trying to reach. Summer schools, school visits, student-shadowing schemes, e-mentoring and podcasts are just a few examples of the initiatives carried out across the collegiate university.

And contrary to some claims, we do not look at "soft skills" or how "confident" our applicants are. We are interested simply in our students' academic merit and potential, irrespective of their background.

The only way that guarantees not getting a place to study at Oxford is not to apply.

Mike Nicholson
Director of undergraduate admissions
Oxford University

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