Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Home educated girl offered place at Oxford

On one of the Internet lists to which I belong, it was said recently that a home educated girl had been offered a place at Oxford University without having any A levels or formal qualifications. According to the person who spoke of this, Oxford were, ' more interested in character, personality and extra curricular interests and activities,' This sounds quite odd, because they are in general almost entirely concerned with academic achievement.

Does anybody know anything about this or is it another of those urban myths? I have been asking around and cannot find anything. I also asked Oxford and they don't seem to know of this, which is strange. Does this ring any bells with anybody?


  1. Just picture Simon, hunched over his computer keyboard, trawling the internet, logging comments by autonomous educators and keeping them in a file for future use, phoning up universities, LEAs, health officials and goodness knows who else,checking out stories.
    How he struggles sometimes to come up with something original on here - so he just goes over tired ground over and over again.
    Poor Simon, why dont you go and read a book or something more productive instead?

    All the best


  2. Hard to know really which of us is the sadder in this scenario. I as the lone crank, or Darren as my disciple, unable to tear himself away and avoid reading my posts every day!

  3. If I'm remember correctly they didn't say that she didn't have A levels etc, just that Oxford were more interested in character, personality and extra curricular interests and activities, and said that she could have gained a place on the strength of her interview alone. But if they said this after offering an interview based on A levels, their assurances don't really count for much.

  4. I have no idea about the above young lady, but I did observe an interesting conversation elsewhere a few weeks ago. There were several families advising others how they got their children into UK unis without any qualifications; they merely sent a transcript of courses and subjects covered during their home education. So if anyone met one of those students in later years they would fit nicely into the "uni without exams" mould. However that would overlook one vital piece of info- they were all, at time of application, living abroad. The families concerned were all ex- pat, but because they applied from overseas the students would have had to pay international fees, which made them far more attractive to cash strapped unis!

    I am sure that situations like this may add to the general info-muddle!

  5. Thanks for that Julie, that makes things a little clearer. I have an idea that this might be what is being referred to here.

  6. It may have nothing to do with it at all; but I was struck that if anyone came in half way through the postings about the subject I mentioned, it would appear that the context was how easy it is to get into a uni without any qualifications at all......

    I may have mentioned before that an American girl at church was offered an interview for a prestigious art course until someone realised that she wasn't applying as a international student (she had a US passport but was born/always lived here).... then they wrote and changed their mind about the interview and rejected her. It is hardly supports the view that it is ability that is the thing that matters!

  7. 'It is hardly supports the view that it is ability that is the thing that matters!'

    Many universities now welcome overseas, fee paying students with open arms, even if they only have the equivalent of CSE Grade 9 in Needlework.

  8. Hi Simon!

    Just reading through the thread! I'm home educating the youngest of my children, because we've moved to an area of England where they will ONLY to a national level, any thing above that seems alien to them! My daughter was exceptionally gifted in Maths and science and her previous school skipped her a year!
    Anyway to cut a long story short, she's now home educated and was speaking with her advisor as to whether this temporary home educating would have a detrimental effect on her future. He explained that home educated children ( reasons not sure of) are able to liaise with Oxford university in particular and those children without ANY qualifications have to sit an entrance exam to see whether they are at the exceptional level that Oxford requires, if they are then they will be admitted a place!

    This is from a government education advisor, whos been doing his job a long time! ( couldn't tell whether it's true or not just thought I'd share this with you! )

  9. I see no reason why a home educated child could not go to Oxford: I did, albeit in a slightly different way. After being home-educated for all of my primary and secondary education, I did an undergraduate degree in music in Wellington, New Zealand - I had apply in a slightly aroundabout way for a person without standard qualifications - and in my final year I applied for post-graduate study at King's College London, RHUL, and Oxford. I achieve a first class honours degree, andI was admitted to all three UK universities, and did an MPhil degree at Oxford.

    I am sure that as Oxford wants to attract the brightest, most enquiring and engaging undergraduates, they would not rule out a home-educated child. Of course, they require that an applicant must get excellent A-level marks, and to get through the interview.

    Of course, nowadays, the ability to pay, for postgraduate and undergraduate education, is one of the dominating tropes in discussions about higher education.

    If a home-educated child wanted to apply for Oxbridge, I am sure that any parent who wants their child to succeed would do everything s/he could to get through the application process. My only advice is, make sure you start early, so as not to miss deadlines because of loopholes and red tape.

  10. Just re-reading a couple of comments about international fees and being interviewed and accepted at overseas universities: the course I did at Oxford had only 5 students in it. As I have remained in the academic world, I now know that in the year I was accepted, there were at least three other overseas applicants for the same course who were not offered a place.