Thursday, May 12, 2022
At the moment the really disadvantaged candidates are arguably the white males from outstanding independent schools. If they are rejected by their first-choice college and placed in the ‘pool’ so other colleges can look at their application, they nearly all sink without trace. So they go instead to Durham, St Andrews, Bristol and other Russell Group universities, excellent places – but, as Toope has hinted, they too are under pressure to cut numbers from certain types of school. One head talked to me about a potential brain drain as some of the best and brightest head to Harvard and Princeton, maybe never to return to Britain.
It is vital to remember that admitting students is all about individuals. University admissions have become another site for culture wars in which ‘white’, ‘male’ and ‘privileged’ are terms of disapproval, linked together to justify injustice. Imagined class must not determine admissions. School names should probably be omitted from application forms. Penalising applicants for their parents’ choice of school ‘strips the pupil of any agency’, to quote one distinguished head. It is a betrayal of the principles by which a great university has flourished.