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Anorak | Did Emily Nowell chicken out by sending rejection letter to Oxford University?

Did Emily Nowell chicken out by sending rejection letter to Oxford University?

by | 19th, January 2012

ELLY Nowell, 19, of Winchester, Hampshire, sent a rejection letter to the University of Oxford. Nowell, a former A-level student at Brockenhurst college, said Magdalen College “did not quite meet the standard” of other universities. She says the interview left her feeling like “the only atheist in a gigantic monastery”. She says the process favours public school pupils and intimidates those from state schools, of which she is one.

Her letter:

“I have now considered your establishment as a place to read Law (Jurisprudence). I very much regret to inform you that I will be withdrawing my application. I realise you may be disappointed by this decision, but you were in competition with many fantastic universities and following your interview I am afraid you do not quite meet the standard of the universities I will be considering….while you may believe your decision to hold interviews in grand formal settings is inspiring, it allows public school applicants to flourish … and intimidates state school applicants, distorting the academic potential of both”. She also criticised Magdalen College’s “traditions and rituals”, and the gap between “minorities and white middle class students”.

Elly Nowell adds:

“It was during my interview that I finally realised subjecting myself to the judgment of an institution I fundamentally disagreed with was bizarre.I spent my entire time at the university laughing at how seriously they were taking everything and felt like the only atheist in a gigantic monastery. Oxford is a fairly ridiculous and prominent elitist institution, yet unlike the monarchy or investment bankers it is rarely mocked. Even comedians tend to avoid Oxbridge as a subject. Being a successful student should depend on the student and not on whether a couple of academics think you shine in a 20-minute interview.”

An Oxford University spokeswoman responds:

“Despite what the candidate said, we would point out that the actual admissions figures speak for themselves: of the seven UK students who received offers for law and joint school courses at Magdalen, only one was from an independent school.”

Is it all about perception? And is Elly Nowell a coward? Predicted tops grades in her A-levels, Nowell applied to Oxford, scored an interview and then before receiving a decision got her oar in first. Did she do any research at all before making her application to study law?



Posted: 19th, January 2012 | In: Reviews Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink