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The ivory towers

Application processes may intimidate disadvantaged students, says report.

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge should introduce a single, transparent application process to promote social mobility, according to a report from the Sutton Trust, a charity.

The report, published on 4 February, warns that the application processes differ from college to college, which can confuse pupils and teachers who are not familiar with them. Currently tests vary by subject at Oxford and by both college and subject at Cambridge, with new written exams introduced in November. It warns that complexities in the admissions process, such as bespoke exams, interviews and the early application deadline, may discourage applicants from schools that send few or no students to Oxbridge. The report cites a poll indicating that 40 per cent of teachers in state secondary schools say they would rarely or never advise academically gifted pupils to apply to Oxbridge.

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