Once again, we see increased evidence of a move by top academic institutions such as Oxford and Cambridge to be more inclusive. The introduction of criteria to enable a wider range of students access to the top universities is to be welcomed. This is no guarantee of student success. However, when considering nature vs nurture, I believe it shifts the odds considerably.
Inevitably some will worry about dumbing down, or cheapening the brand, if you will. But once beyond the initial hurdles of gaining entrance to the various hallowed halls, the vast majority of students will thrive along with everyone else.
The speaker and author Jim Rohn is attributed with saying that we’re the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Another popular phrase is show me your friends and I’ll show you your future, which I believe is based upon a bible text. In the case of the adapting students, the impact of being immersed in an environment with the brightest of minds may be rather profound!
I’ve written several times in the past (you can see here and here) that the competition for places in schools and universities isn’t necessarily a fair one. Numerous attempts to level the playing field have had a limited impact.
What it does do though, is demonstrate the existence of opportunities that are genuine possibilities for all with the drive and determination to strive for them. The fact is that many places are filled with students who weren’t the most naturally gifted but were prepared to work incredibly hard, in school and in extracurricular study, to achieve their goals.
The nature vs nurture debate will rumble on, however, one thing we know for sure is that there has never been a greater opportunity to access tuition, learning materials and every required assistance to be able to knock on the doors of buildings previously considered off-limits for all but the privileged few.
A reminder that I am running a GCSE Maths Masterclass during the Easter holidays. The first workshop sold out in a matter of days and I’ve made a few spaces available for new dates, 15th & 16th April. For more information contact me on 0207 686 4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.