These 10 tweets show access is a problem even once you’ve got to Oxbridge

‘I got told I would never be a good historian if I only spoke one language’


Access has always been at the centre of discussions surrounding Oxbridge, and more specifically, the application process. Many organisations and charities are working to help those from disadvantaged backgrounds with their applications, including the likes of Target Oxbridge which has been successful in helping black African and Caribbean students and students of mixed race black African and Caribbean heritage increase their chances of getting into Oxford or Cambridge. But what happens once you actually get there?

Access issues clearly persist once you enter the world of Cambridge or Oxford and are seldom discussed, and this Twitter thread (started by @philosophequeer) led to some alarming revelations about certain educational and lifestyle expectations that some students have come across during their studies (did you think Latin was a dead language? Seems not):

1. Knowing Latin is assumed to be the norm


2. Apparently being good at history is dependent on knowing many languages?

3. Assuming everyone is a polyglot appears to be a recurring theme


4. The love for Latin endures


5. Parlez-vous francais? Apparently you should!


6. An inability to understand that not everyone can splash out on a holiday

7. Assumed knowledge of Latin strikes (again!)


8. The transition from comp to Oxbridge isn’t the easiest

9. Someone share the hidden reading list, please!

10. Etymology seems to be the hardest word…

I think it’s safe to say that there’s still a long way to go when it comes to access once you pass through the mystical gates of Oxford or Cambridge and these tweets certainly highlight this.

The CUSU Class Act campaign, for post-admissions access, have created a google form you can access here for any Class Act identifying students to report any kind of discrimination or unfair disadvantage they have faced during their time at the university, in order for this to be followed up and to inform campaign policy. You can also access their Facebook page here.

As Cambridge students, it’s time that we took notice of the small assumptions, and listened to the many stories from our fellow students that show the pitfalls of an institution that assumes a universally similar background for all.


Related stories recommended by this writer:

‘Aspiration isn’t the problem, it’s access to the advice and access to role models’: The Tab talks to Target Oxbridge

‘Coronavirus Tutoring Initiative’: How one Oxford student is helping thousands of children in lockdown

Is Cambridge doing enough to tackle race issues?