All is Not Glorious About Cambridge University

Cambridge University might be a coveted place to study but the path to getting admission is mired with discrimination

2 min read
Hindi Female

October brings with it happier weather and unhappier times of trying to get into college. While applications for some may start later into the year, Oxford and Cambridge close their applications by the 15th of October every year.

Starry eyed, optimistic and almost hopeful but with full knowledge of the baggage that comes with a CBSE education, I decided to apply for an LLB to Cambridge University.

The idea itself is so daunting, that five drafts of a Statement of Purpose becomes ten. After submitting my application on the 13th of October, I realized that unlike any other college Cambridge University asked me to fill the COPA, a separate exclusive application.

It’s amongst the most coveted university, and I sat down to perfect the four tiny essays they asked for.


The Big Shock

The question on where I’d like to give my interview had options of Cambridge campus, Australia, Hong Kong, China and Singapore. I instantaneously gave them a call asking if an interview in India or on Skype would be possible. Travelling all the way for an interview which had uncertain outcomes was very cost prohibitive and required leaving behind college, course work or even vacations.

I was appalled when they said that the interview wasn’t possible over Skype. The application went on to ask questions about the A levels and whether I had an option to choose the A level curriculum of my choice.

Cambridge University might be a coveted place to study but the path to getting admission is mired with discrimination
Indian students at the University of Cambridge preparing for Raaga Kalaa 2015. (Photo: Twitter)

Questions of an Indian Applicant

As an applicant from India, I have simple questions to ask. We’ve been wired in ways to believe that we need the University more than it needs us. The people from India who usually get in start their essays with- ‘Coming from a poor, rural suburb of a state in India, I learnt to fight sexism and corruption at every level’.

We know that colleges may tend to view the oriental as savage and those striving to be a part of the intelligentsia must do so by fighting their cultures. They love our sob stories, and only by showing oneself as the disadvantaged seeking emancipation, students from India get accepted.


Geographical Proximity Disparity?

I revoked my application to Cambridge 20 minutes before the deadline.

I feel that subliminal discrimination is of the worst kinds. To show diversity Cambridge has centres in China, Hong Kong and Singapore which are geographically very close in proximity.

They are consciously discouraging Indian students from applying.

In this scenario, is there a perceived sense of inferiority or stupidity still attached to Indian students?

Do we need the University more than the University needs us?

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