UCL News


A-levels are the only factor for universities

12 January 2006

In reply to Oyinkan Johnson-Sherlock's query as to why ethnic minority students don't apply to UCL to study, the answer is that they do, and they are successful in their application (Response, January 11).

I speak from experience, having just completed two days of demonstrating practical classes to second-year medical students, one-third of whom are from ethnic minorities. This is consistent with the proportion at UCL as a whole.

Perpetuating the myth that minority students with the right grades will not get places at the best universities is likely to lead to a reduction in applications. The simple fact is that A-level results are the only important factor in determining university destination, and siphoning off the middle-classes to elite schools or by postcode prices poorer students out of a good school education. Tony Blair does not wish to accept this fact because he doesn't wish to face up to the social factors that perpetuate this situation, or simply to keep the Daily Mail happy.

David McAlpine (Professor of Auditory Neuroscience, UCL)

Reply letters and emails: 'The Guardian', 12 January 2006