Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Which is the Highest? (Oxford University vs. SDSU)

When it comes to higher education, there are certain attractions about which university one will choose to attend. In the US there are ivy-league schools, private schools, top schools, public schools, and so on. Of the many attractions that draw individuals to certain institutions, the following ideas of: longevity or renown; sports; and acceptance rates, seem comparable for different reasons when evaluating the two very different institutions of Oxford University in the United Kingdom to that of San Diego State University (SDSU) in California, US.
The UK’s Oxford University is comparable to an US Ivy League institution. Its prestige has built over centuries, as the school was informally founded in 1096 (Introduction and…). In addition, the university has developed renown through some of its most famous Oxonians ranging from worldwide prime ministers, Noble-prize winners, notable philosophers and scholars, among others. Some of the most influential and most compelling individuals have arisen from the ranks of Oxford’s educational standards. With such renown, it makes sense why this school is a top educator. So how does SDSU fare in comparison to Oxford’s longevity and renown? Not as well. SDSU is located in San Diego, California, US. The US has only existed as a nation for 238 years while Oxford has been in existence for 680 years longer than the US. While SDSU is an older institution in the US, established in 1897, it seems evident that Oxford excels in this area of prestige, longevity, and renown.
Through my visit to Oxford University, I learned that Oxford is not as well known for its sports. In fact, the only sports they have any rallying behind is probably their rowing or crew team. Even when I did research online, it was hard to find much information about their varsity sports teams as opposed to club teams. SDSU, on the other hand, has created quite the repute for themselves in regards to sports. SDSU certainly is not the best school in the nation, but has been quite prosperous in producing quality student athletes who enter the major leagues. From notable alumni figures, SDSU lists off numerous NFL, NBA, and MLB players, among others. While universities primarily exist to offer education to individuals, part of the university educational experience, and the philosophy behind the purpose of universities in the first place, is to create well-informed, well-rounded, and open-minded individuals. Athletics play into the “well-rounded” notion of this philosophy and therefore hold some validity and importance when evaluating appeals of certain universities.
Finally, what are the application processes like to actually attend one of these universities? For an undergraduate student, complications arise, especially depending upon which nation and which school one is applying from and to. In an article about the Oxford (and Cambridge) application process as compared to US Ivy League schools, it delineates the differences in application processes and outlines that most US schools focus on exam scores, whereas, “At Oxbridge, about 70% of colleges require some form of entrance exam, but the admissions process begins with your academic record to date…and, sometimes, academic work that you submit." In addition, the prior education to university work differs from the UK to the US, therefore complicating the process if one is to apply from out of the country. (read more here). Oxford University expects rigorous and high scores from its applicants and cannot accommodate all who apply. According to the Oxford statistics, revolving around the application process, “More than 17,000 people applied for undergraduate study and over 20,000 people applied for graduate study at the University of Oxford for 2013 entry. Oxford has around 3,200 undergraduate places and approximately 4,500 graduate places per year” (Admission Statistics). These odds are not the most promising, as an applicant only has an approximately 19% (undergrad) or 23% (graduate) chance of being accepted. In comparison, SDSU has nearly 35,000 students attending annually. It is a much bigger school than Oxford and can obviously accept many more students than Oxford can, but its rates are as following: in 2013, there were 44,845 undergrad applicants and only 13,447 were permitted with a 30% admission rate (Admission Statistics SDSU).
It Is clear from the analysis of these three components of allure to a certain school, that between Oxford University and SDSU, there are different emphases of appeal. SDSU is not an ivy-league school, but it is an institution that has been achieving more prestige for research over the last decade or so. Yet, SDSU’s shorter existence can’t quite compete with the force of intellectuals and authority figures Oxford has fueled with the same fervor. However, Oxford is nowhere near comparable when considering the athletic feats SDSU has accomplished through varsity sports. And finally, the application processes are complicated and the acceptance rates at both institutions are competitive. While Oxford is a beautiful campus and I would love to attend there, (maybe one day, or only in my dreams), I have loved my time at SDSU. I am not an athlete, but an academic, and I have thrived at SDSU. I cannot say which university is better or best, but I can acknowledge that SDSU has been the right institution for me for the past 5.5 years.
Undergrad Graduation 2013

 PS, sorry this one is a bit longer than required...
Commentary and Analysis of Oxford vs. SDSU
Cinetrek 5

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