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Oxford tutors admit they ignore personal statements

first_imgSeveral Oxford academics have voiced agreement with the Cambridge Head of Admissions in stating that personal statements are an irrelevant part of the application process.Earlier this week, Geoff Parks, the Director of Admissions at Cambridge declared that the personal statement reveals little about a student and is rarely the sole work of the applicant.Michael Allingham, the former Head of Admissions at Magdalen College said, “I know people who don’t read [personal statements] on principle, who believe that they muddy the waters…Whereas we look at everything, they are far from the most important thing.”He added that the decision over which applicants to invite for interview is based on only objective information such as GCSE or A Level results, predicted grades or a subject-specific entrance test. Consequently, a student would never be refused an interview on the basis of a poor personal statement.Mike Nicholson, Oxford’s Head of Admissions agreed that the personal statement is less important than other parts of the application. He said, “the amount of emphasis that will be placed on the personal statement will be much more limited than at most other universities.”However, he added that the personal statement may be helpful to evaluate students who wish to undertake a course not linked to their post-16 subjects. He said, “the personal statement provides scope to draw upon the wider range of experiences.”Zoe Hallam, a first year PPE student stated that she was asked a question based on the first eight words of her personal statement. She said, “I don’t think they particularly cared about the personal statement in the interview, but I think they’ve used it to shift through the applicants.”One first year Magdalen said, “When I was writing mine, I was told that different colleges treated personal statements differently. Some scrutinised statements and others completely ignored them. I just wished they’d told me which was true for the college I was applying to.”Several students have expressed anger at the revelation of admissions tutors. Harry Philips, first year linguist questioned the processes that decide interview places, saying “I’m sure that at this educational establishment, not everyone who sends in an application is given an interview. It can’t surely be done just on academic grades?”last_img read more

Commentary: What Americans Think About Abortion

first_imgCommentary: What Americans Think About AbortionMay 31, 2019, By John KrullTheStatehouseFile.com INDIANAPOLIS – The recent opaque U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding one of Indiana’s abortion laws sent the tea-leaf readers into overdrive.America’s high court ruled that abortion providers could be forced by the state to bury or cremate fetal remains. But it refused to comment on the portion of the state law that would have criminalized abortion if the mother chose to end the pregnancy because of the fetus’s race or because it would be born with certain birth defects. That means a lower court ruling striking down that portion of the law stands.John Krull, publisher, TheStatehouseFile.comThe ruling itself might not have sparked much comment at another time.But since Alabama, Missouri, Georgia, and Louisiana, among other states, have engaged in a race to get the most draconian abortion laws possible on the books in hopes of overturning Roe vs. Wade, every abortion case before the Supreme Court now receives the most intense scrutiny.Both sides in the white-hot reproductive rights debate could discern smoke signals that seemed to support their position.The fact that the court decided to allow states to impose an additional burden on Planned Parenthood reassured the anti-abortion crowd. And the justices’ refusal to allow the state to thought-police women seeking abortions offered consolation to those who believe in reproductive rights.The thinking on both sides seems to be that we’re headed for a high-stakes, winner-take-all legal battle regarding abortion.But what if they’re wrong?What if the justices are trying to do what America’s politicians either have failed to do or really haven’t even tried to do?What if the court is looking for a way to interpret the law that reflects what Americans really believe regarding abortion?A study of the polls over the past few decades reveals a remarkable consistency. The reality is that Americans’ thinking about abortion hasn’t changed much over the years.Just under 30 percent of Americans say they support abortion in any circumstances. Just under 20 percent say they oppose abortion under any circumstance.Those are the extremes in the debate – and, as is so often the case in America these days, they are the ones driving and dominating the discussion.They do this even though neither group represents anything close to a majority.Beyond those extremes, though, there are points that reflect something closer to consensus.Over the years, somewhere between 60 percent and 70 percent of Americans have said they believe abortion should be legal. A little more than half, though, say there should be some restrictions on ending a pregnancy.In other words, most Americans want abortion to be an option, but they want some limits on that option.The question is: Where should those lines be drawn?Again, the polls offer some insight.Most Americans – between 80 and 90 percent – believe abortion is justified to protect the life of the mother. Nearly two-thirds support ending a pregnancy in the first trimester. Another strong majority supports abortion in cases of rape or incest.Support for abortion as an option, though, drops as the pregnancy progresses. Most Americans oppose abortion in the second and third trimesters.But, again, their positions aren’t unqualified.Majorities of Americans ranging from slightly more than 50 percent to more than 80 percent support abortion even in the third trimester if the mother’s life is in danger, if the child will be born with a life-threatening illness, if the baby will have a birth defect or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.All this makes clear that Americans have nuanced, even sophisticated understandings of the moral and ethical challenges abortion presents.Unfortunately, that nuance and sophistication rarely are reflected in the political debate over reproductive rights.That’s going to be the case so long as we allow the most strident voices on both sides to hog the conversation. We’ll continue to have fight after fight after fight, but no victories.And no solutions.Maybe, just maybe, the Supreme Court will try to change that.Let’s hope.FOOTNOTE: John Krull is the director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.This article was posted by the City-County Observer without bias or editing.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

YESTERYEAR-Evansville Braves

first_imgLegendary baseball coach Bob Coleman stands in the back row (center) with his triumphant Evansville Braves team after capturing the Three-I League pennant in September 1957. The minor league organized in 1901 and was composed of teams from the “I” states: Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa. When the Braves capped a sensational comeback late in the season to defeat the Peoria Chiefs in 1957, they earned their first consecutive pennant and the seventh overall. Coleman was one of only two baseball managers who achieved more than 2,000 minor league wins during his long career.FOOTNOTES: We want to thank Patricia Sides, Archivist of Willard Library for contributing this picture that shall increase people’s awareness and appreciation of Evansville’s rich history. If you have any historical pictures of Vanderburgh County or Evansville please contact please contact Patricia Sides, Archivist Willard Library at 812) 425-4309, ext. 114 or e-mail her at www.willard.lib.in.us.FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

How to monitor sex offenders in your area

first_img“For a small or nominal fee, you can go into a neighborhood watch type program, where folks can enter their children’s names, their children’s address, their email addresses, their cellphone numbers, and parents will be automatically alerted if their child comes in close proximity or within contact.” (WBNG) — The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office has a warning for parents at home; do you know where the sex offenders are located near you? He said his office is able to utilize available technology to help catch these offenders when they try to disappear. Sheriff DuMond told 12 News Friday his office believes Planty Jr. was trying to avoid detection.center_img The sheriff says 37-year-old Martin W. Planty Jr. failed not only to submit an annual verification of residence, but had moved entirely without updating authorities. He was arrested and charged with a class D felony in New York, punishable by up to seven years in prison. The Sheriff is referencing the Offender Watch app, a program the sheriff’s office uses, and one you can download for yourself on your phone’s app store.last_img read more

Iran frees captured British naval crew

first_imgTEHRAN, Iran – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad defused a growing confrontation with Britain, announcing the surprise release of 15 captive British sailors Wednesday and then gleefully accepting the crew’s thanks and handshakes in what he called an Easter gift. The 15 Britons arrived at the VIP section of Tehran’s airport early today in a convoy of sedans and boarded a British Airways flight to London. The crew, seated in business class, boarded after the other passengers had taken their seats, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed “profound relief” Wednesday over the peaceful end to the 13-day crisis. “Throughout we have taken a measured approach – firm but calm, not negotiating, but not confronting either,” Blair said in London, adding a message to the Iranian people that “we bear you no ill will.” The announcement in Tehran was a breakthrough in a crisis that had escalated over nearly two weeks, raising oil prices and fears of military conflict in the volatile region. The move to release the sailors suggested that Iran’s hard-line leadership decided it had shown its strength but did not want to push the standoff too far. Iran did not get the main thing it sought – a public apology for entering Iranian waters. Britain, which said its crew was in Iraqi waters when seized, insists it never offered a quid pro quo, either, instead relying on quiet diplomacy. Syria, Iran’s close ally, said it played a role in winning the release. “Syria exercised a sort of quiet diplomacy to solve this problem and encourage dialogue between the two parties,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem said in Damascus. Several British newspapers credited Blair’s foreign policy adviser Nigel Sheinwald and Iranian chief negotiator Ali Larijani with laying the groundwork for an agreement during telephone contacts that began Tuesday night. Larijani had gone on British TV on Monday and signaled that Tehran was looking for a diplomatic solution. British officials were told to pay close attention to Ahmadinejad’s press conference but were unsure the release would come until they heard his words, The Independent newspaper said. Ahmadinejad timed the announcement so as to make a dramatic splash, springing it halfway through a two-hour news conference. The president first gave a medal of honor to the commander of the Iranian coast guards who captured the Britons, and admonished London for sending a mother, Leading Seaman Faye Turney, on such a dangerous mission in the Persian Gulf. He said the British government was “not brave enough” to admit the crew had been in Iranian waters when it was captured. Ahmadinejad then declared that even though Iran had the right to put the Britons on trial, he had “pardoned” them to mark the March 30 birthday of the Prophet Muhammad and the coming Easter holiday. “This pardon is a gift to the British people,” he said. After the news conference, Iranian television showed a beaming Ahmadinejad on the steps of the presidential palace shaking hands with the Britons – some towering over him. The men were decked out in business suits and Turney wore an Islamic head scarf. “Your people have been really kind to us, and we appreciate it very much,” one of the British men told Ahmadinejad in English. Another male service member said: “We are grateful for your forgiveness.” Ahmadinejad responded in Farsi, “You are welcome.” Three members of the crew were later interviewed on Iranian state-run television, apologizing for the alleged incursion into Iran’s waters and again thanking Ahmadinejad for their release. “I can understand why you’re insulted by the intrusion into the waters,” said Lt. Felix Carman, shown seated on a couch. “Thank you for letting us go and we apologize for our actions, but many thanks for having it in your hearts to let us go free,” Turney said. The breakthrough caught the British government by surprise. On Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett cautioned reporters not to expect a quick end to the standoff. During the standoff, Iran broadcast footage of Turney and some other crew members “confessing” they had entered Iranian waters. An infuriated Britain froze most bilateral contacts, prompting Tehran to roll back on a pledge to free Turney. Wednesday’s announcement led some analysts to conclude that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, decided the crisis had gone on long enough at a time when Tehran faces mounting pressure over its nuclear program.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more