영국 교육정보

영국의 최신 교육정보를 확인해 보세요.

캠브리지 ‘자기소개서와 추천서 믿지 않아’

Author
주영한국교육원
Date
01:04 19 May 2009
Views
2250
캠브리지 ‘자기소개서와 추천서 믿지 않아’

□ 믿지 못할 자기소개서
- 캠브리지 대학은 인터뷰 대상자를 선정하거나 최종합격자를 결정하는 과정에서 자기소개서는 거의 영향을 미치지 않는다고 인정
- 인터넷에서 다른 사람의 소개서를 표절하여 사용하고 자기소개서 작성 대행사를 통해 대리 작성하는 경우도 빈번하게 발생함에 따라 자기소개서 불신이 심화됨에 따른 현상
- 입시처장 Geoff Parks 씨 : “자기소개서를 작성해 주는 대행회사와 인터넷 사이트가 범람하는 상황에서 지원자 본인이 정직하게 작성한 소개서라고 누가 믿을 수 있겠는가? 무시해 버리는 것이 상책이다. 자기소개서 내용에 어떤 점수도 부여하지 않고 있다”
- 인터뷰시에 자기소개서 내용을 토론의 주제로 사용하기는 하지만 지원자를 판단하는 자료로 활용하지는 않고 있다는 대학 측의 설명

□ 교사의 추천서 내용도 무시하기는 마찬가지
- 교사들이 작성해주는 추천서의 내용에 관해해서도 별로 관심을 두지 않고 있음
- 학생들이 자기에 관한 추천서를 대학에 보내기 전에 자기에게 보여줄 것을 요청할 수 있는 상황에서 재미있거나 논란의 소지가 있을 내용을 담을 교사들은 없다는 설명
- 자기소개서나 추천서 대신에 객관적인 증거 능력이 있는 GCSE나 AS 시험성적 등 A-level 시험 이전에 치러진 성적들을 평가자료로 사용하고 있음

□ 표절의 범람
- 2년 전 Oxbridge 및 의학계열 지원자 50,000명의 지원서 내용 분석에서
- 의과대학 지원자 중 234명이 ‘8세 때에 파자마에 불을 낸 일화’로 자기소개서를 시작하고 있었음
- 매우 많은 지원자가 “From an early age I have been fascinated by the workings of life. The human body is a remarkable machine"이라는 문장 사용

□ 계속되는 논란
- 이런 상황을 감안하더라도 자기소개서를 완전히 무시하기로 한 캠브리지의 결정은 지나친 것으로 보임
- 옥스브리지 지원자들이 대부분 전과목 A등급 획득 지원자들인 상황에서 자기소개서는 성적으로는 나타나지 않는 개인의 특성에 관한 정보를 줄 수 있다고 보임
- 또한 지금껏 자기소개서를 무시해 왔다는 것을 공개하지 않은 점도 문제의 소지가 있음
- Policy Exchange의 Anna Fazackerley : “많은 지원자들이 많은 시간을 고민해 가면서 자기소개서 작성하느라고 애를 쓰고 있는데 이를 무시해 버린다는 것은 불공평하다. 대학은 무엇이 중요한 것인지에 관해 투명해야 한다.”

□ 옥스퍼드는 다른 입장
- Mike Nicholson 옥스퍼드대학 입시처장은 자기소개서를 재능 있고 창의적인 학생을 골라내는 좋은 방법으로 생각하고 있다고 말함
- “We find it a very helpful way to identify what they are doing abobe and beyond their A-level studies"


□ 기사 원문 (The Times, 09.05.18)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/education/article6307170.ece

Personal statements mean nothing, says Cambridge admissions head

Many toil for months, writing draft after draft with care and attention. Some simply cut and paste somebody else’s work from the internet. Others order tailor-made versions online for as little as £24.99.

However they do it, writing a personal statement extolling their virtues and love of study has become a rite of passage for teenagers applying to university.

Now it turns out that many of them need not have bothered. The University of Cambridge has admitted that it pays no attention to applicants’ personal statements when deciding whom to interview or offer a place.

“With the profusion of companies and websites offering to help draft applicants’ personal statements for a fee, no admissions tutor believes them to be the sole work of the applicant any more,” said Geoff Parks, the university’s straight-talking director of admissions. Much simpler just to ignore them.

“We certainly don’t assign any marks to personal statements,” he added. “I have been told by students after they have been admitted that their schools write the personal statements. Reading a very good personal statement doesn’t tell you anything about the student because you cannot be sure that it’s the work of the person concerned.”

Although the university may use the personal statement as the basis for discussion during an interview, it is not used to judge the student. At all.
Personal references from teachers are also treated with a huge pinch of salt. Now that students can ask to see their references, teachers have stopped saying anything interesting or controversial, Mr Parks suggests.

Instead, Cambridge admissions tutors will use GCSE grades, AS level scores and predicted grades as their main forms of assessment. All those hours that applicants have spent trying to distinguish themselves by doing Duke of Edinburgh awards, ploughing through Ulysses or helping out in the local care home might just as well have been spent watching South Park.

Cambridge is right to be wary of applicants who claim to have read all of Thomas Hardy’s work or to spend every Saturday dissecting rodents in the garden shed.

A survey of 50,000 university applications two years ago — many of them for places on medical sciences courses and at Oxbridge — found that a significant minority of students had plagiarised them from the internet. The giveaway was the 234 applicants who all began their medical school application with the same anecdote about setting fire to their pyjamas at the age of eight.

Even so, Cambridge’s decision to ignore the personal statement is a radical one. As pretty much all Oxbridge applicants are straight A students, telling them apart can be difficult. The personal statement is the one part of the process that is designed to shed light on them as individuals.

The fact that it has not been open about ignoring personal statements is of concern too. Anna Fazackerley, of the think-tank Policy Exchange, said: “Many applicants spend days agonising over their personal statements, and it seems unfair that their efforts are completely ignored. Universities need to be transparent with people about what counts in admissions. The whole process is worryingly opaque.”

It is a different story at Oxford, where the head of admissions, Mike Nicholson, still regards the personal statement as a good way to distinguish the truly gifted, original and inspired students from those who are merely well-drilled.

“We know that candidates will spend a lot of time thinking about what to write in their personal statement. We find it a very helpful way to identify what they are doing above and beyond their A-level studies.”

Of course, students applying to Cambridge will also be applying to other universities. And these institutions, particularly those that do not interview candidates, will take personal statements into account.

Interestingly, the university admissions service UCAS has been exploring the idea of allowing students to write different personal statements for each of the five courses they apply for rather than submit a single catch-all version, as they do at present.

There may be a lot of merit in this — although it could just result in more business for the cut-and-paste versions from the internet.