Meritocracy and the University

Meritocracy and the University: Selective Admission in England and the United States

by Anna Mountford Zimdars

Anna Mountford Zimdars is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Social Change, University of Manchester, UK. Her work on university admissions has been covered widely in the media including The Sunday Times, BBC Radio 4, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and Times Higher Education. Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

Search for publications
Bloomsbury Academic, 2016
  • DOI:
  • ISBN:
    978-1-8496-6522-3 (hardback)

    978-1-8496-6549-0 (epdf)

    978-1-8496-6548-3 (epub)

    978-1-8496-6547-6 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
  • Published Online:
Meritocracy and the University
Collapse All Sections

Based on a hundred interviews with some of the key stakeholders in university admissions, and statistics from both primary and secondary sources, this book explains the values, processes and practices that judge some individuals as worthy of getting an education at elite universities and deny admission to other applicants.

By juxtaposing the UK and US systems the book invites readers from both sides of the Atlantic to see the familiar as strange and to reflect on the underlying values behind the selection of students. It illustrates how particular discussions of meritocracy affect individuals and relate to the history and social climate of each nation.