Application

 Oxford

 Lady Margaret Hall

 Classics

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (7 A*,3 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(B at AS)

(A at AS)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Becuase I wanted to be taught in an environment which attracted the best minds in the academic field and bright and enthusiastic students.

I had visited Oxford and really liked it so i didn’t think much on the matter. I’m not sure that it would have made much difference, both courses seemed equally good but Oxford seemed to have the edge over humanities so I just went with Oxford and don’t regret it at all.

Classics has always been my passion, I like the balance of language, history, philosophy etc. on the oxford course and it seemed a course which offered an extremely widereaching range of options and encorporated aspects of many different subjects.

I chose Brasenose college, purely on the basis that it had been so welcoming at open day. However Brasenose was overly over subscribed for Classics and I got sent to interviews at Balliol, Queens and Lady Margaret Hall during the interview process and my offer was eventually from Lady Margaret Hall which I’m just as happy about.

Preparation

yes

We were given help but it was absolutely useless, everything I was told about the interview process in those lessons just wasn’t true. In the end I just had to go with my gut instincts in the interviews and not try to second guess the interviewers.

You don’t need to know loads of esoteric facts or be stunningly articulate as long as you are clear in your head of why you love your subject and show a genuine interest in it. Practise interviews are probably a good idea although bear in mind they most likely won’t be like an interview at all, more like an intellectual chat.

Interview

no

yes

2 essays or commentaries – I submitted 1 essay and 1 commentary on a passage of latin.

yes

When I arrived at Oxford I had to do a language translation paper. I had to translate two pieces of latin which they said were standard A-level latin but were so much harder than anything I’d done before!

I had six interviews so they varied a bit. I didn’t think any were paticularly outstanding or paticularly dreadful, although as I got tired over those few days I felt they got progressively worse. Strangely what i thought was my worst interview was at the college I got an offer from.

I would say that for Classicists the philosophy aspects of the interview were the most challenging, don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know the answer and don’t be afraid to venture an answer even if you think its sounds silly.

Loads on an intellectual level, all very unpredictable, things like “In this poem what does the poet suggest is the nature of stars and planets” and “do you think socrates was a sophist”. Nothing generic like you why do you want to study the subject and I personally had hardly any mention of my personal statement.

I wore my casual clothes which most reflect me. In my case that meant wearing bright hippie type skirts and my favourite cow-girl boots. To be honest I didn’t think much about my clothes, some of the boys wore suits but it makes no difference, they have no interest in your fashion sense, half the time they don’t even look at you but stare distractedly into space.

Impressions

I loved the college I stayed at for interview because of the undergraduates who were so friendly and welcoming, they made the experience so much easier. Overall all the colleges i saw had really nice atmospheres, all seemed welcoming and inclusive and had a wide range of people from many backgrounds.

My accommodation for the most part was lovely but I think I was in a third year room. Talking to the undergraduates it seemed that the first years rooms are much smaller than the ones we had.

It was ok although I’ll probably eat out now and then because I wasn’t mad on it. I’m a fairly fussy eater though.

Apart from interview there was no interaction with them at all. However in the interviews they were all nice, nobody scared me and they all seemed at least vaguely inerested in what i had to say.

As I have said already they were lovely. Its also good to meet them to know that they don’t seem like scarily clever intellectuals, they were just normal people which makes you feel that it will be easy to fit in which is nice.

Final stage

I was pretty nervous and impatient because some of my freinds had already found out. When a friend who I considered a much better candidate than myself got rejected I just assumed I hadn’t got in, being prepared for the worst meant I would avoid too much disappointment.

I knew i had an offer before I even opened my letter because it was from a different college to my chosen one. Although i was initially disappointed not to get Brasenose I got over that within hours and was so happy. However the pressure doesn’t let up like I thought it would because suddenly meeting my offer seems like the most daunting challenge in the world.

Looking back

Absolutely but I’m not sure I would be saying that if I wasn’t successfully, although I would say the experience in itself was valuable.

To go for it even if you don’t think you will get in because you never know – to be honest and not try too hard to impress just be yourself and if its meant to happen it will. But remember its not the be all and end all so don’t take it too seriously.