Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Computer Science

 2001

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (1 A*,6 A,2 B,3 C)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Other universities

N/A

Decisions about the application

I thought I might have a chance of getting in, which quickly diminished as I got to the interviews. The idea of teaching myself amused me, which is what I’ve had to do for the past year thanks to my Maths teacher (Swifty).

Oxford seemed more relaxed, and less pretentious than Cambridge. Seeing that cambridge guy on Ali G didn’t give me a good impression of the place either. Oh yeah and Radiohead come from Oxford.

It was far more liberal than the others, and not too big. I had a mate applying there too who had stayed there for a Sutton Trust thing.

Preparation

yes

We were issued a couple of mock interviews, which I missed because I slept in.

Interview

no

no

yes

Yep, a two-hour maths exam. A bottle of Stella. Did a past paper too. Bits of the paper were ok but a couple of questions really stumped me, like the sin 5x one.

Got drunk a couple of times, met a few cool people. Had to do a 2 hour maths exam. Can anyone tell me what sin 5x is equal to? Something like (sin x)^5 + (sin 12x)^4 – (sin 2x)^3 …

The maths interviews weren’t too bad, I was asked why d2y/dx2 is negative when a maximum turning point occurs. I had to do some probability and then a geometric thing. Can’t really remember them. The computer science ones were problem solving based. I had to sort some coins and describe how I did it, and do some data verification thing with 2-sided cards.

First interview I wore a shirt and tie, but for the rest I wore more casual clothes.

Impressions

Somerville was really relaxed. I read the alternative guide and apparently it’s got the most active and best Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual community in Oxford. The other people there were nice, and said they wanted us in the uni (cos we were really cool apparently). St Anne’s College seemed pretty shite (terrible common room). Merton had a really nice site though bad atmosphere.

My room was amazingly good. It had a view of the whole quad. The room was quite big and the bed didn’t squeak at all. They had a cleaner, which was cool and the toilets were so nice that I could do a number 2 without being nervous at all.

Good

Great choice. Want to have some cereal at night? Coke on tap. Sandwiches too. And loads of cookies.

Didn’t meet any outside of interviews. During interviews the computer science tutors were cool but the maths ones seemed a bit strict and uptight.

Carefree. They seemed cool and tried to give us some entertainment. And they let us in late at night when we went out drinking.

Final stage

I called my mum asking if there was a letter at home. She lied and said no. When I got home I opened it and it told me I was a retard. I had had no chance of getting in in the first place and they seriously questioned why they invited me for an interview. The rest of the page was filled with laughter. It basically said that in a really polite way.

Looking back

Hell yeah! I met some cool people, who I am still in contact now. I also got a few more memories to add to my collection – Aidan being carried to his room after a night of excess, with an interview early the next morning, or having a beer before my “oh-so-important” maths exam, bending my mate’s keys on a wine bottle I couldn’t open, nicking one of the students pack of noodles, and singing Stairway to Heaven and Bohemian Rhapsody at the quiz thing.

If you enjoy yourself at the interviews, at least whether you got in or not you got something out of it. Don’t stay in your room, and make friends with the college students so you can get the night key off them.