Application

 Oxford

 Balliol

 Economics and Management

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (8 A*,2 A)

A-levels

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(B at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics, A in Mathematics

AAA

yes

yes

yes

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I thought I stood a chance of getting in. It was a way of showing myself that actually I am a very good student. Also, the city is lovely, bigger than where I live at the moment, but not massive like London. I like the fact that it is so international too.

I prefer the way the Oxford course is structured (less mathsy – Cambridge would prefer further maths I think). Also, Oxford is bigger than Cambridge (the city not the uni) so there’s more things to do and places to see etc.

I started economics for the first time at AS and it immediately became my favourite subject. It’s what I most enjoy, having aspects of both an art and a science, and is easily the subject I’m best at.

I wanted a big college with lots of people and hustle and bustle. Also Balliol could not be any more central.

Preparation

yes

I had interview practice once a week for about 4 or 5 weeks prior to the real thing, then had a mock interview a couple of days beforehand too. Also, I was in the Target 2.0 competition and our heat was about 2 weeks before the interview, so preparing for that was also preparation for the interview as it gave me something to discuss.

Read as much as you can. My interviewer didn’t ask anything about the books I wrote about in my personal statement, but it definitely gave me background knowledge to strengthen my answers. It shows interest if you are prepared to read outside the A Level topics.

Interview

yes

I sat the TSA. I thought the questions were ok but was short on time on the essay. I prepared for the questions by doing a practice paper off the website, but there’s no way you could revise for the essay – the titles on offer were too obscure!

no

no

I didn’t think it went well at all, especially the management part for which I had to read an article in advance. The interviewer didn’t nod or smile while I was speaking so it was difficult to know whether or not I was on the right track. When I was starting to flounder she didn’t stop me talking, I just came to a halt after waffling round in circles. She asked and asked until she found something I couldn’t answer then stuck to that topic so I felt like I’d reached a brick wall.

About the Target 2.0 competition, monetary policy, credit crisis, how I would reform the banking system, possible ways of administering mortgages in the future. Managementquestions were about an article. What is this about? What are the authors feeelings on….? Read this extract…. what is the probem here? Why might managers having shares be a good idea? Why might it be a bad idea? But you just told me it was a good idea, which is it?

Black jumper dress and black tights. Not too formail, not too casual. The other E&M-ers went fairly smart i.e. boys wore shirts and jackets.

Impressions

A really strange experience being right in the heart of the city, being able to hear the bustle of the street, but being completely blocked from it til you step out the college gate. In general, lovely. Nice comfy JCR, tasty food, big open grasy areas.

We stayed in lovely, big, en-suite bathroom rooms, but normally they are kept for the third years. I didn’t see a first year room, but generally everywhere was clean and warm and tidy.

Canteen service at meal times. Everyone ate together in the big hall (like Harry Potter!).

Friendly when you saw them around the college and friendly at the beginning and end of the interview, but as soon as we started talking economics, it got serious!

Chatty and fun. A real mixture of people.

Final stage

Nervous, but was not expecting an offer. A tiny bit excited because you can’t help but hope. I thought my interview went pants so was really surprised when i got in.

It came in the post on the day before Christmas Eve, just when they said it would. I was staying with family for Christmas so had asked for it to be delivered to their address rather than my own, which was fine.

Looking back

YES!

Read read read beforehand. But, just enjoy the experience. I treated it like I only had 4 uni choices and anything from Oxford was a complete bonus.