Application

 Oxford

 Balliol

 Engineering Science

 2002

 pooled, offer made (Somerville)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (2 A*,4 A,2 B,1 C)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics

ABB, A (Maths) + ABB in any order in Physics, Chemistry and Further Maths

yes

firm

yes

yes

Imperial – insurance.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I wanted to have the oppertunity to attend one of the worlds most internationally reknown universities. Also offer me the chance to delay choice of branch of Engineering until 2nd year and still leave with a MEng (Most universities only allow this luxury in their BEng programme)

Thought that Oxford was better and more flexible for my course. Also had family near Oxford.

Freind had a cousin at this college and he recommended Balliol to me. Somerville was assigned as my second choice college after I applied.

Preparation

yes

The school gave me a mock interview by our headmaster. We were also able to read reports written by past pupils who attended oxbridge interviews so as to get and idea of the style of interview. Also the head of careers was very supportive and helpful.

The Forms: Don’t think too hard about filling out the additional info section of the form. I spent days thinking about it, but what I wrote was so simple but really put forward why I want to be at Oxford.

The interview(s): Make sure you know your stuff, so to speak, but don’t overprepare, it really ends up being a waste of time at best. Just make sure you know what you wrote on your UCAS and application form. Most of the questions asked at interviews involve appling simple concepts in unfamiliar situations, so there is no need to spend hours revising as if for an exam!

Interview

no

no

no

I didn’t follow they advice given to me and prepare my route to my second interview. I walked a good mile and a half past Somerville before I guess that I wasn’t in the right place!

I was asked questions of circular motion, emf on a plane wing in the earth’s magnetic field and problems of inert gas build up during the Haber Bosch Process at my Balliol interview. At the Somerville interview, I was given a problem on how much energy was required to fill a bath, which involve sensible estimation of average lengths and tempatures as well as specific heat capacity, and another question on the integration of 1/x, leading to the derivation of the estimation ln(1+z)=z when z is very small.

I wore a shirt, tie and jacket, as although the official line is that you’re not judged on your clothes, there is so little separating Oxbridge applicants that you can’t afford to give the wrong first impression. But don’t over-do, it doesn’t look good either. You will probably see a few people who’s costume wouldn’t look out of place in a period drama wandering about!

Impressions

Balliol had a large quad that was very large and quite cold while passing through it, but the rooms were well heated and very cosy. Somerville is a Victorian building with a fairly comfortable reception room. The room that I was interviewed in seemed warm and an amicable place in which to attend some varity of tutorial or seminar.

Balliol’s rooms were large, with a wash hand basin, a desk and an armchair. For every 3 rooms, there was 1 shower room, 1 bathroom and 3 toilets

Edible but not great

Only had breakfast in the college, and the food was nothing to shout about. Saying that the tropical fruit juice supplied is well worth trying, it a bit of alright.

In both colleges, the tutors were very nice, and helped in removing any nerves I had before my interview. They talked me through my interview, but while I was doing the interview it was as if I had no help at all, so subtle was their prompting.

All very helpful. Very willing to point out how lost I was! But they always pointed out the way I should be going.

Final stage

The first letter I got was a rejection from Balliol, and I felt awful, even know I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, I still felt as if everything was crashing around me. But when I got the Somerville offer, I was over the moon. It just meant that all the work and the traveling from N. Ireland was all worth it.

Looking back

Definately, but I would! I got accepted! Even if I had have been rejected I would still have applied, even just for the excuse of spending 3 days in Oxford! It’s a really nice city.

Don’t feel rush into anything. This include when filling out the forms and while in the interview. Don’t rush in, you’ll feel as if you’ve done better if you don’t.