Application

 Oxford

 Pembroke

 English Language and Literature

 2005

 pooled, offer made (St Peter’s)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (6 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (284 UMS))

(A at AS (263 UMS))

(A at AS (285 UMS))

(A at AS (264 UMS))

(A at AS (276 UMS))

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Language and Literature

AA, General studies excluded

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Reputation of both university and course (best in the country!), liked the style of the university, e.g. collegiate system and tutorials

Oxford is better for the course and is bigger and more lively

Have always loved english and this course looked very flexible, i.e. more allowance to study what you want

Picked one at random that I didn’t think would be too popular

Preparation

yes

One mock interview in which I was asked about current affairs – not helpful

For english buy or borrow a poetry anthology and practise opening it to a random page and thinking what you would say about the poem (without researching it) – this is a big part of the interview

Interview

no

yes

Two english essays – mine were on Hamlet and Porphyria’s Lover – both were standard homework pieces written fairly quickly

no

Mixed – one horrible one at Pembroke, then two nice ones at St peter’s, then an alright one at Pembroke

Was asked to analyse a poem in all four interviews and was asked twice what I was currently reading

Lots of questions about the individual poems
What are you reading? (x 2)
Questions following the aforementioned, e.g. what do you think is the effect of setting a novel over a long period of time?
You say on your personal statement you like sylvia plath, what other poetry do you like reading?
Do you not think that Jessie Pope’s poetry can be re-examined with the view that she was a product of her time, hence be considered more sympathetically?
In any poem by Sylvia Plath how does the presentation of the theme of motherhood differ to that in this poem (the spirit is too blunt an instrument by anne stevenson)?
Is this a serious poem?
Does the poet have a more serious message to present even though the poem is lighthearted?
Is this effective?

Long black skirt, white top, pashmina – comfortable and fairly smart. very few people looked dressed up when I saw them though

Impressions

Pembroke – bit of a scavvy common room (no TV!) but generally nice typical Oxford college. Nasty belittling english tutors

St Peter’s – much nicer common room, slightly odd mixture of architecture but still attractive, lovely friendly english tutors

Pembroke – huge ensuite room but other people had much smaller non-ensuite – it’s very varied

St peter’s – not seen but apparently room size also varies, no ensuite in first year

Not bad

Pembroke – very intimidating – made sarcastic comments and looked fairly disinterested (although did say “sorry we thought we were a bit harsh to you in the first interview” in the second one”)

St Peter’s – lovely and friendly – smiled, gave positive feedback and enquired if I was finding everything okay and whether I needed any help

Not bad

Final stage

Really nervous – watched the post like a hawk

Was upstairs when phone rang, didn’t actually hear my mum say who it was and ambled grumpily down the stairs. Said “are you serious??” several times to the tutor on the phone, then leaped around, screamed and hugged my mum (who proceeded to ring everyone she knew)

Looking back

Definitely

emjoy the experience, it really is fantastic (although going to the pub til 3am the night before your interview, as I did, probably isn’t advisable), try to prepare but ultimately just try to be genuine and say what you think, although make sure you listen to what the tutors say in response!