Application

 Oxford

 St Hugh’s

 English Language and Literature

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 post-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (7 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

no

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Liked the course – felt it would push me to work and to gain the very best education. Tutorial system particularly attractive.

Applied to Cambridge last year and was pooled and not offered a place, so decided to try the other.

Always wanted to study some sort of literature – decided to choose English as I love the subject and have always done well at it.

St Hugh’s was the only college that mentioned that they welcomed gap year students. I also felt that the application numbers would be lower than one of the bigger, more central colleges.

Preparation

yes

Some time with a teacher to discuss literary texts.

Start reading early, be honest on your Personal Statement and don’t read everything and anything – make a honed, focused list and expand afterwards.

Interview

yes

ELAT taken.

yes

Coursework sent in.

no

I felt they went well – I received positive response, felt calmer as the interview continued and got on well with the interviewers.

Managed to steer the conversation in a direction with which I was comfortable, although at the same time I was pushed to my limit.

Mostly questions about the texts on my personal statement, and a few others such as ‘define a simile’ which then branched out into far more challenging territory. I also had to analyse two texts, one in each interview.

Black trousers, shirt and smart jumper/cardigan with smart shoes – felt that this was an occasion which required fairly formal wear and I did not want to be panicking if I didn’t look as smart as the other applicants.

Impressions

Loved the college at interview – friendly atmosphere, quite far out from the centre of town/English dept but with a bike, that won’t be a problem. I wasn’t too impressed at the open day, but the interviews made me fall in love with the place.

Rooms a standard size – fairly big for uni accommodation – I was given an ensuite bathroom with mine which was bigger than I expected. Furniture all fairly basic but newish, lots of storage space.

Really, really good.

Thought they were lovely – all had a sense of humour and we appeared to get on quite well, despite the fact that I’d been warned that some of them could be quite harsh/challenging.

I have a friend who goes to the college who is lovely – I think, as expected, there is a mixture of people, but they all seem to work hard and play fairly hard. They were all pretty welcoming.

Final stage

Absolutely terrified. I took a gap year for the purpose of reapplying, and would have been devastated if I hadn’t received a place.

Received a phone call from a tutor at Hugh’s who told me that I had a place and that they’d be sending me reading lists etc. later in the year.

Looking back

Definitely. It was hard work but it’s paid off.

Don’t be afraid to reapply if you want another chance – it can, in fact, offer you the advantage of experience. Also make sure that your other universities are ones you would consider as ‘real’ choices, as the admissions process is tough and will, in lots of cases, end without an offer. A second and third uni as a backup where you would be happy is always a good plan.