Application

 Oxford

 St Peter’s

 English Language and Literature

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

Single sex Grammar

 yes (5 A*,4 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

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

(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)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature

AAA, Excluded General Studies, no reference to AEA.

yes

N/A

Mysteriously, I was rejected by Durham a matter of days before my Oxford offer came through. Was rejected by Warwick a few days later.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

A teacher in year 11 encouraged me. I wanted to ‘have a go’ and was more than prepared for rejection, even though I really wanted to get in!

I was initially interested in Cambridge but the course at Oxford is more ‘historicist’ in approach. Oxford is a nicer city I suppose. In the end, Oxford seemed a natural choice. Year 11 teacher also advised applying to Oxford because I was coming from tha state sector.

English lit is my first love, simple as that!

I found it very difficult to pick a college and chose St Peter’s because it seemed like a close-knit, relaxed environment. Not too flashy 🙂

Preparation

yes

One practise interview was organised for us, which was of no help whatsoever. All of the Oxbridge applicant had practise poetry ‘crit’ sessions with the head of English. Which I was very bad at.

Get on with your AS Levels first. Then read, read, READ in the summer holidays. After that, do some more reading 🙂 read broadly and focus upon what you ar emost interested in, make sure your passion comes through!

Interview

no

yes

Two recent essays. I sent up a Conrad essay from year 12 and a ‘Beggars Opera’ essay from year 13.

no

The first was awful. The second was a little better: the trick is to keep talking then they can ask you a lot less! Let them see how you think.

I just did not understand the poem I was ‘analysing’ but the interviewers were very helpful in leading you in with questions and hints. Its best to go with your instincts.

They then asked a few questions on the books mentioned in my Personal Statement and then some questions on my essays. If you feel you can redeem yourself by talking about a different text then try and steer the conversation.

I bought two fairly casual dresses (I know that sounds like I was done up like a doll or something but they really were casual!) Wrap up warm because Oxford is freezing in December.

Impressions

I had not visited St Peter’s before but it was quite pretty, small, a ‘unique’ mixture of architecture 🙂
Had previously visited Jesus, Hertford and Balliol on an open day…was too intimidated to apply but I *nearly* applied to Jesus…

The room was in a modern block…fairly small…just a bed, a desk, sink etc. The showers were miniscule!!!!!

Ok.

They were friendly.

Extremely helpful and friendly! They were lovely!

Final stage

I tried my best not to think about it…and this worked, supridingly!! By the time the letter came I had basically resigned myself to failure, so it was a great coping mechanism.

I got home on the Monday afternoon (the college had posted the letters on the previous Friday). I saw the envelope and realised there was more than just a slip of paper…my mind was blank until I opened it. I was jumping up and down and screaming and everything!!! 😀

Looking back

Definetly!! However, I think I would have demanded a history re-mark, then I may have applied to a different college, just for the sake of flashyness and vanity. But I love St Peters.

Read like your life depends on it. Work hard and get the grades. And just be yourself in the interview, dont be afraid to disagree. If you have any qualms about applying youshould JUST DO IT because you will be kicking yourself forever if you dont! At my school, many people who you would have thought were guarenteed to get in, didn’t…and many ordinary people who, like me, had just moved to the sixth form from bog-standard high schools, were very successful. So you never know!!