Application

 Oxford

 Exeter

 English Language and Literature

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (2 A*,1 A,2 B,7 C)

A-levels

(NA at AS)

(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)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature

AAA

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

tremendous academic reputation, top tutors in field, beautiful city etc.

use of ELAT in the admissions process

natural aptitude/genuine interest

it’s a marvellous college. really quite beautiful. centrally located but mid-sized. seemed perfect.

Preparation

yes

sent to an interview preparation day. was pretty useless – lots of “be yourself” & “relax” codswallop. i highly doubt it had any influence on my interview performance.

don’t waste money on interview preparation days. luckily my school funded mine – i certainly wouldn’t of gone had they not. instead read the texts mentioned on your personal statement again & think critically about them. the interview tests your natural ability, so any preparation (other than learning what you said you have learnt) is fairly redundant.

Interview

yes

ELAT. visit the ELAT website for further information.

yes

one piece of written work.

no

extremely enjoyable. the tutors were wonderfully comfortable (as was the sofa) & it certainly felt more like a casual conversation than an interview.

discussed the texts i was studying for a level, anti-semitism in the merchant of venice etc. was given a poem to annotate an hour before the interview & we discussed that in some detail. i think my interpretation was reasonable. spent the second interview discussing books that i was currently reading. i remember having a conversation about marxist approaches to literature with reference to terry eagleton’s popular text.

“what texts are you currently studying?”, “is there anything in particular that you would like to talk about?”, “what do you find interesting about …?”

can’t remember. i think a grey suit minus the tie and jacket. i can’t imagine what you wear to be of any real interest to the tutors. just don’t do something crazy.

Impressions

fantastic. i felt at home instantly.

good size, running water, toilet across the corridor, desk/wardrobes/heating etc.

regrettably i didn’t have the chance to dine in college

splendid. relaxed & friendly with a great sense of humour. can’t wait to spend three years with them.

friendly & welcoming.

Final stage

anxious. i applied because i wanted to go, obviously, though it was the interview process that really captured me. i fell in love with the college and with the tutorial system. i felt i belonged at oxford.

mum brought it up whilst i was still asleep and woke me up with it, reaching up to my bunk-bed and handing it through the bars. letter seemed fairly thin but it was an offer. was understandably ecstatic!

Looking back

of course.

find areas of your subject that interest you and talk about them. i feel most (if not all) english offer holders will agree with me when i say that we are lucky in this respect. “middlemarch” is a cracking read. i doubt the same can be said for a biology textbook, but it’s essential that you are interested in what you say you are interested in. i feel that i really connected with the tutors because it was clear that i was enjoying the discussion. i never once had to feign interest, and that’s the way it should be.