Application

 Oxford

 St Anne’s

 English and Modern Languages

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

Grammar school but state-run, and compared to school in other areas more of a comprehensive equivalent

 yes (11 A*)

A-levels

(B at AS)

(A at AS (287 UMS))

(A at AS (300 UMS))

(A at AS (253 UMS))

(A at AS (285 UMS))

(B at AS (236 UMS))

also have lots of practical music qualifications- 4 grade 8 distinctions

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature, A in German

AAA

yes

yes

yes

Personally I would always choose Oxbridge over other establishments as the degree I will be doing there is more highly regarded and esteemed than similar degrees from other establishments. I also feel that Oxford will suit me for more and I will enjoy my degree more there.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Teaching methods (tutorial system), mixture of all sorts of people, can get involved in al sorts of activities, employability, making connections with people, the course looks brilliant!

Cambridge doesn’t offer Joint Honours whereas Oxford does (in some subjects)

I love both English and Portuguese, useful degree that could lead to many different areas of employment, very interesting course, I think I’d be quite good at it, highly regarded degree

I chose Merton initially as I have been offered a choral scholarship there, but my academic application was reallocated to St Anne’s. Haven’t yet heard as to whether or not I can still have the scholarship.

Preparation

yes

Yes- although very little- I was advised to make sure my personal statement was very good, I was given one mock ELAT paper to do and discussed it with an English teacher afterwards, and I was advised to try to “read some Shakespeare” as I applied for English (!)

I can only really advise English and language students- make sure you’ve read around the subject- they may not necessarily refer to it at interview but it still gives you confidence, write a REALLY good personal statement and keep it relevant to the subject you’re applying for, there is such a thing as being over prepared! I came out of the interview process firmly believing the most important thing is loving your subject. I sent in an essay about Othello and in the interview I was asked to quote from the play- I hadn’t prepared enough to be able to do that but it didn’t matter because I showed how much I loved the play.

Interview

yes

Yes the ELAT exam

yes

1 essay for English Lit and 2 in German

yes

I had to do German admissions exam and Portuguese one (even though I applied for Portuguese ab inicio- this was just to see how I could apply logic to an unknown language).

On the whole I really enjoyed them- there was the occasional moment of panic but the interviewers were great and asked me fairly open questions. When they went into detail I felt it was only because they sensed it was an area about which I could speak. I was the only person there that had to do 4 interviews (everyone else seemed to have only 1 or 2) but actually I saw this as a positive thing.

All 4 interviews were based almost entirely on the unseen texts I was given beforehand and in fact, it was almost impossible to talk about any texts I had read in preparation. I think in all 4 interviews I only managed to make one reference to another text I had already read.

Asked in great detail about the unseen texts, asked a lot about why I wanted to start a new language ab inicio, had one interview about the essay I sent in, also some more open questions such as ‘what is literature in your opinion?’.

for 2 of them I just wore a smart casual (probably more on the casual end of things) dress, and for the other 2 a skirt, cardy and top. I found that all the arts students dressed informally for interviews, some even wore jeans, and I felt far more comfortable and at ease. I can’t talk for science subjects like Medicine, but for an English interview I wouldn’t wear a suit.

Impressions

The college I initially applied to were great although the letter I received reallocating me to another college was badly phrased so that for a paragraph of two I thought I’d been rejected altogether. I found them all to be very efficient about replying to queries. I would advise all applicants if possible to go round the colleges as they are all very different and the atmosphere changes a great deal- you need to make sure you’re applying to a college where the people will be reasonably similar to you.

Mine was really bad actually but I’m assured that that building is about to be knocked down, so hopefully the accommodation ill be better. I know there was lots of knew accommodation built but I didn’t get to see it.

On the whole quite good

Very friendly

Having stayed in two other colleges, I found the St Anne’s students far more down to earth. Most had come from state school backgrounds like me, whereas I found at some other colleges the applicants were mostly public school students and slightly less welcoming.

Final stage

Anguish! My god the week seemed to go on for ever- but actually that’s all it was, a week. I was surprised at how quickly I found out.

I got the news a few days before Christmas (best Christmas present EVER!). I remember a lot of shouting and my Gran cried and I remember dancing around the kitchen for most of the day. For about a week after I was in a state of complete euphoria. I kept suddenly remembering that I’d got in and at one point I was in Topshop in Liverpool and suddenly yelled ‘YAY!!!’, which got me a few weird looks!

Looking back

Definately

The whole process is stressful but try not to let it get to you too much. Prepare but not too much. Try to enjoy yourself! At the end of the day the interview is more like a mock tutorial- in theory if you’re applying for Oxbridge then a half hour discussion about a field in which you’re interested, with a professor that’s a world expert in that field should be really exhilarating!