Application

 Oxford

 St Anne’s

 English and Modern Languages

 2001

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (7 A*,3 A,1 B)

A-levels

(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)

Other universities

yes

N/A

Not all of my universities have sent me offers or given me interviews yet, because I applied to Oxbridge. Hopefully now I’ll get some more.

Decisions about the application

It’s a centre for excellence, has a great reputation & the tutorial system means you are practically taught one on one.

Cambridge doesn’t do my course, & Oxford’s bigger, so seems to be more of a real place.

It’s modern, so not as stuffy & showy-offey as some of the other colleges, and doesn’t have as many archaic traditions. It’s also quite big.

Preparation

yes

They said they would, but in the end I only got a few extra spanish grammar classes.

The form: Not really. I didn’t put an extra bit on the oxford form – I thought that they’ve got enough to read, & it’s probably really annoying if it’s not completely relevant.

The interview: It’s impossible to say. Read a lot – not just specifically relating to your syllabus, but what you’re generally interested in, also. Make sure you read literature for your modern language – even if you don’t study it at school. It is a literature course, after all.

Interview

no

yes

I submitted 2 pieces for Spanish, and 2 for English. For Spanish, I sent one literature piece, & one piece that I wrote specially, about my exchange. For english, I sent an essay on Shakespeare, and one on victorian tragedy.

yes

I had to take a Spanish grammar exam. It was much harder than I’d expected, although I did practise papers. The time was very limited. I had done a bit of work on it, though maybe not enough.

I was in Oxford for 5 days, longer than most people. I only had 2 interviews in the whole time I was there. The first was for english. I was given a short poem to read as I waited outside (everyone’s poem was different). Mine was difficult – it wasn’t clear what the meaning was. I went in and 2 men interviewed me. They talked for about half the time about the poem and the other half they asked me questions. Spanish was similar; she gave me a piece to read, which was quite difficult. She asked me to read it through, ask her any vocab and then read it aloud. I had to talk about what was going on, and then about its structure. She then talked to me for about 2 minutes in Spanish (not enough time – I was just getting into it when she told me to stop) and asked me questions.

In english, they asked me very few questions, mainly just letting me talk (And did I talk – sob!) They asked me what I was reading at the moment, and then talked about the context of novels. To be honest, I didn’t really answer their questions, because I was nervous. I just chattered about things I’ve read etc. I think both subjects decided what to ask me about, based on my personal statement. I hadn’t put any books on because I was scared they’d grill me on them, so they asked me about my general reading instead. In Spanish, all her questions were about literature. She asked me if I’d read any spanish plays because I’d said I was interested in the theatre. She seemed much more interested in what I’d read outside school, to show I could read independently, without being spoonfed.

Smart black trousers, smart ish shoes and a bright pink jumper. I actually felt that I should maybe have been more casual – I had been living there for 5 days, after all. It seemed a bit fake to change out of my jeans into my smart clothes for interviews. I don’t know. I would definitely advise bringing lots of clothes with you – even if you feel silly about the size of your suitcase – because if you feel like you’re wearing the right thing, then you’ll be more relaxed.

Impressions

I really liked St Anne’s. It wasn’t very pretty, like some of the other colleges, but everyone was really down to earth, including the people interviewing me. Some people from other colleges had horrible interviewers.

My room was quite big. It had lots of furniture in it, and a giant wardrobe. I had to share a toilet and bath with everyone else in my building. There were sadly no showers.

Good

There was a wide selection, with chocolate cake & yoghurts almost every day. You can’t complain – it was edible & free. I don’t think I spent any money on food all week!

Very friendly. The modern languages woman was a bit patronising, though.

They were also very nice. They were being paid Ł5 an hour to help, though. Some of them tried to give us advice and to say that the interviews aren’t that bad. That’s all very well, but you can’t be lulled into a false sense of security by them; after all, they got in.

Final stage

Nothing very much happenned. I was rejected. It’s a bit of a disappointment, but I’m not completely gutted. It’s just a bit embarassing, because I told everyone I was applying.

Looking back

Yes, I’d definitely re-apply. I made friends while I was there, and it was fun to live in the college. I’d always wonder if I would have got in or not. I wouldn’t let so many people find out that I was applying, though.

I don’t really have much advice. You don’t have much to lose by applying, although it’s a bit embarassing if you don’t get in. Prepare really well for your interview, & try to be as relaxed as possible. If you get nervous, it’s better to look like you’re listening to what they have to say, answering their questions & to seem ‘teachable’ than to babble, though.