Application

 Oxford

 St Hilda’s

 English and Modern Languages

 2000

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – non-selective

 yes (2 A*,3 A,4 B)

A-levels

(A at AS; predicted B; 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

 conditional

A in English Literature, A in French, B in History

yes

I have met the requirements and will be going up in October. I put Warwick down initially as insurance, though.

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Felt I would enjoy the rigour and intensity of that life. Love discussing and thinking about my subject and thought the tutorial system would be perfect for this sort of thing.

I prefer Oxford as a place and Cambridge didn’t do my course.

Informal, unpretentious, supportive. I felt that this was an environment where I could thrive and not feel intimidated and overwhelmed by big buildings and traditions.

Preparation

yes

Lots of advice and a mock interview in each subject.

The forms: They aren’t too complicated, really. I guess be yourself, don’t pretend to be the person you think they want. They look for individuality but not forced individuality.

The interview: Read a lot, till you’re confident. Approach it with the attitude that whatever happens you have learned something and as an opportunity – you have nothing to lose so be calm and honest (v. imp).
Know the course inside out and have a vague impression of styles and times of authors – could prove useful.
Try to enjoy it!

Interview

no

yes

English: 1) An essay on the love poetry of John Donne. 2) Another on an extract (the storm scene) of ‘King Lear’. I chose these as they were by best essays and showed different skills, close analysis of language and work on a theme. French: two lit essays on short stories by Maupassant + Flaubert. Was supposed to send one lang essay but didn’t like any of mine so…

yes

French grammar test – revised some grammar but not loads. Found specimen paper hard but the real thing was much easier.

I was very intimidated!!!
In my French interview there was a camera crew filming for a documentary on the life of the college. Slightly disconcerting but still, an interesting experience.

English: What I had been reading recently (Forster). Modern poetry. Seeming too enthusiastic they asked me whether there was something I disliked in English lit. Oral analysis of a poem read aloud to me next. I expected more time but had virtually none. Asked me to date it and speculate on the political context. French: The genre of my French essays, a few questions about them and the opinions I expressed, about the meaning of ‘linguistics’ (part of the course), some medieval French history I expressed an interest in on my UCAS form…

Light trousers and a linen long sleeved jacket top thing. Smart but not too formal. Wore a bright tie dyed silk scarf in reds and deep oranges for contrast. I felt it gave an idea of me whilst not being too dressy – I would have been too uncomfortable that way.

Impressions

Warm and inviting. Friendly and casual. Staff who care.

Simple but pretty w/ a great view of Magdalen Tower. But this varies immensely, of course. I think it’s all rather nice.

Excellent.

Friendly mostly, if quite pushy at times. They really want to push you to find out what you can do.

Nice!

Final stage

I was over the moon. I left Oxford feeling humiliated and low and fully expected a rejection.
It really gave me incentive to work for those grades!

Looking back

Of course! Can’t wait to go!