Application

 Oxford

 Christ Church (open application, allocated college)

 History (Modern) and Politics

 2008

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (3 A*,7 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(C at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained NA)

Other universities

yes

yes

Received offers from LSE and Warwick

Decisions about the application

Academic prestiege, the pressure from my school, curiosity and interest in the course.

The decision was made for me through the lack of a course which fitted my interests at Cambridge

The various modules looked interesting and catered to my interests. The interconnectability of the two vocations was something that has appealed to me for a while and I thought it would be interesting to study at a higher level.

I went for an open application for two reasons; I wasn’t confident of my chances due to my dissapointing academic record and thus wanted to maximise my chances – big mistake. Secondly I unsure as to the character of any of the colleges so thought I’d go random.

Preparation

yes

We sat a single mock HAT paper which didn’t help overly and then I was given a single mock interview.

The mock interview, although not useful in terms of content, gave me an appriciation of the enviroment in which I would be questioned. Helped me to overcome worries no end.

Interview

yes

Sat the HAT which is a series of source motivated questions. Around 33% of applicants were removed from concideration in my year as a result of it.

yes

Submitted a A2 piece of work that was pretty good.

no

The first history interview went well based primarily off topics in my personal statement. The second history interview was started off negatively. The college failed to inform applicants of my course about a source on which the inteview was based. I got called 20 minutes before the interview by an undergraduate telling me that I needed to pick the source up and that I should have had 1.5 hours. I didn’t even finish reading it before getting into the interview and the interviewers gave little concideration to my predicament even after I made them aware of it. The politics interview was source based as well and was very intense and critical. It tested me, but I feel the tone established by the tutors (hostile and critical) wasn’t condusive to making me perform my best.

History interview 1 – All off subjects studied at A level and about some subjects I mentioned of personal interest in my PS

History interview 2 – Source based on 15th century Norfolk

Politics interview – Source based on the concept of liberty and how it should be applied

Jeans and a T-shirt, I’m not into pretense and I figured the interviewers should judge me on what I’m saying rather than what I was wearing.

Impressions

Christ Church is an impressive place. It had some stunning architechture and was set in fantastic grounds. Unfortunately these it’s aristocratic past seems to linger, attracting some utterly repulsive people who were niether socialble nor pleasant to be around.

The rooms were substancial with a living space and two decent bedrooms. Toilets weren’t conviently located (had to go down a floor to reach them) and I found the showers a little shabby. The grounds and eating spaces were impressive and the bar was alright if a little cramped.

Very pleasant indeed.

Most were amiable enough. The tone set in the politics interview could have been a little less serious and the history tutors in my second interview were inconciderate to the problems that were caused by the colleges ineptitude.

The applicants were a mixed bag. A majority were from the South, which was a bit of a culture shock to those of us from the south. Many seemed to fit the Christ Church mould far too well already and that pretense and air of superiority isn’t something I deal with well. That said, I met a handful of pleasant people, most of which I now know to have been rejected.

The students within the college seemed alright, I only talked to 3 properly and found 2 of them to be somewhat conceited and go on about their own circumstances all the time. I’m not one for pretense and superficialness and there seemed to be a great amount of that about.

Final stage

My experience within the college and the city en large made me utterly apathetic. I found myself bored, and many others bored there and despite my best efforts, people were unwilling to recipricate my efforts in socialising. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be around these people for 3 years of my life so I really didn’t care all too much. Had I got an offer, I would have had to concider it very carefully and it would have been far from the kneejerk acceptance of most. Prestiege isn’t everything.

Nothing. I had offers at a number of fine institutions already so I was okay about it.

Looking back

Yes, it was an experience and I don’t think you know whether you’d like it or not until you’ve experienced the application/interview stage. Now I know.

Don’t go for an open application. The colleges genuinely do differ greatly in character, you need to pick the right one. The city is small and can easily get very clostrophobic as well. This isn’t for everyone and wasn’t for me.