Application

 Oxford

 Christ Church

 History (Modern) and Politics

 2002

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (9 A*)

A-levels

(B at AS)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(NA at AS; predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Other universities

N/A

Decisions about the application

I had the chance – and I thought I might as well have a go. I certainly didn’t have my heart set on it, and being rejected was no disappointment.

Oxford seemed to have a better course – and I knew people who went there. It appealed more.

It seemed large, friendly, and reputable; it seemed to reflect my interests.

Preparation

no

No – though I did have a token practice interview.

Read your essays. Read around.
But remember, there’s only so much you can prepare for. Be ready to think on your feet, and failing that, try and think about how you might steer a bad interview in a direction you want to go.

Interview

no

yes

Two pieces – AS History work. They had a reasonable grade, and I thought they seemed ok. They should have been for areas of History I was interested in, but they weren’t, which was a mistake as it turned out.

no

They were… unexpected. They asked me nothing on my personal statement, or history in general. My History interview was on my essays – which I hadn’t prepared for, so it was… mixed.
The politics interview was on a piece of written work given 20 minutes beforehand. That was an interesting experience…

My opinions on History and wider historical debate, and on the written work I was given to look at.

Smartish Casual. Smartish Jeans, long-sleeve shirt like you might wear to go clubbing in winter. Nothing major.

Impressions

It was large, but pretty, and very much friendly; the dining hall was that in Harry Potter, which is impressive. The food was very good indeed.
Having said that, forgetting the architecture and accomodation and food, it’s nothing special.
It’s just another university…

First Year Accomodation Small, badly heated, 60s listed building. It apparently grows on you.
Second and Third Year Accomodation generally excellent. Meadows Building is fabulous – large, warm rooms, ensuite, big desk.
All rooms have internet, phones, many have ensuites. Lovely buildings.

Excellent

More! More!

Friendly but challenging; they seemed to genuinely care even after a dozen other candidates.

Generally with an Oxford accent, many from public school but overwhelmingly friendly.

Final stage

I was expecting a refusal – so no real disappointment. Shrugged my shoulders, moved on. I really didn’t think any more about it because visiting made me realise I didn’t care about Oxford.

Looking back

Yes – Carpe Diem, you might as well have the choice. Though I’m not sure I’d want to go…

Be yourself, don’t assume interviews will be the same as peoples in previous years, and if given the chance, go for it.