Application

 Oxford

 Wadham

 Human Sciences

 2001

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

 yes (5 A*,3 A)

International Baccalaureate

( predicted 1; gained 1)

( predicted 1; gained 1)

( predicted 1; gained 1)

( predicted 0; gained 0)

( predicted 1; gained 1)

( predicted 1; gained 1)

( predicted 1; gained 1)

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Reputation, tradition.

Cambridge didn’t have the subject I wanted to do, also Cambridge is smaller and I thought it might get claustrophobic. And my stepmother had been to Oxford, and recommended it.

Central location, lovely gardens, beautiful old buildings, largest college in terms of numbers, tolerant & laid-back atmosphere.

Preparation

yes

No – they told me that I should think twice about applying.

The form: Include lots of extra-curricular activities to show what a well-rounded person you are!

The interview: Read lots of popular science! Know why you want to do the subject, and have a little spiel about extracurricular interests ready.

Interview

no

yes

Two pieces of written work – an extended essay on Women in Victorian England, and a Theory of Knowledge essay on whether history is an art or a science.

no

Wadham – two old bearded dons interviewed me, I was given an article on neurones to look at beforehand but can’t remember them actually asking me any questions about it! Was laughed at when I mentioned one of the books I’d read. Didn’t feel it had gone well, felt I wasn’t able to show what I knew.

New – lovely old lady chatted to me about smoking and drinking habits in Scandinavia. Was given a graph to interpret, wasn’t hard – felt very at ease.

Why do you want to study Human Sciences? What books have you read that are relevant? How does natural selection work?

Smart skirt and shirt.

Impressions

Didn’t realise there was much of a difference between colleges (how wrong I was!), but thought Wadham seemed great.

Stayed in a lovely decent-sized room. Most are singles, some first years share – but shared rooms are gigantic and great for parties. Quite a lot of kitchens compared to other colleges – though none on front quad.

Edible but not great

Vegetarian is better than the meat, but very stodgy. Annoying that you have to pay for all meals at the start of term and then sign off if you’re not eating that day. No formal hall with gowns – but can eat in hall if you want.

Only know mine, he’s a lovely guy but not so great at explaining things.

Oh, Wadhamites are lovely. Involved in everything and anything, and up for all the great college entz. Generally left-wing and very tolerant.

Final stage

My dad opened the letter and called me at work! Was absolutely shocked, hadn’t expected to get in since the Wadham interview hadn’t gone that well. But was thrilled!

Looking back

Yes – because I love Oxford. It’s such an amazing place!

Read more, so you can say something sensible at the interview.