Application

 Oxford

 New (open application, allocated college)

 Human Sciences

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Independent – selective

 yes (7 A*,2 A,1 B)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA, All A offer

yes

N/A

I will definitely go to Oxford if I make the grades, if not I’ll go to UCL (although accomodation could be a problem).

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Lots of reasons really – again Oxford was one of the few universities in the country which offers my course, I also loved the idea of living in college, and I was probably swayed by the prestige of having an Oxford degree. (As well as the fact that I would be receiving a first-class education!!)

Cambridge didn’t offer my course so that decision was kind of made for me. Also, I thought Oxford was more of a city in its own right – there was more to it than just a university.

Lots of reasons – it is one of the biggest colleges, it has a reputation for being strong musically and my shallow reason was that it’s old (despite being called ‘New’) and has pretty buildings!!

Preparation

yes

A little, we discussed newspaper articles with our headteacher and I had 2 practice interviews but these turned out to be NOTHING like the real thing (probably because I wasn’t even being interviewed by a science teacher in one of them!)

Well, I can only say what I did (which seemed to work) – I read lots of newspapers (because there ALWAYS seems to be something relevant to Human Science in them). I also read a couple of books from the reading list (although I didn’t mention them in my personal statement or the interview). But all this seemed to work so basically just read around and make sure you really do have an interest in the subject and try to convey this to the interviewer.

Interview

no

yes

Had to submit 2 recenty written, marked essays relevant to the course (if possible). I didn’t actually have any essays written in subjects relevant to the course so I was told to send some of my English essays – i sent some coursework and an ‘Othello’ essay.

no

My first one was at New College, there were 2 interviewers doing a kind of a good cop – bad cop thing, which wasn’t too fun. My second was at St Catherines – which I was 40 minutes late for (ooops) – I had arrived on time and waited outside the room for ages before I decided to knock on the door…which was when I discovered there was no one in the room and I was in completely the wrong building!!(damn) But when I finally turned up at the right place, they were very kind and understanding, I still felt really panicy though so I don’t think I did particularly well in that interview! There were 3 interviewers in that interview. I noticed in both interviews, one person would ask a question and then a few minutes later another would take that question and try and make you think about it further, trying to take it in a different direction…so watch out for that!

I found all the questions were really individual to each person, they asked questions on things you had mentioned in your personal statement so that they were hopefully asking something you had an idea about. But, having said that, they asked me some really hideous questions – my first one being ‘Is maths something you are born with?’ which led on to ‘do animals have any awareness of maths?’ (which i thought was a pretty evil question!) At New they also asked me to analyse some data (which i tried but failed to do). At St Catherines, I was asked some pretty standard questions such as ‘What is Human Sciences?’ but also things like ‘How are animals different to humans?’ (Don’t worry if you wouldn’t be able to answer some of these because all the interviews were really tailored to each person’s A-level subjects and the interests they had mentioned in their personal statement.)

I wore the clothes I wear for school – a shirt, trousers and boots – nothing too smart/too casual. Not that many people wore suits really and the interviewers themselves were dressed fairly casually.

Impressions

New was beautiful and the people there were really lovely. I also visited Wadham which was really nice as well (i hate using the word ‘nice’, but it was). St Cathereines however looked like a car park – but the people there were very helpful when I realised I was late for my interview!

I think it’s all been recently refurbished – so every room had an ensuite toilet/shower room. My room was also quite big.

Awful

The food wasn’t that bad…I was feeling really nervous so I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it what ever it was.

I only met one, and that was in the interview – Dr Boyce. I thought she was lovely, very friendly – she made me feel really at ease.

The college students were really nice – very polite, helpful and friendly – not patronising at all (I think they remember the pain of interview).

Final stage

My parents were jumping up and down outside my door, trying to wake me up. So I got out of bed and took the envelope, but I was too scared to open it. It was quite thick (which I thought was a positive sign) and I managed to read through the window the words ‘Dear Successful Applicant’ – at which point I started leaping around the room, crying. When I finally got round to opening it, I was astounded that New, my first choice college, had offered me a place…the only down side is – I’ve got to get all As, which may be a problem! (oh well, I’m just going to have to work REALLY hard this year)

Looking back

Definitely, not only did I get an offer, but I really enjoyed the few days I spent there. I met some really lovely people (even though most of them didn’t get in which I was really upset about)

think I’ve already covered it in the other questions but basically, just make sure you are applying for a course you really want to do and would be really dedicated to – this should come across to the interviewer, but if you get rejected you’ll still enjoy going somewhere else.