Application

 Oxford

 Somerville

 Human Sciences

 2005 (deferred entry)

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (13 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (296 UMS))

(A at AS (298 UMS))

(A at AS (291 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (292 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (300 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in English Literature, A in Mathematics, A in Psychology

yes

yes

yes

Offers from Bath (AAAa), Nottingham (AAB), Reading (AAB), York (AAB), Susssex (BBB) for Psychology

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I found the course and really wanted to do it and couldn’t find anything quite the same anywhere else. I also knew Oxford quite well and really like the surroundings and atmosphere.

Only Oxford offered my course.

It has a mixture of arts and science subjects which suits me really well. There’s a lot of variety which I really liked, particularly as I’m not sure what I want to do for a career yet.

I sat down with the prospectus and a list of colleges and gradually crossed them off until I was only left with one! Many of the colleges didn’t offer my course. Some were too far away from the bus station which was quite important to me. I particularly liked Somerville because of the arts/science and male/female mix. It was one of only 4 colleges that offered more than 2 places for Human Sciences.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with a couple of teachers from another school. It was good practice but not very like the real thing.

Read everything and anything to do with your subject. Don’t stress about it, but read things you’ll enjoy so that you have something to talk about. Practise thinking on your feet and thinking about new situations and ideas as well as vocalising what your thinking.

Interview

no

yes

I was asked for two pieces of work relating to the Human Sciences course but as I mainly do arts subjects I didn’t have anything very appropriate. I submitted an English lit essay (Chaucer) and a psychology exam question about the formation of relationships and cultural differences in relationships. I wasn’t asked anything about either, presumably because they weren’t very relevant!

no

Much better than I expected. They went really quickly and although the interviewers pushed me they were very friendly and the interview was reasonably informal.

Particularly in the first interview theere didn’t appear to be any prepared topics. We started off with a few basic questions such as why I wanted to do the course which kind of led to a discussion about altruism in animals. The second interview had some specific tasks such as looking at graphs and commenting on population patterns and commenting on the ethics of a case study involving deaf parents who wanted to ensure that their baby was deaf by having IVF.

I think the questions will be different for everyone because it depends what you start talking about and what you elaborate on. I was asked:
Why did you choose Human Sciences?
Why are you not doing a straight psychology degree? (I’d applied for psychology at other universities so my personal statement mentioned it several times)
Several questions about altruism and parental care.
Why do parents look after their children?
Do you think it is strange that you have to do a paper on animal behaviour?
What is the difference between animals and humans?
Are there genes for parental care?
Why are humans so interesting?
How does teaching yourself psychology work?
After explaining about my gap year he asked if I knew what I was letting myself in for!
More specific questions about why I thought infant mortality rates might be rising and declining in different countries.
Questions relating to the ethical case study I was given.

Grey trousers and a turquoise V-neck jumper with a jacket. I wanted to be comfortable but also reasonably smart.

Impressions

Really friendly and welcoming. Beautiful with good facilities.

The room I was staying in was really nice but apparently is normally only used by third years. It was really big with a bathrrom next door.

Absolutely delicious. Definitely the best part of the whole interview experience! Loads of really good food and several different options for each meal. Very elaborate desserts.

Good at trying to put you at ease and make you relax. listened to what I said and tried to understand where I was coming from.

Seemed nice

Final stage

I was reasonably calm because I was convinced I hadn’t got in. The tutors had made it very clear that my chances were reduced because I was applying for a deferred place.

My letter came a few days later than my friends so I was really impatient. I was just completely shocked and immediately rang two of my friends who I knew had also got offers.

Looking back

Definitely. I had been really unsure whether to apply but I’m really glad I did. I made a lot of new friends and really enjoyed the interview experience so even if I hadn’t got an offer I would have been glad I applied because I had a really good time for several days.

Stay calm and relax. You’ve got nothing to lose by applying. Don’t be intimidated by other people who say you have to apply or people from other schools who claim to know a lot more than you. If you get an interview really enjoy the experience and take time to talk to lots of different people. During the interview, just listen carefully to what the tutor is saying and be prepared to talk about things you’ve never thought about before or don’t know much about.