Application

 Oxford

 Exeter (open application, allocated college)

 Law

 2007

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

Comprehensive Grammar, in quite a dodgy area.

 yes (3 A*,6 A,1 B)

A-levels

(B at AS)

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

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

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

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

My A in AS Biology was achieved with a resit – I had a B at the time I applied.

Other universities

no

Decisions about the application

To be honest I was pressured into it. I did get quite caught up in it all though towards the interview, Oxford is a lovely place and I quite liked the atmosphere.

I saw both on a school trip and basically chose Oxford as it was a much more exciting place to live (in my opinion!)

I have always wanted to do this course and applied to it for all my universities, completely unrelated to Oxbridge.

I knew someone who had got into Oxford who had made an open application and to be honest I had no idea which college I should have applied for. I REALLY REGRET THIS and would recommend anyone else avoid making an open application at all costs – I didn’t like my college very much!

Preparation

no

I didn’t really do anything, except I read the paper every day for about a month before the interview (was too working class to do so before, obviously.) Reading the paper was no help to me at all and cost me about £30 which I couldn’t really afford but if you can then go for it. I read a book after the interview called “Letters to a Law Student” and I now wish I’d read it before.

Interview

yes

Got 19/30, was very surprised they gave me an interview when I found out my score to be honest. (Because I don’t have amazing grades I assumed I had aced my LNAT).

no

no

Horrible. Terrifying. Worst week of my life. (I know other people who suffered who still got in though, so don’t worry :P)
I had two interviews and for each one they gave me a sheet on legal problems about half an hour before the interview which I read over and made notes on. I was then asked about what I thought about the things on the sheet. One interview was given by a professor, one was given by a graduate student. The second interview, by the graduate student wasn’t as bad – he was more encouraging me towards making a point and was very friendly. However the one by the professor was so nasty. Everything he said was shooting me down – and not in a just “argue it out, you’re doing Law” kind of way, but more in a “you’re stupid, I’m wasting my time” kind of way. Neither interview involved anything except for what was on the sheet. I wasn’t asked about my personal statement, LNAT or even why I wanted to do Law.

I was very annoyed that I wasn’t asked anything about myself. I thought my main selling point was my dedication and I had no opportunity to express this, or my involvment in extracurricular things. The questions were very difficult, too.

One sheet was on contract law and the other one was on human rights. I didn’t have to know anything before, everything I needed to answer the questions was already on the sheet, but they were very difficult.

To interview one I wore a purple jumper dress with black tights and black pumps. I didn’t want to look too formal or like I was trying too hard but I still looked quite smart.
To interview two (after being made to feel common in interview one) I wore a white shirt and grey pencil skirt with heels. However I felt overdressed in that interview. I really can’t say what the appropriate clothes are, I think it really depends on your interviewer.

Impressions

I looked at loads of colleges because the interview process was so boring and me and my friend just wandered around a lot. I was at Exeter and it was nice but TINY compared to some of them, which I personally didn’t like very much. Went to Magdelene and it was absolutely beautiful, but everybody there seemed to be much posher than I was. My friend was at St Anne’s which was very modern but seemed to be more informal and I think it had the highest state school/independent school ratio. Was opposite Jesus College and that was nice too. Can’t remember which college had which name out of the others, although I can remember me and my friend hating Wadham – can’t remember why though!

My room at Exeter was lush, it was less of a room and more of a little suite! I had a quite large living space with a sofa and desk. Then there was another room with the bed in it – this was small but it didn’t really matter because of the living space being there. There was also a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. The bathroom WAS tiny but I haven’t seen any better at other universities so I wouldn’t worry. However I met people at Exeter that were sharing rooms with two other people so I don’t think all rooms were as nice as mine!

To be honest I didn’t eat much of it, me and my friend thought it would be funny to try and blag food at other colleges (which we managed! Go to Magdelene, the food there was gorgeous!). At my college it was OK though, quite a good range and don’t really have many complaints. Was a bit daunting sitting in the eating hall though, a lot of people knew each other and it was very cliquey – and again, lots of people seemed to be intentionally trying to make me look stupid because I had a common accent. Sigh.

Only met the people that interviewed me and one other – one was lovely, one was alright, one was soul-destroying. I don’t think tutors really are a reason to choose a college, they differ everywhere.

Again they differed. There was one girl who was really nice to me after I was upset after my interview.
BUT after my second interview, I was one of six names to be placed on a “pooling list” and I was told I might have an interview at another college the next day at 9am. I went at 9am and this time was pushed back and back until it became 4pm. This was the last available time I could get the train home (and be back on time) otherwise I’d miss work the next day and lose my job. I tried to explain this to one of the students in charge nicely and asked if I could leave, and she patronised me and said Oxford should be more important than an unnecessary part time job! Hardly unnecessary and I was very offended!

Final stage

I wasn’t expecting a place, I thought the whole thing had gone atrociously. I also found out very quickly too, which helped.

To be honest I didn’t care. I dyed my hair later that day and then went out and celebrated 🙂 Never looked back since!

Looking back

Probably, and try harder. Much as I’m not disappointed that I didn’t get in, I can’t pretend that I wouldn’t have been elated if I did. Although – if I am totally honest with myself – I don’t know if I COULD have coped with Law at Oxford, and the professors probably made the right choice. Better off at KCL next year I reckon 🙂

Don’t let other people judge you, and try to have fun with it – chances are you’ll never get the opportunity to observe people living like that again. I found it fascinating. And try not to cry!