Application

 Oxford

 Pembroke

 Law

 2006

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (7 A*,5 A)

A-levels

(A at AS (293 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (263 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

(A at AS (287 UMS); predicted A; gained A at A2)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Distinction)

(predicted NA; gained Merit)

Other universities

yes

yes

Decisions about the application

I’d always wanted to go there and saw it as best for my course.

No idea! I really liked the University and the town, so I just picked Oxford.

This is going to sound pretty awful, but I always wanted to apply for Law but then my English teacher told me that there was no way I’d be rejected for English…he was wrong 🙂

Pembroke’s pretty small, had a nice atmosphere and was really attractive.

Preparation

yes

I had a mock interview with my old English teacher (my sixth form and my old school had an exchange)

Don’t choose a course on the basis of someone else’s opinion..it’s always going to go wrong!

Interview

no

yes

I submitted my English AS coursework and an essay on Dubliners (which ended up forming part of my A2 coursework)

no

Horrible…one of those nightmare experiences I’d read on here and had been dreading. The other applicants and I turned up to a informal meeting to be informed that they’d decided to cut the places available from 12 to 6..without telling any of us before we’d applied. I then had as much chance of getting into Christchurch as I did Pembroke! I was given one interview, which lasted 20 minutes, at the end of the day and from the second I’d set down it was clear that all the places had been allocated. I felt like the tutors were just wasting time. There were no second interviews at any other college for anyone.

I had spent ages preparing books and authors from my personal statement, and was a bit shocked when I was asked ‘other than these authors…’ but I thought I coped pretty well given the circumstances.

We had a choice of three poems to discuss, and I chose ‘The Cool Web’ by Robert Graves (although the title was left off at the time), and I really enjoyed the discussion. However, every opinion I offered was ripped to shreds and I was pushed pretty far. I didn’t really mind this but the whole interview technique was so aggressive….I was interviewed by two female tutors and they sat far apart in the room so I could only address one at a time. The second I had offered an opinion or answered a question asked by one of them, the other would immediately pick holes in what I’d said…it was exhausting, to say the least!

Smart clothes, like the ones I wore during my time in sixth form, although I steered clear of a suit. Most people were wearing the same sort of thing, with a couple in jeans and a couple in suits.

Impressions

I really liked Pembroke when I had visited it in the past, and the students who were assisting with the interview process were lovely!

My room was horrible – above Cafe Sol and I was kept awake by the Brookies celebrating some football sucess..not nice before my interview! However, all the boys got placed in the newly renovated ensuite room, so there were some nice rooms in the college.

Okay, not amazing. To be honest, I was too nervous to eat…

Er well, the ones I met were pretty horrible, but that’s two out of twenty or so.

Really, really nice…the whole atmosphere and friendly nature of the students was the main reason why I wanted to apply there.

Final stage

Nerves! The post where I live is pretty rubbish too, and I had to wait all weekend before I got my letter.

I took it quite well to start with, and was rationalising it with thoughts such as I knew I had a bad interview experience and that it was probably better that someone who really wanted to do English got the place rather than me, but then it went a bit downhill when there were loads of ‘surprise’ Oxbridge acceptances in my school (& most of the ‘sure things’ were rejected!) and when my boyfriend was accepted to read Theology at St. Peter’s and we realised that we wouldn’t be going to university together. It felt like being dumped to be honest, and it took a couple of months to get over it properly. However, I think I’m stronger for the exprience.

Looking back

Yes, of course…although for Law, the subject I really wanted to do but thought I didn’t have a chance with. I wish I’d had a bit more confidence in myself. I’m reapplying this year (for law!) and have strong grades so hopefully I’m in a better position.

Don’t make the mistake I made and apply for an ‘easy’ college and a subject purely on someone else’s recognition…just go for what you really want, and go with an open mind…Oxford isn’t the end of the world, and remember that there are many negative aspects to the Oxbridge experience too.