Application

 Oxford

 St Hugh’s

 Mathematics

 2002

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*,1 A)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Mathematics, A in Mathematics (Further)

AAA

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Wanted to be with students working at a similar level to my own. By aiming for the highest I knew that wherever I ended up this was likely to be the case (if I was rejected then other people like me would be elsewhere also).

At Oxford you do the entrance paper for maths at interview and then they decide whether to give you an offer. At Cambridge the entrance papers (STEP) are taken at the end of the year after you’ve accepted an offer conditional on it. I wanted to be chosen/rejected before replying to UCAS (so that if I didn’t get in I could have the benefits of going somewhere that I had chosen as first choice) rather than having to wait until the summer to find out.

I also prefered the look of the Oxford course.

I wanted to be living outside the centre of the town where it was quieter. I also wanted somewhere that guaranteed accommodation for the entire duration of the course and liked the idea of going somewhere with plenty of other maths students (more people to discuss stuff with).

Preparation

yes

Were put into pairs and told to give each other mock interviews.

Don’t feel you have to fill in anything in the additional information box. I didn’t see why Oxford should need any information that everywhere else didn’t so left it blank.

Interview

no

no

yes

Yes, the university mathematics entrance test. I didn’t really prepare at all. Logic was required more than actual knowledge. Just make sure you know and fully understand the contents of the A-level pure modules.

I had 5 interviews, 2 at St Hugh’s, 2 at Corpus Christi and 1 at Mansfield. At each one I waited outside, was called in, asked questions and then released!

Red shirt, black cardigan, black trousers, black shoes. Wanted to look relatively smart so as not to stand out as underdressed. I don’t think anyone really cared what you looked like, but everyone else was dressed up a bit for the interviews so you might feel out of place if you don’t.

Mostly maths ones with a few personal statement ones thrown in. Geometry, binomial expansion, combinations, geometric series, proof by induction and probably other topics that I have forgotten. Learn your formulae!

Impressions

St Hugh’s: very nice. Huge gardens and nice accommodation.

Corpus Christi: small and compact but nice and quiet and a huge library with brilliant facilities for studying.

Mansfield: didn’t see much.

Only saw accommodation at St Hugh’s. I had a huge room with en suite and good shared cooking facilities (though of course we didn’t use them!). It was a third year room though.

Excellent

Friendly, helpful and organised.

Final stage

I got the offer from Corpus first. I read it. The next day I got a letter from St Hugh’s saying the obvious my application had been passed on to other colleges. I read that one too!

Looking back

Don’t worry! I just looked at it as: if I get an offer it means I’m good enough, if I don’t it means I’ll be better somewhere else. If I had made a lot of effort then I could have risked getting an offer without being good enough to cope once I got there.

Just see it like applying to any other university. Fill in the form, go to the interview, find out if you get an offer then decide whether you want to accept it or not.