Application

 Oxford

 Jesus

 History (Modern)

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (11 A*,1 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS; predicted A; gained A 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)

Oxford don’t ask for your UMS scores.

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in History

AAA

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I really liked the course at Oxford, and the prestige associated with establishment plus excellent teaching made it an obvious choice.

Visited both places and liked the town of Oxford better (more of a “real” place, seemed like more going on there etc). The options in the Oxford course interested me more too.

Always loved history, there had never been any doubt in my mind that this would be my course choice (at all unis).

I only had time to visit a couple of colleges on the Oxford open day and the atmosphere of Jesus, especially the JCR, struck me as very friendly and laid back.

Preparation

yes

A few lunchtime sessions with other Oxbridge history hopefuls on philosophy of history. Quite interesting and potentially quite useful, though I don’t think I used any of it in the end.

Preparation is vital, but don’t overdo it; there’s only so much that they’ll as you and there’s no point oversaturating your brain.

Interview

yes

HAT test sat in November. This is apparently used to select interview candidates. Didn’t go too badly for me, which gave me confidence at interview.

yes

One essay, which formed the basis for one of my two interviews. If you have to submit work, make sure you know the subject matter inside out as you WILL be asked about it.

yes

One interview was mostly based on the analysis of a source. There was a choice of three different period sources: Medieval, early modern and modern.

I felt that the first one was mediocre, that I hadn’t answered the questions to their fullest, but I guess that was a good sign. Felt a lot better about the second one. All interviewers were really friendly.

Not much to say except that anything might come up – your submitted work, things on your personal statement or completely new and unrelated questions.

In one interview I was asked to summarise and analyse a text. In the other I answered broad questions about an essay I had submitted.

“Smart-casual” – jumper + relaxed trousers. Was what I felt comfortable in, as per the interview booklet’s recommendations.

Impressions

Very nice place, especially the warm friendly JCR.

My room was very comfortable and more than big enough. All food and drink including drinks throughout the day in the JCR were free of charge.

Perfectly good standard, no complaints.

Very friendly, they clearly wanted to help you settle in at the start of your interview to enable you to do your best.

Friendly and helpful.

Final stage

A little nervous, but not nearly as bad as my parents.

I got home first to find the envelope from Oxford on the doormat. Felt its thickness and was hopeful for an acceptance – which was confirmed seconds later as I opened the envelope. Rang my dad and told my mum as soon as she got back from work.

Looking back

Well, I only just went through the whole interview and offer process (got my offer yesterday), but even without the benefit of hindsight I’d say it’s worth doing, if only for the experience and to test your academic limits.

I know it’s easy for me to say now, but try to “stay chill” before, during and after the interview process. It will focus you better and make the wait for results more bearable.