Application

 Oxford

 Keble

 History (Modern)

 2006

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

(A at AS)

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Distinction)

(predicted NA; gained Distinction)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

yes

yes

I received an offer from LSE (ABB), which I put as my insurance choice.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

The reputation for high standards (facilities, world class academics etc.), because the cities are so beautiful and exciting, and also the kudos!

For some reason I never really considered Cambridge; I only visited it for the first time in about June before my application on a school visit to both, by which point I had firmly chosen Oxford. I suppose it started when I went on a summer school there in year ten, but also because I have always thought of it as a bit better and more world-famous than Cambridge, even though that’s probably not true.

Again, I had decided this well before In came to having to make such descisions! Since about year 10, I had known I wanted to do history at University.

Mostly because I was struck by its amazing architecture. All colleges have their individual quirks when you get to know them, but Keble is the most obviously unique.

Preparation

yes

They brought in some man, a headteacher of another school I think, to give us mock interviews. This was not a lot like the real thing, but I suppose made me a little bit more confident, since he was very encouraging.

All you can really do is make sure your knowledge of your school syllabus and outside reading, especially books mentioned on your personal statement is good, so you can talk about these if asked. However, you don;t need to obsessively revise all this, as it is about aptitude and how you think, not the facts you know, but nevertheless, you might need it to give examples, and you don;t want to look as though you did not really read the books you mentioned!

Interview

yes

The HAT. This, like the interview, tests general ability and how you think, so you don’t need to do much revision, but you will probably be asked to write one essay, using anything you are familiar with as an example, so just ensure you have some topic you could talk about. The rest is pretty much just interpretting passages they give you.

yes

A normal essay I did at school, although admittedly the best one I’d done.

no

The first one felt terrible, the second one, quite well.

The first one focused on my essay, on Francis I, but applying my ideas to my knowledge of Henry VII. I had not done this topic since year 12 and it was very rusty, so pretty much made an idiot of myself! At the end he gave me a passage, about 5 pages, on historiography, which was very complex and badly written! In the 2 hours between this and the next interview, I had to read this. In the next interview, I was mostly asked what it was arguing, whether I agreed with it, and to apply it to examples I knew of.

Black top and red silky skirt with a pattern on it, because it was fairly smart and comfortable. Some wore suits, others, just their normal, casual clothes.

Impressions

Slightly intimidating at first, but spectacular. It felt like a complete fantasy even being there!

Having seen some at other colleges, these were pretty good. The good thing about Keble is it doesn;t have any horrible concrete 60s monstrosities that they keep the first years in. It is all either in the old, orginal building, or pretty new. Although some would say the whole college is a monstrosity! But I am definately not one of thpse people!

Very good. I can honestly say that there I had the best roast potatoes I have ever had.

Well in each interview there were 2, one who talked, one who just listened and wrote things down, and they alternated between these roles, and the ones that interviewed me were very nice, but I heard from others that the other 2, who were silent in mine, weren’t so much.

Friendly, if a bit cliquey. They seemed quite keen to assert their territory, shouting in jokes to eachother and ignoring us a bit.

Final stage

I cried for hours when I got home after the interview, as I was convinced I hadn’t got in. I know it is almost compulsory to say that, but I really did. Over the next two weeks I became a bit more resigned to it, though still quite depressed.

I was going mad because, of all days, the post decided not to arrive until 2 o’clock! (>_<) So maybe on some hidden level I did think I had a bit of a chance… I was actually on the phone, to my boyfirend who had just heard he’d got in, complaining about this, when I heard the post come. I felt sick when I saw a thin envelope, but then as I tor it open, the first thing I saw was a letter about bursaries, which obviously they wouldn’t have sent me had I been rejected, then confirmed my hopes by reading the letter.