Application

 Oxford

 Merton

 Modern Languages

 2008

 pooled, offer made (Christ Church)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

 yes (6 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(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 B; gained NA at A2)

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in German

AAA, Excluding General Studies, has to include German.

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Because I thought I might as well just have a go and see if anything came of it.

The city seemed larger and more vibrant, with a better music scene.

I love German anyway but thought that being able to start Italian from scratch was a really good idea.

I chose Merton because of the Time Ceremony which seemed a bit weird and unique, and because when I visited I found it the prettiest college I saw.

Preparation

yes

My German teacher helped me to think of themes I would want to talk about in a interview, then I wrote them out and learned them.

Just read through anything from the course, but really it’s not the kind of thing you can prepare for. I spoke about thirty seconds worth of German in all the 4 interviews and the rest was like an English Lit interview. I didn’t do much preperation because you just don’t know what they’ll ask you beyond the obvious ones like why you want to go or do the specific course. Also re read anything you have put down on the Personal Statement, or at least skim through it again.

Interview

no

yes

Two essays done in school, marked by a teacher.

yes

A German language paper which was mainly grammar.

Quite bizarre since I’d expected to speak a lot more German than I did. There were only a few questions I had been able to prepare for and the rest were based on texts I was given before or in the interview. I think they weren’t so interested in how right the answers I gave were, but if I could justify and elaborate on them.

You get the impression that you’ve done really badly because the questions seem so obscure but I just thought that to be honest, they must know that you don’t know the answers so they really just want to see how you think.

One question was about the death of lyrical poetry after Auschwitz, there were a lot which were poetry based, there was a question (in German) about my music, and about why I chose Oxford.

I wore dresses and big boots, because I just like them! And there’s no point wearing something I didn’t like.

Impressions

Very old, most of them, just a lovely atmosphere like the city in general.

The room I stayed in at Merton during the interview was huge – it had a bathroom, a shower, a bedroom and a big living room so it was more like a flat.

It was good, there was always something vegetarian.

Friendly, although I didn’t really talk to them much but from a distance they seemed nice.

Most of them I got on with although there was one who seemed a bit arrogant who I remember having a mini argument with. But the majority were really helpful.

Final stage

I didn’t mind waiting at first, but when I was pooled I got the letter from Merton which said I hadn’t got in there, but that another college was ‘likely’ to make me an offer. I didn’t like the ambiguity in that, and it was worse because there was a postal strike so the letter was late. I was sat going up the wall until the letter came.

I was at my friends house so my parents opened my letter without telling me first, although I didn’t really care, then they rang me when I was about five minutes away from my house anyway! I was really happy, and texted all my mates, then my mum got out some wine, and we had a bit too much to drink and I ended up falling asleep for five hours.

Looking back

Yes, there’s no point not doing.

At the end of the day interviews can seem really scary, but what you’ve got to think is that basically it’s a few people asking you questions, you aren’t in any danger, there’s nothing to really be afraid of! If you think of the most terrifying moment of your life you realise that in reality, answering a few questions about a subject isn’t that bad.