Application

 Oxford

 Hertford

 Modern Languages

 2009

 rejected

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (6 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(C at AS)

(C at AS (136 UMS))

(A at AS (195 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (253 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (178 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

didn’t do history GCSE which i guess is why i screwed up

Other universities

yes

no

i got rejected from UCL, not even an interview; they said my personal statement wasn’t strong enough which has baffled everyone, i now hope to go to durham which is actually ranked higher than UCL

Decisions about the application

i am very competitive and can only settle for the best. also, our school bred us such that anything below A/A* was a fail, so i had high standards instilled in me.

i never really considered cambridge because i thought my grades weren’t good enough and i thought that you only went to cambridge if you were an academic zombie i.e. no social life. however, i should’ve applied to cambridge because i prefer their course and tripos system.

i’m good at languages so i enjoy them, also traveling abroad is fun

i chose hertford because there are lots of girls, state school applicants and it has a strong reputation for languages. however, it wasn’t until after i was rejected that i found out that hertford is THE hardest college to get into for languages so do not apply unless you are something special.

Preparation

yes

the school that one applicant went to, it made her come in at 7.45 every day for a month before the interview for grammar test prep yet she still didn’t get in. i had to organise preparation myself i.e. i went through one french and one spanish grammar test with my teachers which required much begging. after further begging, they agreed to write comments on the essays i would send to oxford, so they knew they were marked. apart from that, no special oxford prep.

LITERATURE i’m not saying you need to read loads of books but at the interview they give you a text in the language you’re applying for so make sure you know how to analyse a text. i was at a particular disadvantage because i was not taking english lit. nevertheless on my personal statement i had made it very clear i was very interested in linguistics, yet they asked me no questions regarding it.

Interview

no

yes

an essay in french, one in spanish and one in english.

yes

a grammar test in french and one in spanish

horrible – my friends at other colleges were saying how they had nice chats but i had a flipping interrogation.

none of the standard ‘why do you want to study here?’ sort questions, half the interview was one the text they gave me beforehand, then it was on my personal statement and at the end there were some basic questions in the target language.

smart jeans and a shirt, don’t wear a suit because you’ll look like a wally; try to look like a student so smart-cas

Impressions

really very beautiful and old – exactly as i had imagined.

rooms varied hugely in size, i reckon i had one of the smaller rooms but it was still big enough.

food wasn’t bad actually!

either awkward or unfriendly.

very friendly and helpful, but you could tell that they went to oxford.

Final stage

although i had wanted oxford for nearly two years, the interview process was so rigorous that i thought if i didn’t get in, i wouldn’t want to go there.

i knew what day the letter was going to arrive because the other applicants were saying they had just received theirs, so when i saw the postman i basically ripped it out of his hand. then when i opened it and read it, i went downstairs to my dad and cried for about 10 minutes. then i began to get over it.

Looking back

yes, but to another college.

make sure you know how to analyse an unseen text, make sure you do plenty of prep for that. also, don’t apply for one of the top colleges unless you aren’t to phased about not getting in or you really are the bees-knees.