Application

 Oxford

 NA (open application, allocated college)

 Oriental Studies

 2003

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 post-qualification

 N/A

 N/A

 Independent – selective

I did my GCSEs at non-selective state school

 yes (11 A*)

International Baccalaureate

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

( predicted NA; gained 3)

( predicted NA; gained 7)

the candidate did not state which subjects were taken at SL/HL level, and whether she took A2/B/ab initio languages.

Details about the offer

 unconditional

yes

I have chosen to go to Oxford. The opportunity for me was too good to miss.

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Because I wanted a challenge.

Distance from home, most comfortable place

Preparation

no

But if you can get some help from somewhere, do. I’m sure it’ll ease your nerves.

Don’t make statements you don’t believe in, and don’t bluff. Flaunt your knowledge, not someone else’s. READ. Get as much information as you can on the subject. Whether you chose Chinese or Egyptology, make sure that you show dedication and enthusiasm. It’s the only indication your interviewers will have that you are going to be an asset to the university. If you don’t know why you’ve chosen Korean….think again – perhaps it’s not for you. Try the departmental websites for information about reading, or phone the college.

Interview

no

yes

An exam essay – work under pressure, controlled conditions. A research essay – to show that I know how to write a good essay etc.

no

I had two separate interviews, and stayed in the college for a number of days.

Generally why I wanted to come to Oxford, what I thought of the college and why I had chosen Japanese. More specifically I was asked language based questions that were intended to demonstrate how well I caught on to concepts that were new to me. I was also asked about history, politics and current affairs. If you are applying for a subject like Oriental Studies, one that you have probably not studied before, please please please read as much as you can. Have opinions, and more importantly know WHY you have those opinions, because you can bet your last Rolo that they will be challenged. 🙂

A black suit – it was smart….but what they didn’t know was that it was quite old and really really comfortable. 🙂

Impressions

It was exceptionally friendly, and I immediately knew that I could live and work in this place for the next few years of my life. I felt at home and relaxed, which was surprising considering that I was so nervous I hadn’t eaten – another thing you shouldn’t do – you’ll be starving after your interview!

The rooms are a decent size, they are considerably bigger than most other universities I’d visited. They weren’t ensuite but it doesn’t really matter because the bathroom is only a few doors down. There is also a small kitchen on every corridor.

Edible but not great

Not much choice, especially for vegetarian/vegan. But the kitchen staff are always happy to accomodate – just let them know in advance.

Friendly……but it won’t seem like that in the interview. You’ll think that they are trying to tear you apart. But when I looked back on the whole experience, they were very very nice, and extremely sympathetic.

They were laid back, and all down to earth. There were none of the stereotypes one expects to see. Just a bunch of people trying to get the best education they can. It’s no different to any other university in that respect.

Final stage

Seeing as I recieved an acceptance letter, I was elated, and also somewhat incredulous. It takes a while for it to sink in! I was rejected from some other univerisities beforehand, and I seemed to take an instant dislike to those places – but remember that it’s not you. You are good enough and deserving enough – que sara, sara.

Looking back

Of course! I told myself that even if I wasn’t lucky enough to get accepted (and luck has a lot to do with it sometimes), I must have gained something. I went into an interview, I did my best to show what I was capable of. I had gained valuable life skills – and I knew that the next time I had a similar interview for a job or the like, I would be better equipped to deal with it. It’s something I had to do, for better or worse. “If I had only…..” was not something I wanted to think about.

1. Be relaxed, but not overconfident. If anything be slightly nervous – at least the adrenalin will prevent complacency.

2.I cannot stress enough the importance of demostrated dedication to your chosen subject, ie through reading, extra-curricular activites, gap year projects, etc.

3. Don’t listen to the budding little academics around you who appear to know everything and everyone – just focus on the task in hand, which will most certainly not include them.

4. Be yourself.

Oh, and please eat. It’s embarrassing when your stomach appears to be a very vocal part of your interview!