Application

 Oxford

 Magdalen

 Philosophy and Modern Languages

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 Other qualifications

 pre-qualification

 EU

 France

 Independent – non-selective

My school is half state owned, it is a French school known as “lycée”.

 yes

Other qualifications

I was taking a French Baccalaureate in the Literary section. This means I have simplified exams in Maths, Biology, Chemistry and Physics, very heavy and difficult French and English Literature, Philosophy, History and Geography. Furthermore I have options in Spanish, Latin and Greek.
PE is obligatory and a 20,000 word long memoir is also taken into account in the final grade.

Details about the offer

 conditional

I was made an offer on the condition of me getting an overall 15 on my French baccalaureate, which isn’t even a distinction grade.

yes

no

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

Aim high in life, and you’ll get the best.
Also, everyone knows the tutorial system is marvellous, it just happens to be particularly marvellous for Philosophy.

Mum and Grandparents went to Oxford. Oh and Oxford had Philosophy in a joint rather than a single honours and I wanted to do some Literature with it.

French and Philosophy seemed a perfect fit for me, balances between Philosophy, Literature and Language and training me to translate between to languages I have spoken since birth and have trouble separating… it had everything i needed to make it an enjoyable challenge.

I chose this college for varied reasons, none of them are worth explaining here.

Preparation

yes

My school supposedly helped, but not really at all, getting them to finish the reference was a nightmare.

Be yourself! Don’t let people influence you. Your personal statement is about you and should be yours. They can always tell!

Interview

no

yes

It is difficult to choose something, especially because it’s so early in the year. Again, just choose something you feel you enjoyed writing.

yes

I had to take two written tests. Try not to stress, they can actually be fairly enjoyable although the time is usually a bit short. The only way you can prepare is by getting used to the format of the exam. The university provided specimen sheets. Don’t expect the exam to look the same or be of the same type, it isn’t necessarily so. The French had more translation and less grammar. The Philosophy had less logic and more writing.

My interviews were, surprisingly, rather enjoyable. Lots of people say this although not all, so don’t think that just because you didn’t enjoy it it didn’t go well!
I found all tutors encouraging and found the whole experience more a like a discussion than anything else. In a way I was just thankful to have had these discussions with such scholars.

Altogether very academic, don’t expect any settling in questions. In fact you’re better prepared if you haven’t prepared and you just go being yourself. You might feel some questions are difficult but the tutors are there to help and are always happy to explain bits you didn’t understand.

There wasn’t really any memorable questions that I think would be asked again. Most of their question rose from whatever I happened to be talking about or they could also abruptly change subject. Expect questions to rise from your personal statement but don’t get distraught if none are asked.

Nice clothes but dressed down. Most tutors won’t care, some do, it’s hard to tell. My advice is not to look to dressed up, but certainly to be clean and neat.

Impressions

They’re all lovely. The college doesn’t really matter that much. It’s the course and the work that’s really important.

Rooms vary. Magdalen houses you throughout the duration of your course which is nice. The room I stayed in for interview was one of few with a shower. Everything was clean.

In hall. It’s a bit heavy but you can buy stuff from the shop or the kitchen bar.

They were really welcoming and patient throughout the whole ordeal. I think they probably are as anxious as we are to get students that they are going to enjoy teaching. Not all tutors are like this, but from what I’ve seen and discussed, I can’t wait for my first tutorials!

The students who stayed with us were extremely welcoming and sensible.

Final stage

Extreme anxiety, I barely slept or ate and would talk of nothing else.

Umm, utter and chronic over excitement that lasted for a couple of weeks. Since then I’ve been thinking of little else.

Looking back

Yes, definitely!

Oh Gosh, this is hard, just try to be you and stress as little as possible. Keep reminding yourself it’s not the only good university in the world and your life doesn’t depend on getting in. The only advice I can hypocritically give is ‘try not to think about it too much’!!!