Application

 Oxford

 Harris Manchester

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 International Baccalaureate

 post-qualification

 overseas

 Australia

 Independent – non-selective

 yes

International Baccalaureate

( predicted 6; gained 6)

( predicted 5; gained 7)

( predicted 6; gained 7)

( predicted 2; gained 2)

( predicted 6; gained 6)

( predicted 5; gained 6)

I took SL chemistry instead of an Arts subject, predicted 5, achieved 6.

Details about the offer

 unconditional

undecided yet

Very excited but finances are a consideration, amost 100% sure that I will accept though.

no

Decisions about the application

Went on to tertiary education at home and was so disillusioned by the whole system (‘tutes’ of 30-40 people, no tutorials offered in law subjects, hearing lecturers read in monotone off powerpoints etc etc) that I thought I may as well apply to somewhere that ought to do a better job of it.

Oxford was always it and a bit for me.

It came down to what I was interested in. Certain family members told me they thought I was mad to give up a law degree, but in the end you have to do what you’re passionate about or else you end up miserable!

I originally applied to Balliol (sigh) but was reallocated to Harris Manchester. Initially was devastated but reminded myself that I would probably live in a cardboard box if it meant getting to read PPE so am feeling very lucky to be in at all!

Preparation

yes

My college didn’t help me with any preparation, but I think it certainly would be helpful to have a practice interview beforehand. I froze up completely in mine and I think a bit of being put on the spot by someone you don’t know particularly well (ie headmaster, a teacher who hasn’t taught you) could be very helpful.

Figure out what it is that you think sets you apart from the thousands of other applicants out there… They may never ask you that particular question but I think if you have a real sense of what you’re about and why you ought to be there (beyond the prestige, traditions, romance of oxbridge etc etc) then you will probably interview much better.

Interview

yes

TSA was relatively straightforward.

no

no

I would say a casual, but purely academically focused chat.

I had a telephone interview and found it quite hard! Just strange voices on the end of the telephone… It was disconcerting not to have all the normal conversational cues like eye contact, nodding etc. The tutors were very pleasant though. It lasted about 25 minutes. Strictly academic questions, nothing personal.

Final stage

I was sure that I had ballsed up the interview, so the wait was easy. I was convinced it was all over! The acceptance was a fantastic surprise.

Thrilled. Worried about how to afford it all!

Looking back

Everyone should apply! You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.