Application

 Oxford

 Lady Margaret Hall

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2007

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (5 A*,4 A,3 B)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

I have to get three As in any of my four subjects. Standard offer.

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

It was the next step up for me. I knew I could do it and so I thought I might as well try.

Cambridge doesn’t offer my subject.

This is what I really want to do. I think it is worth pointing out I applied for this course at all of the universities I went for. Some people at my interview only applied for PPE because that is what Oxford offered. This way round made writing my personal statement a lot easier.

I visited it a couple of times before application and really liked it. I like how it is a bit of a way out from the town and so has amazing grounds, but then it is only a 15 minute walk to get to the city centre.

Preparation

yes

If you have named a book of your personal statement, think laterally about what quesitons they will ask you. It won;t be ‘What do you think of this book?’ This means you have to know it really well. Also, make sure you know a lot of detail about any recent political or economic events, especially if you haven’t studied the subject before because they will ask you about it assuming you will know what they are talking about.

Interview

yes

I took the PPEAT, but as I am the first year to take it in this way, I think less weight was given to it as part of the overall decision. I won’t find out my results till next month though.

yes

I gave in a piece of Economics lesson work and my RS coursework. One was a page and a half and the other was 4000 words to make sure I gave them a variety.

no

I thought they went really badly, as I was freqeuntly lost for words and I knew i answered some of my questions wrongly. However, I showed my thought process out loud and changed my opinion on a topic when I had thought things through, which I think the tutors like to see.

If you haven’t studied a subject at school (for me it was Politics) they might pick a current affairs issue to guide you in to the subject. Therefore, make sure you know as much as you possibly can about any major stories, especially if they are so major you cannot have missed them, as it is almost guaranteed they will ask you something on it.

In Philosophy, I had to look at a sheet of arguments and decide whether they were valid or not, then we moved onto my personal statement.
In economics, it was basic theory about inflation and exchange rates but based on current real life issues. Then I was set a problem about imperfect market knowledge.

I wore black trousers, smart heels (but not too high) and a smart top. I don’t have a suit and knew I wouldn’t be comfortable if I wore one. Some people wore jeans but I thought that was too casual.

Impressions

Really beautiful grounds. I could see the river from my room.

My room was reasonably large with big windows. I had to walk down the corridor to the toliet and shower, and although they were small they were both clean and modern.

It was really nice. There was a good variety of food, and although I didn’t have to pay, I could see from the prices that it was good value for money.

Most of them were very friendly, and the ones that weren’t were just in interview mode, but not horrible. It was quite daunting to see them come into the dining hall though. I thought when I left the interview room I wouldn’t see them again.

A good mix. I think I was in the minority being from a state school and a girl. However, everyone else at my interview who was applying for other subjects seemed to be the same as me. It was only the other PPE students who were from independent schools. There were also a lot of people from abroad, but that meant I was able to meet people I normally wouldn’t get to see.

Final stage

I didn’t really care, as I was trying to be pragmatic and accept that I probably wouldn’t get in. However, this wasn’t anything to do with my interview, I just didn’t want to raise my hopes.

My dad rang me to tell me the letter had arrived and told me what it said. I put the phone down and told my friends who all hugged me. Then I went out for the day and then had champagne in the evening when I got home.

Looking back

Yes. I had nothing to lose by applying and even if I hadn’t got in I would have been happy.

Don’t be put off by thinking your GCSEs aren’t good enough of that it is too much work. If you think you are capable of getting in, try.