Application

 Oxford

 Mansfield

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2005

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 FE College

 yes (6 A*,4 A,2 B)

A-levels

(C at AS)

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA, I actually applied for deferred entry (2007) but was given a place for 2006.

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I thought it was always worth a try and that even if I failed, the interview process itself would be a worthwhile experience.

Cambridge does not offer my course.

I was originally planning to apply for law but then began to really enjoy my politics a-level course. I also developed an interest in philosophy and the economics seemed to add relevance to the package.

I didn’t visit any of the colleges, but, after attending a college of 3000 students, I was attracted to Mansfield’s small size. I also liked the buildings and location. Another deciding factor for me was the high proportion of state school educated students although I now realise that this really is not a relevant consideration.

Preparation

yes

I had one 20 minute visit from a current student and could ask questions if we wanted. It wasn’t useful in the slightest.

Read the newspapers and ensure you know why you are interested in your subject but don’t try and learn much about it unless you have studied it. You just need to be able to explain what it is about it that interests you and appear to have not made up your explanation!!

Interview

no

yes

I had to submit two marked essays and they specified certain subjects which these had to related to if possible. As a result, I had to submit an essay from both history and politics, however the only marked piece I had from history was my AS level coursework and politics an unimpressive homework essay. I think tutors understand that these essays will not always be your best work though, in fact, i reckon they prefer work that is obviously not tailor-written for interview, even if it is somewhat out of date!

yes

I had to take a 1 hour exam which covered all three subjects. The exam didn’t rely on any knowledge of the subjects. The first part consisted of analysing an argument they provided about vegitarians and then writing a response to it, the second part was about defining and distinguishing between sets of words (ie. agnostic, atheist and heathen or fair, just and equal). The last part was a sort of logical puzzle alogn the lines of ‘if a earns more than b, and b earns more than c, how much does d earn…’ But it made more sense than that and was much longer!!

I actually really enjoyed the whole experience. I met some wonderful people, went to some wonderful pubs, and the interviews themselves were far better than I had expected.
I felt I did averagely in one, terribly in another and well in the last.

I had three separate interviews, one for each subject. I found they ranged from intimidating to friendly and that I felt I was doing well and terribly at different stages. I always felt though that the tutors were supportive and in no way trying to make me feel any stupider than I was already makign myself feel! When I misunderstood what they wanted me to do they were quick to correct me and it didn’t present a problem.

Can’t remember everything, but the main things were:

Politics:
A)Discussing whether you can really be forced to do things.
B)Talkign about coaltition governments, although I wasn’t expected to know much.

ECONOMICS:
A) There was a sheet of 7 maths questions, most of which I could not answer.
B) I had said in my personal statement that I read the economist so was asked an interestign article i had read recently in that publication.

PHILOSOPHY:
A) Something about when a ‘pile’ can be said to be a ‘heap’ and whether there was a specific moment when one become the other.
B) Is gardening art?

Black boots, black tights, dark brown calf length skirt, black V-neck jumper. I wanted to look serious, but felt a suit was too far. Also it was really cold!! I felt that I fitted in with what the majority of people were wearing.

Impressions

I remember standing outside in the middle of the night having a cigarette and just staring at it so, yeah, I was pretty impressed! I didn’t visit any others but I loved the mix of old and new and the fact it had history but didn’t seem pretentious in any way. I didn’t meet any actual students, only other applicants, but I really liked everythign abotu the college. And the food was great!

The room i stayed in for interview was massive; it had a living room area and bedroom area with a sink (no ensuite). Most first years though are accomodated in either garden building (brand new, average sized rooms, huge desk, light and airy, ensuite), E block (older, slightly larger rooms, ensuite, kitchens) or a few in A block (older, much larger rooms, more character, shared bathrooms, bit chilly).

Really really good!

Approachable, relatively friendly.

I didnt. But I can say now that everyone is different, but almost everyone gets on.

Final stage

I wasn’t very worried as I assumed I hadnt got in!

The letter came and it said that whilst I had been offered a place, I couldnt have the gap year which I had been plannign. I was really upset.

Looking back

Yes.

Don’t see it as the be-all-end-all. I went into my interviews relatively relaxed with a smile and the attitude that i was only there to give it a shot. There were plenty of people there who were so nervous they came across as shy or rude. Also, be nice to other applicants as theres a fairly good chance you’ll bump into them whilst looking at other unis and of course be living with them if you get a place in oxford!