Application

 Oxford

 Pembroke

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2000

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Comprehensive School

Non-selective state 11-18 school

 yes (4 A*,4 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted Distinction; gained Distinction)

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAB, AAB – its the standard PPE offer across Oxford (a few colleges may occasionally make a 3A offer) though it seems pretty low given the fierce competition.

yes

N/A

 offer met

Decisions about the application

Mainly because I wanted to learn about my subject area in a greater depth than I could achieve at other colleges, and nowhere really rivals PPE at Oxford. But to be honest I was also drawn by the status of going to Oxbridge and all that stuff.

For me the choice was simple; Oxford do PPE and Cambridge don’t (some inferior alternative called Social and Political Science I think, which deals with things like social anthropolgy). I visited both and luckily prefered Oxford, and I think Oxford has a slightly better reputation for Arts subjects.

I heard that it had a pretty good reputation for PPE, that it has a relativley large number of PPE undergraduates (given that it is a small to medium sized college) and that the application rates per place wern’t as high as they were at other colleges (see Oxford undergraduate prosepctus). I was put off applying to other colleges which had a public school reputation (I didn’t give colleges like Christ Church, Brasenose etc a moments thought)

Preparation

yes

Yeah I had two practice interviews – one with the local rotary club and the other with a former Economics teacher. The rotary club one was good because it was quite formal and they gave me tips on interview style etc. The one I had with the former Economics teacher was good but it was really just an interesting hour long conversation.

Hmmm some – such as put something meaningful in the Oxford personal statement form. Miss out all the rubbish about wanting to go to such a prestigious university, and concentrate on writing something which would get picked up in interview (which it did).

Interview

no

no

Yes – two peices of marked school written work. I sent off an essay on Income distribution and its effect on economic growth and another about rail privatisation.

no

I had a one hour written test on the Monday morning which wasn’t too exacting; it had three parts – comprehension of a passage from a book I’d read, some basic reasoning and logic and then a task where you head to differentiate between sets of similar words.

I had a one hour interview with the three tutors all lined up facing me (which was a little daunting). I think it went well and walked out the room with a very positive feeling, but then started to microanalyse it all over the next few weeks.

All questions were subject specific. The first question was from the Economics tutor all about climate change and the way to most successfully deal with it, which then went onto the general affects of globalisation. After 15 minutes the Philosophy tutor took over refering to what I had written on my personal statement about liberty. Luckily I’d read a couple of books anticipating this and therefore could talk about the work of John Stuart Mill and the liberty principle. After about ten minutes of grilling I was really finding it tough. The conversation went on for absolutley ages leaving the Politics guy with only 5 minutes to ask questions, but he didn;t bother with easy one’s going straight for the jugular and aggresivley questioning what I had been saying.

Open necked shirt and smart shoes and trousers – smart casual. There isn’t really a need to where a suit – the tutors themselves were only smart casual.

Impressions

Warm, friendly and very open to state school applicants. The college is quite attractive and I ended up with a nice en-suite room.

My room was huge with good but slightly old fashioned furniture. The bathroom was nearly as big – I nearly got lost.

Good

Breakfasts were excellent – a case of eat as much as you can. Lunch’s were very good and the diners good.

Very friendly and welcoming. There were not in the slightest way pompous or over bearing. I felt that I would like to be taught by them over the next three years.

There wern’t a load of them around – but those that were seemed perfectly normal.

Final stage

My mum and my sister screamed. I stood there not quite taking it in.

Looking back

Yes.

Read plenty of books on the subjects you haven’t studied before. I read quite a bit of Philosophy which is more important than reading stuff on Politics which I found to be quite straightforward.

Take your application seriously – be as well prepared as you can be. Show that you are curioius about your subject and well motivated. You need not know about everything.