Application

 Oxford

 University

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2009

 offer made

Applicant

 Other qualifications

 pre-qualification

 EU

 Netherlands

 Grammar School

Categoriaal Gymnasium

 yes

Other qualifications

VWO
Dutch, English, Latin, Maths B, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics, Geography, History.
Predicted average: 8.5

Details about the offer

 conditional

Average of 8 in seven best subjects including at least 8 in Maths and Economics.

yes

yes

no

 offer met

Decisions about the application

I wanted the best education I could get and the tutorial system was something I thought would suit me well.

Oxford offers PPE which is the most awesome course ever.

I’ve always wanted to study Politics (as in, I told people I was gonna be PM when I was 10), decided I wanted to add Economics in my early teens. I was planning on doing two undergrad degrees at the same time (which is possible where I’m from) and was considering taking some Philosophy classes. Then I discovered PPE and it was just perfect for me.

I went to the open day, which helped immensely. I had made a list of those colleges I wanted to visit in advance, based on the website and advice of a family friend who works in Oxford. I visited all of them, there were a couple I really liked, then back home I re-read all prospectuses and picked one.

Preparation

no

For PPE specifically, prepare for the TSA test! Practice really helps, it made a huge difference for me.
For interviews, try to relax a bit (I know it’s hard) and just explain what you’re thinking. I found my debating experience came in really handy because it had trained me to explain thoughts analitically, so you might try that.

Interview

yes

Thinking Skills Assesment test. It’s something that’s either your thing or it isn’t, but practice definitly helps.

no

no

The whole experience was scary as hell but also amazing and it would have been worth it even if I hadn’t gotten in. Make sure you have fun and socialize in between, everyone is going through the same thing and it really helps.

First thing in the morning all PPE applicants came together and they explained to us what was gonna happen. I had an Politics & Philosophy interview in the morning and an Economics interview in the afternoon. I wasn’t pooled anywhere for interviews.

For Politics, I got a set of graphs 20 minutes in advance. When I came in, I was just told to talk about them, which caught me off-guard but I managed. I then had to give the argumentation of why those things were correlated. Then for Philosophy, I got a thought-experiment-puzzle-thing during the interview and I had to talk about what people would do and why. For Economics I got a set of questions about game theory 20 minutes in advance. During the interview I had to explain what I had done and why, and when we got to the questions I hadn’t done yet I had to do them out loud.

I was planning on wearing something quite formal, but the evening before two current students said about another girl: “look how cute she’s all dressed up” so I asked what they thought was a good idea and they advised me to go more casual. I ended up wearing new jeans and a new sweater. In hindsight I would have done something somewhere in between, but I was glad I didn’t go all formal.

Impressions

I really liked the atmosphere, right from when I first entered on the Open Day and during the interview period. I’m very happy with my decision.

Larger rooms then I expected, all rooms have a sink and a fridge plus standard stuff. Kitchens were okay, there were plenty. Shower and toilets were fine as well and again enough.

Food was better then I expected, plenty of choice and good quality.

The tutors were nice during interviews, not at all intimidating. During the talk with all PPE applicants they gave us plenty of time to ask all questions and they really tried to make us relax a bit.

Those I met were great, as were all other applicants.

Final stage

It was agonizing. I flipflopped from being sure that I was a joke and rejected for sure to thinking I might have some chance. I drove everyone nuts. Find something to occupy you! The letter came later then expected because there was an insane ammount of snow, which only made it worse.

I waited for the mailman out in the snow, he looked at me like I was completely crazy. He handed me a couple of small envlopes and a big one. In my mind, it always came in a small envlope so I started looking through those, but it wasn’t in there. I was all disappointed, until I saw the college logo on the big envlope. I ripped it open and started screaming when I read it.

Looking back

It is one of the best decisions I ever made. Even if I haden’t gotten a place I would have done it because the whole experience taught me so much.

Be prepared for a difficult time, it’s mentally exhausting. Find a couple of people you can talk to about everything, both friends and family. But definitly definitly apply!