Application

 Oxford

 Brasenose

 Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE)

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Grammar School

 yes (10 A*)

A-levels

(A at AS (300 UMS))

(A at AS (279 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (294 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

(A at AS (276 UMS); predicted A; gained NA at A2)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A in Economics, A in Government and Politics, A in History

yes

N/A

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

I wanted to go somewhere where I could study at the top of the academic field for my subject, and be taught by the people at the cutting edge of academia. Also, oxford is gorgeous and I quite liked that…

The course mainly, plus I preferred the feel of the city. I wanted to do politics primarily and the comparison was between SPS at Cambridge or PPE at Oxford and I thought the subjects of PPE appealed to me more broadly, better complemented each other, and would leave me with a wider range of career options at the end.

Particularly after reading further into them for prep, I really felt passionately about all 3 and like I would want to study them full time for 3yrs. They also see to fit into each other so perfectly.

I liked the feel of it and everyone I had met there were really friendly. The tutors also had similar academic areas of interest to me.

Preparation

no

My school didn’t seem to understand the Oxbridge process…

Read lots over all three subjects and form opinions about what you’re reading. Try to find things which challenge your existing opinion. I also went to debating club at school which was helpful in forming arguments out loud come the interview.

Interview

yes

The TSA.

no

no

One was friendly, the other more directly challenging but in both the tutors were overall nice. I left them feeling happy with what I did, though obviously they weren’t perfect.
They liked to rebut bits of what I was saying, and it seemed that they wanted me to stand up for my opinions and argue it back.

There were 3 tutors in each and they covered all 3 aspects of PPE in both. One interviewer in each referred to my personal statement for questions.

It ranged from medical ethics (how should we cut hospital budgets?); to federalism (the pros and cons); when civil liberties could be curtailed; economically efficient outcomes in terms of allocation of medicine; a macro discussion about China and Russia; central planning versus the free-market; the british constitution; restraints on parliament; and whether we can know truth.

A long sleeved v-necked jumper, and smart trousers for the first, then for the second I changed into jeans and converses, because I realised that it really didn’t matter to the interviewers and I felt more comfortable that way.

Impressions

I thought that it was beautiful! It felt grand yet homely, which was a balance that I couldn’t find in any of the other colleges.

Room sizes varied enormously, but mine was clean, warm and reasonably nice.

You got to go through the canteen and take what you liked from the hot and cold counters at each meal (for free).

All really welcoming and interesting to talk to. They made an effort to put interviewees at ease on the first day by coming and explaining our schedule.

Very helpful -they took us to interviews and were very chatty and friendly.

Final stage

At first I was happy with my interviews, but as time passed I became more and more convinced that I had completely screwed up and by the time I found out I was sure I would be rejected!

I called up because I was on holiday, and they told me.

Looking back

Definitely.

Just let your personality come out in the interview and don’t be afraid to speak back to the tutors. If you’re applying then you might as well give yourself the best chance possible so read like crazy! And, though it’s hard, try not to get too nervous -I just sat with my ipod when waiting outside for my interview to make sure my mind didn’t run mad!