Application

 Oxford

 St Peter’s

 Philosophy and Theology

 2008

 offer made

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 United Kingdom

 Grammar School

 yes (9 A*,4 A)

A-levels

(A at AS)

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

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

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

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

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

Details about the offer

 conditional

AAA

yes

yes

N/A

I haven’t heard from Durham yet, but if I do and the offer isn’t three As, it’ll be my insurance.

 grades pending/unknown

Decisions about the application

To me, Oxford and Cambridge offer the best degrees you can get in the UK, I guess.

Cambridge don’t offer my course. My school took the year group on a residential to Cambridge at the start of Year 12 and I didn’t like it that much.

I knew I wanted to do Philosophy, because I see nothing more important in life than to study approaches towards understanding the essence of life itself. If that makes sense. I chose PhilThe because I’ve always been interested in the concept of God and its impact on the world, also it’s fun to say ‘PhilThe’.

I actually initially applied to Worcester College, because it has a lake and a lovely Theology tutor. I got pooled to SPC and I’m rather pleased about that – it doesn’t have a lake, but it does have squirrels, and lovely Philosophy and Theology tutors.

Preparation

yes

One mock philosophy interview with ‘Oxbridge Applications’ many months in advance – Then about a month in advance my form tutor gave me a mock philosophy interview. Grilling, traumatising, intellectually exhausting, very useful.

Oxbridge Applications – NOT WORTH IT. The school advised us to pay £35 so we could come listen to talks by the company, and have mock interviews, but to me this interview was not especially helpful. Just read stuff independently. If you’re taking (Philosophy and) Theology, don’t worry if you don’t take RS, it’s not necessary at all.

Interview

no

yes

Had to submit two essays, I submitted an English Lit one and a Music one.

yes

One hour philosophy test. It was dreadful.

Three interviews at Worcester – two Theology, which seemed to go okay, and one Philosophy, which went so badly I wanted to jump out of the (ground floor) window halfway through. Two at SPC, one Theology and one Philosophy, and both were okay. The SPC Philosophy one was actually quite fun, the tutor was like Stephen Fry, immensely cool.

At the first Worcester Theology one, they gave me an (incredibly long) essay to read, to comment on in the second interview, like a mock tutorial. Uhh, when I left the Worcester Philosophy one, I exclaimed to my friend, “That was AWFUL!” The door was still open. Don’t do this. 😛

Theology – questions on written work. Analyse these three sections from the Gospels. Comment on this essay you’ve read. Do you think a focus on ‘religious studies’ is important in Theology? Why didn’t you take RS? Why don’t you take a Music degree? How do you organise your time? Why Philosophy and Theology? Philosophy – what part of asthetics interests you? Is an isolated minor chord ‘sad’? Is moral objectivity real or feasible? What did you find interesting about this book on your Personal Statement? Stuff on Utilitarianism, and Kant, different moral approaches and that sort. And then stuff on Hume.

Just regular clothes really, wore jeans one day but they weren’t blue, they were black. Didn’t make much of an effort to be honest.

Impressions

Worcester – lovely, and massive. SPC – also lovely, not as pretty but quite cool. We visited a ton of others. Magdalen – beautiful. Merton – bit odd. Hertford – okay, pretty cool. Corpus Christi – off-putting ’cause there wasn’t any grass when we walked in. Hmmm can’t remember others.

Worcester had really good accommodation, en-suite, kitchens nearby.

S’aaaaite.

Really nice and welcoming.

Absolutely lovely, very willing to help out and get you organised when another college says they want to interview you.

Final stage

Ugggh. I can barely remember now, to be honest, but it was terrible I’m sure. Just didn’t know what to expect.

My mother texted me (I’d asked her to open my Oxford mail if she got it when I was out), and I screamed at the bus stop, hahaha… luckily the tons of people around were people I knew.

Looking back

Yes.

You probably don’t need to read as much as your school is telling you you do. Think about why you’re unique, as opposed to just like any other applicant. Make sure you really love your course, and the idea of studying it intensely for three/four years. Remember Oxbridge isn’t for everyone, if you don’t like the idea of attending Oxford or Cambridge don’t apply. I’d thoroughly recommend it myself, though.