Application

 Oxford

 St John’s

 Theology

 2008

 pooled, offer made (Lady Margaret Hall)

Applicant

 A-levels

 pre-qualification

 home

 N/A

 Comprehensive School

I applied during my gap year. Although I already had A levels, I’m taking exams during my year out to get my grades up. I said “pre-qualification” because I still have to get another A.

 yes (3 A*,4 A,1 B)

A-levels

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

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

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

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

Advanced Extension Awards

(predicted NA; gained Merit)

Details about the offer

 conditional

A, in physics or mathematics.

no

Track hasn’t been updated yet, but I will accept the offer when it has.

N/A

Decisions about the application

I applied to Oxbridge because I wanted to be stretched academically. The tutorial system is invaluable.

I was a reapplicant from Cambridge. As it happened, I ended up wanting to study a fairly traditional theology course, and so the Oxford course was perfect.

Theology is what I’m passionate about. Although I didn’t take it at A level, I had completed another course in it, and I found it interesting and enjoyable.

I chose St John’s because I was a choral award applicant, and I liked the choir at St John’s.

Preparation

no

Make sure you are comfortable talking about your personal statement and any written work submitted, as they could ask you about any aspect of it. Other than that, there is little you can do to prepare, as all Oxbridge interviews are different.

Interview

no

yes

I had to submit two essays, one of which had to be marked homework.

no

The tutors were very nice, but I was extremely nervious in my interviews at St John’s, and I felt sure I’d messed it up. As a result I was much more relaxed in my interview at LMH, and I ended up enjoying it thoroughly.

In my first interview, I was asked general questions relating to theology, and a reasonable amount of knowledge from A level RS was required (although they tailor it to the applicant). I had to prepare work for my second interview, and as a result it was much more like a typical ‘tutorial’. My pooled interview was much more general, as the tutor had barely looked over my application beforehand.

A coat, jeans, and black plimsoles. I was told that it was unnecessary to dress formally, and it was cold, so I wore what I would have worn on any other day.

Impressions

St John’s was very big and pretty, and the people seemed friendly enough. I didn’t get a chance to see LMH as my interview was in a building outside the college.

My room was huge. It had two separate sections: one with a bed, wardrobe and sink, and one with a desk and fridge. There appeared to be one bathroom and shower between four. The accommodation was a lot more modern than the rest of the college.

We had cafeteria-style meals in the hall. The food was decent.

One of the interviewers was the tutor from St John’s, and the other was the tutor from Merton. They were both keen to make us feel as relaxed as possible. The tutor from LMH was nice too, and he seemed more keen to challenge me in the interview. I felt he pushed me further.

Final stage

I wasn’t particularly hopeful, although I really wanted an offer.

An envelope came through the letter box with Lady Margaret Hall’s stamp on the front. As it wasn’t from my chosen college, I knew it must be an offer. I was pleased, as after my experiences at interviews I wanted an offer from LMH.

Looking back

Whether or not you happen to be interviewed by a tutor who would want to teach you for three years is largely down to luck. All you can do is read around the subject and make sure your application shows that you are passionate about your subject.