Q.What should you put in your personal statement?
A.Write why you’re interested in a subject and a couple of areas that particularly interest you, whether this be on your syllabus or beyond, and show that you’ve taken your interest further than what you studied at school:I wrote about a visit to Westminster Abbey, for example. If you want to study it, you should be interested, so just be honest about why you enjoy a subject.
Q.What should you read?
A.For history, it’s likely that the area that interests you most isn’t what you’re studying for A-level; it wasn’t for me so read around anything you fancy and expand on a subject area you particularly like. If you wanted, you could look at the course website and pick a module you like the sound of and pick a book of the reading list.
Q.What is the best thing about Oxbridge?
A.The opportunity to do so much – it really becomes your home after three years.
Q.How much work do you have to do a week?
A.It varies by subject- for history it’s one or two essays a week, with two tutorials or a class. Scientists will have labs and problem sheets, but whatever the workload it really is manageable- you work hard, but you get into the routine of doing it and have lots of time for sports/activities/general playing.
Q.Was it hard to make friends?
A.The college system means you easily meet lots of people in every year, and teams/social events means you get to know other years well and other colleges.
Q.What were you most worried about?
A.I was worried about that I would have too much work to have fun, and that I’d feel like I was at boarding school- completely wrong on both counts.
Q.Why did you apply?
A.I liked the idea of the college system, so thought I might as well apply and see how it went.
Q.How can you prepare for interview?
A.Look over your personal statement to see what you said, then just think over what your view is on things you’ve read or studied – they asked me what I thought about a subject linked to the sample of worked I’d sent in. Don’t feel like you have to go cramming stuff, it’s not that sort of a test.
Q.How do you prepare for the History Admissions Test?
A.I just looked over work I’d done and thought about it thematically, as that’s the way the questions were- have a look at a sample paper just so you know what the format is, and think how the questions link to stuff you’ve studied.
Q.How did you choose our college?
A.By the time you’ve gone round so many colleges on an open day they all start to look and sound the same- to be honest, it was sunny when I looked round, I liked the lay out of the college and the girl who showed me round was really nice. If there’s anything that particularly bothers you, like accommodation or sports, then ask about those.
Q.What grades were you offered?
A.Three As. We were the first year to be able to get A*s so most Universities weren’t including them in offers
Q.What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone thinking about applying/applying?
A.Just go for it – the worst that can happen is you don’t get in, and if you’re really bothered there’s nothing to stop you trying again if you want to- don’t get yourself worked up as you’ll do much better if you’re not fretting.