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I pinched myself…

I was literally dining at Hogwarts!

Looking around the grand hall, I had to pinch myself. I had never eaten anywhere like this in my life but if I was offered a place, this would be my dining room. It all felt so surreal.

Dinner at Magdalen, the night before my interview, was quite a tense affair. Some people kept very much to themselves, others were keen to flaunt their knowledge and intimidate the rest of us. You start to realise that everyone deals with nerves in a different way. It’s easy to be overwhelmed but try not to let the other applicants get to you.

After dinner, we moved to the college common room, known as the JCR. Making small talk to the other applicants was just really cringey. The reality was we were all competing against one another. I felt as if they knew everything and I knew nothing.

I decided the best way forward was to retire to my ridiculously nice apartment and get an early night. Though trying to find my room proved trickier than expected. Being so far away out in the deer park meant I completely lost my bearings and wandered around for what seemed like forever before finally stumbling across it.

I crossed all my fingers and toes in the hope that the next day would go well but trying to get to sleep was impossible with such a daunting ordeal ahead…

Top Tips

  • Try not to be intimidated by the other applicants – focus on YOU and take what everyone else says with a pinch of salt.

  • Get an early night and try to switch off from work, staying up all night reading at this stage probably won’t help you.

  • Briefly scan over you notes the next morning to refresh the information before your interview.

  • Every college does things differently; some don’t invite applicants to stay the night before their interviews.

  • Don’t panic if you don’t think you fit in at the college you are sent to, the Oxford ‘Pooling’ system means applicants often end up at the different college from the one they applied to.


Pooling – the system in which applicants are allocated a different college from the one to which they applied.

JCR – stands for Junior Common Room where students get together to socialise.

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