When I left my third interview at Magdalen the tutors were insistent about telling me to check the notice board. I kept checking it throughout the day but my name wasn’t on it. Early evening time the Student Reps were hosting a trip to Ben’s Cookies in the Covered Market. They said anyone who didn’t have another interview could come along, so I joined them.
Can you imagine the panic when I looked at my phone whilst in the queue for my cookies and picked up a voicemail form Jesus College saying that I’d missed my interview?
‘But how? I don’t understand? I kept checking the board,’ I said down the phone.
‘Get yourself to Jesus asap,’ the academic officer said.
I literally felt like bursting into tears but held myself together and ran to find one of the student reps. Luckily Jesus was just around the corner. We legged it there and ran straight up to the academic office.
‘I’m so sorry,’ I said to the office staff. ‘Magdalen said they didn’t receive any information about this interview.’
The student rep had called Magdalen. They’d assured me it wasn’t my fault, as it hadn’t been put on the notice board.
As you can imagine, I was feeling pretty stressed by this point but now had another interview to get through…
Check the boards- even though this wasn’t my fault, it highlighted the importance of checking the boards. Interviews can be put up at any time of the day. You may think you’re about to be sent home, when suddenly another one pops up.
This process is referred to as the Oxford Pooling System
There are a limited number of places in each college. I think Madgalen were taking 8 pupils for English in my year; if they felt applicants were Oxford material but couldn’t fit them in at their college they might recommend them to another.
Equally applicants supposedly get sent to other colleges as a sort of check, to allow other tutors to confirm they are worthy of a place.
This means lots of applicants get into a different college to the one they applied to. Sometimes they get into one they have interviewed at or sometimes one they have never been to before.
At the end of the interview process some colleges will be oversubscribed and others won’t have filled all their places, so you may end up getting into a college you have never been to before or may not even find out which college you are going to until results day.