My name’s Elsie McLaughlin, and this October I’ll be beginning my first year studying Egyptology at Oxford! As an international student (applying from the United States), for me the application and interview process for Oxford was especially involved and difficult, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life.
I’ve pretty much been in love with ancient Egypt ever since I was four years old, so one thing that really appealed to me about studying in the UK was the fact that students have to choose and commit to their course right when they apply to university. In the U.S., it’s a little different, with the first two or so years of a four-year BA degree dedicated to prerequisites like math, science, English, history, etc. many of which more often than not are completely unrelated to the subject the student is studying.
I really began to seriously consider studying at Oxford about three years ago, when I was reading an Egyptology book by one of my favorite Egyptologists, Joyce Tyldesley. In the back of the book, the “About the Author” section mentioned that she had studied at Oxford, and after further research I found that (obviously) University of Oxford is one of the best places to study Egyptology and ancient history in the world. I went to an information session in Boston hosted by the University, and from then on started to prepare for the application process.
Last June, I had the opportunity to travel to Oxford for the Open Days, where I got to tour the city, some of the colleges, and the university’s facilities, as well as to meet and sit down with some of Oxford’s Egyptology professors and students (who were all absolutely lovely, and ended up being the same tutors who interviewed me!). It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, and essentially cemented my plans to apply to Oxford in the fall.
More on Elsie's application experience in the next post...