By Adriana Solano-Zarate
Being invited to interview by the University of Oxford can feel daunting and nerve-racking, but the key for excelling in your interview lies in 3 simple steps:
1. Take time to prepare.
2. Know your “why”.
3. Be yourself!
First, if you have gotten to the interview step then you have already dedicated significant time and effort to preparing a detailed application, including essays, standardized tests, documents gathering, etc. The interview is another step in your application and as such should be treated with the same dedication as previous stages. Thus, take your time to prepare, by investigating the type of questions that are commonly asked and practicing your answers. You will find that blogs and public websites will go a long way in giving you a sense of the questions that have been asked in the past; in addition, you can reach out to alumni and current students via LinkedIn and ask them to share their experience, most of them will be happy to give you a hand in your preparation process. Make a list of commonly asked questions and practice your answers, making sure not to memorize them as this could make you sound unauthentic. Preparation will help you feel confident during the interview.
Second, know your “why”: Why do you want to study in the University of Oxford? Why this field of study? These are common questions that you will probably encounter during your investigation in step 1 and are probably the most important ones. Make sure to take your time for an introspection process that allows you to answer truthfully these questions, in a way that conveys your life experience and your future aspirations and demonstrates how this degree will help you bridge the path between them. Having a strong and clear “why” is key to convey confidence and strong motivation in your interview.
Finally, but most importantly, be yourself! Interviewers are searching for academically qualified students, but they are also looking for relatable individuals who will be able to contribute to class discussions and have meaningful interactions with their classmates. Make sure you are authentic and sincere in your interview, and don’t try to answer the questions with what you believe the interviewer wants to hear. Interviewers are expecting unique and sincere answers, so make sure to relax and transmit your personality as part of your interview, always maintaining a professional attitude but making sure it doesn’t come through as forced. Being yourself will be incredibly important in differentiating yourself through your interview. So, remember: prepare, know your why and be yourself, and you will excel in your Oxford interview!