I Got In!

By Flora

Hi, I’m Flora from Wiltshire, and I have just been offered a place to study Classics at Univ, with a choral scholarship. I actually applied for the joint course of Classics and English, and it’s understandable that I was turned down for this: English is definitely my weakest A-Level, and Univ has never had a Classics and English student! I’d known for a long time that I wanted to do classics, and that I wanted to go to Oxford. Over the summer I wrote the first draft of my personal statement, and applied online for the choral scholarship. This meant that I had to pick a college quite early on, and I found that the statistics available online were really useful. Google things like “college success rates” and you can then sort through colleges by subject, too. When I got back to school in September I had discussions about my personal statement. I showed it to my tutor, a couple of teachers, and the head of sixth form (herself a classicist and Oxford alumna). I did make some bold statements (which came up in the interview!) but just went very specific in why and what I love in my subjects. Then, I did the choral scholarship. Thankfully Oxford does them early, so they were out of the way and I could focus on the admissions tests. I submitted my UCAS a few weeks before the deadline too, so that wasn’t something I really had to stress about. My school put on really good preparation for the tests. We did one practice paper a week from September until half term (I say one paper, I mean half- either the Latin of the Greek section in the enormous exam). I had to sit two, the CAT and the ELAT, and I didn’t have so much preparation for the English, due to the tragic death of one of my English teachers, which understandably shook up everything. In November I had an email back from my college inviting me to interview. I had to do four- two for classics, and two for English. At this point I also had to fill in a form saying I’d like to be considered for the single honours courses instead of the joint; thankfully I said I would! The interviews were fun. You’re spending a decent amount of time with experts, talking about subjects you all love. I didn’t come out feeling very confident in my performance, but I wasn’t completely traumatised. Interestingly, of the other people I know who got offers, most of them also had fun in the interviews. So to summarise:

  • Write a draft of your personal statement (however rudimentary) early. Just get the words down.

  • Prepare for the tests! Just do little and often.

  • Relax about the interviews. Know what you’re talking about, don’t be cocky, but you CAN enjoy them!

And try not to worry if you’re turned down. I know many completely brilliant students who didn’t get in, but it depends on so much: statement, UCAS, tests, interviews, interviewers, other applicants, course, college... it’s not a reflection on your intelligence.