By Amy Ellis Winter
Congratulations! You’ve just been offered a place at Oxford University, but wait, you shouldn’t have been accepted?
I can guarantee you that (after the initial excitement wears away) the vast majority of students at Oxford gain a case of imposter syndrome in one way or another. Constant thoughts of feeling unintelligent, unprepared, or even that the system must have gotten your name mixed up with someone else, are among the most common thoughts for offer holders to experience. Whilst for most people these thoughts tend to fade over time, it can feel overwhelming in the moment, and it is best to tackle these feelings early on so as to ease the anxiety of exams and ensure that by Michaelmas Term you are going to Oxford with a positive mindset.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that you’re feeling this way but there are practical things that you can do to make it easier for yourself.
Sometime during the summer you’ll be sent a reading list for your subject by your tutors. Familiarising yourself with this as soon as possible will ensure that there are no alien texts or surprises first term and help you get over any essay crises quicker! Furthermore, some colleges are fully catered so there’s no need to worry about cooking – and most will send you out a list of things to bring with you.
Doubting your ability?
You’ve already done the hard part – making it through the application process – which is a huge testament to your abilities! The majority of students at Oxford are used to being at the top of their class so when you’re all put together in one room you can suddenly feel quite inferior. By remembering that this is a time to further your knowledge and seeing your biggest competitor as yourself as opposed to your course mates, you’ll feel more confident in your abilities and value the opportunity to grow as opposed to feeling self-conscious.
They chose the wrong person?
The system doesn’t make mistakes! Not only have you been interviewed by tutors, but the University admissions team and your college admissions office, pay great attention to detail and know for sure that they want you. If Oxford was solely about meeting the required grades, then they would have a much higher acceptance rate, but there are so many more factors in play. Oxford are looking for people who have a great passion for their subject, who are original thinkers and who can be taught and thrive in this environment – all of which you have proven to them over the past few months.
It may take a while for the realisation of receiving an offer to kick in but remember,
Oxford wants you!