By Florence Hassall
Now that you have the offer – and congratulations! – I know the stress you are under to prepare, and there are so many fantastic posts on this blog on a huge array of subjects and colleges, so it’s time to dive in and soak up the advice. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t overwork yourself. Interviews are designed to bring out the best in you, to see your true ability, and stressing yourself out about intensive preparation won’t change the outcome.
However, this is not another list of tips and tricks, but just a plea for interviewees to make the most of their time spent at here – of course, it is intense and stressful, but it is also a chance to get out of school for a few days, meet new people, and explore the beautiful city of Oxford.
Aside from the few hours you will spend in interviews, you will have a lot of free time.
Spending some of it prepping is a good idea, but college representatives – the people looking after you – always put on a whole host of activities to keep you busy. My personal favourite at my interview period at St Anne’s was the pub quiz – a great way to get to know the other interviewees and make some new friends. Make sure you throw yourself into anything offered – it is a great distraction from the stress of your next interview!
Depending on what the college you interview at allows, you will almost definitely get some free time to explore the city. Oxford is a great city for tourism, and there are so many things you can find to do with one Google search, but I would encourage you to also ask the interview helpers for recommendations. Find out their favourite buildings, scenery, even coffee shops in the city and give them a visit, I can guarantee you will find a hidden gem. My recommendation – if the weather is good – is to take a winter walk up to University Parks; it’s a little out of the way of the city, but is much less busy than Christchurch Meadows, and is perfect to ramble around for an hour or two to clear your head.
The point I am trying to make is simple; I know the interview period is stressful, and the temptation is to simply stay in your room, and only emerge for your scheduled interviews, but you are staying in a beautiful city, with so much history, and so much to do, that this time is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of it!