Lots of our A Level students who have just confirmed their Oxford offers have been writing up their application journeys for you guys! Grace is up first sharing her experience of being offered a place at New College:
Hi, I’m Grace from Shropshire and I will be studying Experimental Psychology at New College this year, which I can’t quite believe.
My Oxford application started rather late in comparison to many other applicants at my school, who had been focused on going to Oxford University for some time. When applying was first suggested to me, I was shocked as it was never something I thought I could do. I also questioned what the point of applying was. I hadn’t been preparing for years like other people and I wasn’t familiar with what the entrance exams and interviews would involve, so surely, I wouldn’t be successful. Despite this, I decided to give it a go and apply, to learn from the experience, if nothing else.
I was struggling to choose a college due to the huge variety the University offers, so after narrowing down a list from colleges that taught my subject, I created a ‘Battle of the Colleges’ elimination chart to simplify the process. I picked one college from two columns to eliminate and one college to go forward into the next round based on the facilities and my preferences, until I settled on my final choice of The Queens College.
In hindsight I’d say don’t worry too much about college choices as in my experience, everyone ends up loving whatever college they go to because all colleges are friendly and supportive. You can’t really go wrong.
One of the most important things I have learnt through the application process is that you don’t need to have been practicing months and have trained to even have a shot at an offer. The best thing to do is to make sure you feel comfortable with the format of the entrance exams and interviews, and try your best. My sixth form was very helpful and marked all the practice tests I had submitted which gave me an idea of what to expect.
I had been told that Interviews were scary, however, despite them being difficult, I found the experience manageable and at times enjoyable. It helped to remind myself that the interviewers were people just like me and to treat the interviews as an opportunity to talk with Academics who have a passion for the same subject as I do.
I had interviews with The Queens College and New College and came out very unsure as to how they went. In the end my offer came from New College which, although was not my initial first choice, was a college that turned out to really suit me. As much as it is difficult, I would say try not to dwell on how the interviews went, as they aren’t the only part of your application that the University considers.
In conclusion, I think the best advice I can offer is to give it a go and apply, amazing things could happen!