By Lucy Mercer
When you’re preparing for your Oxford interview you are naturally focusing on the interview itself. Of course - it’s a big deal and the reason you’re in Oxford in the first place. However, the interviews themselves take up a small percentage of the overall time you’ll spend in the city. For me (History) I had 3 x 20 minute interviews spread over 3 days. So that leaves a lot of spare time. Some of that time you might want to spend going over your personal statement / brushing up on your submitted essay / revising A Level content etc for your interviews. Some of the time you might be busy doing things put on by the college. I very much recommend going to these if you feel like it - at my college (New College) they included ice cream trips, movie nights and quizzes. They’re an easy way to meet the applicants also interviewing at your college and the interview shepherds are very friendly and helpful.
I personally enjoyed getting to see the city a bit. Oxford is a popular tourist spot for a reason, and especially with the Christmas trees and lights it’s very charming. (And it provides great insta content…)
So here are some free/inexpensive things to do in Oxford whilst you’re here:
1. Go and visit other colleges! They’re within very easy walking distance of each other and should let you in for free if you say you’re an interview candidate / prospective student. It’s a great opportunity to have a nose around.
2. Check out a museum - Pitt Rivers is possibly my favourite - it’s based on anthropology and has a really vibrant collection. The Ashmolean, Natural History Museum and History of Science Museum are also super interesting. Fun fact: at the end of one of my interviews the tutor casually asked me what I’d been up to in Oxford so I name dropped a museum I’d visited - I’m sure it won me cultural capital points!
3. Clear your head with a walk around some of Oxford’s lovely green spaces - University Parks and Christ Church Meadows are very central, and a bit further out Port Meadow and South Parks are also tranquil and scenic. For around £5 you can also visit the gorgeous Botanic Gardens.
4. Have a browse of the Covered Market or Gloucester Green market if it’s on (Wednesday - Saturday) They’re not the standard chain shops and eateries you get at home and sell all sorts of quaint things. Your host college usually provides you with meals but these are great for a little pick me up snack!
Ultimately what you do with your time (apart from you scheduled interviews!!!) is completely up to you - if you want to stay in your room, if you want to get involved in what is put on by the college interview shepherds, if you want to get out and about and be a tourist - it’s your choice. Interviews can be intense and disorienting so it’s important you spend your time in a way that will make you feel as comfortable and content as possible!