Going up to Oxford for my interview was both amazing and nerve-wracking – luckily, I was only up there for a day so I got a fantastic taste of what it was like there without too much stress!
Before I went up for my interview, I had no idea what was going to happen so I would have appreciated something like this to help me prepare, or at least to set some expectations! I hope this is useful, and even if you don’t get in, you should be proud of everything you’ve done 🙂
I knew that I would only be going up for a day, and I knew that I only had 2 interviews (at two different colleges) so I was lucky in that respect – one of my friends who applied for Classics and Modern Languages had to go up for 6 days and had no idea when she would get called for interview!
I wore a pair of black boots, jeans, a long-sleeved striped t-shirt and a black leather jacket. I brought a large hoodie and a snood as I was warned that the old buildings would be badly insulated and cold!
I took the bus up from Victoria. It was cheaper and faster and took me right to the door of my college, so thoroughly recommend 🙂
Took the usual stuff for an overnight stay – pjs, underwear, toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shower gel, shower cap) and a pair of flip flops. Pack light – you will probably have to lug your suitcase up many flights of stairs!
I’d also recommend bringing some stuff to do – you will get a fair bit of free time.
I got allocated a room in the college that I applied to. It was a really lovely room, with a piano, a bedroom and a study room!
The only bad thing about this room was that it was at the top of the 4-storey staircase – and the bathroom was in the basement. So every time I needed the loo, I had to go all the way downstairs and all the way back up…
Also, the shower that I used was aimed at my head. Being short probably doesn’t help.
The food was served in the hall in the college. It was pretty good – for dinner, we were served chicken with potatoes, vegetables and gravy. There was a fruit crumble for dessert, but the students took us out for ice cream at G&D’s afterwards anyway!
Breakfast and lunch were served canteen-style: there was a nice full English breakfast, and lunch consisted of a choice between spaghetti and (burnt) noodles. Otherwise the food was pretty good!
Stuff I Did
At my college, the student helpers organised activities for each evening that are optional – when I was there, we went for ice cream at G&D’s followed by a ‘film night’ which consisted of watching Planet Earth II (if you haven’t seen it yet, I thoroughly recommend it! It’s probably too late to watch it on catch-up, but I’m sure you’ll find a way. WATCH IT)
Other nights, they did things like ‘murder mystery’, etc.
In between interviews, I had hours of free time that I spent chatting to other applicants for all sorts of courses from physics to medicine to my own course, materials science.
I also met up with a couple of my other friends who happened to be in Oxford for their interviews too. We visited the Christmas Market and the Covered Market and just generally wandered around Oxford! It was a bit rainy so we didn’t go outside for too long…
I visited the Materials Department and chatted with a couple of the lecturers, and they took us on a tour of the building.
The interview times were all up on the notice boards around the college, which was very handy, as well as the walking times to other colleges. The students walked everyone to their interviews so that they wouldn’t get lost!
The interviewers were all very lovely and although it was a bit stressful, I found it quite fun speaking to the people who are working on the cutting-edge of science. These interviews are probably the most interesting interviews you’ll get in your career, so definitely make the most of them!
They mostly followed my personal statement, so I definitely recommend reading around it.
Have you ever been to Oxford? What was it like? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. Update – I got in!!! Super super happy, Oxford is my dream university… Now I’ve just got to meet the grades