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Oxbridge too far (continued) - shadows of echoes of memories of songs — LiveJournal
Oxbridge too far (continued)
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qatsi From: qatsi Date: November 16th, 2008 09:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
None of us had had much idea how to choose Colleges ... One girl decided that she was going to rule out any with a religious name because she was an atheist. To be honest, it was no worse a strategy than any that the rest of us adopted.

The college I went to [Queen's] gave us a questionnaire about our time there for interview. The first question was "I chose Queen's ..." with about a dozen different answers. The first option was "with a pin", which I think rather sums up the proces unless you happen to come from a background where there is a history of selecting certain colleges. (Though there was no history of applications to Oxford from my comprehensive school - a stone's throw in space and a number of years in time from the infamous Laura Spence case - and I quite truthfully picked "because of its traditional connections with the North of England".)

As for the interview itself, I recall afterwards that among the physicists there seemed to be two groups of people: those who "thought it had gone OK" (including me) and those who didn't. The other thing that emerged was that those who hadn't taken the entrance exam were presented a 1-hour test prior to interview, with the more difficult questions from the paper. Ouch!

I remember the "notice boards" and their importance, and at the appointed hour I left, because my name was not on any list. Just as well they didn't want me back, as it was a 5-hour train journey back home.

I would have gone to Birmingham if I had not got into Oxford; I preferred it to Manchester, which felt as if it had an atmosphere of Oxbridge rejects. In the end, as I had already taken A-level Maths in the Lower Sixth, I got a "one E" offer.

Edited at 2008-11-16 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: bibliogirl Date: November 17th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC) (Link)
I had taken one A-level by the point at which I got my Oxford offer, but for reasons too long and dull to go into here, I had taken it twice, and Oxford gave me an unconditional offer. Quite what they'd've done had I failed all the rest of the A-levels and thus not had enough to actually matriculate, I have no idea...
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