Dear Oxbridge Applicants...
The interview may seem daunting, but it is an exciting opportunity to chat with experts in their field about a subject that you love. The conversation will usually involve a gentle start, briefly discussing what sparked your interest in your subject or college you chose. Most of the conversation, though, will consist of a series of questions that push you to think outside the box. Tutors are looking for an ability to think critically and out loud, and an enthusiasm and true passion for the subject. They are also trying to identify students that they describe as ‘teachable’: those who can adapt quickly to new information, take on criticism effectively, and think in new ways.
Subject-knowledge beyond A-level (or equivalent) is not expected. But, having a well-rounded understanding of your subject area, and a few exciting areas of interest unique to you will really boost your Oxbridge application.
This is where OxPods comes in! Our podcasts are a great way to expand your subject-knowledge beyond the classroom, giving you exciting topics to discuss in both your personal statement and in your interviews. OxPods will open your ears to a vast range of topics, spanning from niche to broad, currently across 5 channels: Human Sciences, PPE, Natural Sciences, History, and English. You can travel across the world, exploring “Life uncertainty in Mexico” or “Language policy and the nation in East Africa”. You can time travel, delving into “The twelfth century renaissance” or “The future of antibiotics”. OxPods even pushes you to delve deep within yourself, to understand “Microbiomes and Host Niche colonisation”. There are nuggets of knowledge in every episode that will take your subject understanding to the next level.
OxPods are also hugely valuable as each episode consists of a conversation between a student and a professor at the University of Oxford. You will hear perspectives and stories directly from professors that could teach you one day, and the students you might one day become, showing you the thinking-styles tutors are looking for during your interview.
Welcome to OxPods, and happy listening!
When applying to university, it can feel like there are huge expectations to have buckets of knowledge, to be worldly, to be up to date with the goings on in your subject. The first place you can showcase your awareness and understanding is in your personal statement—a 4000-word first-glance your tutors will have of who you are as a person and your wider academic interests. It’s great to talk about books, articles, and podcasts that you’ve explored before applying to university in this personal statement. For Oxbridge applications specifically, submitting your UCAS application is not the end of the application process. In fact, the bulk of your application is yet to come in the form of the Oxbridge interview.
Throughout November and early December, you can expect to hear back from your choice of college, letting you know whether you have been invited for an interview. If you have, this is a huge achievement in itself, so congratulations!
In mid-December, the interview process will start. Your interview will take place online and will involve a conversation with the tutors that teach your subject at the college that you applied to study at. You may also have a second interview at a different college a few days or weeks later.