Have I been shortlisted?Towards the end of November or in early December you will receive an email or a letter indicating whether or not you have been invited for interview. Please note you may not receive this email or letter until a week before the interviews are due to take place. If you have been invited, the letter will include practical details of your interview and further information.
Please note that you will probably be interviewed at the college to which you applied, or the college to which you were allocated, if you made an open application. However, in some cases your application may be referred to another college. This can happen if a college is significantly oversubscribed for your subject that year, and will be made clear in the letter inviting you to interview. In some subjects all candidates will automatically be interviewed at a second college. For other subjects, you may be offered the opportunity to have an interview at a second or even a third college. This does not necessarily mean that you will not be offered a place at the first college.
Cambridge interview dates have been out for a week or two. Oxford have sent out some rejections, but are infuriatingly late in telling you when you are wanted for interview. You may be panicking but the text below is taken from their website - you should hear any day now:
And here's a link to the timetable again: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate_courses/how_to_apply/interviews/interview_timetable.html
University applications figures are out. They make for interesting reading. Numbers are down, but the top end (courses asking for ABB and above) will be as competitive as ever. I wonder how many more Unis will be forced to scrap courses? Check out the Guardian article on this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/nov/28/university-applications-uk-students-down-ucas
Getting ready for your interview at Oxford or Cambridge?
A few things to remember:
1. Revise your AS an A2 work: as a bare minimum you should feel comfortable talking about the work you have already covered, should know the key concepts from the syllabus and should be ready to explore any works you claim to have studied for your A levels.
2. Re-read your personal statement! You may have written it a couple of months ago, but if you said you read Plato's Republic or Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal you'd better be able to prove it. Anything you claim familiarity with in a personal statement should be a nice, easy way for the interviewers to get you started. Make sure it is.
3. Make sure you are reading something NOW and are prepared to talk about that too. A novel, a science book, history, the Economist, the New Scientist, just show you are engaging with a world beyond Facebook updates of your best friend pouting in a nightclub.
4. Make eye contact. Shake hands.
6. Think before you answer.
7. If you don't understand a question, don't be afraid to ask for clarification.
8. When you've finished answering, don't feel you have to keep talking until they interrupt. Say your piece then stop.
9. They are testing your ability to argue logically and coherently: if you find you've changed your mind as a result of the direction of questioning, that's OK - say so. Don't just cave in the moment they challenge you, but on the other hand, if you do modify your position in the face of overwhelming argument, that's OK, it shows you're intellectually flexible and teachable.
10 GOOD LUCK
See the link below for sample questions for a range of subjects from Oxford.
We know…writing the Personal Statement is hard, and maybe starting in a punchy way is the hardest thing of all. It might help to know what others tend to use - try to be a little bit original, but also just try to keep it authentic: don't use long words and be something you aren't: speak from the heart about why you actually want to study the subject. Remember that you are applying for a job: the job of being a really good student for some of the top academics in the country who absolutely love their subjects. Having said that, there are some seriously stale phrases that just make Admissions tutors yawn. Here are some from an article in the Telegraph (full article here) that draws on material provided by UCAS itself:
Top 10 most overused personal statement opening sentences
1. I am currently studying a BTEC National Diploma in ... (used 464 times)
2. From a young age I have always been interested in ... (309 times)
3. From an early age I have always been interested in ... (292 times)
4. Nursing is a very challenging and demanding career ... (275 times)
5. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated with ... (196 times)
6. "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only” ... (189 times)
7. Nursing is a profession I have always looked upon with ... (178 times)
8. For as long as I can remember I have been interested in ... (166 times)
9. I am an International Academy student and have been studying since ... (141 times)
10. Academically, I have always been a very determined and ... (138 times)
Reproduced from the 'Ucas Guide to Getting into University and College' with permission of Ucas - available from www.ucasbooks.co.uk
Need help with polishing your PS?
Straight from the horse's mouth:
'in the future it will be easier for independent school pupils to access our courses' - the horse being a spokesman for Scotland's universities, clearly not impressed by the skills-based approach of the Curriculum for Excellence.
Some good news for Scottish students too: the astonishingly mean maintenance loans available until now (falling to £916 a year if you earn more than around £40,000) has from next academic year been changed to a right to all, regardless of parental income, to a loan of £4500. Better than nothing, and more in line with the arrangements south of the border, though Scots will have to start repayments as soon as they earn just shy of £16,000, unlike their English fellow students who don't start repaying until they earn £22,000.
Talk of the AAB+, now ABB+ and the potential for this to be dropped further in subsequent years creating a market free-for-all was interesting. For those not familiar with this scheme the implications for students are best summarised as follows:
Applicants to English unis: get ABB or the equivalent and you will be treated much more favourably this year by universities as their funding arrangements favour you over less high-achieving applicants.
This does not help the scots however: if you can afford it and can satisfy the residency requirements you have a much better chance of getting a place by being an English resident. Remember the cost of tuition is not up front - many students and their families think it's debt - it isn't really it's a tax, which you only repay if you earn over the threshold. Your chances of landing the big job are greater if you have been to the right university and studied the right course.
Don't make educational decisions based on money or parental pressure: choose the university and the finance will work out longer term.
Get me into Uni Blog
Regular updates on everything to do with Higher Education: from live updates from UCAS conferences to timely reminders of deadlines and interview tips.