Oxford interviews and overnight stay(189 Posts)
DD has applied to Oxford university and if she is lucky enough to be offered an interview is worried she may have to stay at the college for up to 3 days by herself. Please could someone let me know how this works? DD has suggested that I travel with her and stay in a b&b so that she can meet me when she has finished her interview(s). Any advice would be gratefully received.
She wouldn't be by herself. The colleges all ensure that there are current students around to look after the interviewees, there are some organised activities and there will other applicants there too. My son was there for three days when he had his interview - I think, it's a few years ago now - and it was all absolutely fine. Apart from anything else, I suspect it was when he made up his mind that he would be really happy to go there. It's rare to get such an insight into a place you might end up spending three or four years.
Is there a reason she isn't comfortable about travelling and/or staying there on her own?
Accommodation and meals provided by the college - remind her it's a great opportunity to do a 'test run' as a student to see if she likes it there - she'll have a very different experience with you there with her! She would, presumably, be living there in less than a year if she gets in, so this could be a good time to start thinking more independently; ie going on her own!
Remind her that the whole three days is the interview.
Thank you everyone for your helpful replies. We are both unaware as to how the days would be structured and dd was worried that after the interview she would be left to wander the streets by herself with lots of time to kill. Now that she knows there will be arrangements in place, will be fine as she travels independently and is happy to join in with any activities.
My school teacher told me to bring a book and a hot water bottle! I certainly took a book but can't remember whether the hottie came with me.
Current students stay up to look after the interview candidates, and there's lots of stuff arranged to keep them occupied. Good luck to her!
Hot Water bottle depends on the college and which "Quad" they put you in. Although at my old college even the historic Quads could be toasty, although a coat or thick cardigan to use going between places is a good idea. Sensible walking shoes are essential - especially if she gets an interview at a college at some distance from her primary one.
If she gets a chance she should pop into the Pitt Rivers museum. (If she was applying for Anthropology, then requesting this would be an essential I would think.)
OP DS2 and DS3 (last year and the year before) were both there for five days, unusually, even though only three were scheduled for their subject (history), so that could scupper any B&B idea at the outset. They only got about four days notice of the early call up. There is actually a significant amount of slack time even for a three day stint so the colleges advise bringing school work and books. Much of the time is spent hanging around with other interviewees, or school friends, but some kids like to get away from what can be a quite tense atmosphere in college. For any relatively independent soul there's masses to do though, between Christmas shops, museums, walks in the Parks or ChristChurch Meadows. The evenings are taken care of in terms of activities as others have said, it's the days that can be long. With some subjects/ colleges she'll be given prep for the interviews to do too, so she'll need time for that.
DS1 spent the night before his second medicine interview wrestling with an over enthusiastic heating system which refused to cool down or stop banging, and a window which refused to open, possibly because it was right on the High Street. So I'd counsel an ice bag as much as a hottie.
Why do they stay there for so long? DD has applied for Medicine (currently waiting for BMAT results) and the planned interview dates they give are listed as a 26 hour slot, which seems over precise, if anything, to me. If she gets an interview, could she end up there for days and days instead of 26 hours?
Are the applicants judged for the whole time they're there i.e. do the current students report back to tutors about their opinions of their charges?
Interviews are spread out because it's a logistical nightmare to sort out.
Admissions staff are ludicrously busy (generally) and many many differing schedules need to be accommodated.
That said, I do think the process could do with an overhaul. It needs to be made more efficient, not just for applicants but for staff too. But I won't old my breath...
In the meantime, accommodation/meals/activities are offered. But no one should feel they have to stay in college. Some applicants come in only for interviews.
LessStress she won't stay more than the time allotted for medicine. Medicine is much more controlled by the department and more structured, so once she's done her second college she'll be free to go - there's no pooling in the way there is for some other subjects.
The two sons I mentioned were there unusually long, but that college simply made a decision to call some people early so that it could interview more people than they could manage in the usual three day time span.
My elder kids have all been interview helpers and have very definitely been asked about candidates. That's not to say their opinion influenced any decision at all, it must be very peripheral at most - perhaps just confirming what a tutor thought about something. Probably wise not to be too much of a pain while you're there, even so. You know, don't get wrecked, don't weep too much, don't proposition a tutor, that kind of thing.
When I went through it more than 20 years ago (but this is Oxford, so I really doubt much has changed) there was a lot of hanging around, which I filled by talking endlessly to other interviewees. I made some great friends, and felt really ready for student life. We were all in the same boat, all needing some distraction from the pressure.
My DD was very chilly in the night!
She had a good time though and it made a big difference to her decision to go.
She was a bit glum because day three was her 18th birthday and the student helpers bought her a little present and spoke to the administration staff off their own bats and fixed it for her only to stay two nights, which was so kind!
DD spent a bit of her thinking time at the botanical gardens - the indoor bits are very romantic (and lots to see at the moment) and reminded her of watching Lewis with her mum and dad (apparently).
Yes thick PJs and thin ones too. College rooms can be boiling hot or freezing cold. I was frozen for 3 days.
The three days will be packed with interviews and activities and sightseeing and her feet will not touch the ground if she makes the effort. Take a book for night time reading and she can always text you. Don't forget the phone charger.
College rooms have internet access now so if she has a laptop she might want to take that but have a lockable case for when she is not in the room.
Tell her to enjoy it. Try to walk outside and get some fresh air. Get a map of the town centre. Explore a bit.
Happiest four years of my life spent at Oxford. Fingers crossed for her.
Figment - The front door to DS's accommodation was on a Lewis episode this series. I am trying not to let the fame go to my head...
IIRC a friend of Ds, who was asked to arrive earlier in the day than DS (different college), was done and dusted by that evening. One interview about half an hour after he arrived and one at about 6pm. He had to wait around to see if he was invited to another college for interview but certainly minimal time for nerves.
No advice on room temperature I am afraid, but DS certainly found the student helpers really friendly and , well, helpful. Apart from her arranged interviews she just needs to make sure the knows when and where other college invitations will be posted in case she is invited. Obviously there is going to be some apprehension but my impression from DS is that they did everything they could to make the experience as stress free and enjoyable as possible. Fingers crossed for you for getting an interview.
The front door to DS's accommodation was on a Lewis episode this series.
Morse died in my college quad. Surely the ultimate Oxford claim to fame!
DD3 is in something very recent (could be Morse, could be something else - possibly the Thingummy Club) as a paid extra, smoking by a lamp post. She's showed me but it seemed very foggy. Definitely her though, and worth a few quid for the couple of seconds she was on. So I'll make a bid for vicarious fame too, if I may
I have been out-famed on two counts. I knew I was right to try to keep in in proportion
My son was excited ahead of time, but the whole process actually was not as interesting and entertaining as it could have been. Oxford is a great city to roam around in though; I don't think your daughter would have a hard time enjoying herself outside of college.
Clara, interesting. What would he have preferred over what he experienced ?
Only thing I would add is avoid getting too drunk - the times of second / subsequent interviews can move and she doesn't want to be hungover.
The other students seemed uptight and anxious, which was understandable, but uncomfortable for him. There were no interesting activities or introductions to the college. It was restrained and formal.
He also went to stay at 2 US Ivy league colleges for 3 day taster visits, and he stayed in the room of a host student, went to lots of lectures, dances, and events, was given a t-shirt and a very friendly welcome. At this point he had already been accepted, so that was different, but I think if Oxford had interviews during the term and let the prospective students feel more like welcome guests, the experience would be more useful for them.
I am sure that this would be very hard to arrange because the interviews take up so much of the professors' time.
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