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Oxford History Students and Applicants

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Interview Discussion 30-01-2014
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    ridiculous is the wrong word, i just heard from various people it's supposed to be very competitive for history, more so than other colleges. that isn't the deciding factor in choosing, though, obviously
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    exeter college its pretty
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    There's plenty of information on these forums along these lines.

    Apart from the first term (when students do a British history paper and when some (but not all) colleges like to keep freshers in-house) you will be sent out to other colleges for tutorials, so you don't need to worry about college choice in that regard. Just pick whichever college you like best and forget about unsubstantiated claims about some colleges always being particularly more competitive than others - it is true to some extent but it varies from year to year, so it seems pretty pointless stressing about it to me.

    From my personal experience, I'm glad that I'm at a central college that has allowed me to live within 5 minutes of everything I need for the first two years of my course. History is so book-based that a good college library can save you a lot of hassle too. But generally just pick one that is old/pretty/central/has kitchens/good formal hall/Sky Sports/decent colour scarf or whatever it is that floats your boat.

    P.S. There's a History thread in the college/course subforum, so ask any other questions there, or feel free to PM me.
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    Just wondering if anyone has done/ is doing a Joint Honours degree at Oxford University in History and French?

    Any views and opinions on this would be appreciated.

    x
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    I would like to know this too.
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    If you're having trouble choosing a college, how about having a look at the research interests of the history tutors across the university? If you have a particular interest in a region or period etc., having a specialist in the topic teaching you would be a plus I'll be starting at Teddy Hall in October and that was my method... I want to specialise in Russian history and so I took about an hour or two to read up about Oxford history tutors and found one at Teddy Hall who seems to love the same things I do about Russian history :yep: That also made the interview with him really enjoyable (hopefully on both sides) and even though I got a text on ancient India (!!) we still ended up discussing Russia. I'm sure tutors would also be keen to teach students who are enthusiastic about their interests. If you can't find out about their research topics on the university website you can use the British Library website to search for their published papers.

    Best of luck!
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    (Original post by isy8191)
    If you're having trouble choosing a college, how about having a look at the research interests of the history tutors across the university? If you have a particular interest in a region or period etc., having a specialist in the topic teaching you would be a plus I'll be starting at Teddy Hall in October and that was my method... I want to specialise in Russian history and so I took about an hour or two to read up about Oxford history tutors and found one at Teddy Hall who seems to love the same things I do about Russian history :yep: That also made the interview with him really enjoyable (hopefully on both sides) and even though I got a text on ancient India (!!) we still ended up discussing Russia. I'm sure tutors would also be keen to teach students who are enthusiastic about their interests. If you can't find out about their research topics on the university website you can use the British Library website to search for their published papers.

    Best of luck!
    Brilliant! Well done, this is one of the first times I have heard of this sort of planning coming off. How did you twist ancient India into Russia?
    There is truth in saying that tutors pick students they want to teach, but I'd be wary of doing this sort of thing, especially halfheartedly. Lots of people namecheck tutor's books/interests and it frequently backfires in hilarious and humiliating ways. Stumbling onto a tutors' chosen field can often provide a nasty bitchslap as to your own inadequacy on the topic - its happened to me in a tute.
    You also can't be sure who will interview you.
    Good, general advice would be to choose a college in the centre - its more cramped and usually accommodation is more awkward, but for history everything you need is concentrated in a very small space around the Bod, although the odd st giles trip is called for.
    Don't pick based on competetiveness - people get passed around a lot
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    (Original post by isy8191)
    If you're having trouble choosing a college, how about having a look at the research interests of the history tutors across the university? If you have a particular interest in a region or period etc., having a specialist in the topic teaching you would be a plus I'll be starting at Teddy Hall in October and that was my method... I want to specialise in Russian history and so I took about an hour or two to read up about Oxford history tutors and found one at Teddy Hall who seems to love the same things I do about Russian history :yep: That also made the interview with him really enjoyable (hopefully on both sides) and even though I got a text on ancient India (!!) we still ended up discussing Russia. I'm sure tutors would also be keen to teach students who are enthusiastic about their interests. If you can't find out about their research topics on the university website you can use the British Library website to search for their published papers.

    Best of luck!
    Although that seems to have worked well for you, I read that it's not really necessary as once you're there you'll be sent to other colleges for tutes with people who are specialists in whatever area. And like that other person says, you can't be sure who'll interview you.
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    Yes they have. Quite a lot, in fact. And there are still a fair few doing it.
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    Hello!
    Any more of us out there? What colleges are people thinking about, and what pet topics have you chosen?
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    Yes ! Except not for history :L but still...
    Hopefully applying for Law and French Law...
    and maybe not applying to a specific college?
    to be honest, as long as i get in, the college doesn't concern me !
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    Yup! Thinking of applying to Worcester but not sure though...what do you mean by pet?
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    (Original post by Beckiii_x)
    Yes ! Except not for history :L but still...
    Hopefully applying for Law and French Law...
    and maybe not applying to a specific college?
    to be honest, as long as i get in, the college doesn't concern me !
    Infiltrator! :haughty:
    But picking a college is such fun... :P


    (Original post by Laytono)
    Yup! Thinking of applying to Worcester but not sure though...what do you mean by pet?
    I mean subjects that you focus your reading/PS around and hope to talk about at interview... Though, I just keep getting really excited about everything, and intending to devour huge numbers of books, which I'm sure I just won't XD
    Worcester is awesome!!! My friend interviewed there last year and I visited her. DUCKS <3!
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    :shifty: ...We got merged
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    I'm holding a History offer from St Hilda's. As I'm not there yet, can't comment as helpfully as some of the others here, but I definitely picked my college because I liked the atmosphere...however, I did also check out the college library and the way they teach the 1st year compulsory papers. Things like Historiography and Historical Approaches are adapted to fit tutors' expertise, so it might be worth considering that. For example at St Hilda's, everyone doing Historical Approaches does a gender option in the first term because the tutors (and the college Fellows generally) consider that an important area and it is one in which many of them do research. I had some questions about working with a couple of tutors with interests in Italian history in different colleges and was reassured that they really try to take that into consideration when you study optional papers, which are generally taught outside the college. I also checked out the travel and support grants (Hilda's has a special grant just for historians, so I was sold. Or bought?).
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    (Original post by Sunpat)
    I'm hoping to study History at St Hilda's from Oct. At the open day the tutor said sometimes you hand in your essay before the tutorial, sometimes you read it aloud at the tutorial and sometimes you do a different sort of presentation. I'd love to know if anyone at Oxford (not nec doing History) can tell me what kinds of tutorials they have got most out of? Do different tutors adopt different techniques, or do they change as you go from 1st to 2nd to 3rd year?
    Hi - I've quoted you in here so it's easier for other people to find this kind of information in the future, as having lots of little threads is really quite a pain.

    I'm now reaching the end of my second year (no idea how time went so quickly) and have had lots of different types of tutorials. Seeing as I'm procrastinating I'll give you a quick overview ...

    1st year
    Tutorial 1 - 2 students:1 tutor. One person would hand in essay the evening before the tutorial and the other person would read theirs aloud during the tutorial, alternating week by week. Most tutors seem to let people read out their entire essay in one go and then discuss it, but this tutor would interrupt at multiple points during the essay to challenge points you had made or discuss the general argument/structure of a paragraph. The rest of the tutorial would be dedicated to a general discussion of the themes covered, quite often with your tutorial partner asked to pick out any differences between the arguments of your two essays.

    Tutorial 2 - 4:1. A bigger group, but the tutorial was two hours long. Everyone would hand in essays in advance - no reading aloud. The first hour/hour and a half would be devoted to discussing the topic. In the last part of the tutorial we were given a primary source to read over quickly and then discuss in relation to that week's theme.

    Tutorial 3 - 2:1. One person would write an essay on one aspect of a topic and the other person would prepare a short presentation on another aspect of the same topic, again alternating week by week. Presentation at the beginning of the tutorial, after which the other person would have to ask at least three questions about issues raised. This often evolved into a broader discussion, which the tutor would then integrate with the topic of the essay.

    2nd year
    Tutorial 4 - 2:1, turning into 3:1 for a couple of tutes. This was a bit of a strange term because there were all sorts of logistical problems with tutors, so I swapped around a bit. Generally just followed the formula of handing in the essay before the tutorial and then having a general discussion though, with feedback about the essays at the end of the tutorial.

    Tutorial 5 - 2:1. One person would email the essay in advance, the other person would read aloud. The tutor would then normally highlight areas of contrast with the tutorial partner's essay and then there would be discussion from that. The tutor would sometimes pick out a particular source or document for us to focus on as well for a brief section of the tutorial.

    Tutorial 6 - 3:1. Everybody emails the essays to the tutor in advance and to the other people in the tute, so everyone is meant to read everyone else's essays. At the beginning of the tutorial one person has to summarise the arguments of someone else's essay and then it broadens out into a more general discussion.

    Basically the tutorials can vary a bit but the fundamental emphasis on discussion and debate remains the same. Having different tutors each term is one of the good parts about Oxford I think because you have to adapt to each tutor's slightly different style.
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    (Original post by Mook)
    Tutorial 3 - 2:1. One person would write an essay on one aspect of a topic and the other person would prepare a short presentation on another aspect of the same topic, again alternating week by week. Presentation at the beginning of the tutorial, after which the other person would have to ask at least three questions about issues raised. This often evolved into a broader discussion, which the tutor would then integrate with the topic of the essay.
    Powerpoint? Or just a short talk?
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    (Original post by Eric Arthur)
    Powerpoint? Or just a short talk?
    You would prepare a hand-out and then talk through it. Normally around 2 sides of A4, pictures very much encouraged :grin:
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    I got rejected for History this year, but I was wondering if we're meant to get our results back from the aptitude test? My teacher seems to think we are, and it would be helpful to know if I messed up in the test or at interview.

    Does anyone know anything about this?
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    Your referee needs to write to the college you applied to and ask for specific feedback, which should tell you what you want to know, or you'll not get anything of any use to anybody.

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