How to pass the Oxford interview

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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    My college is very white (there are two black people in my year out of 130, and eight black people across the college as a whole). This is not a good representation of what the UK looks like.
    It isn't far off though - city dwellers often don't realise the whole UK isn't like London :p: Only 3.3% of the UK is black. Oxford's undergrads are 88% white, which compares to 86% of the UK as a whole.

    There are of course some groups which are consistently underrepresented and agree with the problems you identify.
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    But it does. Of course the interviewers aren't going to racially discriminate against anyone, but this is a structural problem that goes much deeper than that. The fact of the matter is, if you are white and privileged, statistically you stand a much better chance at getting in over someone from a disadvantaged background where they aren't nurtured/encouraged into applying to Oxbridge. My college is very white (there are two black people in my year out of 130, and eight black people across the college as a whole). This is not a good representation of what the UK looks like.
    Yes I partially agree with you but the thing is, the majority of the population in England and Europe (where most Oxbridge students are from) is white, so it would be strange if the amounts of students of different races were the same as the amount of white students.
    Besides that, I do think that there are less students of a disadvantaged background there but that's due to a worse education, for example, in a shady area of a city many young people get bad influence (I don't mean to say that everyone there is a bad influence though) and are often not so involved in school life which I think is sad because many of these people could have a lot more potential if they were more involved with school. But if someone even living in a shady area, really wants to strive or get into a better situation, studies and maybe even applies for Oxbridge, the interviewers aren't going to discriminate them. Besides this, universities give student loans and in some occasions, if the family can't afford to pay even for the accomodation, the university covers it, well, atleast I know Cambridge does.
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    (Original post by BJack)
    I say this for a couple of reasons: firstly to stroke my own ego a little bit; secondly (and more importantly!) to reassure people that it's okay to think your interviews went well. It's definitely true that the tutors are trying to push you as far as they can in the half hour-ish that they have but (and this is probably more true in the sciences (though I know FlowerFaerie87 was also a chemist, so evidently this isn't a universal truth)) if you take a step back from the interview and think about how much you covered, you might feel better about how you did than if you fixate on the bits you couldn't do. I realise this doesn't address the actual question posed at all but – well, I've written this now, so there you go.
    Oops - I apologize for extrapolating from my small-n data set: I now see that the thread's much bigger n shows no correlation with anything!

    To create another counterpoint though, I remember us all freaking out about who had further interviews and who did not - I didn't, but many other chemists did. The student helpers said it didn't mean anything, and I guess with a tiny n = 2 between us, we can say maybe it does mean nothing at all.

    Fact: I legit nearly cried in my second interview. :ashamed2:

    FWIW I think we're all agreed that the university (as a general conglomerate) does not consciously have biases against people with less privileged backgrounds, and indeed puts in a lot of money/effort/brainpower to counteract any unconscious biases. And it's true that Oxford is SO much more diverse than my hometown, and so much less than London. However, there are a hundred things conspiring against the chances people from less privileged backgrounds of any sort, before they even start dreaming about Oxford. Would I have got in without the undisputable added benefits of a subsidized private education, for example? My brother tried and did not get in, and he stayed at the local state high school (among many other variables). Just to summarize.

    Edited to add: do not worry about the financial aspects of Oxford vs other UK unis. Oxford gives out the most bursary money per student in the nation (stats from a few years ago). My college (Univ) gave me a sizeable amount of money every long vacation so I wouldn't have to get a job - I was very grateful for that. Whenever I did anything interesting outside of Oxford, I asked the college for travel funding and always got something - even for that one time I went to Paris just to take an exam. Then there's the fact that many colleges allow you to stay in their subsizided (warning: still more expensive than in low-rent areas) accommodation over the whole course of your degree.
    ...I wrote all this out and then realized that the situation with the government/tuition fees/student loans has changed significantly since I was there. I hope people now get the same smooth sailing as I did.
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    But it does. Of course the interviewers aren't going to racially discriminate against anyone, but this is a structural problem that goes much deeper than that. The fact of the matter is, if you are white and privileged, statistically you stand a much better chance at getting in over someone from a disadvantaged background where they aren't nurtured/encouraged into applying to Oxbridge. My college is very white (there are two black people in my year out of 130, and eight black people across the college as a whole). This is not a good representation of what the UK looks like.
    I guess the questions are:

    a) Is this "structural problem" one with society or with Oxbridge? Who is at greater fault, or where does the problem really lie?
    b) Are such "structural problem[s]" surmountable? (See my previous post about the South Asian community for an indication of my view on this)
    c) Is it the (sole) responsibility of a university (or two, if we take Cambridge into account) to tackle these wide, far-reaching problems, and should that be their primary concern with admissions?

    Obviously there are various ways of answering these questions but personally, as a student who ticks more diversity/equal opportunities boxes than most, I do not think it is the job of either Oxbridge institution to try and solve these problems. Address them, yes. Widen the recruiment drives and access initiatives, yes. Level the playing field as far as possible, yes. But admission - imho at least - should be on academic merit/potential alone, and you can only choose from those who apply and have the grades, as well as the inclination to attend :yes:
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I guess the questions are:

    a) Is this "structural problem" one with society or with Oxbridge? Who is at greater fault, or where does the problem really lie?
    b) Are such "structural problem[s]" surmountable? (See my previous post about the South Asian community for an indication of my view on this)
    c) Is it the (sole) responsibility of a university (or two, if we take Cambridge into account) to tackle these wide, far-reaching problems, and should that be their primary concern with admissions?

    Obviously there are various ways of answering these questions but personally, as a student who ticks more diversity/equal opportunities boxes than most, I do not think it is the job of either Oxbridge institution to try and solve these problems. Address them, yes. Widen the recruiment drives and access initiatives, yes. Level the playing field as far as possible, yes. But admission - imho at least - should be on academic merit/potential alone, and you can only choose from those who apply and have the grades, as well as the inclination to attend :yes:
    Admission should be on academic merit/potential and I 100% agree. But the universities should also make an effort in access initiatives etc. (which is going on at the moment, but clearly not having much of an impact yet).
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    Admission should be on academic merit/potential and I 100% agree. But the universities should also make an effort in access initiatives etc. (which is going on at the moment, but clearly not having much of an impact yet).
    There's only so much Oxford and Cambridge can do though, tbh. Change is always going to be hugely slow and we may not see much change within our generation. Hopefully, with sustained investment and interest from both unis, impact will eventually follow. Rome wasn't built in a day! :nah: And at the end of the day, there are always going to be reasons beyond any university's control, as to why certain ethnic groups or social classes cannot or don't apply :sadnod:
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    (Original post by TheTechN1304)
    But the universities should also make an effort in access initiatives etc. (which is going on at the moment, but clearly not having much of an impact yet).
    I'm not really sure this is a fair assessment of what's going on. These initiatives are having an impact (there has been a steady rise in the proportion of state school students at Oxbridge over the past few decades) but there's only so much they can do. They have finite resources and a lot of priorities that they need to spend these resources on, and a lot of the issues that we're talking about are deep rooted and structural and go beyond the universities.
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    Are we still posting experiences of our Cambridge/Oxford interviews on this thread?
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    (Original post by Reality Check)
    Are we still posting experiences of our Cambridge/Oxford interviews on this thread?
    Indeed we are
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    I've heard the interviewers love it when you go in and "REEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" really loudly. Make sure to wear your favourite Pepe shirt and only talk in greentext, offering tendies is also a bonus
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    Speaking of dressing for interviews, everyone else wore a suit (guys) or some super-fancy clothes (women) and I also wore what I thought was nice... bright yellow sleeveless jacket, bright orange mid-length skirt, white stiletto boots. I find this funny now but at the time I was mostly just amazed that other people were dressed so boring.

    Years later I worked in a research group with one of my interviewers, and she revealed that as the two of them were making notes about me during the interview, she wrote in big letters on her notepad, "amazing white boots!". I still have them (can't wear them nowadays due to science...) and I call them my Oxford boots. Maybe I should take tips from younger me on how not to be a dull member of the crowd tbh.
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    When do interviews get sent, generally? Sometime in November? The suspense is killing me
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    (Original post by Leona-L)
    When do interviews get sent, generally? Sometime in November? The suspense is killing me
    I believe it's still the case that you get 7-10 days' notice. So yeah, mid/late November :yes:
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    (Original post by Leona-L)
    When do interviews get sent, generally? Sometime in November? The suspense is killing me
    Could even be in December.
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I believe it's still the case that you get 7-10 days' notice. So yeah, mid/late November :yes:
    Even for international students that are not from the EU?
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    (Original post by wolfmoon88)
    Even for international students that are not from the EU?
    I believe so but not 100% sure...
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    (Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
    I believe it's still the case that you get 7-10 days' notice. So yeah, mid/late November :yes:
    Thanks!
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    (Original post by FlowerFaerie087)
    Speaking of dressing for interviews, everyone else wore a suit (guys) or some super-fancy clothes (women) and I also wore what I thought was nice... bright yellow sleeveless jacket, bright orange mid-length skirt, white stiletto boots. I find this funny now but at the time I was mostly just amazed that other people were dressed so boring.

    Years later I worked in a research group with one of my interviewers, and she revealed that as the two of them were making notes about me during the interview, she wrote in big letters on her notepad, "amazing white boots!". I still have them (can't wear them nowadays due to science...) and I call them my Oxford boots. Maybe I should take tips from younger me on how not to be a dull member of the crowd tbh.
    Strange that everybody was dressed so formally - when I was interviewed it was only us medics who wore formal attire
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    How exactly does Oxford conduct interviews for international students? I know that you can do it over Skype. Do they do Skype interviews before in-person ones, or do they happen on the same days? Also, do you only get one Skype interview as opposed to two or three?
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    (Original post by fyrebirds)
    How exactly does Oxford conduct interviews for international students? I know that you can do it over Skype. Do they do Skype interviews before in-person ones, or do they happen on the same days? Also, do you only get one Skype interview as opposed to two or three?
    Skype interviews are sometimes on the same days, sometimes before - it really depends on when it can be organized for. I think you're unlikely to have more than one Skype interview at the same college, you could still be 'sent' from one college to a second for another interview.
 
 
 
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