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    I know this is a small subject to start a whole thread on, but I've been thinking about it a lot. I'm hoping to apply to Lincoln College, Oxford next year (for 2012 entry) to read English. I'm an AS-Level English Literature, French, German, and History student at an average state school that doesn't have a particularly extensive history of sending students to Oxbridge. I got 7 A*s, 2 As and 2 Bs at GCSE and I'm hoping for at least A*AA at A-Level, as well as an A at History AS-Level. I've always got involved in the school orchestra and choir and I play clarinet in the Lincolnshire Youth Symphonic Wind Band; I was in the school council for five years and was chair during Year 11. In Year 10 I stood for the Lincolnshire Youth Cabinet. I've done volunteer work at a local special school and basically I've always been willing to put extra effort in.

    I applied to be a House Captain in September and, after a really successful interview in which the coordinator acted as if I'd got the job, I was rejected because she was concerned that I took too much on. This was really frustrating because I know my limits and it feels like she was standing in my way. I'm not very confident about getting into Oxford as it is, because the thought of the interview terrifies me. I'm fed up of teachers who don't really know me pretending that they know best. I missed the school council elections in a Sixth Form council meeting (I had to speak to a teacher for 10 minutes during lunch and didn't realise they were on that day) and now I've missed out on being in school council for a whole year. It makes me look like I'm being really lazy, but I hardly have any opportunities. I'm not sporty, so music is the only extra-curricular thing I have. Are hobbies and extra participation that important when applying to Oxford?

    Also, does anyone have any interview tips? I don't have a lot of experience in analysing previously unseen texts, especially pre-18th century. Should I ask my English teacher to do some sessions with me, so I get used to it?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by alicebytemperley)
    I know this is a small subject to start a whole thread on, but I've been thinking about it a lot. I'm hoping to apply to Lincoln College, Oxford next year (for 2012 entry) to read English. I'm an AS-Level English Literature, French, German, and History student at an average state school that doesn't have a particularly extensive history of sending students to Oxbridge. I got 7 A*s, 2 As and 2 Bs at GCSE and I'm hoping for at least A*AA at A-Level, as well as an A at History AS-Level. I've always got involved in the school orchestra and choir and I play clarinet in the Lincolnshire Youth Symphonic Wind Band; I was in the school council for five years and was chair during Year 11. In Year 10 I stood for the Lincolnshire Youth Cabinet. I've done volunteer work at a local special school and basically I've always been willing to put extra effort in.

    I applied to be a House Captain in September and, after a really successful interview in which the coordinator acted as if I'd got the job, I was rejected because she was concerned that I took too much on. This was really frustrating because I know my limits and it feels like she was standing in my way. I'm not very confident about getting into Oxford as it is, because the thought of the interview terrifies me. I'm fed up of teachers who don't really know me pretending that they know best. I missed the school council elections in a Sixth Form council meeting (I had to speak to a teacher for 10 minutes during lunch and didn't realise they were on that day) and now I've missed out on being in school council for a whole year. It makes me look like I'm being really lazy, but I hardly have any opportunities. I'm not sporty, so music is the only extra-curricular thing I have. Are hobbies and extra participation that important when applying to Oxford?

    Also, does anyone have any interview tips? I don't have a lot of experience in analysing previously unseen texts, especially pre-18th century. Should I ask my English teacher to do some sessions with me, so I get used to it?

    Thanks
    First - Grades >>>>>>>> Extra curricular activities to Oxford.

    Second - You have done plenty of EC's already you only get so much to write in a personal statement as it is, it is not about the quantity of EC's you do rather the quality of them.

    Third - I do think it is wrong of your teachers however.

    Fourth - You need to get interview experience, ask your teachers to conduct this, or ask any professional people you don't really know to give you one.

    Fifth - Yes, that would be a good idea.

    Just generally prepare as well as you can for it, you are on the right track so far though I reckon.
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    They don't care about the extra curriculars.
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    Oxford University

    "It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t got any friends or hobbies or if you don’t do any charitable work. It’s purely academic judgement."

    http://oxbridgeapplications.com/news...nt-/index.aspx
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    I got an interview this year for English and I do basically nothing extra curricular except write for the school newspaper. They seem to care much more about grades and suitability for the subject.
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    I didnt read the whole post - but hobbies are not remotely important and will just clutter your ps. Relevant work experience is great for some subjects. Practice interviews and 'prep' from schools or self styled professionals is imo completely pointless.
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    Only ever mention an EC if it taught you something directly relevant to your subject/degree-level study. If you were editor of the school magazine you might want to give it a brief mention and say that it taught you time-management or something, but there's absolutely no point in just listing irrelevant ECs - Oxford really don't care.

    Preparation-wise - I would say only bother with 'practice interviews' if you have a teacher who knows something about the Oxford interview system, since the questions you'll get asked at the real thing aren't going to be along the lines of 'so, why English?'. Get used to talking in depth about the books you'll mention on your Personal Statement, though - that's far more useful than interview practice.

    Also practice analysing poems/extracts that you've never seen before. Lots of colleges will ask you to do this in the interview, and even if they don't, it's useful practice for the ELAT.
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    Don't worry about being a house captain or whatnot, that is completely irrelevant imo (worth a mention in the PS maybe). Obviously academics will come before ECs when considering applications, so while ECs aren't necessarily you should still do some stuff for your own sake, rather than for some silly Oxbridge 'requirement'. Firstly you'll enjoy doing something if you want to do it, secondly I guess it shows you're a well balanced and cultured person, and if you stay on top of your work, it'll show that you can manage your time efficiently.

    If you want to do ECs to achieve some sort of quota, don't bother.
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    Thanks for the replies, everyone.

    (Original post by GlibByNature)
    while ECs aren't necessarily you should still do some stuff for your own sake, rather than for some silly Oxbridge 'requirement'. Firstly you'll enjoy doing something if you want to do it, secondly I guess it shows you're a well balanced and cultured person, and if you stay on top of your work, it'll show that you can manage your time efficiently.

    If you want to do ECs to achieve some sort of quota, don't bother.
    Rest assured I do those things and always have done them because I enjoy them anyway - it has nothing to do with wanting to go to Oxbridge.
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    I'm going to broadly agree with everyone else, but slightly caveat it.

    Generally speaking, the advice given here matches what Oxford themselves say and what common sense suggests is the "right" way to assess candidates - 100% academic merit, 0% what random other stuff they do. And that is very likely the official guidance given to admissions tutors, and intellectually, they'll know it's right and will try to follow it.

    That said, they're human - and often, they'd be your tutors for 3 years if they accepted you, and it's only natural for them to want to know they're going to be teaching to human beings and not studying machines. So, while you absolutely shouldn't make hobbies etc a focus of your personal statement, they merit a sentence or two.

    P.S. Hi from a Lincoln College alumnus!
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    I think your extra curriculars are impressive as they stand. From what I've heard, it's mainly US unis that are interested in "extra" things and general activity. I don't really know why Oxford should even care whether someone is well-rounded or active in their community or not. It's the subject (as in your ability to study it at such a level) that truly seems to count. I'm a concrete example: I have no real hobbies, extra commitments, notable non-academic achievements or awards, but apparently they didn't care and I got an offer.
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    (Original post by Katak)
    I think your extra curriculars are impressive as they stand. From what I've heard, it's mainly US unis that are interested in "extra" things and general activity. I don't really know why Oxford should even care whether someone is well-rounded or active in their community or not. It's the subject (as in your ability to study it at such a level) that truly seems to count. I'm a concrete example: I have no real hobbies, extra commitments, notable non-academic achievements or awards, but apparently they didn't care and I got an offer.
    Firstly, congrats! Whooo Oxford freshers '11.
    Secondly, same here: got in(!) with a grand total of 73 words of extra curricular out of 605 words of personal statement. Putting too much extracurric (more than 5 or so lines) is actually detrimental to getting in. Get school to shove it in your reference.
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    Almost no weight is placed upon anything other than academic ability and potential - I was only asked one question in any of my 3 interviews that wasn't directly academic, and that was just to relax me before going into a torrent of questions.
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    No, they really don't give a ****.

    I was surprised really... at interview, Cambridge confirmed my name and went straight into questions.

    They don't care who you are, where you come from, how nice or interesting a person you are.

    All they care about is how good you are at your subject.
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      (Original post by OMGWTFBBQ)
      No, they really don't give a ****.

      I was surprised really... at interview, Cambridge confirmed my name and went straight into questions.

      They don't care who you are, where you come from, how nice or interesting a person you are.

      All they care about is how good you are at your subject.
      Thanks for that!

      OP, you might find this useful. It's basically the shortlisting and selection criteria for Oxford English.
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      In one of my interviews, I wasn't even said "Hello" to, and was asked a question about prime numbers before I even took my coat off and sat down. :lol:
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      (Original post by Noble.)
      In one of my interviews, I wasn't even said "Hello" to, and was asked a question about prime numbers before I even took my coat off and sat down. :lol:
      that can only be a good thing! I walked in and dropped something. My tutor laughed and said 'oops, there goes your place' :O

      Oh also, well done on your offer!Q
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      Extra-curricular activities aren't important. There is a section on the Oxford website about interview procedures which says that extra-curricular activities are not part of the selection criteria.
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        (Original post by frequent_flyer)
        that can only be a good thing! I walked in and dropped something. My tutor laughed and said 'oops, there goes your place' :O

        Oh also, well done on your offer!Q
        :eek: Did you actually get rejected?

        Oh my gosh, how did you react with regards to that?
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        (Original post by im so academic)
        :eek: Did you actually get rejected?

        Oh my gosh, how did you react with regards to that?
        I got in actually
        You should have seen my face. I nearly died. But then he started laughing and I assumed he was joking... glad my future tutor has a sense of humour, but wasn't really funny to me at the time!
       
       
       
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