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    Hello everyone!
    I'm currrently thinking of applying to Oxford to study English,( I am in year 12)yet I am a bit confused :confused: as to what I should be doing now to better my application.
    Are there any work experience programmes I should be considering or schemes that I should be joining. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thank you :tsr2:
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    Primarily, from a non English-specific stance, make sure you get excellent grades. I can't really suggest any extra-curricular stuff, bar perhaps getting involved in journalism of some form, perhaps creating a portfolio of creative work? But grades will probably be important for securing an interview and I'm sure an English student will be able to advise you on how to get spice up your personal statement .
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    (Original post by wendy)
    Hello everyone!
    I'm currrently thinking of applying to Oxford to study English,( I am in year 12)yet I am a bit confused :confused: as to what I should be doing now to better my application.
    Are there any work experience programmes I should be considering or schemes that I should be joining. Any advice would be much appreciated.
    Thank you :tsr2:
    None that I can think of. Read everything and anything, mix of novels, poetry, older and newer stuff. Try to think about what you're reading and what the genre is about, what message is, what the author is trying to do. Think about trends and themes and motifs that recur across different texts, and the way the authors at different periods viewed the world. So really just read and think. Worth so much more than any work experience scheme, really.

    On top of that, try and read the Times Literary Supplement, which is the biggest literary criticism magazine, plus things like ABC in the Independent and book review sections of the New Statesman, Spectator, Sunday Times etc. Rather than trying to memorise what they say, get used to the way critics approach novels and the ways they analyse them. I've found this can be actually quite hard going at first, but if you plug at it you familiarise yourself with their style and methods and you can think in a clearer and more imaginative way at interview. Mostly though, just read read read.
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    Thanks!
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    Times Literary Supplement
    No, no, no, no, no! That ****t is dire. It's all about classics and history and the literary reviews they do have are so insubstantial. Almost as bad as The Guardian's Saturday Review. LRB & NYRB rock my world, however. Read Ulysses, Hamlet, Martin Amis's The War Against Cliché, Craig Raine's In Defence of T.S. Eliot, Tom Paulin's Crusoe's Secret, Christopher Ricks's Essays in Appreciation & James Wood's The Broken Estate.
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    (Original post by MatthewH)
    it you familiarise yourself with their style and methods and you can think in a clearer and more imaginative way at interview. Mostly though, just read read read.
    I've heard so much about interviewing and its all been very helpful but could anyone actually give me an example of a question and response you gave at interview when applying for english and were successful? I'd love to just see the sort of response that would impress the interviewer.
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    (Original post by emily9588)
    I've heard so much about interviewing and its all been very helpful but could anyone actually give me an example of a question and response you gave at interview when applying for english and were successful? I'd love to just see the sort of response that would impress the interviewer.
    I don't have any English types at hand :p: , but I remember that at my college everyone was given a poem, or short piece of prose about ten minutes before interview to read over . They were then grilled on that in that particular interview.
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    I got asked to apply an idea I'd espoused in my personal statement to a completely different text. It is really important to know your statement because they will turn it inside out, or did in my case. Just think really deeply about what you've written and you'll be fine. Good luck
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    Erm, I'm sure your advice was well-meant, but if you check the date of the first post you'll see the applicant was asking this advice two years ago...
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    (Original post by anycon)
    No, no, no, no, no! That ****t is dire. It's all about classics and history and the literary reviews they do have are so insubstantial & aerated. Almost as bad as The Guardian's Saturday Review. LRB & NYRB rock my world, however. Read Ulysses, Hamlet, Martin Amis's The War Against Cliché, Craig Raine's In Defence of T.S. Eliot, Tom Paulin's Crusoe's Secret, Christopher Ricks's Essays in Appreciation & James Wood's The Broken Estate.
    The TLS is about a thousand times better than the LRB, in every way. Witness.

    E.g., this week's cover of the TLS flags up an essay by Steve Burt on John Ashbery, signaling that they think poetry and poetry criticism is important and worthwhile, and pressing this idea on its readership too. This is something the LRB would never, ever do (not these days anyway; and never again until Mary Kay kicks the bucket). When I worked there, we had a good article by the great August Kleinzahler on the really great Roy Fisher, which we decided to run on the cover along with about three or four others (her nibs was away that week). When she got back, she was inexplicably pissed off that this had happened: she thought it meant we'd sell fewer copies that week, and she makes no attempt to hide the fact that she can't stand, and never ever reads, poetry (not even the poetry that goes into her magazine). She wanted the same old tedious bloody story about Iraq, Palestine, or US Foreign Policy, forgetting that she was pretty much running the same article on one of these things every issue, AND that her magazine is supposed to be primarily a review of books, not her own excuse to carve a reputation for herself as super-important publisher of up-to-the-minute war reportage and policy-forming global commentary. She is basically a philistine, and her magazine went down the pan years ago (after A O'H and JH retreated). The TLS bothers to seek out interesting people to review interesting books, and is the only magazine, furthermore, with any earnest commitment to poetry. The LRB give some of the best books to themselves and their fellow no-hopers over and over again, and while many magazines proably dabble in a bit of that, the LRB are far, far worse. Also, they treat many of their writers like horsecrap, and I'd wager that their poetry submission pile hasn't been touched in over two years.
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    (Original post by the_alba)
    I'd wager that their poetry submission pile hasn't been touched in over two years.
    Considering you're arguing with an anycon from 2006, this is almost appropriate.

    So things are fair, he should wait until 2010 before responding to your post. Will the you you are then be able to respond for the you you are now?

    Yes. Probably you will.

    edit: How long until GoogleFight is an accepted critical tool? I mean, some people already /do/ base arguments on number of google hits. You should get at least one into your doctorate.
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    (Original post by Da Bachtopus)
    Considering you're arguing with an anycon from 2006, this is almost appropriate.

    So things are fair, he should wait until 2010 before responding to your post. Will the you you are then be able to respond for the you you are now?

    Yes. Probably you will.

    edit: How long until GoogleFight is an accepted critical tool? I mean, some people already /do/ base arguments on number of google hits. You should get at least one into your doctorate.
    Whoops, I didn't check the date - I thought this was recent. Stupid bumped threads.

    If it's 2006, then I was working there at the time, and at the time the poetry submission pile hadn't been touched for two years, until I was asked to go through it and reject / accept. Now it's been two years since I left, I would estimate with some confidence that the pile has not been touched for another two years. (And I didn't even finish the pile while I was there, is was so huge).

    Google fight is good but too easily manipulated - viz. the 'Pamela Anderson v. my girlfriend' fight. 'My girlfriend', even if she is a 400 lb bearded lady, still wins. But then, it is Pamela Anderson.
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    (Original post by the_alba)
    Google fight is good but too easily manipulated - viz. the 'Pamela Anderson v. my girlfriend' fight. 'My girlfriend', even if she is a 400 lb bearded lady, still wins. But then, it is Pamela Anderson.
    Disappointing, I had a good joke lined up.
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    (Original post by the_alba)
    The TLS is about a thousand times better than the LRB, in every way. Witness.
    I almost never find good poetry or poetry criticism in either. Stephen Burt is a critical shade of beige. Last thing I remember liking in TLS was Griffiths, meatily, on Empson. Has McNeillie's sequence on Hill appeared yet? TLS gets maximum kudos for publishing The Eloquence of Sober Truth, 'wever. It's obvious Larbie has no editorial respect for poetry: look at the ****ing poems they run.

    Butyes you're arguing with 2006-me, whose antipathies I can't honestly defend.

    She wanted the same old tedious bloody story about Iraq, Palestine, or US Foreign Policy, forgetting that she was pretty much running the same article on one of these things every issue,
    I can't agree. Much of their reportage (Rose George) and political commentary (Perry Anderson) has been wholly excellent. Israel/Palestine doesn't stir me like Iraq does, so I can understand the tedium of somebody stirred by neither.

    Jerry Fodor's piece on Darwinism and the ensuing correspondence almost make up for Michael Wood. Yet only almost.

    What floats my barque is a panachey stylist. At both journals, I'd lament most the baneful lack of flair. And flair is literary.
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    (Original post by I Murder Carrots 4 Fun)
    Hi
    I know that an application for English, especially for Oxford, requires a great deal of dedication outside the curriculum...
    I have:
    Entered/won numerous writing competitions
    Gone on a writing course
    Am planning to enter an prestigious essay/dissertation competition organised by my school. Most people submit one entry, but I was hoping to enter several, if it is possible. It would also help with the "readng around" of the subject and enable me to consolidate many of the ideas I might discuss at interview, as I would write a Shakespeare essay, an Evelyn Waugh essay, and a WW1 literature essay. However, do you think that these topics are too main stream/often studied at GCSE level? Perhaps I should explore a new area of literature?
    I was planning to submit some travel articles to my school newspaper Features section (I am friends with one of the editors of this section).
    Also, my friend (a history candidate) and I were hoping to start writing a satirical historical novel over the summer, but this is tenuous...

    Is there anything else that would be useful to do? Work experience at a publisher or a library? Or is this irrelevant? I am worried I won't have enough to put in my personal statement in September or to discuss at interview.
    Any ideas? Thanks
    Any English-related extra curricular things would be good, and if you could get relevant work experience then that might be worth writing about on your personal statement, but I don't think it's essential. 90% of my personal statement was just rambling on about my interest in English Literature, and the only extra things I mentioned were an interest in creative writing and helping a girl with disabilities in my spare time. So not much. I still got an offer, and I bet the majority of people applying for English at Oxford have done less than you.

    I think if you mention the writing competitions and the course would probably be enough. I'd recommend concentrating on reading widely and writing a personal statement that really demonstrates your interest in certain writers and areas of literature.

    As for your essay competition, I'd suggest writing about whatever interests you the most. Evelyn Waugh is amazing so that sounds good to me!

    Anyway, good luck with your essay and the whole application process. It seems like you're already off to a good start.
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    (Original post by I Murder Carrots 4 Fun)
    Hi
    I know that an application for English, especially for Oxford, requires a great deal of dedication outside the curriculum...
    I have:
    Entered/won numerous writing competitions
    Gone on a writing course
    Am planning to enter an prestigious essay/dissertation competition organised by my school. Most people submit one entry, but I was hoping to enter several, if it is possible. It would also help with the "readng around" of the subject and enable me to consolidate many of the ideas I might discuss at interview, as I would write a Shakespeare essay, an Evelyn Waugh essay, and a WW1 literature essay. However, do you think that these topics are too main stream/often studied at GCSE level? Perhaps I should explore a new area of literature?
    I was planning to submit some travel articles to my school newspaper Features section (I am friends with one of the editors of this section).
    Also, my friend (a history candidate) and I were hoping to start writing a satirical historical novel over the summer, but this is tenuous...

    Is there anything else that would be useful to do? Work experience at a publisher or a library? Or is this irrelevant? I am worried I won't have enough to put in my personal statement in September or to discuss at interview.
    Any ideas? Thanks
    All this is great BUT the remainder of your time between now and the interview would be better spent reading, reading, reading. Read broadly, but also concentrate on fields that particularly interest you - eg. Gothic novels, the Brontes, WWI lit as you mention above, so you can put it in your PS and therefore give your interviewers a place to start asking you questions from. They like depth of interest.
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    (Original post by I Murder Carrots 4 Fun)
    Thanks Do you know if they look kindly on unrelated extra curriculars like photography and scuba diving? And is voluntary work important?
    Yes, I do know: "No" to all three (that is, these activities will be looked on as mildly interesting but irrelevant).
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    Beyond helping to ascertain that you're not a hermit, extra-curricular activities are, as the above post says, irrelevant. The writing is nearer relevancy, but even then, as wadhamite says, you should really be spending lots of time reading. Lots of time.

    It's your academic interest in the subject that you should be demonstrating in your personal statement, not your wider range of hobbies.
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    (Original post by I Murder Carrots 4 Fun)
    Thanks Do you know if they look kindly on unrelated extra curriculars like photography and scuba diving? And is voluntary work important?
    I think the others have already answered this, but seeing as you already have more relevant extra curriculars you could mention, I would bother referring to photography or scuba diving. With your personal statement you really want to make the most of space. The only reason I mentioned the voluntary work in mine is that I literally couldn't think of any other extra curricular things to mention (don't do any sports, don't play any musical instruments, didn't do Duke of Edinburgh etc). My personal statement was basically "books books books books (and I have a couple of other interests) but mainly BOOKS".

    MSB's right - reading as much as possible is the main thing.
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    i know there's already a few threads for english chat in the english forum, but i feel like us englings should have a cross-year chat thread. and also there are so any queries about english the whole time that it makes sense to keep them together, right? right.

    anyway, i'm a second year at teddy hall and i'm doing course i.

    here's the faculty website: http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/

    and here's the admissions page: http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...guage_a_4.html
 
 
 

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