Oxford Interview: College Comparison Watch

Nuclear Ghost
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Yesterday, I was delighted to receive an invitation to an interview at my chosen Oxford college, Magdalen. I hope to study Physics (4 Years) there.
The email mentioned that some of the other colleges may choose to interview me, which is why I need advice.
I'm aware that in the interview, I may be asked what made me pick Oxford, or more specifically, Magdalen. As I don't know yet which colleges besides Magdalen will interview me, I'm uncertain as to what I shall say to the other colleges, because, of course, every college is different.
I'm keen to apply to Magdalen because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Erwin Schroedinger to Oscar Wilde, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
So my questions for the possible interviews for the colleges are as follows:
  1. What key similarities and differences between Magdalen and similar colleges should I pick up on? How can I use said differences to my advantage?
  2. What details in the question are most prominent?
  3. What do I do if I get interviewed by a college that I know little about? Examples include Exeter and Wadham.
  4. Which colleges other than Magdalen should I look out for? Which are the most similar/different? (I've also looked at Balliol, Oriel, St. John's, Jesus and New).

I may be back with further questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
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KombatWombat
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)
Yesterday, I was delighted to receive an invitation to an interview at my chosen Oxford college, Magdalen. I hope to study Physics (4 Years) there.
The email mentioned that some of the other colleges may choose to interview me, which is why I need advice.
I'm aware that in the interview, I may be asked what made me pick Oxford, or more specifically, Magdalen. As I don't know yet which colleges besides Magdalen will interview me, I'm uncertain as to what I shall say to the other colleges, because, of course, every college is different.
I'm keen to apply to Magdalen because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Erwin Schroedinger to Oscar Wilde, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
So my questions for the possible interviews for the colleges are as follows:
  1. What key similarities and differences between Magdalen and similar colleges should I pick up on? How can I use said differences to my advantage?
  2. What details in the question are most prominent?
  3. What do I do if I get interviewed by a college that I know little about? Examples include Exeter and Wadham.
  4. Which colleges other than Magdalen should I look out for? Which are the most similar/different? (I've also looked at Balliol, Oriel, St. John's, Jesus and New).

I may be back with further questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
Actually, tutors specifically aren't allowed to ask why you picked a particular college - it's in some university regulation (I can't remember where exactly, though). If I were you I'd focus on your physics as that's what the vast majority of your interview will be about!

(Also, second interviews will be in a colleges you won't have picked, tutors would be very silly to ask why you picked it…)
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Kiki09
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)
Yesterday, I was delighted to receive an invitation to an interview at my chosen Oxford college, Magdalen. I hope to study Physics (4 Years) there.
The email mentioned that some of the other colleges may choose to interview me, which is why I need advice.
I'm aware that in the interview, I may be asked what made me pick Oxford, or more specifically, Magdalen. As I don't know yet which colleges besides Magdalen will interview me, I'm uncertain as to what I shall say to the other colleges, because, of course, every college is different.
I'm keen to apply to Magdalen because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Erwin Schroedinger to Oscar Wilde, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
It is very very unlikely that you would be asked why you chose a particular college. This is precisely because people make open applications, get reallocated or are being interviewed at a second/third college. It is possible that you may get asked why Oxford (although even this is not always asked) - if you do get asked this, I would focus on subject/course structure answers. Your interviewers are primarily interested in your aptitude for and interest in the subject.
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Nuclear Ghost
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(Original post by KombatWombat)
Actually, tutors specifically aren't allowed to ask why you picked a particular college - it's in some university regulation (I can't remember where exactly, though). If I were you I'd focus on your physics as that's what the vast majority of your interview will be about!

(Also, second interviews will be in a colleges you won't have picked, tutors would be very silly to ask why you picked it…)
(Original post by Kiki09)
It is very very unlikely that you would be asked why you chose a particular college. This is precisely because people make open applications, get reallocated or are being interviewed at a second/third college. It is possible that you may get asked why Oxford (although even this is not always asked) - if you do get asked this, I would focus on subject/course structure answers. Your interviewers are primarily interested in your aptitude for and interest in the subject.
Thanks a lot, folks. This was helpful. Although I'm still skeptical over colleges that I know little about.
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Kiki09
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)
Thanks a lot, folks. This was helpful. Although I'm still skeptical over colleges that I know little about.
Sceptical how? You may not get any additional interviews and, if you do, you really won't be expected to know all about them. If you mean you are sceptical about getting a place at another college, it sounds trite but most people are happy at their college even if it wasn't their original choice.
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ibid
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you won't be asked that question
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Jantaculum
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)

I'm keen to apply to Any college because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Famous person 1 to Famous person 2, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
It's just as well you won't be asked the 'why Magdalen' question because, to be honest, your answer could apply to any college with a bit of tweaking.

Really, you need to get over your scepticism about other colleges - if successful, you could be among the approximately 1/4 of students who end up at a college they didn't apply to.
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AnyRandomName
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)
Yesterday, I was delighted to receive an invitation to an interview at my chosen Oxford college, Magdalen. I hope to study Physics (4 Years) there.
The email mentioned that some of the other colleges may choose to interview me, which is why I need advice.
I'm aware that in the interview, I may be asked what made me pick Oxford, or more specifically, Magdalen. As I don't know yet which colleges besides Magdalen will interview me, I'm uncertain as to what I shall say to the other colleges, because, of course, every college is different.
I'm keen to apply to Magdalen because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Erwin Schroedinger to Oscar Wilde, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
So my questions for the possible interviews for the colleges are as follows:
  1. What key similarities and differences between Magdalen and similar colleges should I pick up on? How can I use said differences to my advantage?
  2. What details in the question are most prominent?
  3. What do I do if I get interviewed by a college that I know little about? Examples include Exeter and Wadham.
  4. Which colleges other than Magdalen should I look out for? Which are the most similar/different? (I've also looked at Balliol, Oriel, St. John's, Jesus and New).

I may be back with further questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
I think you're analysing this too much. First, as others have said, the tutors can't and don't ask why you chose their college. Second, I'm pretty sure they rarely ask the 'why oxford' question simply because they aren't really interested and a question like that will lead to loads of boring and rehearsed answers.

The interview will be about your subject. You are being interviewed to show that you are good at your subject, not to prove how much you love Oxford or Magdalen (that's kind of taken as a given since you chose to apply).
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astro67
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(Original post by Nuclear Ghost)
Yesterday, I was delighted to receive an invitation to an interview at my chosen Oxford college, Magdalen. I hope to study Physics (4 Years) there.
The email mentioned that some of the other colleges may choose to interview me, which is why I need advice.
I'm aware that in the interview, I may be asked what made me pick Oxford, or more specifically, Magdalen. As I don't know yet which colleges besides Magdalen will interview me, I'm uncertain as to what I shall say to the other colleges, because, of course, every college is different.
I'm keen to apply to Magdalen because, like Oxford itself, it's a beautiful part of the world, it's full of fascinating history and culture, and having taught a long list of great people in the past, from Erwin Schroedinger to Oscar Wilde, and with state-of-the-art tutoring and teaching in my subject, access to a vast archive of academic resources, and the opportunity to meet so many people who share my enthusiasm for Physics, I am confident that the college is right for me.
So my questions for the possible interviews for the colleges are as follows:
  1. What key similarities and differences between Magdalen and similar colleges should I pick up on? How can I use said differences to my advantage?
  2. What details in the question are most prominent?
  3. What do I do if I get interviewed by a college that I know little about? Examples include Exeter and Wadham.
  4. Which colleges other than Magdalen should I look out for? Which are the most similar/different? (I've also looked at Balliol, Oriel, St. John's, Jesus and New).

I may be back with further questions.
Thank you very much for your time.
Just to echo what others have said. You absolutely should not be asked about your college choice. The training for interviewers makes clear that they should not ask any questions that do not relate to the published admissions criteria for the course. Asking about college choice clearly fails this test. Since you're being interviewed for Physics you will have an interview at a second college. You should be given your full schedule on arrival since physics interviews are timetabled in advance.
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Nuclear Ghost
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Thanks guys. This was helpful.
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