It’s no secret that the Oxford application process is known to be one of the most competitive admission processes in the world of higher education. As an international student, from Greece, the application process for me was above all stressful but fun as well…

Stressful for some pretty obvious reasons such as the global pandemic, the admission tests, the 15 drafts of the personal statement, and the interview preparation, which were more than enough to make my senior year tense, to say the least. However, after finishing the application cycle, I would argue that an application at Oxford is equally stressful as fun and rewarding.

From my experience, I understood that the application process at Oxford should be seen more as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and less as a competition. Personally, I saw my application as a challenge, to see how far I would make it. In my head, the application process resembled a ladder which was composed of five large steps: the school grades, the personal statement, the admission test, the interview, and the decision day. Like most applicants at Oxford, I knew that the chances of me being rejected were far greater than getting accepted, therefore, I tried to make the most out of the application experience!

Knowing that in order to be at least considered by Oxford I had to perfect the first three steps of the ladder, I tried my best to do so. Getting the school grades were definitely the dullest part; however, the next two steps were really fascinating. I found both the personal statement and the admission test very exciting and creative since they were, at least for me, very new experiences. The History Aptitude Test (HAT) was probably the most challenging part of the application, as it was a very demanding and very perplexing type of test that I had never experienced before.

Then came the best part; the interviews. However, before diving into my interview experience I think that I should give you some context regarding my application: I sent an open application at Oxford, I was allocated at Mansfield, however, my first interview was with Wadham and the second one with St. Hughs. My first virtual interview with the history tutors started very smoothly with a typical Q&A about my submitted work. As the conversation unfolded the stress that had been gathering for days, started to lose its might, and confidence began to take its place. The highlight of my interviews was when I made all four Wadham history tutors laugh with my response on the reason why protests by white-collar middle-aged white men don’t really work -maybe one of the proudest moments in my life-. All in all, the interviews were certainly the best part of the application. Having the ability to discuss my favorite subject with some of the leading academics in this field is truly a memorable experience.

On the fifth and final step, that is the decision date, the only thing one can do is refresh his/her email and wait for their decision to be posted. From my perspective, no matter what the outcome is, one should truly cherish and appreciate the experience of applying at Oxford, especially during times of great uncertainty.

Spyros Spyromilios

First year student at St. Hugh's College reading History. Coming from Athens, Greece. Very interested in current affairs, international relations and socioeconomic issues.