Posted inOxford News

Pandemic Admissions: Getting into Oxford Online

When I decided to apply to Oxford I didn’t expect to go through interviews, let alone for these to be virtual. Whilst it was comforting to be interviewed from home, it seemed much harder to gauge the impression you had left, despite being relieved of the pressure of face-to-face interviews. The process was not without its tribulations, especially as living in a more rural area caused the headaches of temperamental Wi-Fi and a very hesitant printer. 

Whilst coronavirus impacted support from school, I was lucky enough for my teachers to set up mock interviews with local solicitors. This was helpful, but not particularly conducive of what the experience would be like, so the level of challenge and difficulty was rather unexpected.

Having had ‘no exams’ I feel less prepared for formal examinations, since I have not had the misfortune of being in exam halls since my GCSEs. However, this did mean doing many timed essays per week to create evidence, a decidedly less agreeable consequence of this year’s A-level circumstances. In some ways I feel that my year is both less and more prepared for university work. Whilst we were unable to finish our courses, we also had to really grasp independent study – especially in state schools.

I felt very uncertain leading up to my results; it seemed that my future was in the hands of my teachers – even those who  had not taught my classes for most of the course. Eventually receiving my results felt like an achievement itself in these circumstances, and I wish that I had known that beforehand. 

Spending the best part of the application process in lockdowns or school isolations really elongated the whole experience, and added to my anticipation for my results. This meant that I was relieved  more than anything else when my place was confirmed. I knew from UCAS that I had at least met my offer and had been accepted, so to have achieved anything above that was a nice addition. Whilst myself and my classmates generally seemed disappointed to have missed the opportunity to prove our ability above our given grades, to have gotten the results at all, meant this was taken with a pinch of salt.

I also felt curious about what results I’d have received in ‘normal,’  formal examinations, and whether this would have impacted the fulfilling of my offer. Would I have achieved higher, as I feel in some subjects I could have? Whether or not we took full exams, I hope to be at ease with the fact that this year’s results are not misguided.hey are all genuinely deserved.

Whilst the social aspects of the admissions process were a disappointment, with college tours and UNIQ cancelled, I hope to recover some of those lost experiences and excitement for the university experience when I arrive.