The Oxford admissions interview blog is back

6 December 2007

Another fly-on-the-wall perspective on Oxford University’s interview process is offered this week as Mike Nicholson, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, resumes his blog.

In ‘Oxblogster’, which he invented last year, he records his observations about one aspect of the Oxford admissions process which has traditionally attracted a lot of attention and generated persistent myths.

Around 10,000 applicants are coming to Oxford over the next two weeks to be interviewed for around 3,200 places for undergraduate study.

Mike Nicholson said: ‘What I do is simply sit in on a few interviews per subject and report my observations afterwards. There is so much misinformation around regarding what tutors are looking for in a candidate – and believe me, it is not a firm handshake or good table manners.’

This year’s readers of the blog will also benefit from reading comments that were left in the previous year.

One of last year’s candidates wrote: ‘I was an applicant, and you observed one of my interviews. I have found your blog very informative and interesting to read. Unfortunately I was unsuccessful in my application, and even if I knew it wouldn't get in, I would do it all again! The interview period gave me the opportunity to taste the Oxford experience over a few days, making several friends from across the country and challenging me in my reflection of my chosen course at university. I found the student helpers, tutors and everyone I came across at Oxford very welcoming. Many thanks.’

A future applicant added: ‘Thanks for all the information. I've been hearing nothing but scare stories about admissions and it's nice to get some reassurance from people in the business. Hopefully I'll be seeing you in two years’ time!’

One parent concluded: ‘Tutors were fair and supportive. We had felt that in coming from a comprehensive school [our daughter] would not be able to perform at interview as we knew that the nearby independent school coached candidates. The structure of the interview puts all students as equals.’

Mike Nicholson also recorded a series of podcasts, which include discussions with admissions tutors about the interview process.

For more information, please contact the Press Office at 01865 280531.

Notes to editors

The interview is only one part of the Oxford admissions process. Other elements which form part of the selection process include the UCAS form, predicted and actual school qualifications, potentially written tests and written work. Those candidates showing the greatest merit and potential are admitted, irrespective of background.