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University interview advice.

Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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11/28/2011 4:43:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
I have an interview in six days time at Mansfield College, Oxford. I am applying for an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. And I'm sh*tting myself. To anyone who has gone through university interviews, or knows a lot about the process, could you offer any advice? What kind of things are they likely to ask, how should I reply, what should I wear (they say casual is fine, but does anyone have any advice on what would be a bad idea to wear, or what might be a good idea)? Does anyone have any general tips or suggestions?
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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11/28/2011 8:47:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 4:43:06 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I have an interview in six days time at Mansfield College, Oxford. I am applying for an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. And I'm sh*tting myself. To anyone who has gone through university interviews, or knows a lot about the process, could you offer any advice? What kind of things are they likely to ask, how should I reply, what should I wear (they say casual is fine, but does anyone have any advice on what would be a bad idea to wear, or what might be a good idea)? Does anyone have any general tips or suggestions?

Well, every interview is different. There may be more of a focus on your personality and presentation, there's no telling. I'm pretty sure you have the option to call up and ask. Try to speak to an advisor or the bursar's or whatever, and see what they have to say about what to expect. Ask a lot of questions, it doesn't matter if you're annoying.

Some of the hardest questions I've heard are things like "how do you believe you will add to the (Mansfield, in this case) community/student body/class/whatever?" In this case, it serves you well to have a little fundamental knowledge of the school to show that you have actually given thorough thought to selecting that particular school. What sort of philosophy does the school have that appeal to you?

On the Oxford website, the administration had this to say about Mansfield:

"Being one of the smaller colleges of Oxford it offers a close-knit and friendly community. Mansfield provides a supportive environment in which students can excel academically."

That's the sort of sh*t you talk about. "It is the perfect place to foster, develop, and realize my intellectual, academic, and professional pursuits."

One question always leads to another, so have thought through how they might reply to some potential responses. To this, they might say, "and, what are those pursuits?" Or, they might ask you to simply elaborate.

Also, interviewers often want to see that you're selective about your major, as well, to diminish the possibility that you'll be bouncing around schools, getting throwaway credits while remaining generally undeclared, because that raises the likelihood of attrition. So, not only will you need a decent rationale for the major you chose, you'll need to show evidence that you've been active in the past in these pursuits. In the United States, for example, clubs like the Future Business Leaders of America is a pretty decent starting point for business school applicants. Since you're going into science, you might want to have something similar in your dossier that you're ready to discuss.

Overall, be confident and know that you deserve to go to this school. They're not expecting you to go off like some hifalutin blowhard. They just want to know that you really want to go to their school and you're actually cut out for it. I can tell you this much -- to even be a candidate for attendance at Oxford University is amazing. I am very impressed. ^_^
Kinesis
Posts: 3,667
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11/28/2011 10:24:03 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
lol, my mum nearly smothered me to death when she found out I got an interview - it's certainly awesome to even be considered by them. Per the potential "Why did you apply to Mansfield" question, I really hope they don't ask me that - I didn't actually apply to Mansfield, I made an open application and it was assigned to me automatically.

But great advice, thanks!
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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12/3/2011 4:31:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 11/28/2011 4:43:06 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I have an interview in six days time at Mansfield College, Oxford. I am applying for an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. And I'm sh*tting myself. To anyone who has gone through university interviews, or knows a lot about the process, could you offer any advice? What kind of things are they likely to ask, how should I reply, what should I wear (they say casual is fine, but does anyone have any advice on what would be a bad idea to wear, or what might be a good idea)? Does anyone have any general tips or suggestions?

My money is usually on button up shirt and slacks, but that's me.

I went to a fairly prestigious university, so I'll try to give you what I felt they were looking for.

Universities want money and fame. This mainly comes about through alumni. Fame comes through students.

It used to be that you are supposed to be well rounded. But what schools are looking for is someone who is passionate. Someone who you look at and say "if he keeps this up with that ambition and interest, he'll probably make our university look good in the long run."

Think of one or two things that academically excite you (preferably specific to the school's strengths). For instance, he might ask a question on what classes you like or what interests you. Interviewers can see on your face whether something excites you, so don't fake it.

Secondly, they don't want you to be a problem. That means they are looking for people who are socialized. All that means if that you should be yourself. If you appear fake or you freeze up, they'll wonder whether you could socially be a problem later.

Finally, always have a question or something you want to know about the specific university you are at. Something that makes them think "hmm, he is deciding between several great schools and is wondering if we make the cut."
royalpaladin
Posts: 22,357
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12/8/2011 12:10:23 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 12/3/2011 4:31:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 11/28/2011 4:43:06 AM, Kinesis wrote:
I have an interview in six days time at Mansfield College, Oxford. I am applying for an undergraduate degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. And I'm sh*tting myself. To anyone who has gone through university interviews, or knows a lot about the process, could you offer any advice? What kind of things are they likely to ask, how should I reply, what should I wear (they say casual is fine, but does anyone have any advice on what would be a bad idea to wear, or what might be a good idea)? Does anyone have any general tips or suggestions?

My money is usually on button up shirt and slacks, but that's me.

I went to a fairly prestigious university, so I'll try to give you what I felt they were looking for.

Universities want money and fame. This mainly comes about through alumni. Fame comes through students.

It used to be that you are supposed to be well rounded. But what schools are looking for is someone who is passionate. Someone who you look at and say "if he keeps this up with that ambition and interest, he'll probably make our university look good in the long run."

Think of one or two things that academically excite you (preferably specific to the school's strengths). For instance, he might ask a question on what classes you like or what interests you. Interviewers can see on your face whether something excites you, so don't fake it.

Secondly, they don't want you to be a problem. That means they are looking for people who are socialized. All that means if that you should be yourself. If you appear fake or you freeze up, they'll wonder whether you could socially be a problem later.

Finally, always have a question or something you want to know about the specific university you are at. Something that makes them think "hmm, he is deciding between several great schools and is wondering if we make the cut."

I have heard that Oxford interviews differ from normal interviews insofar as the interviewers will test your academic knowledge as well as question why you wish to attend their school. I would confirm if I were you . . . you could probably even find a list of interview questions to prepare for online.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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12/14/2011 5:47:01 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Read J.S.Mill's Utilitarianism, Bentham's Political ideas, and other books such as these, and economic ones are always best. Oxford has a habit of asking what books have you read, and this is something to look out for.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
PARADIGM_L0ST
Posts: 6,958
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12/14/2011 6:28:10 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Be sure to be extra formal... I suggest a cornflower blue tuxedo with ruffles, and I suggest your nutsack be hanging out. It's almost guaranteed acceptance at that point.
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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12/14/2011 10:19:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I know nothing about Oxford, but one good general rule for interviews is to read up on the history and current events of the place where you are being interviewed. If you know the library burned down or an alumnus won a prize or some such trivia, the interviewer will get a tip that you are serious about the place.