Notes for Interview Candidates

Notes for Interview Candidates

Welcome to St Peter’s

For most subjects, candidates will be invited to the College on the evening of the day before their interviews begin. This is to enable you to arrive in good time so you can settle in, have dinner and meet the student helpers and other candidates before the interviews get going.

If you need to come earlier, or leave later, then extra accommodation can be arranged to suit your needs.

When you arrive you should collect your room key from the Lodge. There will be helpers on hand to show you to your room. Once settled, you should also consult the notice boards in the Junior Common Room - where the times of meetings and interviews will be posted. 

Staying at St Peter’s

Every effort will be made to make your stay here as agreeable as possible. After your arrival, you will be welcomed by a group of undergraduate helpers who are here especially to help the candidates. These helpers will look after you during the interview period, tell you about College life and keep you entertained.

Please ensure that during your stay you keep your room locked and your wallet/purse with you at all times. If you do go out at night please be back in College by 11:00 pm. Although Oxford is no more dangerous than any other city, it would be sensible to keep to well-lit areas and not to go out alone at night.

If, for any reason, you have to leave before the release time for your subject, please be sure to inform the Deputy Registrar Martin Brown (martin.brown@spc.ox.ac.uk) as the College needs to be able to account for you in the event of an emergency.

Useful Things to Bring

  • Alarm Clock - Very useful for those early interviews.
  • Mobile Phone - Please bring your phone and keep it switched on whenever possible as we might need to contact you urgently. This is very important in the event of an interview being arranged at short notice at another college.
  • Phone charger
  • Written Work - If you have been asked to submit written work, it would be useful to bring a copy with you to refresh your memory prior to your interview.
  • Something to Read- There will be magazines and newspapers available in the candidates’ common room, but as there can be a lot of waiting around during this period, we would recommend that you bring some extra reading material with you.
  • Warm and Comfortable Clothing - There is no dress code for the interviews, but it would be sensible to bring warm clothing as Oxford can be a cold and draughty place in December. Comfort should be your prime consideration when it comes to clothing. Also you might be faced with a lot of walking to and from other colleges so comfortable shoes will help greatly.
  • Umbrella - There is a very good chance that it will tip down with rain on at least one of your interview days.

Please note that you do not need to bring bedding or towels.

Do not Bring:

Alcohol! It is not permitted for candidates to bring alcoholic drinks onto College premises. This policy is strictly enforced and anyone failing to comply will be asked to leave.

The Interviews

You will be interviewed by the tutors in the subject(s) you wish to study. It is possible that you will have more than one interview in St Peter’s and interviews will generally be conducted by two or three tutors.

Interviews form an important part of the selection process here in Oxford. The tutors may ask about your school studies and your interests, but you should also expect some searching questions about your subject. In some subjects you may be asked questions arising from your written work, or your reading; in other subjects, the tutors may pose a problem and ask how you would try to solve it, or base the interview on a piece of text you will be given to read. The tutors will not be trying to catch you out, but they will be seeking to find out how well your talents are suited to our courses. If you think that the questions are difficult, you can be reassured that the other candidates in your subject will be thinking much the same!

If you would like to find out more about the interviews, please read the Interviews section of the Oxford University website

Interviews at Other Colleges

You might be called for interviews at other colleges. Notification of other interviews will be displayed on the notice boards in the Junior Common Room.

Often these interviews are arranged at very short notice, so it is very important that you check the notice boards regularly and keep your mobile phone switched on whenever possible. All the information we have about you will be available to tutors in other colleges, and the aim of these interviews is to give everyone as fair a chance as possible of a place at Oxford.

Any nights you are required to stay will, however, be spent here in St. Peter’s. If you are required to attend an interview at another college after dark, or if you are worried about getting lost on the way, one of the helpers will be on hand to escort you should you wish it. Within the period of the interviews you should not leave Oxford until you have been told you are no longer required. You will normally be required to stay at least one night and possibly two or three or more depending on the timing of interviews. 

Going Home Afterwards

We appreciate that you will want to go home as soon as possible after your St Peter’s interview(s), but we will always need to be sure that no further interviews are to be arranged for you. Therefore, there will be no notices posted to release anyone until we are 100% certain that no further interviews will be arranged.

Due to this, we would be grateful if all candidates could refrain from asking the College Porters or the Student Helpers if it is OK to go home as they will not have access to this information. 

Decisions

The decision letters will be sent simultaneously to all candidates regardless of subject. These letters will be put in the first class post in the first week of January.

Please note that admissions decisions will not be given over the telephone. If you live overseas and would like your decision notification to be sent by e-mail, please speak to Martin Brown (martin.brown@spc.ox.ac.uk) and make sure you confirm your e-mail address with us before you go home.

Problems

If you encounter any difficulties during your stay, please don’t suffer in silence! The Helpers are always on hand to help out and to listen. Also, please feel free to contact the Academic Office. – all you need to do is to ask one of the helpers to call Martin Brown on 01865 278863.