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Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions which we get asked frequently, with their answers below:
How do I pick a course?
Choose the subject that really interests you! We will expect you to work hard and we want you to enjoy your work. Don’t worry at this stage about your job prospects. You will learn all kinds of transferable skills during your degree course and these are what employers will value when the time comes.
Is it worth going to Open Days?
Yes, if you possibly can since we hope you will enjoy meeting tutors and other prospective students but please note that it isn’t essential. It won’t make any difference to your chances of getting an offer. If you want to visit the College but can’t manage the official open days, do get in touch and we will try to find a time that suits you.
Can I take a Gap Year?
In principle Gap Years are absolutely fine and in general we think they are an excellent preparation for university but in any given year we can’t offer too many deferred places so be prepared to try twice, ie. once before you have taken your A levels (or equivalent); then if you don’t get an offer try again after you have your results.
Any tips for my personal statement?
The golden rule here is not to say anything that you don’t want to talk about during your interview. Tutors will be much more likely to talk about the subject for which you have applied than about your personal statement but all the same the opening question may well be about something you’ve mentioned so make sure you know about whatever it was! But in general, don’t agonise too long over your UCAS statement. Write a draft; check the spelling and grammar; make a copy and then get on with the real business in hand: working at your subject.
What are my chances of getting an interview?
This depends very much on the subject for which you are applying. Subjects which have quite small numbers of applicants (for example Archaeology and Anthropology) are likely to be able to invite most candidates. But we expect on average to interview three times as many people as we have places. You will need a reasonable GCSE profile (so some A*s help but you really don’t need 10!) and you should be predicted 3 A grades at A Level (or equivalent).
How should I prepare for an interview?
If we call you for interview we will send you some further information so you have an idea what to expect. The main things to remember are:·
- What did you say on the personal statement on your UCAS form? (do keep a copy.)
- What did you say in any written work you were asked to send in? (again, keep a copy; think about the topic that it covered, and read round it).
- We won’t expect you to be the Brain of Britain and to know all kinds of obscure facts. But do be prepared to show you can think ‘outside the box’ and have done more than the bare minimum in your subject.
- Remember we will be looking for students who have intellectual stamina and curiosity and critical abilities.
But, we really don’t mind what you wear. Being nervous is normal. Don’t be afraid to ask tutors to repeat any question you didn’t understand.
How is teaching organised?
The syllabus for each subject will be the same whichever college you choose, as will be the exams you need to sit and the lectures (and for scientists the practicals) you attend, but key to an Oxford education are tutorials. You can usually expect to have at least one tutorial a week when you will meet your tutor, either on your own or with one or two other students, to discuss the work you have previously been set. Over the three or four years of your course you are likely to be taught by tutors not only from St Peter’s but also by specialists from across the University, but it is St Peter’s tutors who will guide you through the syllabus and be on hand to help supervise your academic progress. St Peter’s tutors include both Fellows and Lecturers of the College, most of whom also hold University posts.