Following the recent controversy over Pembroke College's admissions procedure (a student was offered a place on condition that his father donate money to the college), I have decided to tell you all about the interview process at the University of Oxford.

Not all UK universities interview their candidates: those which do consider themselves a cut above the rest. This is fair enough when it comes to Oxbridge, because, frankly, they are.

Bazquux and I were both invited for interview at Magdalen College, Oxford in December 2001. The deal is this - you go down to Oxford for 2-4 days in early-mid December. Your College provides bed and board for the duration of your stay, for free!

That sounds like a pretty good deal - a free stay in Oxford, but there's a major catch: you have to take a series of interviews and tests. Most people have to do one or two interviews, which are conducted by Fellows in your chosen subject.

Now, the interviews are by far the most terrifying part of the whole procedure. They are one-on-one, and conducted in the office of the Tutor, usually an incredibly messy room with book shelves lining the walls. Comfy leather seats, though! The interviewer will know you are scared, and try to put you at ease. They will then go on to ask you questions on your subject, which become more and more difficult. They are seeing how much you know. In fact, the harder the questions, the more they must think you know. Try to be pally, but not cocky. I made a few jokes, and luckily they went down well: if in doubt, don't risk it! You want to appear cool, calm and collected. You want to be the kind of person they would like to teach.

You also get to meet the people who will be studying with you at the University of Oxford at meal times and the such. The over all impression I got was that most of them were arrogant snobs, but there were one or two exceptions. Now that I am actually studying here, it seems that the vast majority of the snobs didn't receive an offer. Don't let their bravado intimidate you. The interviewers will see straight through it.

If you are certain that you are not clever enough to be offered a place, there are a few things you could try. Girls, flaunt your body, or even offer your services to your interviewer. Boys, it's worth a go - do the same. Everyone, if your daddy is rich, let them know about it!

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