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Personal Statement to Oxford Interview - Salimah's story
December 19, 2014
Oxbridge candidates have been busily buzzing up and down to Oxford and Cambridge over the last couple of weeks for interviews. The Tutorfair Foundation has been following one student in particular on her UCAS journey.
The Tutorfair Foundation and I first met Salimah at our Oxbridge Personal Statement workshop back in September. Salimah's Personal Statement for Modern Languages was full of seriously impressive content. We helped her refine it and and think more carefully about which topics were most interesting to her—this would mean Salimah would feel really confident and inspired to talk more about these, if asked to interview. Salimah was a really strong candidate and we congratulated her on the extra-curriculars, like kickboxing and debating, that she had featured in her Personal Statement.
There was big excitement at Tutorfair HQ when we were told that Salimah had secured an Oxford interview! I invited Salimah over to the Tutorfair offices for some mock interview practice. It was so interesting to hear how much Salimah had developed the ideas on her Personal Statement since we last met. What I liked most about Salimah's technique in responding to interview questions was the way she talked through her thought processes as she went along, especially on the more challenging questions. Working through answers aloud really helps an interviewer understand how the student thinks and learns.
Salimah spent four days up in Oxford, living in college (she said it felt like a “mini holiday!”) and had 3 interviews altogether. In her interviews the tutors asked her to analyse some prose and a poem they handed out, to talk about and draw comparisons between French and English literature from her Personal Statement, about current affairs and about what she has learnt from doing extras outside school hours, like debating! Salimah also had a chance to practice her language skills doing some grammar questions and some gentle conversation in French. She said that overall it was "a great experience and everyone was really nice".
We are so glad Salimah enjoyed her interview days in beautiful Oxford and we wish her, and everyone else applying, the very best of luck as she waits to hear back from Oxford over the next couple of weeks...!
Update: Great excitement at Tutorfair this January, as we learn that Salimah has been offered a place at Oxford to read French and Arabic. Congratulations, Salimah!