The Coming Months
Are you hoping to apply to Oxford this year?
Although personal statements, entrance essays and interviews might feel like a long way off right now, there are a few things you can begin to do now to ensure you have the best chance of being offered a place when they do come around.
Firstly, if up until now all you have in the bag is your grades DON'T FRET!
Up until year 12, my reading had, sadly, not extended much beyond Twilight or The Shopaholic series. It was only when I began to research Oxford more, that I realised my grades alone weren't going to be enough to secure my childhood dream of being offered a place and Sophie Kinsella certainly wasn't going to suffice...
But there was still time to turn it around and boy did I turn it! Virginia Woolf and Christina Rossetti literally became my best friends. In the run-up to applying, I lived and breathed what you might call 'real' literature. I read constantly, thought about literature constantly and talked about literature constantly!
So, in the coming months you need to do the same. Begin to look outside of the school curriculum because that alone won't get you a place. Find areas of your subject at school which interest you and build upon them, read articles, news reports, books, journals, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries, go to museums...do absolutely anything at all to develop your knowledge of your subject.
And in the back of your mind keep that little gem I've mentioned before: Why? Justify!
Oxford want to hear your opinion but they want that opinion to be justified, so begin to evidence every opinion you form.
Go for quality rather than quantity - it's not going to be particularly impressive if you've read the whole works of Shakespeare but remember none of the plots.
Focus on areas which interest you and go into depth when looking at them.
Try not to panic if you haven't done any of this yet- there is time!