Two St Benedict’s Sixth Form students have received offers from Oxford, to read Engineering, and Anthropology and Archaeology.
Congratulations to Elizabeth Haile, who has a conditional offer to read Anthropology and Archaeology at St Peter’s College, Oxford, and to Oscar Jones, who has a conditional offer to read Engineering at Brasenose College, Oxford.
Because of the pandemic, all interviews were online this year, conducted via Microsoft Teams. Far from being a daunting experience, both candidates found the interview process to be stimulating, challenging and enjoyable. “It was extremely rewarding to put my knowledge into practice and the professors went out of their way to put me at ease”, said Elizabeth. “I would mention to any future candidate that the interviewers seemed to be more interested in my thought process rather than the content of my argument, and I found that I had prepared more information than I had time to display!”
My experience with the Oxbridge admissions process has been overwhelmingly positive, and the school has done much to facilitate this - I'm very grateful!”Elizabeth
The interviews are also designed to test how well candidates can engage with learning through Oxford’s tutorial system. “You are encouraged to ask questions, to think aloud and to engage with your interviewers as if they are your tutors”, said Oscar. “The questions are difficult and are designed to make you think outside of what you have learned in school.”
Entry requirements vary depending on the course, with some subjects requiring examinations or written assessments. For Anthropology and Archaeology, Elizabeth had to submit past schoolwork and a 500-word essay, entitled ‘What can we learn about people, either past or present, from their material culture?' Oscar completed a Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in early November - a mix of physics and maths questions which develop concepts studied at A Level to test how candidates an apply their knowledge to different situations.
I had two mock interviews with external academics with links to St Benedict’s. These were invaluable because I was speaking to someone unfamiliar though Teams and using a shared white board – just like the real interview."Oscar
Both students are very positive about how St Benedict’s has supported them. “The teachers here have been very helpful to me throughout my admissions process”, said Oscar. “I met with Mr Bowles every week to discuss the PAT test. I also had two mock interviews with external academics with links to St Benedict’s. These were invaluable because I was speaking to someone unfamiliar though Teams and using a shared white board – just like the real interview. The careers department also organised a general interview skills session, with helpful tips about how to present yourself in an online interview.”
“My experience with the Oxbridge admissions process has been overwhelmingly positive, and the school has done much to facilitate this - I'm very grateful!” said Elizabeth. “The school set up multiple practice interviews which were really helpful in preparation for the real event.”
Finally, what made them choose their respective courses? “I have been interested in Ancient History since studying Classical Civilisation at GCSE level, and the college and course I've applied for suit my interests nicely”, said Elizabeth.
“I chose engineering because I have an ambition to make our world more sustainable by decarbonising the transport sector”, said Oscar. “The collegiate system at Oxford appealed to me because the colleges are small and friendly groups of dedicated and ambitious people, which I think will motivate me to do well in my studies.”
The Headmaster, Andrew Johnson, said: "Many congratulations to Elizabeth and Oscar on this very significant achievement of receiving an offer of a place to study at Oxford, particularly in the present difficult circumstances. I've no doubt that both of them will thrive at Oxford and will thoroughly enjoy the many opportunities the university offers."