Essay writing at university level is something which the majority of students get used to very quickly! With some Oxbridge students producing up to three essays a week, it’s no surprise that tutors are requesting written work from applicants. This can be a daunting ask, given that the tutors reading your essays will be experts in their field. Here are our top tips for making sure your written work is brilliant.
Tutors aren’t expecting a massive dissertation – they understand the level at which applicants will be working. The advice given by both universities is that the essay you submit should have been written as part of your normal study, and Oxford suggests that they should be no more than 200 words in length. At my own interview, I had to explain my Nazi-themed essay to a tutor who only studied medieval Britain and Europe – so don’t be too worried
Chances are that you will be asked about your essay at interview, so make sure you pick an essay on a topic you understood and enjoyed during your course. If you are applying for a subject that you have never studied before, don’t be tempted to write about a new topic. If you’re applying for Classics, a very good history essay will impress the tutor more than a less-than-comprehensive classics one, which you would most probably then speak about less confidently at interview. The application process is complicated enough without giving yourself more work to do!
Make sure you let your teacher know that you are thinking about submitting your essay with your application. This way, you can keep them updated on the progress of your application and they will hopefully neaten up their handwriting for the tutors to read.
Small mistakes can really trip you up. They look unprofessional, and tutors will assume that you have proof-read your essay poorly. Watch out for spelling and grammar mistakes and unfinished sentences. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your tone; make sure you use an academic style and language, in order to demonstrate your strength in your chosen subject.
Make sure you check the submission date for your written work – after all the hard work you’ve put in, it would be a waste to send it off late. Oxford tends to have a more centralised deadline, whereas at Cambridge the deadlines are more college focused, so make sure you check the date as soon as possible so you can get it done in good time. No need for an essay crisis quite yet, as long as you plan well ahead.
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