This is a question that either you’ve never considered, or you think you already know the answer to. Well, listen up because this may totally change the way you approach your interview. So who are those austere men and women, gate-keepers to the prestigious Oxbridge world? Many people would answer that they are the tutors and lecturers who will be teaching you your degree, should you be offered a place. Well… right and wrong. You see the big difference between the Oxbridge Admissions Tutors and the teachers at your school or Sixth Form College is that for the most part, the tutors didn’t get into the business in order to teach.
Rather, they are academics, who have devoted their lives to researching their subject. Teaching undergraduates is how they pay their way in the academic world. Kind of like an opera singer moonlighting as a waiter. This new knowledge might completely change the way you think about your interview – your interviewer is not there to purely to teach you – and they might not be particularly interested in any aspect of the undergraduate course. Instead, they are looking for someone who it will be interesting to teach – not necessarily because you will blow their mind with your intelligence and completely change the angle of their research with your insightful comments – but because you feel to some extent the same way as they feel about their subject. They have a duty to the college in terms of the grades that you are likely to get at finals – the colleges are ranked on their academic performance so a drop in academics does not go down well – so will be looking for someone who will work hard and do well.
Beyond this, they want someone that they will enjoy teaching. Hopefully this gives you a bit of an insight into the way that your interview will work – and hopefully it won’t be too much of a shock to realise that the students are not actually the most important aspect of the university. If you would like any further mock interview practice with a specialist tutor in your subject – or if you would have any questions about your application or the interview period, please just get in touch. Best of luck!