【明報專訊】I am currently waiting to hear from Oxford about whether I have an interview or not. Oxford and Cambridge, being two of the most selective universities in the UK, have their own system of application. All students in the UK submit their application through a system called UCAS, which is similar to JUPAS, by the 15th of January. Universities have until early May to respond, and they transmit their decisions on a rolling basis, usually within 12 weeks. If you receive an offer, it will be either conditional, meaning that you have to obtain certain grades at the end of your A-level exams in order to be admitted (my offer from KCL is A*AA, for example); or unconditional, meaning that either there are no requirements or you have already met them (this happens usually when students re-apply after receiving their grades). Or they might just reject you!
The Oxbridge is more complicated. First, you need to submit your application by the 15th of October, then you will probably have to sit a pre-test on the 30th depending on the subject. Since everyone applying come from different backgrounds, have different qualifications and all have amazing predicted grades, the pre-tests help Oxbridge to really differentiate the candidates and separate the wheat from the chaff. After the pre-tests, applicants will be informed whether they have been invited to an interview or not, which is the final stage of the process if you like. The interviews usually span over a few days, and candidates will be interviewed by tutors from the college they have applied to. They are notoriously difficult, since tutors will usually push you and stretch you mentally until you cannot answer anymore. After that, you will find out in January whether you have been accepted or not. Even then, your place is not guaranteed because you need to get the necessary grades.
Alice has been boarding in the UK for more than five years and is currently applying for British and American universities. A lover of languages, she studies French, Japanese, Latin, Ancient Greek, etc.