So you say you want to get to Oxbridge?

31st October 1997 at 00:00
Here are some helpful hints for this year's Oxbridge candidates. Perhaps you can learn from some of my mistakes.

Don't apply to do English. Everybody wants to do English and everybody is an expert in the area that is the interviewer's pet subject. Except you. Instead, apply to do something obscure. Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Cambridge might be a good bet, but only if you (a) are genuinely Anglo-Saxon, Norse or Celtic or (b) have lived with native speakers for a minimum of 10 years.

Don't wear red flares, a Dennis the Menace jumper and yellow Docs for the interview. You may think you will stand out as an individual. You may think you look witty, original and fashionable eccentric. They will think you are a Communist.

Don't tell the dean of the college that you think religion is the greatest barrier to world peace.

Don't pick your nose in the little room where you wait immediately before the interview. They have cameras everywhere.

If you are rejected, make sure it is for a reason sufficiently ridiculous to keep the anecdote going for years - such as telling the dean of the college that religion is the greatest barrier to world peace. In this way you can demonstrate to people just how little it really matters to you that you got turned down from one of the greatest universities in the world. And it doesn't matter. No.

Don't tell everyone how well it went afterwards. Tell people you had a few intellectual differences with the interviewer. They won't twig that the interviewer was clever and you were stupid.

If you are rejected, pretend you didn't want to go anyway. Don't lay this on too thick: an air of cool indifference is what you should aim for. Don't slag the place off for months. You will get a reputation for being bitter.

If you are offered a place, reject it. This is so cool because the bastards don't deserve you anway.

If you're really desperate to go to Oxbridge, employ the tried and tested method. Get your parents to send you to public school.

Jenny Hardcastle gained 53 A-levelpoints and has accepted a place at Bristol University

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