Interviews suck. But please trust me when I tell you that it could’ve been worse. Because I have an admission that among Cambridge students makes me the lowest of the low, the deepest, most shameful type: I am an Oxford reject.
I know. I’m sorry. They wouldn’t take me so I came crawling here.
I can promise you though, from the bottom of my heart, that Cambridge interviews are better than Oxford ones, and not just because I got in. But for the following three reasons:
Firstly, Cambridge interviews almost all happen on the same day. Over at the Other Place they drag this out into some sort of week-long extravaganza of waiting, stressing and failing to sleep. You stay overnight in a mishmash of student rooms, spending your days hanging out in college JCRs glaring at everyone around you and wishing they get ill overnight. You promise everyone that if you both get in you’ll be best friends forever. But secretly, you hate them.
Secondly, your choice of college at Cambridge tells you in advance who’s interviewing you and when. This is great for lots of reasons: as a self-confessed control freak I found it comforting to know the structure of my day and be able to emotionally prepare.
Finally, and perhaps most cruelly of all: Oxford pools in person, at interview. In order to ensure parity across the colleges, candidates who are notably impressive, notably not impressive and those who are borderline are sent to other colleges for interviews. That’s right: they might send you to a whole string of colleges, just to show everyone just how rubbish you really are. So if you’re interviewed by tons of colleges with absolutely no hint of a resulting offer, you know you were their exemplar no-hoper.
To those of you about to interview: I salute you.