Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Student Helpers Play Supportive Role in Admissions Interview Process

27 Nov 2023

As a result of the pandemic, interviews at Oxford University moved to an online format, which will be retained for the foreseeable future.

Andrew Miller, Access Officer, said, "One of the big things about the previous way interviews were held was that candidates were able to experience the welcoming and supportive atmosphere of College, interact with current students, and have the chance to ask questions of them in the informal settings of the JCR, dining hall, etc. Although there are many great advantages to using online technology for interviews, we wanted to retain the flavour of doing face-to-face interviews. One of the key elements of this has been to have a team of Interview Helpers recruited from our current students. "

As part of the current online interview process, we first run a series of webinars, billed College Welcome Events, with the majority of each session open for candidates to ask questions of the Interview Helpers, who are supported by a staff member. Helpers field a wide range of questions, from describing their own interview experience, to life away from home, etc.

Then, right before the formal interview, interview candidates are greeted first by a pair of Interview Helpers who act as 'ushers'. This allows us to test technology and carry out any procedural checks. It also hopefully helps candidates settle their nerves, have an opportunity to ask last minute questions of current students, and feel supported. The 'ushers' then leave when the Tutors join the formal interview."

"I had my interviews in 2020 during the peak of the pandemic and felt a lot of uncertainty, but the student helpers were such a calming and encouraging presence. The interview should be an exciting prospect rather than a scary one, though convincing yourself of that as the interviewee can be hard. It's great having the student helpers there to relieve some pressure, and to answer any questions people may have about life at Lincoln!"

Manon Arianrhod Hammond (2021), History

Photo of Manon Hammond wearing colourful top in front of Bodleian

"Before my own interview, I remember being really reassured that I got a chance to make sure I had everything right before meeting the tutors. Without them it probably would have felt more like being thrown in straight to the deep end. They really helped me to relax and focus on enjoying the process and that is something I wanted to do for others."

James Turvey (2021), Classic Archaeology and Ancient History

Photo of James Turvey wearing black tie

Where next?