Oxford Interview from different college

I’m applying to Oxford University for Math and Computer Science and received my interview today. However, it wasn’t from the college I thought I had selected (St. John’s), and looking back at the UCAS application I can’t find where I even selected a college. There does say, however, Campus: S, so was that the college? In either case, what does it mean if I got interview from different college. Greatly appreciate any help.

Also, I have gotten emails from St. John’s so I think that selection went through?

It means that you got pooled, and another college picked you up- it happens to as many as 30% of applicants. There are a couple of ways that it happens (varies by subject), but the goal is the same: to make to get the best students possible across the subject, even if they apply to an oversubscribed college…

In broad terms (again, it varies a lot by subject) each college reviews its applicants and ranks them. Then the subject department (say, English) reviews all of the top tier working through to make sure that all of the strongest apps get pulled for interview whether their original college has enough places or not. For example, suppose that St Johns has 5 places for your subject, so will interview ~15 people. But this year they got 20 really strong applications, so 5 will get pooled for other colleges to consider.

Note that you may still get interviewed by even a third college once you get to interview time. The Collegekid applied to College 1, was invited to interview by College 2, and at interview got invited to interview with College 3, which ultimately made the offer. Note that this was not a ‘better/worse’ thing- she ended up in a college that does well in the perceived prestige stakes. She found out (much later) that College 3 had wanted her from the beginning b/c one of their admissions tutors had specific academic interests in common (who ended up being her advisor), but only had 6 interview places for their own direct applicants, so they did some horse trading with College 2!

The main thing is that you have an offer to interview at Oxford- congratulations!!! fyi, @HazeGrey’s son is also a CompSci+Math student

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Congratulations and good luck! You’ve done very well getting an interview for maths and CS - less than a quarter of applicants did last year.

A couple of thoughts for you:

There are only 18 colleges who offer Maths & CS, so the pool of colleges is smaller for a growing number of applicants.

In my son’s year, St. John’s was the most applied to college for Maths & CS. As best as my son could tell, a lot of that was due to their wealth/endowment and their perceived prestige.

In a normal year, you would have been interviewed by a second college anyway. My son applied to and was interviewed at Worcester. He also did a second set of Maths/CS interviews at St. Hugh’s. He ended up receiving his offer from Worcester.

@collegemom3717is right - great news that you received an interview. Brush up on your logic problems for the CS interviews. There may be some sample questions on the CS department website. The St. Hugh’s team actually asked one of the sample questions to my son, so he had to be a little coy and not answer immediately.

Good luck with the process. My son is in his 4th year and has loved it there.

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Thank you! Do you know the numbers on how many who receive interviews ultimately get offers?

Oxford generally aims to interview approx 3 people for each place.

Here are the 2019 stats for Maths & CS:

Applications Received: 505
Shortlisted: 118
Places Offered: 49

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Places offered might be lower this year though, because there are always some who don’t make their offer, and UK exams are going to be marked more generously because of Covid; and it was a bulge year last year. I reckon even more so at Cambridge which relies more heavily on that final external stumbling point.

I’m hearing that Cambridge offers are indeed down in number, and asking for higher grades than ever before this year.

Numbers are out for Oxford:

Maths & CS
Applications Received: 603
Shortlisted: 134
Places Offered: 60

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More generous than I would have expected.

Did the OP of this thread get an offer?

I went back and looked at my son’s year and it was:

Applications Received: 303
Shortlisted: 123
Offers: 42

Some interesting changes there.

I’ve only seen 1 Cambridge offer this year, from a cohort that would have expected 3-4 successful applicants. Offer is steep but for this candidate realistic (he is as close to a perfectly formed Cambridge candidate as I have ever seen).

I did not, I scored pretty high on the test too I guess the interview must’ve gone terribly though it didn’t seem so to me

Sorry to hear that. If it’s any consolation it’s been a very challenging year.

I hope your other applications are panning out.

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You can ask for feedback if you would like to. It’s usually pretty generic (“We had a number of very qualified applicants this year”), but sometimes they might share some detail like your interview performance score. I noted that the average MAT score for successful applicants seemed quite high this year - 87.5 if I read the report correctly.

Good luck with the rest of your applications.

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More on Cambridge - this year’s offers might yet be pulled at the last minute if they end up over subscribed: ug_terms_of_admission.pdf (cam.ac.uk)

@Conformist1688, is that new this year?

Yes, due to Covid.