How to deliver a great online admissions interview

The COVID-19 emergency has affected the way higher education institutions operate and teach; after some initial uncertainty, universities in the UK switched to online teaching in March, and most buildings and campuses remain closed.

It has also affected students’ entrance to university. A-level exams were cancelled and some admissions tests including the STEP and BMAT (September only) will not be going ahead. On June 30th, the University of Oxford announced that it’s admissions interviews will be carried out online in December.

Top Tips for Online Interviews

Before the interview, make sure you:

  • Practice, practice, practice! Both Oxford and Cambridge have produced sample questions and advice to help you think and about and prepare for the types of questions you could be asked.
  • Remind your parents/guardians/siblings of the date and time – this should hopefully prevent any interruptions during your interview! 
  • Find a quiet, well-lit place space. Somewhere that you feel comfortable, too.
  • Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions.
  • Ensure your internet connection is stable in your chosen space.
  • Check that your computer’s audio, webcam, and microphone are working. If possible, use headphones with a built-in microphone.
  • Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications.
  • Place your phone in silent mode.
  • Have a pen, notepad, and a copy of your personal statement to hand (if possible).
  • Have a glass of water or a tea nearby. Talking for 20-30 minutes is thirsty work.

During the interview:

  • It can be difficult but try to make eye contact as best you can. It will help try and keep interaction as neutral as possible.
  • When listening, nod and smile to show you are engaged.
  • Avoid fidgeting or gazing away from your computer too much.
  • Remember to slow down—it can be easy to talk over people on online calls.
  • Most importantly, don’t stress too much! Interviewers are not trying to make you feel ignorant or catch you out, but to stretch you in order to assess your potential. This is a chance for you to discuss your subject in depth and show off your skills!

Practice online interviews available with Oxbridge subject experts. From two hours to two days. Book now.