Training for admissions interviewing


The Oxford Learning Institute and Undergraduate Admissions and Outreach offers the following opportunities for tutors and others to prepare for their roles in undergraduate admissions interviewing at Oxford:

  • Undergraduate admissions interviewing: online course (level 1)
    This course contains a comprehensive overview of the undergraduate admissions process, preparing tutors for theoretical and practical aspects of selecting undergraduate students. Suitable for those assisting with undergraduate admissions (e.g. graduate student ‘helpers’ or note takers) and tutors who have previously taken the online course with assessment and need an update. This course covers the same material as the level 2 course without the need to submit written exercises. We recommend that experienced interviewers follow this version of the online course as a refresher to ensure they are up-to-date with changes to admissions policy and practice. We have included a 'what's new' feature on the contents page so colleagues can navigate to modules which have been updated.
  • Undergraduate admissions interviewing with assessment: online course (level 2)
    This contains the same material as the level 1 course. In addition, participants submit a draft interview plan and receive feedback on it from an 'online assessor'. The course is mandatory for those who will be interviewing and who have responsibility for admissions decisions for the first time.
  • Undergraduate admissions interviewing: practice session (level 3)
    This allows tutors to undertake a practice interview with a current Oxford undergraduate in the applicant ‘role’. These are conducted in subject area groups and supported by facilitators who are experienced interviewers. Only open to tutors who have completed the online course with assessment (level 2) by the deadlines specified.

For graduate admissions the following preparation is available:

Will I be expected to do interviewing this year?

College Tutorial Fellows and Lecturers, including College Lecturers, Associate Professors, etc. are normally expected to take a leading role in admissions interviewing.

If you have been appointed as a Departmental or Faculty Lecturer, or as a Research Officer or Fellow and do not have a formal college association, it is possible that you will not be expected to take part in the Admissions process. However, there is a strong chance that you will be invited by a College to assist them because of your specific disciplinary expertise. If you are unsure of your involvement in Admissions ask your Line Manager or Mentor for advice.

Online course availability

In 2017 the level 2 online course will be available from 1 August to 1 December. We will continue to take new enrolments until one week before the closing date (i.e. Friday 24 November). Activities can be undertaken at any time within the period and we suggest that, on average, a total of 5-6 hours' work is required to complete the course. Depending on how much of the linked background material you access and read, it is possible for it to take longer. We strongly recommend that you do not try to complete too much work at one time but allow multiple, shorter periods of work.

You will access the online course using Oxford Single Sign-On (SSO) and your "individual enrolment key" supplied by the Learning Institute. Sign up for the Undergraduate admissions interviewing with assessment online course (level 2). Once we receive your booking form we will send you your enrolment key as soon as possible (within 7 days once the course has commenced) and email you with instructions on how to access the course and what to do next.

New appointees who do not yet have Oxford Single Sign-On access can be accommodated with a temporary account. If we set this up for you, it is important for you to continue to use the temporary account to access the Admissions course until you have completed it. 

Access to the level 1 course is by Oxford Single Sign-On. You can access the course directly, without the need for booking in advance. Go to the Online courses website and select Undergraduate admissions interviewing online course (level 1) from the available courses list. This course will be available from 1 August to 15 December 2017.

Remember, anyone taking an active role in making admissions decisions, who has not previously taken the course, should complete the level 2 online course.

Graduate admissions

Support for the preparation of those who are involved in selecting graduate students for admission is available in the form of online materials. This resource is similar to the level 1 undergraduate admissions course. It covers: good practice in admissions; selection processes; criteria and record keeping; where interviews fit in the selection process as a whole; and making and justifying decisions. Where there are overlaps with the undergraduate admissions interviewing online course, these are signalled to enable those already familiar with that course to avoid unnecessary repetition but briefly to revisit any materials if they would like to remind themselves of the main points.

The materials are available all year, except for a short annual closure period for updating which will take place during the summer vacation.

Access to these materials is by self-registration (provided you have an Oxford University email address). Once you have created an account on the self-registration page you will be able to access the course directly, without the need for booking in advance. Go to the Graduate admissions assessors and admissions staff guidance.

Recommended approach to online learning

We recommend that a good approach to completing the course and getting the most benefit from the time spent is to set aside half to one hour a day over 1 or 2 working weeks (i.e. 5 or 6 hours in total). This would be better than spreading the work over a longer period, or than trying to complete it in an intensive session just before a deadline. Time to reflect in between short periods of time spent reading the course materials will enable you to consider the possible implications for practice of what you have read, without the reading activity coming to feel too burdensome. When submitting an online draft interview plan you should allow time for the assessor to respond with feedback, before moving on to the next assignment.

Practice interviews

The practice interviews (Undergraduate admissions interviewing practice session level 3) with volunteer student candidates are optional. Only lead interviewers who have successfully completed the level 2 online course will be eligible to take part and the following deadlines will apply.

To take part in the practice interviews on: You must complete all the requirements of the online course:
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 (all Disciplines) before Friday, 1 September 2017
Tuesday, 14 November 2017 (all Disciplines) before Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Friday, 24 November 2017 (all disciplines) before Friday, 27 October 2017