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Declan Davis: 最好看的英国名校申请技术诀窍与原汁攻略指南

讲座的 良心完整文字版 出来啦。
 
7 月 20 日,昨天,灯塔学院的第 002 次灯塔线上故事会圆满完成啦。透过微信群,灯塔学院的咨询顾问 Declan Davis 和在线微信群中的大伙们分享了一大堆新鲜又专业的故事,从他的第一手牛津体验、留学北大燕京学堂、英国文科申请经验,到如何写作一封完美 PS,以及他自己的生活故事和他为中国 HIV 患者和 LGBT 人群而努力的项目,都讲到淋漓尽致。
 
什么你没有来听?
 
为了这场线上的免费讲座,Declan 提前准备了文字版本的逐字手稿和一大堆图片,将所有要讲的内容一字不差地先写了出来,写了整整 6,000 个英文词。
 
连一向以压榨员工为乐的我,
都感动到小羞愧了。
 
在此,灯塔学院取得了 Declan 本人亲自授权许可,将昨天讲座的全,部,内,容,完,整,文,字,版,本,编辑后分享给你,供你参考阅读和分享。
 
这可是 Declan 小兄弟写了不知多久一字一句打出的 6,000 字啊…
 
为了让你高兴,觉得我的良心已经燃烧了起来。
 
以下就是 Declan 讲座的全文,因为内容太多太密集太干货,所以我把它编辑成了 2 个篇章,"牛津体验",“申请流程” 2 个部分。这里是第二部分,关于英国顶级名校的申请流程、如何撰写一封完美 PS 和推荐信等的技术细节的一切,《Declan Davis: 最好看的英国名校申请技术诀窍与原汁攻略指南》
 
1
Introduction
 
Now I am going to talk about the application process in particular. I am going to break this up into a number of sections.  I am going to start by looking at the choice of degree, then go onto explain the timeline. Following from this I will look at the decision of college choice, and additional placement tests. I will then conclude by exploring how to write a good personal statement, and how to smash your interviews.
 
2
Quirks
 
The first thing that you should all be aware of is that if you are planning to apply to Oxford or Cambridge as an undergraduate student you are only allowed to apply to either one of these universities. That means that as an undergraduate you can only apply to Oxford or Cambridge, not both. Furthermore, you can only apply for one course at either Oxford or Cambridge as an undergraduate student. This means you only get one shot.  This is an important difference to the graduate application where you can apply to both universities for the same course.
 
Therefore, the first thing to consider is what degree you want to undertake and at what university. As you all know by know, I decided that I wanted to study PPE. This made the choice for me easy, as only Oxford offers PPE. However, my choice would have been more difficult if I had wanted to study say Chemistry, as both the University of Oxford and Cambridge University offer Chemistry as a subject. Therefore, there are two critical things that you must do at the beginning of the application process. The first thing you must do is decide what you want to study. Do you want to study Chemistry? Do you want to study PPE? Do you want to study Mathematics and Philosophy? Or do you want to study Natural Sciences? After you have answered this question, then you can narrow down which university to apply to. As I mentioned before, if you want to do PPE then your choice is easy – you can only choose Oxford.
 
 
3
Timeline 
 
The next thing I want to raise is the timeline of application. The University of Oxford moves a lot faster than a lot of other universities in the world. You have to have your formal application fully submitted by the 15th of October – that is less than three months away. This means that if you want to apply as an undergraduate this year to start in 2017 you need to have you references, personal statement, etc. all organised and submitted by mid-October. I want to raise this with you here so you can put that date in your diary. Another unique part of the application process with Oxford is.
 
There are a couple of elements that I have not spoken about here that I would advice you to discuss with your admissions consultant if you decide to apply to the University of Oxford as an undergraduate. They are preparation for standardised tests and preparation for the interview. A lot of undergraduate courses require you take standardised admissions tests that you would be wise to prepare for.
Advice for tests
 
Start revising ASAP, speak to someone who has done them, buy some resources that explain how to do them.
Advice for interviews 
 
Speak to someone who has done them, they are really very hard, but you can learn how to get better at them with help. I had help and I think it is why I got in.           
 
4
Why I Got In/ Good Essays
 
I now want to talk about why and think I was accepted, and what I think makes a good personal statement or application essay. I think I was accepted for three key reasons – I think I had an amazing letter of recommendation from my high school, I think I had a really strong personal statement, and I think I had a great standardised test score for the TSA, a specific test that you must take if you want to be considered for PPE at the University of Oxford.
 
Letter of Recommendation
 
Let’s start with the letter of recommendation. 
 
For the University of Oxford you want your letter of recommendation to stress two things – that you have an intellectual curiosity above and beyond your particular subject, but also that you have a proven interest and flair in the particular subject you have applied for. 
 
What do I mean by that? Let’s look at the first component of that, a general intellectual curiosity. The easiest way, in my view, to demonstrate an intellectual curiosity above and beyond any one given subject is to show that you have good marks in every subject you study. 
 
For example, at high school I studied a huge range of subjects. I took six subjects in total and they were: Physics, Chemistry, two Maths, English Literature, and Politics & Law. My mark in all of these subjects was above 90%. This proved to the University that I wasn't one-dimensional; it showed that I had an academic curiosity that extended to all fields of study.
 
Now, my reference letter also spoke about my particular skills in Politics & Law, a subject I had taken for two years at high school. My reference letter was able to explain how I won the prize for the top student in that subject in my second last and last year of school. This is important – it showed that whilst I was smart, that I had a particular talent for understand political and legal frameworks, something that is clearly essential to succeeding as a PPE student.
 
Personal Statement
 
Now while reference letters are certainly important, they are not enough to get you an interview at Oxford. You also need to craft an exceptional personal statement. 
 
I think that my personal statement was a key reason for my eventual admission to Oxford. Now, when you apply to the University of Oxford you get the opportunity to include a personal statement that can be a maximum of 4000 characters, which is roughly the same as 500/600 words. This is not many words – this is about the same as one A4 page in size 12 font. Therefore, given that you have such a small amount of space it is crucial that you focus on only one or two big ideas. My advice boils down to this – you need to answer these two questions: the first is why, and the second is why me.
 
Lets look at the first question first: the why question. 
 
What do I mean by this? I mean that you must make a very clear case about why you want to study the degree you have chosen to apply for. You need to relate what you have done up to this point in your life to the degree. You need to explain in your own words why you think that it is important to study this subject, and in your view, why you want to dedicate your time to studying this subject above all others. You want to make it crystal clear to the University of Oxford that you are totally committed to studying this degree and this degree alone. You should not use the personal statement to show the wide range of skills you have – that is what your reference letter is for – instead you should use it to very specifically narrow into what make this degree really speak to you.
 
You could write about what you want to achieve
You could write about a topic in that subject that you find interesting
Etc
 
Every sentence needs to remind them why you are passionate about this subject.
 
Now let’s consider the second question: why me.
 
In this part you have to make a crystal clear case as to why you are well suited for the degree. They don't want to hear about your extracurricular activities unless they show somehow that you are well suited to the degree. Every single sentence of this personal statement needs to remind them why you have the academic ability to thrive in the course you have chosen. For example, for PPE you need to show talk about how you were the top student in economics at your school, for example, and how you wrote an article for a student publication about changes in your country’s economy. These are the sort of ‘why me’ things that will really impress Oxford tutors.
 
As I said, Oxford is different to American schools that make an effort to recruit a diverse cohort. At oxford the only thing that matters is your academic ability and curiosity.
 
This is the end of my explanation about Oxford. I hope you have learnt something about the way that PPE is structured and what an average week as a PPE student. I hope this has inspired you to consider applying to PPE at Oxford. It is hard work to get in, and it is hard work once you get in, but I still think that PPE is the absolute best degree you can do as an undergraduate any where in the world. 
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