Name: James Manuell
Matriculation year: 2012
Why did you choose Oxford/Magdalen?
Having attended a school without a great Oxbridge track record, I had always thought I wasn’t clever enough to apply. My history teacher managed to convince me that I should at least give it a go. I visited Oxford and Cambridge, fell in love with Oxford and decided to apply. Then I looked into lots of the colleges and narrowed them down by age/aesthetics, length of accommodation provision and potential financial hardship support.
What do you like most about Magdalen?
Magdalen is almost undoubtedly the prettiest college in Oxford; the grounds are stunning, and it’s easy to walk for a few minutes and feel like you’re in the middle of the countryside, away from the cars and bustle of the street.
What is involved in studying your subject?
A great deal of reading, thinking critically about what the authors are trying to say and finding the strength to argue against them. I typically spend a couple of days just working through the reading list and getting my head round a topic, then another day or two writing an essay. After that I can relax and take a long weekend!
What’s the one piece of advice you would give an applicant?
Oxford has an unusual style of teaching (tutorials) – you have to find the confidence to argue and bounce ideas off your tutor. The interview is to find out if that style of learning suits you – but the only way to find out is to give it a go.
What do you like to do when you’re not studying?
I get involved in the Oxford Union Society, and go along to events hosted by the Law and International Relations Societies. Otherwise, I like spending time with my friends, whether that be staying in and having tea and home-baked cakes, or going out to a bar or club. Then if the weather’s nice, I often go for long walks through Magdalen and into the University