Barbara Kennedy’s Week

I am a Fellow and Geography Tutor at St Hugh’s; also the Wine Steward; and for some of my time, responsible for coordinating the recruitment of overseas students. This involves, in particular, setting up interviews in the Far East and North America for the 500 or more potential undergraduates who apply from those areas. First Week saw a mix of these responsibilities. On Tuesday and Friday, I was basically a Geographer, attending a seminar and a staff meeting; giving are vision class; and seeing a Second Year about his Dissertation. For the rest of the week – fitted around three lunchtime wine tastings – I was dealing with matters at the Admissions Office, starting with a staff meeting there. There are three major strands to the Admissions work at this time of year. First, revising all our websites and our printed literature, which includes material for Second BAs as well as ordinary undergraduate applicants. (This October, we shall hold Second BA interviews in New Delhi, for the first time, probably jointly with Cambridge.) We produce special web pages for applicants from the six interview centres including downloadable application forms . We have also developed an ‘Introduction to Oxford’ presentation, with a text in Chinese and English, which we feel will give brief but helpful overview of the University, for both graduate and undergraduate applicants from the Far East. Second, I have to assemble group of interviewers for the teams which, this year, will (SARS permitting) represent all the undergraduate Colleges in New Delhi, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Beijing, Vancouver and New York. The Far East circuit involves a lawyer, an economist, an engineer and – this year, for Beijing – a mathematician. North America needs a linguist, a bioscientist and, for Second BAs in particular, another lawyer. I have to try and cajole people to come and then set up briefing meetings. This year, when all subjects are publicizing their selection criteria, we shall need consider how best to organise our interview report forms as well as our usual task of selecting passages for interviewees to read. Finally, I let the travel agents know what the itineraries will be. For this autumn, there will be nine travelling, only three of whom will be on precisely the same flights. Anything involving admissions is a non-stop operation and the emails are warming up especially from North America). It quite tricky to ‘explain the Oxford admissions process’ in a brief but clear fashion to overseas’ applicants: fortunately, my colleagues in the Oxford Colleges Admissions Office field a lot of straightforward queries. So it was a varied week. And having three offices can be a bit of a nuisance. But the walking is good for me. Barbara Kennedy is International Recruitment Officer for the University.ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003