A group of Oxford students from different subjects across the university are using Twitter in order to further inform potential applicants about life at Oxford.
The scheme, christened ‘OxTweet’, aims to record a week in the life of a number of Oxford students. It is hoped that learning about the university from the students themselves will inform applicants regarding misconceptions about Oxford, and encourage more students from less advantaged backgrounds to apply.
The project was launched on Sunday by Magdalen student Jamie Miles, who last Michaelmas started the ‘Applying to Oxford’ YouTube channel, with the help of a college-sponsored Creative Fund.
He told Cherwell, “when I was applying to Oxford I noticed that there was a hole in the access information on what Oxford was like from a student perspective. Hearing from a primary source what it is like to apply, live and study would have helped put me at ease about any misconceptions I had about the university”.
All eight students, who have so far accumulated over 200 followers between them, interact amongst themselves as well as answering questions by potential applicants. Among the student tweeters are Classics, Medicine, Law and English students, all of whom tweet about their daily activities from the perspective of their own subject.
Jamie highlighted the importance that such projects can have in encouraging applications to Oxford, adding that “offering an informal student perspective on the Oxford experience” is crucial. “Hopefully this initiative will snowball and improvements to Oxford access that I can’t even anticipate will emerge on the journey. That’s what makes things like this so exciting!”
“The accounts have been specifically setup for the ‘Week in the Life’ project, so they will remain in cyberspace for the future reference of all potential applicants. Hopefully, the week of tweets will act as an invaluable resource in demonstrating how human the students at Oxford really are, along with the applicant voice being recorded through the questions people are asking.”
Typical tweets range from complaints about essay crises to jokes, advice and answers to questions from followers. So far, #OxTweet has been a success, with many of the participants posting over one hundred tweets in a single day.
Tom Edkins, one of the eight students tweeting about their experiences, explained “we’re opening up the real ethos of Oxford’s student life to those who want to know what it’s actually like, but we’re also offering this insight to people who may never have considered coming here before.
“Rather than read the same old ‘Brideshead Revisited’ spiel rehashed by the Guardian every few weeks, GCSE and A-Level pupils can now speak one-on-one with real students whose only agenda is to let people know that, really, Oxford is a great place for those who love their subject, regardless of background.”
Florence Avery, the Equal Opportunities Officer at Somerville, shared her thoughts on the idea, “Using Twitter is a great idea because it’s such a widely used social media; people will really be able to relate to it. I think potential applicants often feel that they can’t really relate to current students, especially if their school doesn’t typically send many people to Oxford and they might not know anyone who is currently studying there. If people can just passively browse twitter and get a more accurate impression of what studying at Oxford is like then I think it’s likely to reach a lot more people”.