Throughout November 2021, Eton Connect ran mock Oxbridge interviews for local and partnership state school students in collaboration with Dr Joe Organ, Brasenose College Oxford. The interviewers were made up of 21 Eton teachers and 21 external interviewers, some of whom were Old Etonians and parents of current Etonians, who volunteered to interview the students. A total of 116 state school students from eight different schools, in thirty-three different subjects had a mock online interview. These took place in the evenings alongside five free webinars for students and teachers on the Oxbridge interview process.
This is the fifth year of the project and the second year of running interviews online. In past years, students have been invited to an interview at Eton College with all the interviews held over two afternoons. However, with the advent of COVID and various lockdowns, both Cambridge and Oxford transitioned to online interviews. Eton have reflected this choice over the last two years. All interviews are held through Zoom, with each interview lasting 30 minutes and including 10 minutes of verbal feedback at the end.
Feedback from students was universally positive, with students feeling more confident for their upcoming interviews. They enjoyed the intellectual discussions with the interviewers; as one student summarised, “The problem-solving questions were like a lesson where I had to think for myself, which was really enjoyable”. Another noted, “I realised there was no need to be scared because my interviewer was so nice and there were no wrong answers, he only wanted to see my opinions and thoughts”.
Feedback from the interviewers was similar to the students. One interviewer fed back that they liked “engaging with some incredibly strong candidates from state schools – I enjoyed the variety of thought and perspective”. One of the parent interviewers agreed: “It’s very good that Eton is doing this and as a school parent I’m glad to be able to do what I can to help”.
Official interviews for Oxford and Cambridge will be held throughout December. We wish all the students the best of luck with their applications and will be reaching out to their schools again in the new year to find out where everyone received offers from. We look forward to more students joining us next year for mock interviews and continuing this important project.