Oxbridge Dons say student interviews can now be conducted permanently online
They pointed out that the virtual interview format in 2020 had gone smoothly and feedback was positive, with Cambridge noting that many students seemed “more relaxed” than when seen in person.
Some academics now think the interviews could stay online permanently.
“It raises an interesting question about whether we will ever return to in-person interviews,” said an Oxford professor.
“It seems to work pretty well and we’ve always done it for international students. It certainly saves a lot of money for nurturing applicants and colleges get an extra week of lecture exchanges, which makes scholarship recipients happy.
The university source, who is familiar with admissions, said some professors believe the move to virtual interviews has “worked really well”.
“Some subjects say it’s great and it’s definitely more efficient. 17-year-olds are a generation so used to Zoom, it may be the way of the future,” he said. he declares.
“Maybe it’s better for them than being dragged around Oxford and wondering if they should wear a suit or not. For some it’s a very stressful experience hanging around and waiting for an interview.
Choose a place to be interviewed
Both universities insisted that no candidate was disadvantaged by the decision to go online, with students saying they could choose where to be interviewed.
For example, it could be at a parent’s home, school, or workplace and anyone from a low-income household without access to the right device received a tablet from their future college.
In 2020, the University of Cambridge told virtual interviewees who couldn’t afford a tablet to balance a phone on two cans.
The university said if a student is required to show off their workout and doesn’t have access to a laptop or tablet with a “split-screen” option, they can simply balance a phone on a can or two. to film his work. .
The phone could also be placed on top of a stack of books, pointed downward to film a student as they solve math or science questions with pen and paper.
The process goes smoothly
A University of Cambridge spokesperson said: “Virtual interviews, on the whole, went smoothly over the past year and interviewers reported that many applicants seemed more relaxed than when seen in person.”
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford said they decided earlier this year that it would be in “everyone’s interest” to do online interviews again in 2021.
“Overall feedback from last year’s process was that the remote format worked well and we are confident it will do the same this year,” they said.
The two universities say no decision has been made on whether interviews will be online next year, but the decision will take into account “lessons learned” from the past two years.