Here's some advice about getting into the big two that's a little less 'be yourself' and a little more 'prepare like so'. I graduated from Oxford a couple of years ago and while I was there I worked at University open days and for my college as an interviews chaperone. I know the system, and in my next three posts I'll reveal what you need to do to get in.
I hadn't been back to St Anne's for two decades and had avoided mailing lists. So I'd never realised some of the authors, journalists and broadcasters I most admired had slept in the same shoebox rooms and drunk in the same windowless college bar years before me.
A visit to the city of dreaming spires is always rewarding, but check out Oxford's Hidden Gems for a different experience.
Education has lived under the strain of prestigious personification: it is "the passport to the future", "one quarter preparation and three quarters theatre" and "the lighting of a fire."
Everybody knows of 'The Boat Race', of course. Every year around the Easter period, a selection of very good rowers from Oxford and Cambridge slog their guts out on the Thames for about 20 minutes to batter their opponents into exhausted defeat. Less well known is the women's Boat Race.
That 'great lie' is Oxbridge's biggest secret. Sure there may be more contact hours or a heavier workload than other universities but that's not what sets them apart. Intelligent, motivated people will continue to do well wherever they find themselves and to pretend that Oxford and Cambridge are the only institutions full of great talent is at best naïve and at worst the product of an appalling kind of prejudice.
I am sure that every Cambridge and Oxford Admissions Tutor sometimes wishes they could accept more students than they have places for. There are many good candidates who apply to both universities, and because of the level of competition, some are unfortunately rejected.
Is it chutzpah - simple youthful exuberance, or misguided arrogance? It's certainly entertaining. A 19 year-old girl, predicted to get an A* in each of her three A Levels, has written to Magdalen College, Oxford, to tell them that, after attending an interview, she would rather study law somewhere else.
Yesterday, a presumably slow day at the BBC saw an article published on their website about somebody rejected from Oxford 'getting back' at the university.
From James Bond to Knight Rider, robotic and autonomous cars have been embraced and immortalised on film for many years. However, we are now close to realising that which Hollywood has promised for so long in our everyday lives.
Mild mannered and entirely unassuming, Ken Loach brings to mind one of the kindly, more elderly teachers that one inevitably comes across at school. ...
The traditional business model for the innovation, research and development of technology is no longer fit for the challenges of the 21st Century. To remain competitive in a world defined by rapid changes in geopolitical and economic landscapes, consumerism and the threat of terrorism, we must be more resourceful and creative than ever before.
The truth is that men are only doing 27 minutes more housework a day than they did 10 years ago. That's an extra three minutes or so a day built up over a decade. Whoopee doo! Hardly revolutionary.
It is indeed important to widen access to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, so that they admit the best applicants, not merely the best-schooled applicants. If we want to raise the aspirations of thousands of kids, then we cannot and must not stigmatise success.