What I’m genuinely pondering: the Oxbridge admissions tutor

Within seconds of you entering the area for your interview, I can inform where you come from. You are awkward and bewildered, desperate to please. In contrast, some of you have been ready for this second all of your lives. Your sense of entitlement emanates from the effortless way in which you inhabit the room, your scruffy hair and practised handshake. I believe: class privilege is alive and kicking in this space.

My job is to penetrate the layers of social conditioning and discover what you’d be like to teach. Some of you can make it more difficult for me by bursting into tears, or forgetting why you want to examine my subject. You might not stand out, so I scribble notes to trigger my memory: “red jumper”, or “very religious”. But some of you remain with me years later on – a candidate from a failing school, simmering with hostility, who magically transformed when offered the possibility to talk about one thing he’d appreciated reading through. 4 years later on, he left with a first. Raw talent and hunger for information are, usually, not that hard to spot.

It’s a time-consuming and draining approach, but for many of us, it is also one of the most rewarding components of our work. All of you have shown academic brilliance to get to this point, but now, no matter what your background, you are at your most vulnerable: you know that the next 25 minutes will establish your potential. I have the privilege to witness the moment when you first have to give a good account of your self to the outside planet.

And for 4 of you, this interview will be just the begin of our conversation.

Inform us what you are truly contemplating at mind@theguardian.com

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