Work on CVs, interviews to get into Oxford, students told

National 2 minutes, 18 seconds


STUDENTS wanting to study at Oxford University need to work on their personal statements, resumés and skills in handling interviews to better their chances of getting a slot, candidates for a plum scholarship yesterday learned.

Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hashim Hj Daud, director of the Yayasan Sultan Hj Hassanal Bolkiah (YSHHB), said the Sultan's Foundation decided to organise a seminar to help students get a slot after noticing common mistakes by applicants in meeting requirements.

Dr Afifi Al-Akiti and Dr Basil Mustafa, representatives from the Oxford Centre For Islamic Studies (OCIS), a recognised independent centre of Oxford University, yesterday started the two-day talk.

Dato Paduka Hj Ali Hashim Hj Daud said in the last four years, the most prospective Brunei students failed to enter top universities because they did not fully understand the application procedures.

For example, he said, many were not aware of the different dates of submitting their application to Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as the fact that they could be called for interviews.

"They were also ignorant about interview techniques they do not know how to conduct themselves well during an interview and they had no proper knowledge on how to write proper, good or effective personal statements that are required by some top universities," he said.

Seeing the problems, he said the chairman and the managing director of the Sultan's Foundation decided to step in and help students.

"The seminar and workshops you are attending ... are a result of an agreement made between the Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Foundation and the OCIS at Oxford University," he said.

He added: "Under the agreement, the OCIS has agreed to send these representatives to Brunei to give a series of talks and workshops to potential students as well as their career, guidance or couselling teachers".

Career teachers and guidance counsellors were also invited because they would be able to advise students, he said.

However, the director said the seminars and workshops do not guarantee admission, but serve only to help students deal with admission procedures, interview techniques and so forth.

"The interviews are not real ones but mock interviews to display examples on how interviews are conducted in higher education institutions," he said.

Malaysian-born Dr Afifi Al-Akiti gave the students more insights on what it took to qualify as an Oxford student.

He spoke of the requirement of the admissions, the atmosphere and environment of the university, the subjects, among others.

Around 30 students, together with their teachers and guidance counsellors, took part in the seminar.

The event ended with a question and answer session, followed by mock interviews and workshop on writing resumes.

The event was held at the Yayasan Secondary School in Jln Kebangsaan.

The Brunei Times