Yesterday, former Newstead Wood student, Ms Grace Hind, gave a speech to ambitious Newstead Wood School students about her experiences of applying for a PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) degree at the prestigious University of Oxford in 2021. Ms Hind has gone on to achieve many things, including becoming a member of the Oxford Union and winning Q5’s insight paper competition last year, which were all great accomplishments to hear about.

Ms Hind began the talk by sharing her techniques of preparation for the admissions test (TSA) in order to be able to receive and interview from Oxford for the degree. Ms Hind ensured consistency in her preparation for the TSA alongside her studies by practicing 20 minutes each day, often with her friends. She also read books based around Philosophy, Politics and Economics to broaden her knowledge of super-curriculars to compensate for difficulty attaining work experience in Politics and Philosophy. This and the participation in a number of essay competitions strengthened her personal statement.

Ms Hind then elaborated on her personal experiences about studying at Oxford. She discovered her passion for rowing and has joined the Oxford’s rowing club. She found the teaching style at Oxford very unique, supported by the college tutor for each subject. She felt that the biggest privilege of all was that many of the books she used to write her essays were authored by Professors at Oxford allowing her to gain in-depth understanding of the subjects. During her first year, Ms Hind also studied a coding module, which she had not expected yet, found it very useful and pleasing to learn. In her second year, she had to make a choice to pursue only two of the three subjects – she chose Politics and Philosophy which included Early International Relations, Plato’s Republic and Early Modern Philosophy.

Finally, Ms Hind kindly allowed me to interview her. It was reassuring to know that she had not always known what degree she wanted to focus. She however realised that PPE degree at Oxford would align with her interests in Philosophy (sprouting from A-level Religious Studies) and Politics (which emerged from A-level Geography). She mentioned that Oxford University originally introduced the PPE degree and  she feels that she is surrounded by learned educators and studious peers. Ms Hind has no regrets and stated that it “Gives you a chance to grow.”

Ms Hind is currently considering a Master’s Degree at Oxford. I wish her all the best.