Decision Concerning Application to the University of Oxford

Dear Mr. Ayer,

Thank you for attending interviews earlier this month. I am writing now to let you know that after careful consideration it has not been possible to offer you a place at Christ Church College to read Classics, and hereby inform you that your application is no longer under consideration by any of the other colleges at Oxford.

It is not our practice to provide detailed feedback to applicants. However, your application was unusual in a number of respects, and in this instance the admissions tutors and I have decided to provide you with full justification for their choice in anticipation of a disturbingly well articulated and precocious letter appealing the decision.

Despite your politically undesirable privileged upbringing, the tutors were initially impressed by the penetrative nature of your written work, interview answers, and womanising of the Master’s wife. However, the admissions tutors were both surprised and offended to hear you challenge the analytical strength of their assessment methods. This was clearly inappropriate behaviour.

Your attempt to offer a more rigorous standard by which we might verify the strength of interview candidates has confused several members of the philosophy and divinity faculties, who, dumbfounded, are presently trying to avoid elimination. You may wish to know that the university is actually considering implementing your new testing methods for next year’s candidates. If this goes ahead, this will be the first time that Oxford has had clearly defined entry criteria, and for this many of your contemporaries will thank you.

However, I have determined that in light of your own assessment methods, your prima facie excellent written work does not even come close to meeting the criteria required for entry; its assertions were rendered neither probable through experimental research nor conceptually sound by some tweed-clad don in an antique armchair. It is based on this conceptual inconsistency that the college have decided categorically to reject your application.

I do realise how disappointing this will be, though I am not particularly sorry not to have better news about your application here. Furthermore, I will not patronisingly remind you that competition for places at Oxford is extremely strong. I should nevertheless point out that you may not invoke a conception of justice or morality in forming an argument for appealing our decision. Such ideas are now considered literally meaningless by the admissions office.

I hope, however, that you will be comforted over Christmas by the fact that any disappointment you may feel is nothing more than mere emotion. You should not, therefore, spend time in trying to reason through or come to terms with our decision since this exercise would inevitably be devoid of analytically verifiable content.

If there is a discrepancy between the decision detailed here and that detailed by UCAS, please do not inform us, since the existence of UCAS in the early Twentieth Century is highly improbable, though not logically impossible. I wish you a logically positive non-religious holiday.


Yours sincerely,


Tutor for Admissions


Christ Church College, Oxford.


Post submitted by Edmund


One thought on “Decision Concerning Application to the University of Oxford

  1. Pingback: Rejection letter for Machiavelli’s Discourses | BlauBlog

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