In Conversation: That Oxford Girl and its Student Ambassadors

Interviews Profile

Tilly Rose, the founder of That Oxford Girl, provides free resources for upcoming and current students at the University of Oxford through her blog, social media and her book, which we talked about in a 2019 interview: https://www.oxfordstudent.com/2019/05/07/that-oxford-girl-tilly-rose-on-access-at-oxford-and-her-new-book/. We chat to Tilly again about what has changed since the publication of her book. Tilly also works closely with a network of student ambassadors who share their personal stories about Oxford life. In this interview we are joined by three student ambassadors, Dalia Sara Gala, Poppy Atkinson-Gibson, and Eve Tranter, to discuss their experiences with Tilly and That Oxford Girl.

What has changed at TOG since the last interview?

Since we last chatted back in May, That Oxford Girl has really grown! We were overwhelmed with how many applicants got in touch on results day in August, saying how much the That Oxford Girl platform had helped them through the Oxford University application process.

In Michaelmas we had our very own stand at Oxford Uni Freshers’ Fair and very excitingly 600+ students signed up to be That Oxford Girl student ambassadors! We now have an amazing team of 100+ fun, fearless and loyal young women writing for the platform on all aspects of the application process and student life, as well as sharing their inspiring personal stories.
This summer That Oxford Girl secured a place on the Oxford Foundry’s (University of Oxford’s Entrepreneurial Campus) L.E.V8 Women’s Accelerator. This is a summer programme that combines masterclasses, practical learning and 1:1s with the amazing L.E.V8 Women Ambassadors who include senior industry figures from Google, adidas, Airbnb and the world of venture capital and investing. I learnt so much in such a short space of time and the overwhelmingly positive feedback confirmed my belief that That Oxford Girl has the potential to extend to other universities and to become a global platform. I am now looking for investors to enable me to expand the team, and for tech expertise to build our new platform.

How do you think bringing so many new ambassadors on board will changed That Oxford Girl?
The sign-up at Freshers’ was 98% female which has proven the direction That Oxford Girl is going in. We are now looking to develop into a platform taking young girls/women from school, to university and into careers.
Last term, it was fantastic to see just how many of our new student ambassadors had followed That Oxford Girl since school. This proves that our model is working; we are taking young women on a journey and once they arrive at Oxford, they are keen to give back and help the next cohort of applicants.
We love to tell stories and our student ambassadors have some pretty inspiring ones to tell. Through expanding the team and sharing a range of perspectives, we are continuing to represent the diversity of the student body at Oxford Uni.
Through termly meetings, socials and events, we have built a direct on-campus community. That Oxford Girl ambassadors get to know students at different colleges, meet other students with shared values and have the opportunity to attend socials and events, hosted by local brands. We are making access and outreach fun!
Our ambassadors are our best advocates and we are so lucky to have each and every one of them on board and very excited to see what 2020 holds!

TOG Student Ambassadors

Dalia Sara Gala – DPhil in Biochemistry at Merton College

In the last interview we heard a lot about how TOG can benefit people using the online resource, how does it benefit you to help create it?
That Oxford Girl’s resource is being created by an amazing group of people. I honestly feel so privileged to be a part of it – I have met many amazing women through it, and it solidified my feeling of “belonging” in Oxford, especially because That Oxford Girl doesn’t exclude anyone. In the community, it doesn’t matter if you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student, or where you are from, or if you went to a state school; everyone is welcome and we try to make everyone who reads the That Oxford Girl blog feel like they too can make their dream of coming to Oxford true. Creating That Oxford Girl makes me feel like I can inspire people to be the best version of myself, and be inspired by others!

Did you use That Oxford Girl when you were applying to Oxford?
Yes! I was following That Oxford Girl throughout my undergraduate degree, and learned a lot from the posts by postgraduate That Oxford Girl contributors. Moreover, I was quite confused by the college system, and all the traditions such as wearing sub fusc… I bought Tilly’s book to understand it all, and honestly it made all the difference to me – I felt like I was being let into the secret world of magic and latin, quite frankly!

Poppy Atkinson-Gibson – BA History at St Benet’s Hall

In the last interview we heard a lot about how That Oxford Girl can benefit people using the online resource, how does it benefit you to help create it?
I’ve really enjoyed writing for That Oxford Girl. It’s been really cathartic and I’ve enjoyed having to carve out time to focus on something other than work. I think I’ve also found it really helpful because it’s improved how I help others to apply and how I discuss life at Oxford and I feel better able to answer questions and direct them to a community that can help when I don’t have the answers they need. I’ve really enjoyed meeting the other ambassadors as well; it’s created a little family with this one thing on common, with so many experiences to share and it’s broadened my social circle which is always lovely!

Did you use That Oxford Girl when you were applying to Oxford?
I started looking up That Oxford Girl in my gap year after I’d left school and so was trying to apply to Oxford. I found it really comforting and helpful in all the stress of applications especially because I didn’t have any Oxford contacts!

Eve Tranter – Medicine at St Anne’s College

In the last interview we heard a lot about how That Oxford Girl can benefit people using the online resource, how does it benefit you to help create it?
That Oxford Girl is a great benefit for me as I have really enjoyed meeting like minded people from different colleges across the university, who are all passionate about access. It’s also a really great way of crossing paths with people you may not have otherwise! With regards to blog posts, it has really helped me with personal reflection. I’ve had to think a lot about the interview process and applying to the uni, a time which was really stressful. So it’s really great to be able to digest that now with the benefit of hindsight, and use that to help others. I feel lucky to have this opportunity to create content for the blog as I really appreciated the advice that I gained from it.

Did you use That Oxford Girl when you were applying to Oxford?
I used That Oxford Girl when I was applying – when I came across the instagram, I went all the way back to the very first blog post and read every one that I thought was relevant to me in one sitting! I went back to it all throughout the interview process and thought that it was great to have a resource from current students. Unlike some other resources that are online, That Oxford Girl feels really genuine, open and honest. I was also lucky enough to win Tilly’s book in a competition that you ran, both my Mum and I read it cover to cover numerous times in the run up to my arrival to Oxford!

Image Credit: Tilly Rose Instagram, @thattillyrose

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