One of my referees (based at Yale) told me candidly that I should not be disappointed by a rejection, for no one he had recommended had ever been accepted. When the letter came from the College, it was in a thin envelope. My heart sank, for thin envelopes rarely contain good news. To my surprise, this one did. From the dean of visiting fellows, the letter began with the words "I am pleased to invite you...." And to my delight, the invitation was for not one, not two, but three Oxford terms -- a full academic year.