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Choosing an Oxford College

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Applying to Uni? Let Universities come to you. Click here to get your perfect place 20-10-2014
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    (Original post by marc_h94)
    Thanks for the helpful info How would you rate the food quality from 1-10? And at formal hall is it just the same food or do they make additional effort? Cheers- hopefully see you next year!
    Cool to see a future BNC member!
    Food quality is pretty good, I'd say maybe a 7? We're probably not the best but I always enjoy it when I go (I don't as much this year because I enjoy cooking for myself, but plenty of people still go for all meals).
    And formal hall is very different to regular, it's a 3 course served meal with a totally different menu. Regular hall is canteen style but has more of a selection of things. I love formal, the food is usually lovely. The HCR website probably shows the menu better than the JCR one http://hcr.bnc.ox.ac.uk/index.php/hallmenu if you want to have a look at the next couple of weeks, it's pretty typical.
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    (Original post by tuesday91)
    Cool to see a future BNC member!
    Food quality is pretty good, I'd say maybe a 7? We're probably not the best but I always enjoy it when I go (I don't as much this year because I enjoy cooking for myself, but plenty of people still go for all meals).
    And formal hall is very different to regular, it's a 3 course served meal with a totally different menu. Regular hall is canteen style but has more of a selection of things. I love formal, the food is usually lovely. The HCR website probably shows the menu better than the JCR one http://hcr.bnc.ox.ac.uk/index.php/hallmenu if you want to have a look at the next couple of weeks, it's pretty typical.
    Woah, merely looking at that menu is making me salivate. Amazing! As you're cooking for yourself I'm assuming you're at the Frewin annexe? Is it as fun as living in college or a bit secluded? Thanks, looking forward to seeing you there if I get my grades!
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    (Original post by marc_h94)
    Woah, merely looking at that menu is making me salivate. Amazing! As you're cooking for yourself I'm assuming you're at the Frewin annexe? Is it as fun as living in college or a bit secluded? Thanks, looking forward to seeing you there if I get my grades!
    Yup I'm living in Frewin, the way it basically works is 1st years are in college, 2nd years are in Frewin and then 3rd years it depends where you are on the room ballot but it is about half in college and half here. It doesn't feel secluded here at all because about half the students live here (it's a pretty big place, there are two 'quads' (I say quads, it's not like quads in colleges but gives an idea of how the place is shaped). It's especially good in summer because you're always allowed on the grass.

    I guess the only thing not so great about here is that we are a whole 5 minutes away from the bar/JCR/library which some people don't like, but it's really not far to get to the main college site for that stuff. Plus there are some possible plans to change one of the function rooms here into a secondary JCR.
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    I am a student in the states studying abroad at Oxford next year. I have been accepted into St Catz and I am waiting on Wadham. I hope to study writing/lit and psychology. If anyone has information on whether one is better than the other etc. (for academics or social life) I'd greatly appreciate it!

    I am currently leaning towards St Catz based on what I've heard so far. (Modern buildings don't scare me )
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    I am a student in the states studying abroad at Oxford next year. I have been accepted into St Catz and I am waiting on Wadham. I hope to study writing/lit and psychology. If anyone has information on whether one is better than the other etc. (for academics or social life) I'd greatly appreciate it!

    I am currently leaning towards St Catz based on what I've heard so far. (Modern buildings don't scare me )
    There won't be any significant differences in such broad categories as 'academics or social life'. Just decide based on factors that are important to you.
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    I am a student in the states studying abroad at Oxford next year. I have been accepted into St Catz and I am waiting on Wadham. I hope to study writing/lit and psychology. If anyone has information on whether one is better than the other etc. (for academics or social life) I'd greatly appreciate it!

    I am currently leaning towards St Catz based on what I've heard so far. (Modern buildings don't scare me )
    Hi there! I'm from Catz and I can tell you, you've made a good choice there.

    Comparing it to Wadham... That's a little difficult, depending on the criteria. The academic side of things is going to be the same pretty much everywhere, because you're taught largely by the university department, rather than in college - everyone gets the same lectures, labs etc. You can also go anywhere in the university for tutorials according to the subject matter, they'll pick the tutor that specialises in whatever it is you're doing. So that's not really relevant. As to social life, to be entirely fair you'll enjoy your time at both colleges, there's enough variety of people to do whatever it is you like doing - there's no college where everyone stays in their room, for example! So to be honest, they're similar enough that it wouldn't really matter which you chose in the long run. So...

    The only thing I can really do is tell you about my own experience and what know of Catz, so you can see whether you'd like to spend your time here. This year we elected a visiting student rep for the JCR (college student council) to make sure you guys feel comfortable and are integrated into the college community, as far as I know it's been very successful. The college puts on some special stuff just for you, like a huge Thanksgiving dinner, and all the visiting students I've talked to have really enjoyed their time here. For the general stuff, accomodation is decent and has such modern conveniences as double glazing and an en-suite bathroom (which most of the visiting students get) as well as decent kitchen facilities on each staircase. If you don't feel like cooking hall food is generally good, £3.50 for a 3-course meal is nothing to be sniffed at and the food is all good quality. We put on Entz (costume parties) regularly and they're always a blast, we have one of the biggest and well-stocked common rooms in Oxford and we take full advantage of it. Overall we are one of the biggest colleges in terms of numbers, actually, so there's always stuff going on and you're sure to find someone you like to hang around with. The atmosphere is lovely and if you're not put off by the buildings, theere's no reason you won't love it.

    Do you have any more specific questions about Catz? I'll be happy to help.
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    (Original post by Incarnadine91)
    Hi there! I'm from Catz and I can tell you, you've made a good choice there.

    Comparing it to Wadham... That's a little difficult, depending on the criteria. The academic side of things is going to be the same pretty much everywhere, because you're taught largely by the university department, rather than in college - everyone gets the same lectures, labs etc. You can also go anywhere in the university for tutorials according to the subject matter, they'll pick the tutor that specialises in whatever it is you're doing. So that's not really relevant. As to social life, to be entirely fair you'll enjoy your time at both colleges, there's enough variety of people to do whatever it is you like doing - there's no college where everyone stays in their room, for example! So to be honest, they're similar enough that it wouldn't really matter which you chose in the long run. So...

    The only thing I can really do is tell you about my own experience and what know of Catz, so you can see whether you'd like to spend your time here. This year we elected a visiting student rep for the JCR (college student council) to make sure you guys feel comfortable and are integrated into the college community, as far as I know it's been very successful. The college puts on some special stuff just for you, like a huge Thanksgiving dinner, and all the visiting students I've talked to have really enjoyed their time here. For the general stuff, accomodation is decent and has such modern conveniences as double glazing and an en-suite bathroom (which most of the visiting students get) as well as decent kitchen facilities on each staircase. If you don't feel like cooking hall food is generally good, £3.50 for a 3-course meal is nothing to be sniffed at and the food is all good quality. We put on Entz (costume parties) regularly and they're always a blast, we have one of the biggest and well-stocked common rooms in Oxford and we take full advantage of it. Overall we are one of the biggest colleges in terms of numbers, actually, so there's always stuff going on and you're sure to find someone you like to hang around with. The atmosphere is lovely and if you're not put off by the buildings, theere's no reason you won't love it.

    Do you have any more specific questions about Catz? I'll be happy to help.
    Thank you so much for this! Honestly, your academic information was extremely helpful. I was under the impression that one must study within their college as opposed to the university as a whole, so that's wonderful!

    Is the student body at St Catz generally personable/friendly? Tight knit? Hard working? I know it's one of the largest colleges (still small but still) does that effect the dynamic at all? I like a good time, but I suppose I'm not into huge partying (like greek life equivalent). I've heard people talk about "clubs" at Oxford, what does that mean exactly? Clubs here in NYC can be really intense, but its not a college scene at all.

    I am studying writing/psych, but I am actually concentrating on directing for theatre and film in the long run. While I'm not studying this next year per say, I am hoping to get involved in student productions/clubs etc. I hear there is some kind of affiliation with the School of Drama? Are there good artistic projects going on?

    Any other fun facts would be great. I also wonder how American students are received abroad. (Should I just pretend I'm Canadian?) I'm just kidding.

    Thanks again! I love your school, and I'm looking forward to next year!
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    Thank you so much for this! Honestly, your academic information was extremely helpful. I was under the impression that one must study within their college as opposed to the university as a whole, so that's wonderful!

    Is the student body at St Catz generally personable/friendly? Tight knit? Hard working? I know it's one of the largest colleges (still small but still) does that effect the dynamic at all? I like a good time, but I suppose I'm not into huge partying (like greek life equivalent). I've heard people talk about "clubs" at Oxford, what does that mean exactly? Clubs here in NYC can be really intense, but its not a college scene at all.

    I am studying writing/psych, but I am actually concentrating on directing for theatre and film in the long run. While I'm not studying this next year per say, I am hoping to get involved in student productions/clubs etc. I hear there is some kind of affiliation with the School of Drama? Are there good artistic projects going on?

    Any other fun facts would be great. I also wonder how American students are received abroad. (Should I just pretend I'm Canadian?) I'm just kidding.

    Thanks again! I love your school, and I'm looking forward to next year!
    No problem, glad to help!

    It's not as tight-knit as some of the smaller colleges as our student body numbers in the 500+ as opposed to the 200 of somewhere like Lincoln, so naturally you're never going to know everyone. That said it is extremely friendly and I've never felt more welcome The large number of people means it's fairly busy, there's always something going on and Entz' are a blast. If you're not one for partying though (I'm not particularly) you can still find other people who aren't and of course there's always work to be done!!! We don't have a 'reputation' for being hard-working particularly but lots of people are. Again, big student body = lots of variation! People will understand and you'll fit in perfectly whatever your style.

    As for the club scene, I can't really say because I'm not that involved, there are plenty in Oxford with lots of student nights but of course it's never going to be as 'intense' as if you were in a big city. The workload means that going out every night is not a good idea, but plenty of people still manage to have fun. I'd ask other people about that more, as I say I'm not really into clubbing and it's more a general rather than college thing

    Yeah, there's a great drama scene at Catz and in the University as a whole, we're forever getting bombarded with advertisements for plays in the city someone's written/directed/in On top of that several plays have been put on within the college itself, particularly during our yearly 'Catz Hearts Arts' intiative. And you're right, we host the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor for Drama, which is generally a famous actor who gets picked on a yearly basis and comes and gives talks to us. It's currently Meera Syal (not sure if you'll have heard of her), she gave a workshop on improvisational comedy just the other week - and previous holders have included Trevor Nunn and Patrick Stewart, who turned up at a dinner last term, much to our excitement!!! So in general, Catz is quite an artsy college but there's always other things going on in the University that you can get involved with beyond us.

    American students are received fine, don't worry When Stefan, a guy who'd arrived with us in our fresher year, left at the end, we planned on giving him a symbolic viking funeral down the river in a punt but never really got round to it

    Hopefully see you then!
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    (Original post by Athena)
    An excellent start would be to call in a university - school is for ages 5-18
    Haha, I didn't want to mention that
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    (Original post by Athena)
    An excellent start would be to call in a university - school is for ages 5-18
    Good point. I'm going to have such a problem with that. Plus I go to "Sarah Lawrence College" Which is a university, but I guess that's the term used for high school? So confusing!! But thank you, I didn't even notice that!
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    (Original post by Incarnadine91)
    No problem, glad to help!

    It's not as tight-knit as some of the smaller colleges as our student body numbers in the 500+ as opposed to the 200 of somewhere like Lincoln, so naturally you're never going to know everyone. That said it is extremely friendly and I've never felt more welcome The large number of people means it's fairly busy, there's always something going on and Entz' are a blast. If you're not one for partying though (I'm not particularly) you can still find other people who aren't and of course there's always work to be done!!! We don't have a 'reputation' for being hard-working particularly but lots of people are. Again, big student body = lots of variation! People will understand and you'll fit in perfectly whatever your style.

    As for the club scene, I can't really say because I'm not that involved, there are plenty in Oxford with lots of student nights but of course it's never going to be as 'intense' as if you were in a big city. The workload means that going out every night is not a good idea, but plenty of people still manage to have fun. I'd ask other people about that more, as I say I'm not really into clubbing and it's more a general rather than college thing

    Yeah, there's a great drama scene at Catz and in the University as a whole, we're forever getting bombarded with advertisements for plays in the city someone's written/directed/in On top of that several plays have been put on within the college itself, particularly during our yearly 'Catz Hearts Arts' intiative. And you're right, we host the Cameron Mackintosh Visiting Professor for Drama, which is generally a famous actor who gets picked on a yearly basis and comes and gives talks to us. It's currently Meera Syal (not sure if you'll have heard of her), she gave a workshop on improvisational comedy just the other week - and previous holders have included Trevor Nunn and Patrick Stewart, who turned up at a dinner last term, much to our excitement!!! So in general, Catz is quite an artsy college but there's always other things going on in the University that you can get involved with beyond us.

    American students are received fine, don't worry When Stefan, a guy who'd arrived with us in our fresher year, left at the end, we planned on giving him a symbolic viking funeral down the river in a punt but never really got round to it

    Hopefully see you then!
    Thank you so much. I know my questions are pretty random, it's just that I've done a lot of research and now I'm just worrying about the little things.

    St Catz sounds like the perfect place for what I'm hoping to do, and I am so looking forward to next year! I think the size of the school--(I did it again! NO!) EDIT: I think the size of the university is actually to my advantage, and I think I'll fit right in. I'm looking for a place with a lot of variation in its student body, so the size of St Catz sounds perfect. (it's still small to me, I'm at a university with 1500) But you do have the entire university of Oxford to consider as well...

    Loving the artistic opportunities, loving the visiting professor, loving the viking funeral!

    Thanks! Hopefully I'll see you next year!
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    (Original post by Athena)
    No, not really - some UK students will have heard of Sarah Lawrence (my old college, Wadham, used to take a lot of Sarah Lawrencers). High schools are called high or secondary schools (or occasionally academies...), and there are one or two sixth forms (final two years of optional schooling) called colleges, eg Hills Road Sixth Form College). But as everyone at Oxbridge is a member of a college, we're not going to have a problem with SLC as a name
    Okay so I think I understand now, "School" -incorrect "University"-perfect, and "college"-also fine. Mental note taken! Haha I just use "school" so often as a synonym for university, it's going to be such a hard habit to break. But I will start today!

    You went to Wadham? I applied there as well! (Naturally, as I am from SLC) It looks like a great college. I hope you enjoyed it.
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    Thank you so much. I know my questions are pretty random, it's just that I've done a lot of research and now I'm just worrying about the little things.

    St Catz sounds like the perfect place for what I'm hoping to do, and I am so looking forward to next year! I think the size of the school--(I did it again! NO!) EDIT: I think the size of the university is actually to my advantage, and I think I'll fit right in. I'm looking for a place with a lot of variation in its student body, so the size of St Catz sounds perfect. (it's still small to me, I'm at a university with 1500) But you do have the entire university of Oxford to consider as well...

    Loving the artistic opportunities, loving the visiting professor, loving the viking funeral!

    Thanks! Hopefully I'll see you next year!
    It's really fine, good you're doing your research - so many people come to us with impossibly general questions so it's nice to be able to give some concrete answers for a change

    I think you mean size of the college (St Catz college = smaller federated body within the wider university of Oxford) but yes, it really is an advantage I think.
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    (it's still small to me, I'm at a university with 1500)
    My god - that university is tiny!
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    (Original post by nexttime)
    My god - that university is tiny!
    You have no idea. It's ridiculous.
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    (Original post by Incarnadine91)
    It's really fine, good you're doing your research - so many people come to us with impossibly general questions so it's nice to be able to give some concrete answers for a change

    I think you mean size of the college (St Catz college = smaller federated body within the wider university of Oxford) but yes, it really is an advantage I think.
    Well I'm happy to pose concrete questions for concrete answers!

    So this system makes perfect sense: Smaller colleges within the University of Oxford. It's a new concept for me, but you've explained it quite well, thank you. So I guess my question would be this: do you think there's a larger sense of community within the college or the university as a whole? Pertaining to what we call "collegiate pride" I guess. (It's not really a pertinent question, just a fun one and I'm curious )
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    (Original post by slcstudent)
    Well I'm happy to pose concrete questions for concrete answers!

    So this system makes perfect sense: Smaller colleges within the University of Oxford. It's a new concept for me, but you've explained it quite well, thank you. So I guess my question would be this: do you think there's a larger sense of community within the college or the university as a whole? Pertaining to what we call "collegiate pride" I guess. (It's not really a pertinent question, just a fun one and I'm curious )
    Well actually, there's a bit of both. What I've found is that firstly people have loyalty to their subject (Historian: Geography's just colouring in! Geographer: Well we do more work than you...) and then to either science or humanities as a whole (Scientist: You only have two lectures a week? Ridiculous! Arts student: You try reading 20 books a week and then we'll talk).

    Beyond that sort of joking about colleges tend to have rivalries, yes, for instance St Catz has a rivalry with Magdalen because they're big, posh and next door. (Magdalen: We have a deer park! Catz: Well we have a car park!). Our rivalry is just a small one, the worst it involved is a bit of spray paint and Magdalen's deer, but colleges like Balliol/Trinity or Lincoln/Brasenose have feuds that everyone knows about. It's all in good fun, of coursem and mostly only gets seen in sporting fixtures. Whatever college you go to you will be proud of it and will defend it within a few weeks, tops. The college is your biggest source of 'community' because it's part of your identity and where you spend the most time. However...

    Even people of opposing colleges will unite in favour of Oxford against Cambridge! I don't know if your university has a rival, or if you can think of any that do, but think of that and then apply it to being the only two universities in the country for a long time, competing for the place of best university in the world, and add 800 years of history of this. Yeah. In every university-level sport (and even plenty of non-sporting events) the 'Varsity' match with Cambridge is the most important thing in the calender, never mind the national championships or anything like that. Again, it's not that serious outside sport, your regular Oxonian or Cantabridgian will usually just tease each other about our respective places in the league tables. (Oxford: Oh I'd rather be a leper than a Tab... Cambridge: Oh yeah, who's 1st in the world then?). But as Oxford is obviously the oldest and the best it's not really worth discussion. But yeah, there's 'university pride' to a degree, and as loads of clubs and societies work on a university level there is a sense of community there, although not as strong as within the college. People have said that we'll even put aside our differences with Cambridge against somewhere like Yale or Harvard, but I don't know how true that is....

    Whew, that ended up as a long and convoluted explanation, sorry :rolleyes: Suffice to say there's community at all levels, you'll support both your college and the university with equal strength depending on the situation. But college community is probably the most common.
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    Is it possible to live in a College with your couple (who is not an Oxford student)?
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    (Original post by Rupepo)
    Is it possible to live in a College with your couple (who is not an Oxford student)?
    No, I am fairly sure you can't. Even at Harris Manchester (the mature student college) they are not able to offer accommodation for couples..
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    (Original post by Rupepo)
    Is it possible to live in a College with your couple (who is not an Oxford student)?
    (Original post by AnimalSpirit)
    No, I am fairly sure you can't. Even at Harris Manchester (the mature student college) they are not able to offer accommodation for couples..
    Univ does (but only for graduates) and I would be surprised if others don't

    http://www.univ.ox.ac.uk/college_lif...accommodation/

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