Cold feet about college choice - sorry it's another college thread! Watch

owen_h
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Before I start - please don't rip me to shreds for being another clueless kid asking about colleges ... I have done my homework, I'm just getting cold feet when I'm almost on the point of applying.

I'm applying for Music, and I was pretty set on Magdalen ... I really got on with the tutor on the Open Day (who I've since been in touch with by email and he's given me some really helpful advice). I was impressed by the architecture and facilities and the fact that a student who was helping out offered to give me a tour of the college, despite it not being officially "open". However, I'm starting to wonder whether I find the reputation and imposing look of the college attractive or intimidating, and I've heard people (not just on TSR!) mention that Magdalen is very "rah", is generally strict, cold and unfriendly, or is "full of weirdos". (No offence to anyone at Magdalen who reads this!)

My other choice is St Catherine's, purely because I also got on well with the tutor there and he seemed impressed with me, and because it seems to have a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. On the other hand, although I know it sounds really crass and shallow, I'm slightly put off by the plate-glass architecture, and the fact that I might feel a bit cheated of the full "Oxford experience".

St Peter's also sounds good on paper, although I've never had the chance to go there or to meet the tutor - I'll be having a look on Friday!

A bit about me, just thought it might make it easier for people to point me in the right direction: I'm pretty passionate and committed to my subject and prepared to work hard, but I like to think I'm pretty sociable and don't just want to be stuck in my room working all the time! I'm privately educated but not from a very posh background (on a scholarship) or very sporty. I'm interested in getting involved in student politics - I'm a bit of a leftie, but I don't make a big issue of it and my friends have all sorts of different views or none!

Thanks and sorry for the essay!
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Turdburger
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Hi Owen, the people at Magdalen will not be signficantly more rah than at St. Cats. You seem to really like Magdalen, so thats where Id apply if I were you. The negative comments are not particularly true. Just apply where your heart tells you to.
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bysshe
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(Original post by owen_h)
My other choice is St Catherine's, purely because I also got on well with the tutor there and he seemed impressed with me, and because it seems to have a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. On the other hand, although I know it sounds really crass and shallow, I'm slightly put off by the plate-glass architecture, and the fact that I might feel a bit cheated of the full "Oxford experience".
When I arrived at St Catz for the interview (I was pooled), my first reaction was "Oh nooo, but it's so ugly!". I had five minutes of thinking that if I went there I'd somehow be deprived of the full "Oxford experience", but then I got over it. While I'm sure it's really nice to study somewhere as beautiful as Magdalen, unless you're someone who's really sensitive to architecture, I don't think the buildings will have a great impact on your happiness one way or another. Ultimately, the fact that the atmosphere seemed friendly and that I got on really well with the tutor (compared to my interview at the college I applied to) made me realise that architecture isn't the most important thing.

Having said that, if you liked the look of Magdalen in the first place, don't let other people put you off too much. Even if the reputation and building of the college are slightly intimidating at first, once you're settled in and have some friends, it'll be fine. Perhaps have a look at St Peter's too, and then think about which of the three colleges you like the most, regardless of what other people say. If you still like Magdalen the best, then you might as well go for it.
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Cirsium
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(Original post by owen_h)
Before I start - please don't rip me to shreds for being another clueless kid asking about colleges ... I have done my homework, I'm just getting cold feet when I'm almost on the point of applying.

I'm applying for Music, and I was pretty set on Magdalen ... I really got on with the tutor on the Open Day (who I've since been in touch with by email and he's given me some really helpful advice). I was impressed by the architecture and facilities and the fact that a student who was helping out offered to give me a tour of the college, despite it not being officially "open". However, I'm starting to wonder whether I find the reputation and imposing look of the college attractive or intimidating, and I've heard people (not just on TSR!) mention that Magdalen is very "rah", is generally strict, cold and unfriendly, or is "full of weirdos". (No offence to anyone at Magdalen who reads this!)
Okay first off I'd say, while I have found that Magdalen doesn't have the tight-knit feel of e.g. one of the Turl Street colleges (where everybody knows who everybody else is) I certainly haven't heard that it's weird - and the idea of a college being strict is a bit odd!

My other choice is St Catherine's, purely because I also got on well with the tutor there and he seemed impressed with me, and because it seems to have a friendly, unpretentious atmosphere. On the other hand, although I know it sounds really crass and shallow, I'm slightly put off by the plate-glass architecture, and the fact that I might feel a bit cheated of the full "Oxford experience".
You're not the first person on here to say the Music tutor at St Catz was really nice - who is it?? If Magdalen appeals to you, then I wouldn't pick St Catz based purely on the tutor. They're very very different colleges, and if you love the architecture and grounds of Magdalen then I bet you'd regret 'settling' for St Catz because, lovely as it is, it's a very different place!

St Peter's also sounds good on paper, although I've never had the chance to go there or to meet the tutor - I'll be having a look on Friday!
St Peter's is lovely, and Roger seems to be well loved by his tutees (he's also the tutor at Teddy Hall where my other half did Music and where I later sang in the choir, so I know most of the musos!) It's got one of the best mixed choirs (obviously the all male choral foundations are in a different league). Nice chapel too, and Jonny Lo really built up the music society there, although I don't know if that's become a more general thing or if it'll die a death now he's left.

Personally I'd say stick with Magdalen - don't be put off by the odd negative thing you hear.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Interesting stuff... I'll reply by PM :yes:

(Original post by Bekaboo)
You're not the first person on here to say the Music tutor at St Catz was really nice - who is it?? ...

St Peter's is lovely, and Roger seems to be well loved by his tutees (he's also the tutor at Teddy Hall where my other half did Music and where I later sang in the choir, so I know most of the musos!) It's got one of the best mixed choirs (obviously the all male choral foundations are in a different league). Nice chapel too, and Jonny Lo really built up the music society there, although I don't know if that's become a more general thing or if it'll die a death now he's left.
Peter Franklin. He's amazing and very cool

Jonny Lo was epic but I think my year will be able to carry on the standard for another year. Don't know anyone from the year below, so not sure what will happen once we've left :nah:
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Cirsium
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Interesting stuff... I'll reply by PM :yes:

Peter Franklin. He's amazing and very cool

Jonny Lo was epic but I think my year will be able to carry on the standard for another year. Don't know anyone from the year below, so not sure what will happen once we've left :nah:
... but you're not at St Peter's :hmmm: or do you just mean the musos in your year?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Bekaboo)
... but you're not at St Peter's :hmmm: or do you just mean the musos in your year?
I mean the musos in my year at St. Peter's They're a pretty cool bunch and ridiculously multitalented :yes:
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owen_h
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Thanks for all the advice - I was in Oxford on Friday and had a look at the three colleges I mentioned above. I think it's really between Magdalen and St Peter's, although I didn't have time to look at Exeter, where I've heard good things about the tutor.

I appreciate the reassurance that Magdalen isn't particularly 'rah', and it definitely didn't seem like that when I visited, but today I found out that Magdalen, along with Oriel and Trinity, isn't part of OUSU. I was slightly disappointed because it was something I was vaguely interested in getting involved in, but what worries me a lot more is the fact that the other two colleges that aren't members, especially Oriel, have a reputation for being incredibly right-wing and public school-y. Is this the case with Magdalen as well, or are there other reasons for not being part of OUSU?

Sorry if I seem hung up on college choice - I would have asked this more directly before, but I didn't want to come across as obsessed with politics or stereotypes!
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owen_h
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Thanks for all the advice - I was in Oxford on Friday and had a look at the three colleges I mentioned above. I think it's really between Magdalen and St Peter's, although I didn't have time to look at Exeter, where I've heard good things about the tutor.

I appreciate the reassurance that Magdalen isn't particularly 'rah', and it definitely didn't seem like that when I visited, but today I found out that Magdalen, along with Oriel and Trinity, isn't part of OUSU. I was slightly disappointed because it was something I was vaguely interested in getting involved in, but what worries me a lot more is the fact that the other two colleges that aren't members, especially Oriel, have a reputation for being incredibly right-wing and public school-y. Is this the case with Magdalen as well, or are there other reasons for not being part of OUSU?

Sorry if I seem hung up on college choice - I would have asked this more directly before, but I didn't want to come across as obsessed with politics or stereotypes (which I'm not, particularly!)
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swiftuk
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If you mean the JCRs/other CRs aren't affiliated to OUSU, technically any of the college JCRs/CRs could choose to do that during your time there (my old uni's student union disaffiliated from the NUS a few years back). I think (note I'm not sure) that this only means that you can't necessarily get an NUS Extra card.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by owen_h)
Thanks for all the advice - I was in Oxford on Friday and had a look at the three colleges I mentioned above. I think it's really between Magdalen and St Peter's, although I didn't have time to look at Exeter, where I've heard good things about the tutor.

I appreciate the reassurance that Magdalen isn't particularly 'rah', and it definitely didn't seem like that when I visited, but today I found out that Magdalen, along with Oriel and Trinity, isn't part of OUSU. I was slightly disappointed because it was something I was vaguely interested in getting involved in, but what worries me a lot more is the fact that the other two colleges that aren't members, especially Oriel, have a reputation for being incredibly right-wing and public school-y. Is this the case with Magdalen as well, or are there other reasons for not being part of OUSU?

Sorry if I seem hung up on college choice - I would have asked this more directly before, but I didn't want to come across as obsessed with politics or stereotypes!
Tbh, I imagine the reason Magdalen isn't affiliated to OUSU is because they've decided OUSU is a waste of space OUSU isn't really like other student unions and imho you wouldn't be missing out on much/anything by attending a college not affiliated with them.
I've always had the impression that Magdalen does have a strong private school contingent (exact figures or how true that is, I don't know - I don't really know many Magdalen people). That said, at Oxford people don't tend to know or care where other people have gone to school. It's very difficult to tell what kind of schooling people have had unless if they seem very stereotypically Etonian or have a chavvy twang in their accent! My college has one of the biggest private intakes but no one can really tell where other people can come from and no one's really bothered about it either!
As for right-wing, I don't think it's particularly right-wing but Teebs will tell you all about Magdalen :yes:

(Original post by Teebs)
Oh Teebs, oh Teebs, wherefore art thou, Teebs?
Imo OP, you sound like you really like Magdalen and Larry Dreyfus and he seems to have been very helpful towards you, which is great. So whilst St. Peter's is a lovely college and Dr. Allen is lovely, and whilst Dr. Leach at Exeter is pretty awesome, I reckon you should go with your gut instinct :yes:
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Cirsium
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I shouldn't say that :p:
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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:rofl: I was trying to avoid making personal comments about tutors :p:

He can be very nice and charming when he wants to be (he's only ever been very nice to me, for example) and appears to be quite friendly towards the OP :yes:
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Cirsium
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
:rofl: I was trying to avoid making personal comments about tutors :p:

He can be very nice and charming when he wants to be (he's only ever been very nice to me, for example) and appears to be quite friendly towards the OP :yes:
*Shrugs* a lot of my friends were musos in the year above. A LOT of them got screwed over by the "trick question" analysis paper. Including some who were on the borderline for firsts, and for whom analysis should have been their best paper. (In the whole year about 4 people go it and got 1sts, a small handful did a good enough job of saving the paper and got a 2i, and the vast majority of the year came out with 2iis) And I spent a lot of time convincing them that they should have been more careful, and that even if they realised an hour into the exam that they were wrong, they still had two hours to write a not-long-enough-but-correct response. And then I heard about how he had laughed a great deal as he regaled a muso friend of mine in a different year with tales of how he'd screwed the whole year over. I can't say I have a particularly high opinion of the guy.
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Teebs
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Magdalen is nice. I went there. It's not particularly private schooly (about average if I remember correctly). Strictness is silly, no Oxford colleges are really strict, but it does seem to have one of the most lax internet use policies around (in practice even if not in theory).

OUSU is a waste of space. I think you're still a member even if your college is disaffiliated though so you can still get involved. Also colleges tend to reaffiliate after a while and disaffiliation seems pretty random, so if you did go to Magdalen it would probably be affiliated by the time you started.

Oxford will always have plenty of people of all political persuasions. Magdalen isn't massively rightwing I think.
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upturnedpalms
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(Original post by Bekaboo)
*Shrugs* a lot of my friends were musos in the year above. A LOT of them got screwed over by the "trick question" analysis paper. Including some who were on the borderline for firsts, and for whom analysis should have been their best paper. (In the whole year about 4 people go it and got 1sts, a small handful did a good enough job of saving the paper and got a 2i, and the vast majority of the year came out with 2iis) And I spent a lot of time convincing them that they should have been more careful, and that even if they realised an hour into the exam that they were wrong, they still had two hours to write a not-long-enough-but-correct response. And then I heard about how he had laughed a great deal as he regaled a muso friend of mine in a different year with tales of how he'd screwed the whole year over. I can't say I have a particularly high opinion of the guy.
Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but that's a horribly scary story Do things like that happen often, or was this one tutor particularly nasty?
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Bekaboo)
*Shrugs* a lot of my friends were musos in the year above. A LOT of them got screwed over by the "trick question" analysis paper. Including some who were on the borderline for firsts, and for whom analysis should have been their best paper. (In the whole year about 4 people go it and got 1sts, a small handful did a good enough job of saving the paper and got a 2i, and the vast majority of the year came out with 2iis) And I spent a lot of time convincing them that they should have been more careful, and that even if they realised an hour into the exam that they were wrong, they still had two hours to write a not-long-enough-but-correct response. And then I heard about how he had laughed a great deal as he regaled a muso friend of mine in a different year with tales of how he'd screwed the whole year over. I can't say I have a particularly high opinion of the guy.
I'm not necessarily saying I disagree with you. I'm just not gonna comment on public threads :ninja: God knows whether any Music tutors lurk here and I need most of the Faculty to vaguely like me so that they'll give me AHRC funding for postgrad :p:

(Original post by upturnedpalms)
Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but that's a horribly scary story Do things like that happen often, or was this one tutor particularly nasty?
The Music tutors are an interesting bunch at the best of times :ninja:
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Cirsium
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(Original post by upturnedpalms)
Sorry to hi-jack the thread, but that's a horribly scary story Do things like that happen often, or was this one tutor particularly nasty?
First and only time I've heard of it. I think he was just evil. And the thing about Analysis is that it's a one question 3 hour paper. So one evil question (which does happen) isn't balanced out by a bunch that you can answer, as in other papers.
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upturnedpalms
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(Original post by Bekaboo)
First and only time I've heard of it. I think he was just evil. And the thing about Analysis is that it's a one question 3 hour paper. So one evil question (which does happen) isn't balanced out by a bunch that you can answer, as in other papers.
Ah okay, thank you :yep:
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wjcsibelius
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I know that someone from Magdalen's JCR is running for an OUSU post this term, so I'm sure students politics won't be off limits for you. There's always the OU anyway. If you're still having college issues feel free to PM me about the interview process, but I haven't started the course yet - 12 days to go!
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