This post is intended to make you think hard about applying to Oxford for engineering, or any other typically "scientific" course at Oxford. (Im at Oxford studying engineering).
I was full of expectation when I got into the archaic city. The first thing that struck me (being from london) was the fact that there were hardly any ethnic minorities to be seen, and the city reeked of classism, (I have encountered racism too).
The quality of teaching here is very low with most of the lecturers unable to "teach" due to their commitments (phd projects etc). Rather than teach students how to do practical problems, we are bombarded by theory and high flying proofs. Tutorial sheets will have errors, in both the questions and the answers. You will learn all the rules in lectures, however all the problems you do will be the exceptions to them.
Practicals are little to do with understanding and more to do with getting signed off for them (computing in particular). Most of the actual teaching happens in tutorials, (the place where you are supposed to discuss problems). The whole term is a rushed confusion of work, labs and tutorial sheets. If you have a real genuine interest in innovation, design and engineering this course is not for you. It will sap the creativity from your soul and turn you into a robot, mindlessly churning out answers.
I find myself regretting the fact I came here and wish I went to a University filled with human beings, rather than egotistical lecturers and aloof professors. I do hope and believe that not everyone who goes to oxford feels this way and actually enjoys the experience.
Its one of the best places to study an arts subject and the atmosphere of the city suits it.