Best Oxford Colleges for English or History? Watch

Darcy*
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I'm currently only in Year 11 but I'm hopefully going to a couple of Oxford open days in the summer and since you're only allowed to look around two I want to choose the right ones. I'm interested in studying English Literature or History, possibly Classics. I went to the Oxbridge Classics day at Oxford and went to Corpus Christi and Magdalen so I probably won't go to those again.
I have researched the different colleges already but I'm finding it difficult to find subject specific advice.
Anyway suggestions of where I should look would be much appreciated, as would advice on other unis which are good for these subjects.
Thanks
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hobnob
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(Original post by Darcy*)
I'm currently only in Year 11 but I'm hopefully going to a couple of Oxford open days in the summer and since you're only allowed to look around two I want to choose the right ones. I'm interested in studying English Literature or History, possibly Classics. I went to the Oxbridge Classics day at Oxford and went to Corpus Christi and Magdalen so I probably won't go to those again.
I have researched the different colleges already but I'm finding it difficult to find subject specific advice.
Anyway suggestions of where I should look would be much appreciated, as would advice on other unis which are good for these subjects.
Thanks
That's because there is no (sensible) subject-specific college advice which anyone could give you. Sorry to be so unhelpful, but that's the truth.

By the way, if you're really keen to look at more colleges, you'll be able to do that outside the open days. Colleges are usually happy to let prospective applicants have a look around, and if you email them in advance they might even find you someone to give you a brief tour.
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Darcy*
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Ok, thanks for replying anyway
I'll definitely email and ask, think the fact that I'm not even doing A levels yet may get in the way though
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hobnob
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(Original post by Darcy*)
Ok, thanks for replying anyway
I'll definitely email and ask, think the fact that I'm not even doing A levels yet may get in the way though
Not necessarily. Colleges will normally bend over backwards for a chance to make a good impression on potential applicants, and there's no reason why you shouldn't make that work in your favour. After all, it isn't as though you'd be lying to them, or anything - you really are thinking about applying, and if you're slightly ahead of schedule, who cares?
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Darcy*
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(Original post by hobnob)
Not necessarily. Colleges will normally bend over backwards for a chance to make a good impression on potential applicants, and there's no reason why you shouldn't make that work in your favour. After all, it isn't as though you'd be lying to them, or anything - you really are thinking about applying, and if you're slightly ahead of schedule, who cares?
I just feel a bit guilty because they should probably be helping people who are applying sooner but that's silly really Also, the whole concept of colleges within a university confuses me a bit as I don't actually know anyone who has been to Oxford or Cambridge (at least not recently) and I don't want to seem ignorant because I don't understand parts of it.
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M1F2R3
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(Original post by Darcy*)
I just feel a bit guilty because they should probably be helping people who are applying sooner but that's silly really Also, the whole concept of colleges within a university confuses me a bit as I don't actually know anyone who has been to Oxford or Cambridge (at least not recently) and I don't want to seem ignorant because I don't understand parts of it.
Oxford are more than capable of dealing with any questions/inquiries that you feel you should make.

My friend graduated from Cambridge last year from Jesus College, I asked him why he picked Jesus and he said "it's one of those things, they're all pretty good"... i.e. he didn't really care too much about which college he was going to.

Applicants are usually advised to pick a college which can offer the most to them, e.g. some colleges may have better football facilities where another college might have better cricket facilities etc.

If I had to pick a college though it would be Lincoln.
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Darcy*
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(Original post by M1F2R3)
Oxford are more than capable of dealing with any questions/inquiries that you feel you should make.

My friend graduated from Cambridge last year from Jesus College, I asked him why he picked Jesus and he said "it's one of those things, they're all pretty good"... i.e. he didn't really care too much about which college he was going to.

Applicants are usually advised to pick a college which can offer the most to them, e.g. some colleges may have better football facilities where another college might have better cricket facilities etc.

If I had to pick a college though it would be Lincoln.
Thanks, I will have a look at info about Lincoln
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M1F2R3
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(Original post by Darcy*)
Thanks, I will have a look at info about Lincoln
No problem

I believe if you don't ask, you don't get... don't be under the impression that you're wasting your time, it's your future that counts.
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hobnob
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(Original post by Darcy*)
I just feel a bit guilty because they should probably be helping people who are applying sooner but that's silly really
Well, you needn't feel bad about it - if they can't let you have a look around the college for one reason or another, they'll tell you so. Usually it's no big deal, though and they'll be happy to let you in and/or show you around. Colleges really do go out of their way to show potential applicants they're friendly and approachable.
Also, the whole concept of colleges within a university confuses me a bit as I don't actually know anyone who has been to Oxford or Cambridge (at least not recently) and I don't want to seem ignorant because I don't understand parts of it.
I don't know if you'd count me as 'recent' (graduated from my BA in 2007), but as a rule of thumb, your college will affect your university experience, but not necessarily in the way you'll expect it to. You can try making a choice based on fairly superficial factors like size, age, location or dining hall prices, but ultimately the most important factors are the ones which you can't predict or influence, such as the friends you make or the people you meet. And *every* college has its downsides which you find incredibly annoying, which can be anything from cranky scouts to lack of bike racks, unavailability of decent vegetarian food in hall or interfering porters etc.
Obviously it's a bit daunting to think that you can't really tell whether you'll be happy at College X or College Y - and having a brief look around a college on an open day is unlikely to change that - and that's why a lot of people try to convince themselves that they're making an informed choice. Ultimately, though, it's always a stab in the dark affected by fairly arbitrary factors.
But the good news is that the old truism that everybody ends up loving their college is mostly true, because chances are there's not just one perfect college for you but several which you'd love if you happened to end up there. Just because you think that you couldn't possibly be happy at a college which doesn't have a gym and formal hall at every night of the week or whatever other random factors you end up using to narrow down your choices, that doesn't mean you can't get pooled to a college which is the very opposite of what you imagined your ideal college to be and be happy. Ask the people who are at St Catz, for example. Comparatively few people put it down as their first choice, because it isn't really anybody's idea of Oxfordiness, and when you first visit it, it tends to be a bit of a visual shock. But it's actually a lovely college and I'm sure there are a lot of current students there who are now glad they were pooled there even though it had never crossed their mind to apply there originally and it was initially a shock after applying to Trinity, or wherever.

In short: although prospectuses will naturally tell you otherwise, the significance of college choice is massively overhyped. Of course it will affect you, but you have no way of predicting how exactly, so no matter how hard you try, it will always be a stab in the dark. It's not worth agonising over to the extent that many people on TSR appear to do. By all means go to Oxford and look at a few colleges, but if you find you've got trouble choosing one, you might as well just make a random decision and get it over with. Chances are that if you get offered a place somewhere, you'll end up liking your college, even if it wasn't your original choice. So relax.
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Darcy*
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(Original post by M1F2R3)
No problem

I believe if you don't ask, you don't get... don't be under the impression that you're wasting your time, it's your future that counts.
I agree with the 'don't ask, don't get' so I will ask

(Original post by hobnob)
So relax.
Thank you so much for that and you do count as recent, I mean that most of the people are know who went to Oxford are friends of my parents!
I guess the concept of not knowing until you get there if you've made the right decision is the part that worries me, along with the fact that there is no 'best' college for everyone. And it's a fairly trivial distraction from the knowing that getting into Oxford itself is an incredibly long shot anyway! Worth a try though
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hobnob
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(Original post by Darcy*)
I guess the concept of not knowing until you get there if you've made the right decision is the part that worries me, along with the fact that there is no 'best' college for everyone. And it's a fairly trivial distraction from the knowing that getting into Oxford itself is an incredibly long shot anyway! Worth a try though
That's quite understandable, but it might be more helpful if you try not to think of it that way... After all, what it really means is that you've got a very good chance of being happy at whichever college you end up at, and that should take out some of the pressure to find the 'right' one before you apply. Overall, the odds of making a decision which will, in one way or another, turn out to be right are far greater than the odds of making a bad decision.
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Darcy*
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I suppose so. Thank you for all your advice
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thatfineframe
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Colleges do vary according to the tutors' preferences and interests, to some extent, despite the course being university-wide. It might be a bit early for you to know this, but if you find as it gets closer to applying that you have particular areas that interest or don't interest you, it's worth poking about, or asking people, to find out whether those would be emphasised at any particular college you're considering. For example, some colleges give you a choice between Middle English and Old English in first year, other colleges make you do Old English (everyone does Middle English later anyway).

(This element was a major factor for me when I was choosing a college, because I didn't want to go anywhere that pushed the literary theory papers; it wasn't my thing.)
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libby higgins
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i'm only in year seven but it has been my dream to go to oxford and take English literature but i'm not sure witch the best collages for English literature i am really hoping to go to trinity collage obviously i'm still quite young but its allays good to be prepared... right? especially when it comes to the oldest university in the UK
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Jesssssy15
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(Original post by libby higgins)
i'm only in year seven but it has been my dream to go to oxford and take English literature but i'm not sure witch the best collages for English literature i am really hoping to go to trinity collage obviously i'm still quite young but its allays good to be prepared... right? especially when it comes to the oldest university in the UK
Hey I think that it is so great that you are already so eager! wow! Wish I had as much charisma and direction when I was your age. I am currently in year 13 and I am applying the year so fingers crossed! I am looking to go to Christ Church as it is stunning and seems like an incredible location to immerse myself in the subject. I had an extensive look at the different colleges and honestly I can say that I was not underwhelmed by a single one. You are quite right that there is really no better place to study in the UK, especially when it comes to the (Lit-est) subject, mind the pun! As I am currently in the process please come back to me with any queries and questions. I think it is quite likely that I will receive an offer and so think that I can be quite useful... Best wishes and good luck
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