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University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford

Balliol College (Oxford) Students and Applicants

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HoVis
Sounds like an awesome scholarship to hold. :biggrin: Do postgrads start at the same time as undergrads? (IF they get in? :s-smilie: )

Hmm, Edinburgh. Well, I liked the makeup of the Scottish degrees (and the lower tuition fees!) which is why I chose St Andrews and Edinburgh as two of my five applications... I'm not sure what made me choose Edinburgh in the first draw (possibly because it was a city university - I could not live in a campus uni - in a fairly old city and in the Times top 20, is that bad??!) but when it came to choosing my insurance I had the choice of St A's, Edinburgh or Newcastle - KCL was an AAA offer so was sadly automatically dropped. Then there was the choice between St A's and Edinburgh. There were a few points in Edinburgh's favour - I've lived in a village all my life and thought it might be a bit small, plus the mountaineering club in Edinburgh is wonderfully active (yes; I chose my insurance uni based on mountaineering :o: ), and also at Edinburgh I can do Chinese in my first two years, and potentially as a Joint Honours. At Easter I visited Edinburgh and spoke to the Chinese teacher there, like the city... so, yep. At BBB it seemed a good insurance and looking at the clubs and things now it seems pretty good to me. :smile:

Did you do your undergrad at Edinburgh? Is it... good? (If it wasn't, don't tell me!! Hehe :p: )

Oh dear, long-winded reply, sorry, I can't help it!

HoVis


I'm not really sure when I'm required down there. Balliol said something about the 15th of September, but my academic contact Prof Humphries sent me a letter mentioning the first of October. I'm sure I'll find out in due course, I've no idea when undergrads start I'm afraid...

The reason I asked about Edinburgh, was because there's a bit of research going on into Scottish university selections, and you've anecdotally reinforced what they've been finding. Basically, more Scottish students who are in the top 10% of their high school class go to Glasgow, but English students overwhelmingly end up at St Andrews and Edinburgh. Edinburgh's entry requirements are a little lower than Glasgow's, but such a marked difference (Edinburgh has over 30% from England, St Andrews even higher, Glasgow is only a shade over one in 10) has been confusing people for a while, so they've been asking the Scots in the top 10% of their class why they chose Glasgow over Edin/St A, and why the English applicants chose the latter two over Glasgow. No real reason for me to ask other than curiosity really.

As for Edinburgh, its got a large and pretty solid History department. I'd say there are better ones in Scotland than it, both in terms of library resources and flexibility of modules as well as strength of research, but it's by no means weak in any area- put it this way, its a nice insurance to have (it was also my insurance some five years ago). As final year students, we did a bit of mentoring and running drop in sessions for the new students and those who had only scraped through first year, so I got to know a few people at Edinburgh, and they seemed a nice enough bunch. I wouldn't worry much (or at all) about league tables- as the universities themselves quickly realised that one way to be higher up was to dumb down courses, thus having more students with better grades, fewer dropping out and (generally) a more satisfied group aswell. Ergo, its pretty impossible to argue that an Aberdeen or the like, which is so far away it can't afford to be picky with its applicants is necessarily inferior to somewhere in the top 10/20 etc.

Anyway, thats a bit off topic, and it looks like I've trumped you in the long winded reply :tongue:, but you seem to have made sensible enough choices, and its no mean feat getting an offer off of Balliol (statistically the most popular college, doncha know :cool: ), so hopefully you'll be fine. Confident of meeting your offer then?
University of Oxford, Pawel-Sytniewski
University of Oxford
Oxford
Reply 161
0404343m


Anyway, thats a bit off topic, and it looks like I've trumped you in the long winded reply :tongue:, but you seem to have made sensible enough choices, and its no mean feat getting an offer off of Balliol (statistically the most popular college, doncha know :cool: ), so hopefully you'll be fine. Confident of meeting your offer then?


I'm not so sure when undergrads start, actually, am avoiding looking it up until I know I'm going to need it! If I end up going to Edinburgh I have only a weekend between finishing full time work and the first day of freshers' week. :s-smilie: Oxford is sometime around the start of October, not sure of the exact date as I said!

Off-topic? Ha, I think right now our conversation is the topic, I'm not seeing much other action on this thread right now!!

I had no idea Balliol was so popular when I applied, I just thought it was pretty, friendly and nice and central. :o: Interestingly enough the last person from my school to get into Oxford, somewhere around six years back, went to Balliol to study History.

I'm sure you understand that's a really difficult question to answer r.e. how confident I am! :s-smilie: On the one hand I know that my marks from last year provided a relative safety net for this year but on the other hand I had a few iffy exams in English, which is with Edexcel, an exam board with which I had a few problems last year, so I just don't know. :s-smilie: Also I'm dreadful at judging how I've done in exams - invariably the ones I think went well end up being my lowest marks, and vice versa!

Yeah, I know league tables aren't the most accurate of selection methods, but I needed some way of slimming down the various options, I was getting so confused! :s-smilie: What you said about more Scottish students choosing Glasgow is interesting... I've been to Glasgow and personally found it a bit grey, but I know that was a different part of town to the uni! Also, I think Edinburgh is probably the most, uh, English part of Scotland, if that makes sense, which might contribute to the higher levels of English applicants / intake. :confused:

Results day in 6 weeks! Oh dear. I'll be a gibbering wreck. :eek3:

EDIT: Oh dear, lots of :s-smilie: faces in that post!
HoVis

x


Indeed- the fact that you even looked at Glasgow (where it does rain a helluva lot) is probably a lot more than some- I think it may be down to an old stereotype of the city back when our parents were teenagers- and it was a pretty grim place in the 60s and 70s. Maybe Scottish students who have seen it in the last couple of decades realise this is now false more than others, it's hard to say. Whatever the reason, Edinburgh and St Andrews remain very popular with those in England. Not that I mind of course, I love St Andrews... for a weekend here and there- I couldn't hack four years there.

The scholarship I applied for was only tenable at Balliol, I had Hertford as my other choice. I read in the news they've managed to set fire to the place several times in the last few years, they sound like my kind of people. I couldn't actually tell you anyone from my school who went to Oxford or Cambridge, or indeed any English university (the way the Scottish system goes, you'd need to sit and get As in three or more advanced highers, and you can't sit this, let alone pass in many Scottish state schools), virtually everyone that did go strayed no further than the central belt of Scotland.

Forgive me for not understanding a great deal about the A-Level system, this nonsense with different exam boards makes little sense to me- if everyone sat the same papers then we'd probably be closer to consistency across the country, but meh... As for me, I think you get better at judging as you get older- I knew I had what I needed in the bag as soon as I left my final exams- but in first year I was rotten at judging anything!

At any rate, I'm sure you'll be fine- bit of pre-exam fear is always healthy as far as Im concerned at motivating people into doing work- Its not any fluke you've got offers from some very selective universities after all! As for Edinburgh, they put on a pretty good freshers week (I've no idea what Oxford do), so if 'worst' case scenario comes up (and there's plenty on TSR who would kill to get in your insurance, let alone your firm) I guarantee you'll have forgotten all about it by the second day of freshers week- so try and enjoy the next six weeks, no point in worrying about what might happen!
Hi there guys. Could you please tell me if Balliol is/has:

1. access to a good gym
2. en-suite facility every year (rooms being able to be chosen rather than lottery)
3. kitchen facility for self catering
4. close to the maths department/classes etc.
5. a fridge in the room, or allowed for us to keep 1
Hey Haloalkane,

1. Balliol has a gym (next to the bar, ironically for rowers) on-site, which is a little old and not too pretty, but has a good range of weights, lots of rowing machines, bikes, weightlifting machines (sorry, not sure what they're all called) etc., but no elliptical trainers/running machines. Also, if you manage to get inducted, you can get access to the gym at Holywell Manor, where the graduate students live, which is apparently much nicer and does have a running machine (but only one rowing machine).

2. In first year, you don't get to choose your own room - you are asked to choose a 'band' indicating how much you are willing to pay for a room and en-suite rooms are the most expensive (on the whole) so choosing a higher price band increases your likelihood of being allocated one. Last year, a fresher was allocated an en-suite room but this depends on a) whether or not any such rooms are available after third and fourth-years choose theirs, and b) luck

In second year, most students choose either to live out in rented houses with friends, or to live in a flat Jowett Walk, which is college-owned accommodation (about a four-minute walk down the road from Balliol). All except a handful of rooms in Jowett are en-suite.

In third year, students are put at the 'top' of the housing ballot (people's positions on the list are randomly assigned) and get to choose rooms in college (or choose to live in Jowett/live out) in that order. There are about 40 en-suite rooms (or more that I haven't heard of?) in college and it isn't unheard of for people very low down on the ballot choosing these rooms. It just depends on how many people above you in the room ballot were willing to pay the extra rent of an en-suite room or even wanted one, each year.

3. kitchen facility for self catering
Some rooms have access to a kitchen (certainly all the main fresher staircases have kitchenettes, as well as a couple of others), but many people find it most convenient to eat in hall, certainly for dinner, and balliol has a student-run pantry which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner most days. All rooms on Jowett walk have access to a kitchen (there's one per flat), and obviously if you choose to rent a house outside of college in second year, you'll be hard-pressed to find one without a kitchen! Ours had two.

4. I don't think the Maths department is too far away - it's a short cycle or a slightly longer walk (10 minutes? I'm not sure, but you can probably search for it on google maps) up Banbury road from Balliol. What is further away is Ewert House, where all the Mathmeticians and some other science students have their exams in first and second year (not sure about third). This can be upto a 40/45 minute walk straight up Banbury Road from college, although there is a frequent bus service and taking a bike also significantly reduces this time. Anyway, there are few colleges from which you can easily get to Ewert house, certainly none in the centre of Oxford. Balliol has plenty of bike racks both inside and just outside college, as well as a bike-sale either in college or somewhere in Oxford (the union?) usually in first term, so most people choose to get a bike at some point.

5. Balliol doesn't provide fridges in your room (there are fridges in the kitchenettes, however), although you are allowed to bring a mini-fridge (up to four feet tall, or something, I'm not sure but one of the porters comes round to check your fridge is the right size eventually). These are usually large enough to keep enough food for one person in, though.

Hope that helped!
Just wanted to join in & say I'm excited to arrive @ Balliol this fall:woo:
Ooh, this forum might actually get busier for the first time in months...
Reply 167
audio_ut_fiam
Just wanted to join in & say I'm excited to arrive @ Balliol this fall:woo:


... by which you presumably mean autumn :tongue:
Reply 168
I can't believe I'm going to THE BEST COLLEGE IN OXFORD!!! :biggrin: :woo: :biggrin:
Reply 169
HoVis
I can't believe I'm going to THE BEST COLLEGE IN OXFORD!!! :biggrin: :woo: :biggrin:


True, even if we're only fourteenth-best according to the Norrington... ahem...
Reply 170
cpchem
True, even if we're only fourteenth-best according to the Norrington... ahem...

What can you get from a Norrignton table anyway? A part from Merton and HMC which are relatively stable... Nothing! :biggrin:
Reply 171
I'm going to Balliol :woo:
Well, up until this year, Balliol was one of only four colleges to have never been out of the top 10 this decade. Now, we'll have to do what everyone else does when they fall down the table, and start making excuses.

On your marks...
cpchem
... by which you presumably mean autumn :tongue:

Nope. Any postgrads??
audio_ut_fiam
Nope. Any postgrads??


:yep:
Cool. Pardon my colloquial American...I'm pretty psyched to get there, meet other postgrads, drink some English beer....nervous about being an international student & hope the work I've done thus far is adequate!!!
Reply 176
audio_ut_fiam
Cool. Pardon my colloquial American...I'm pretty psyched to get there, meet other postgrads, drink some English beer....nervous about being an international student & hope the work I've done thus far is adequate!!!

You are noooot aloooooone!!
I aaaam here with youuuuu!!
Though you're faaar awaaaaay!! :biggrin:
R.I.P. MJ!
From a future international postgrad student living in France (which is not even my home country!) :biggrin: :biggrin:
Ghostey
You are noooot aloooooone!!
I aaaam here with youuuuu!!
Though you're faaar awaaaaay!! :biggrin:
R.I.P. MJ!
From a future international postgrad student living in France (which is not even my home country!) :biggrin: :biggrin:

Ghostey - Thanks man! It's good to know I'm not rowing alone:yikes: What program(me) are you up for? ....& yea, RIP MJ.
Reply 178
audio_ut_fiam
Ghostey - Thanks man! It's good to know I'm not rowing alone:yikes: What program(me) are you up for? ....& yea, RIP MJ.

DPhil Mathematics (Probability, stochastic calculus and cie):smile:
And you?
Ghostey
DPhil Mathematics (Probability, stochastic calculus and cie):smile:
And you?


That makes at least three of us. I'm in for the M.Phil in Economic History (although owing to complications with the research training I've already studied at my previous institution, I can upgrade to the D.Phil once all the boxes have been ticked), I'm kinda already up and down talking to Prof. Offer at All Souls about research, but it'll be good when folk start arriving en masse. I'm a Snell Exhibitioner aswell, apparently we get an annual dinner-type-thing in honour of the founder of the exhibition, and I've never been known to turn down a party...

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