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Most under-rated Oxford college(s)

Some Oxford colleges have vaunted and distinguished reputations. Others aren't very well known at all. This is a question aimed at current students, graduates, and everyone else (e.g. applicants) that have spent time thinking about the different colleges. I am trying to identify "hidden gems" for applicants who might miss those that don't necessarily make it on to the tourist trail.

So the questions are:

Which college would you attend if you received an open offer to any one? Why?
Which college would you least like to attend? Why?
Which college is most under-rated, i.e. has the greatest gap between its perception/visibility and its "true" value?

Please declare any interests, e.g. if you are nominating your own college!
Original post by EYDavis
Some Oxford colleges have vaunted and distinguished reputations.


Although said colleges often aren't the most applied to! The likes of Christ Church and Trinity get substantially fewer applications than e.g. Keble. I wouldn't say Brasenose has a particularly notable 'reputation' but it has had the most applications of all colleges for a good 7 -8 years now, often by a big margin.

I'd suggest LMH as an underrated college. Not particularly old and suffers from being a bit further away from town than other colleges. When you get into the real world, you realise that calling LMH too far from town is utterly ridiculous. Especially if you are going to be frequenting the science area - its a literal 10 minute walk across a beautiful park, like wth! And for being not in the historical city it gains a lot in lovely grounds right by the river.

I went to Merton and had a great time, but i think its a little cliche to just praise your own college so :p:
Of the old historic colleges my first term impression is that Queens seems criminally under-valued. It isn’t the biggest, prettiest, strongest applicant pool or trendiest but it is the absolute archetype of an Oxford college in many respects. Exeter is similarly often overlooked but I’d pick Queens from early impressions.

Both Catz and LMH have undeserved reputations for being ‘far away’ (if 10 minutes is far you are lazy beyond words). LMH is pretty. Catz is competitive academically but ugly unless you are a modernist so LMH edges it (as a Catz student who hates our yellow brick & concrete chic!).

Christ Church is beautiful but not particularly stellar in terms of academic reputation but I’m tempted to offer up Trinity simply because everyone I have met from there in my first term has been an arrogant tosser (be it public school, American or Asian variety smug & superior)...but it is a small sample so probably unfair.
Yes, I agree that the perception that LMH is "too far away" is a real shame. Its setting is lovely, and the atmosphere seems friendly and inclusive (perhaps as one would expect for the pioneer of the Foundation Year initiative.)
Original post by EYDavis
Some Oxford colleges have vaunted and distinguished reputations. Others aren't very well known at all. This is a question aimed at current students, graduates, and everyone else (e.g. applicants) that have spent time thinking about the different colleges. I am trying to identify "hidden gems" for applicants who might miss those that don't necessarily make it on to the tourist trail.

So the questions are:

Which college would you attend if you received an open offer to any one? Why?
Which college would you least like to attend? Why?
Which college is most under-rated, i.e. has the greatest gap between its perception/visibility and its "true" value?

Please declare any interests, e.g. if you are nominating your own college!


Oxford itself is over-rated LMAO!
I've spent quite a long time around various Oxford colleges over the last couple of years and have been impressed by Oriel, Magdalen, Somerville, and Wadham in terms of friendliness, which isn't necessarily what I would have expected. The Queen's College is very pretty and - despite being right in the centre of the city - almost always seems to be closed to tourists. I'm a big fan of North Central Oxford and agree that Lady Margaret Hall is in a great setting. St Hugh's is also off the tourist trail, seems very progressive, and would probably be ideal for graduate students with families. I have found Christ Church, Brasenose, and Merton (sorry @nexttime!) to be a little... stuffy.

Who wouldn't want to be a member of All Souls?
Ditto LMH. I had tutes there in Michaelmas of my final year, and getting to walk through the autumnal/hibernal parks with all the falling leaves and frost and berries every week was just lovely. I realise if you live there you don't have to walk through the parks to get to your own college (!) but you do get to walk through them on your way to half of the other places in Oxford.
Reply 7
Original post by SonOfAGeek
Of the old historic colleges my first term impression is that Queens seems criminally under-valued. It isn’t the biggest, prettiest, strongest applicant pool or trendiest but it is the absolute archetype of an Oxford college in many respects. Exeter is similarly often overlooked but I’d pick Queens from early impressions.

Both Catz and LMH have undeserved reputations for being ‘far away’ (if 10 minutes is far you are lazy beyond words). LMH is pretty. Catz is competitive academically but ugly unless you are a modernist so LMH edges it (as a Catz student who hates our yellow brick & concrete chic!).

Christ Church is beautiful but not particularly stellar in terms of academic reputation but I’m tempted to offer up Trinity simply because everyone I have met from there in my first term has been an arrogant tosser (be it public school, American or Asian variety smug & superior)...but it is a small sample so probably unfair.


Original post by MonteCristo
I've spent quite a long time around various Oxford colleges over the last couple of years and have been impressed by Oriel, Magdalen, Somerville, and Wadham in terms of friendliness, which isn't necessarily what I would have expected. The Queen's College is very pretty and - despite being right in the centre of the city - almost always seems to be closed to tourists. I'm a big fan of North Central Oxford and agree that Lady Margaret Hall is in a great setting. St Hugh's is also off the tourist trail, seems very progressive, and would probably be ideal for graduate students with families. I have found Christ Church, Brasenose, and Merton (sorry @nexttime!) to be a little... stuffy.

Who wouldn't want to be a member of All Souls?

How is Trinity..First I was chosen under Jesus..but called for an interview in Trinity..
Now in my third year my impression of Trinity students has not improved much but I may just have been unlucky with who I know as some of my fiends have friends at Trinity. It is central, historic, ok academically. Has some great architecture. I have had classes and tutorials taught by Trinity academics and they were fine but not special but again it is a small sample (the two best tutors I have had were from my own college, Catz, and from St. Hilda’s). My early impressions of Queens held up. I also like Hilda’s as have made friends there and I have come to appreciate the good teaching and great library at Catz more than I hate the concrete.
467F4352-F730-4B92-9D6E-AF41C4CCF59A.jpegI’m three years late for this thread but do have to canvas for my college, University (‘Univ’)

It’s right in the big group of colleges on the high street- opposite Queens and All Souls and with Merton at the back. Either side we have Oriel and the exams schools. So, very central!

It’s very pretty- old quads, with a lovely chapel and hall. It’s hemmed-in due to its location but it’s easy to get to green space, and it’s not tiny.

If you value age, it’s the oldest college. It’s fairly academic without being too pushy, which is perfect for me - I don’t think I’d survive at Merton!

It’s hard to talk about reputation within the university, but I’ve been told we’re considered generally friendly!? We are pretty diverse, with a balance of private/state school students, but also welcoming and liberal: we collected badges displaying our preferred pronouns at the same time as our keys. It’s a nice welcoming place to be.

Anyway, I hope more people discover Univ, I really love it. Plus, we have a kitten…
I am LOVING The Queen's College so much. It's not that famous, but it has almost everything you'd want in a college. The food is brilliant (I've already been to 4 other colleges, and we're the best so far), the grounds are gorgeous (though admittingly they aren't the typical Oxford look). The college is well resourced, with some really nice common spaces (the MCR is fab). Crucially, it is a proper "old" college, so you definitely won't miss out on that, than if you went somewhere a bit meh.
Original post by fjowilson
I’m three years late for this thread but do have to canvas for my college, University (‘Univ’)

If you value age, it’s the oldest college.

Balliol and Merton have something to say about Univ's claim to be the oldest college at Oxford.
(edited 2 years ago)
Original post by MonteCristo
Balliol and Merton have something to say about Univ's claim to be the oldest college at Oxford.

They have different claims - Univ is actually the oldest, Merton has the oldest quad, and Balliol has been on its original site since its foundation. Univ are the oldest whether you believe we were founded in 872 or 1249, and I’ll die on that hill!

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