Flambeau
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Heyo!

I finally got my placement at Oxford: St. Stephen's House.

I have to say, I'm not sure what to think of it. I know that the majority of students are studying theology and that there is a -very- Christian environment there. I'm a non-religious person, and I'll be studying my MSc in Education; I know there are a decent number of PGCE students too, so that's cool, but I'm just not sure...

According to Wikipedia, there is only a total of 40 people in the entire House? So small...

And the email I received, it says: "St Stephen’s House is a hall of the University rather than a college which means that it has a distinctive character and history. Please go to our website to find out more about this. If you feel, having done this, that the Hall may not be the place for you, then please get in touch with us so that we can arrange for you to be put back in the pool of candidates."

And I'm honestly considering doing so, but I don't know.

Anyone currently in SSH or has experience with it, I'd love to talk to you and hear what your time has been like!
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GSColdingham
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Hi thereWhat did you decide to do? My daughter has got MSc Education place and has also been allocated SSH and also isn't at all sure it's for her? did anyone get back to you?
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square_peg
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I would recommend visiting both St Stephen's House and a mixture of colleges. It does have a completely different feel, and for many people college life is a very important part of their time at Oxford, forming the basis of friendship groups and more. On the other hand, I've heard that at graduate level people tend to make friends more with coursemates than from college. The benefit of a small college/hall is that everyone tends to be very friendly, while the benefit of a larger college or a standard college is the beautiful surroundings and the more vibrant social scene (including sports, music, drama, etc.)

Ultimately you won't be sure unless you visit and see what you think about it. It may be possible to switch by phoning/emailing the college or course director if you feel that is best.
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square_peg
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Disclaimer that I was not in SSH - although I had a friend who did a three year degree at St Benet's hall which is a similar size, and he loved it. This was probably helped by the religious environment suiting him well, but it seems like everyone there was very close despite age and subject differences, and loved hanging out together.
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OxFossil
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@square_peg has made good points. I'd say the location is fine - satellite halls of some of the other colleges like Ch Ch and Corpus, and the University Sports Centre are very close on Iffley Road. All the side streets thereabouts seem to be rented by students and Cowley Road is stuffed with cafes etc. So you wouldn't feel removed from student life in general.

There is a different dynamic to PG student life wherever you are - as s_p suggests, whilst UGs tend to make friendship groups based on their college, PGs tend to befriend coursemates. So you may find that you will spend much less social time in your college than would an UG, and more in pubs or wherever the social centre your peer group gravitates towards, in any case. You'll still be able to work in the Rad Cam and punt and picnic on Christ Church Meadow like off of Brideshead.

But SSH is very small and quiet. You'll miss out on the frenetic atmosphere, with the social busy-ness, discos (as I think you young people call them) and rowing club food fights that UGs bring to the larger colleges.
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