(URGENT) Stuck picking an Oxford College- Please Help!! Watch

citrus.tea
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Hey! This is pretty urgent as I need to give my choice to my college by Friday, and I’m still stuck between 3 colleges- none of which I’ve been to see in real life (change of heart about subject- thought I was applying for Biochem on the open day, am now applying for Biology).
From pictures and the websites I love Balliol, New, and Somerville - and I really can’t choose between them, I’ve looked at pros and cons & virtual tours too. Any oxford students have opinions about these? I like the look of somerville as it seems quite laidback and has a lot of students for biology there, but isn’t very ‘traditional oxford’, I looove New but the living out for 1 year is a problem for me due to cost (plus i’m worried it may be a higher proportion of non state school students), and Balliol looks beautiful but I’m worried about the vibe there may be super hardworking. I stayed over at Brasenose on the open day and loved it but 5 people from my college are already applying there so i’m not sure the stats are in my favour on that Any opinions or help are really appreciated! thanks!
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OxFossil
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Hey! This is pretty urgent as I need to give my choice to my college by Friday, and I’m still stuck between 3 colleges- none of which I’ve been to see in real life (change of heart about subject- thought I was applying for Biochem on the open day, am now applying for Biology).
From pictures and the websites I love Balliol, New, and Somerville - and I really can’t choose between them, I’ve looked at pros and cons & virtual tours too. Any oxford students have opinions about these? I like the look of somerville as it seems quite laidback and has a lot of students for biology there, but isn’t very ‘traditional oxford’, I looove New but the living out for 1 year is a problem for me due to cost (plus i’m worried it may be a higher proportion of non state school students), and Balliol looks beautiful but I’m worried about the vibe there may be super hardworking. I stayed over at Brasenose on the open day and loved it but 5 people from my college are already applying there so i’m not sure the stats are in my favour on that Any opinions or help are really appreciated! thanks!
I can't advise you which college you should apply to, but perhaps it will help to clarify some points.

First, the difference between colleges in the proportion of state school students is small; although some seem to have a persisting preference (one way or another), this amounts to no more than a few percentage points. Bearing in mind that there will also be random variability in intake from year to year, I doubt that going to a college with an intake of - say - 56% state school students versus one that has an intake of - say - 62%, will make a lot of difference to your experience.

Second, I don't know the precise arrangements for accommodation at New. But whether or not a college guarantees accommodation for all your years does seem to me to be a significant criterion. Personally, I would always go for guaranteed accommodation throughout.

All of Oxford has a 'hardworking vibe.' Terms are short, the tutorial system ensures that your work is scrutinised every week, and people who go to Oxford are generally used to doing well in their academics and conscious of 'not letting anyone down'. Do not be fooled by superficial appearences/claims to the contrary. Individual experiences will differ, but this is likely to be a function of the contingencies of your peer group mix rather than college.

The fact that other people from your school are applying to college X will have no bearing on your chances of getting an interview, or a subsequent offer of a place.

Finally, even if you get an offer, there's 20% chance it will be from a college other than the one you applied to. So maybe this isn't such a critical decision anyway.
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PeteM01
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(Original post by OxFossil)
Second, I don't know the precise arrangements for accommodation at New. But whether or not a college guarantees accommodation for all your years does seem to me to be a significant criterion. Personally, I would always go for guaranteed accommodation throughout..
New has a compulsory 3rd year outside college accommodation policy and, although it is expanding its housing provision, this will almost certainly mean a year of very expensive rent (£145/week for a room in a shared house was thought to be a bargain, for example). I would agree with OxFossil that this should be an important element in your planning.
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by OxFossil)
I can't advise you which college you should apply to, but perhaps it will help to clarify some points.

First, the difference between colleges in the proportion of state school students is small; although some seem to have a persisting preference (one way or another), this amounts to no more than a few percentage points. Bearing in mind that there will also be random variability in intake from year to year, I doubt that going to a college with an intake of - say - 56% state school students versus one that has an intake of - say - 62%, will make a lot of difference to your experience.

Second, I don't know the precise arrangements for accommodation at New. But whether or not a college guarantees accommodation for all your years does seem to me to be a significant criterion. Personally, I would always go for guaranteed accommodation throughout.

All of Oxford has a 'hardworking vibe.' Terms are short, the tutorial system ensures that your work is scrutinised every week, and people who go to Oxford are generally used to doing well in their academics and conscious of 'not letting anyone down'. Do not be fooled by superficial appearences/claims to the contrary. Individual experiences will differ, but this is likely to be a function of the contingencies of your peer group mix rather than college.

The fact that other people from your school are applying to college X will have no bearing on your chances of getting an interview, or a subsequent offer of a place.

Finally, even if you get an offer, there's 20% chance it will be from a college other than the one you applied to. So maybe this isn't such a critical decision anyway.
Thanks for the reply- I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. I know the chances of me getting in are very low so I’m trying not to stress too much, but I just can’t seem to find a college I really like that also has all years accommodation (esp because I’m probably going to end up doing the 4 year course if I get in)
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Muttley79
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Thanks for the reply- I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. I know the chances of me getting in are very low so I’m trying not to stress too much, but I just can’t seem to find a college I really like that also has all years accommodation (esp because I’m probably going to end up doing the 4 year course if I get in)
Somerville used to be female only so the paintings around the place are mostly of females - quite quaint but I've not seen the accommodation just the main areas. Balliol is very 'male' with mostly men portrayed - room I stayed in was quite large. Some rooms have windows adjacent to a pavement - it's right in the centre of town.
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softdecay
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Sorry to crash your thread but i'm in the same boat! I was wondering if anyone knew what college offers the cheapest accommodation? On alot of the college websites i'm struggling to find information on the rents and room types and it's filling me with dread.
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by softdecay)
Sorry to crash your thread but i'm in the same boat! I was wondering if anyone knew what college offers the cheapest accommodation? On alot of the college websites i'm struggling to find information on the rents and room types and it's filling me with dread.
Hey there! No problem- fellow worriers welcome here What subject are you applying for?
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softdecay
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Hey there! No problem- fellow worriers welcome here What subject are you applying for?
Haha I'm applying for Physics Im sending away my application on Friday and i'm beyond stressed yikes. How about you?
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by softdecay)
Haha I'm applying for Physics Im sending away my application on Friday and i'm beyond stressed yikes. How about you?
Biology! Applications are also away on friday, and I’m considering just applying to New and moving on, considering the low chance of getting in/ high chance of getting pooled. Btw if you go on the oxford website & the fees and funding page, I think they have the annual/termly rents of all the colleges on there!
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astro67
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Biology! Applications are also away on friday, and I’m considering just applying to New and moving on, considering the low chance of getting in/ high chance of getting pooled. Btw if you go on the oxford website & the fees and funding page, I think they have the annual/termly rents of all the colleges on there!
Why not apply to Somerville and move on? - you get accommodation on site for all four years, we're very laid back, and it's no distance to either department.The Biology tutors are great, although Alex Rogers (who helped write Blue Planet 2) is moving on - his replacement is bound to be awesome

Important to say, though, that you shouldn't stress - this is a choice you can't get wrong.
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by astro67)
Why not apply to Somerville and move on? - you get accommodation on site for all four years, we're very laid back, and it's no distance to either department.The Biology tutors are great, although Alex Rogers (who helped write Blue Planet 2) is moving on - his replacement is bound to be awesome

Important to say, though, that you shouldn't stress - this is a choice you can't get wrong.
Only problem with Somerville is that it’s not super traditional, although I’m sure I could visit other colleges. I love the grounds and the fact that there’s a really high amount of biology students there- i think that could be a really good support system!
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astro67
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Only problem with Somerville is that it’s not super traditional, although I’m sure I could visit other colleges. I love the grounds and the fact that there’s a really high amount of biology students there- i think that could be a really good support system!
Fair point - if you're looking for compulsory gown wearing and lots of latin, we're not what you're looking for.
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Hey! This is pretty urgent as I need to give my choice to my college by Friday, and I’m still stuck between 3 colleges- none of which I’ve been to see in real life (change of heart about subject- thought I was applying for Biochem on the open day, am now applying for Biology).
From pictures and the websites I love Balliol, New, and Somerville - and I really can’t choose between them, I’ve looked at pros and cons & virtual tours too. Any oxford students have opinions about these? I like the look of somerville as it seems quite laidback and has a lot of students for biology there, but isn’t very ‘traditional oxford’, I looove New but the living out for 1 year is a problem for me due to cost (plus i’m worried it may be a higher proportion of non state school students), and Balliol looks beautiful but I’m worried about the vibe there may be super hardworking. I stayed over at Brasenose on the open day and loved it but 5 people from my college are already applying there so i’m not sure the stats are in my favour on that Any opinions or help are really appreciated! thanks!

We are glad you enjoyed your stay with us!

While it won't make a difference to how your application is treated (every year we tend to have at least two freshers from the same school), some candidates find it easier if they make an application to a different college to that of their friends. Our advice is on this point is always to go with what you feel comfortable doing!

Brasenose Admissions
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RogerOxon
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(Original post by softdecay)
I was wondering if anyone knew what college offers the cheapest accommodation? On alot of the college websites i'm struggling to find information on the rents and room types and it's filling me with dread.
https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/unde...-in-my-college
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softdecay
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Thanks so much! This is fantastic
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Jojotherka
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New and Balliol have some beautiful buildings and are way older. The atmosphere may be a bit different but I shouldn't worry about that too much. It might be more expensive as it's possible that you have to live out during your course. Balliol is academically quite strong and both have nice locations as well. But they are also more popular, so there's a chance (like 25%?) that you'll get pooled to another college (often less popular ones, like St Hilda's or St Hugh's) which may be quite disappointing (although some people might find these colleges fantastic), so as you are interested in applying to Somerville, you should do so!

Somerville might not be a medieval college, but has an interesting, unique history and is very pretty nonetheless (it's not 'modern' like St Anne's or St Catz but has this Victorian Era vibe besides modern architectural features). A pioneer in university education for women and maybe 'traditional Oxford' in that aspect. Somerville has an extremely friendly and laid back atmosphere, good hall food and one of the best libraries. The gardens are beautiful and you can walk on all grass. It's also one of only three colleges that provides on-site accommodation for all years and it has a really great location.

But remember it's all the same university in the end of the day so don't worry too much about colleges, you'll always love your college!
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by Jojotherka)
New and Balliol have some beautiful buildings and are way older. The atmosphere may be a bit different but I shouldn't worry about that too much. It might be more expensive as it's possible that you have to live out during your course. Balliol is academically quite strong and both have nice locations as well. But they are also more popular, so there's a chance (like 25%?) that you'll get pooled to another college (often less popular ones, like St Hilda's or St Hugh's) which may be quite disappointing (although some people might find these colleges fantastic), so as you are interested in applying to Somerville, you should do so!

Somerville might not be a medieval college, but has an interesting, unique history and is very pretty nonetheless (it's not 'modern' like St Anne's or St Catz but has this Victorian Era vibe besides modern architectural features). A pioneer in university education for women and maybe 'traditional Oxford' in that aspect. Somerville has an extremely friendly and laid back atmosphere, good hall food and one of the best libraries. The gardens are beautiful and you can walk on all grass. It's also one of only three colleges that provides on-site accommodation for all years and it has a really great location.

But remember it's all the same university in the end of the day so don't worry too much about colleges, you'll always love your college!
Thanks for replying! I have narrowed it down to either Somerville or Jesus college, and am now struggling between them- at least i’ve narrowed it down somewhat! I’m leaning a little toward Jesus bc of the amount of travel grants they give out, and the location- but i think somerville is a little bigger and i’m not sure what i would prefer in that respect
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Jojotherka
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(Original post by citrus.tea)
Thanks for replying! I have narrowed it down to either Somerville or Jesus college, and am now struggling between them- at least i’ve narrowed it down somewhat! I’m leaning a little toward Jesus bc of the amount of travel grants they give out, and the location- but i think somerville is a little bigger and i’m not sure what i would prefer in that respect
I heard a lot that Jesus has a bit of a bad atmosphere, but don't take my word for it. It's pretty but quite small indeed (you can't have on-site accommodation for your entire course). Take a look at the tutors for your subject, maybe they have common interests?
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citrus.tea
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(Original post by Jojotherka)
I heard a lot that Jesus has a bit of a bad atmosphere, but don't take my word for it. It's pretty but quite small indeed (you can't have on-site accommodation for your entire course). Take a look at the tutors for your subject, maybe they have common interests?
Bad atmosphere like how?
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BrasenoseAdm
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(Original post by softdecay)
Thanks so much! This is fantastic
To supplement this, some colleges operate with a flat rate for all rooms while others use a banding system reflecting the fact that some students are happier to spend more on a bigger room while others prefer to spend their cash on different things. Brasenose currently has a banding system as this is what our students say they prefer.

Other factors worth bearing in mind are levels of support for additional residence. Some colleges offer students a fixed number of 'free nights' which they can use at any point of their degree, others offer subsidised rates with no limit other than availability, others offer free/subsidised nights at particular times (eg if you have an assessment or exam in 9th or 10th week or during the Easter vacation before Finals). allied to this, accommodation out of term time will normally be at an annexe off main site so it is worth checking where the annexe is located as if you stay on you'll have to haul your stuff there. Brasenose offers free nights if you have an exam and currently 14 free nights plus heavily subsidised additional nights to Finalists for the Easter vac. At other times, students can apply for vac residence which is also subsidised. Our undergraduate annexe is centrally located and only 4-5 minutes walk from the main site so moving out and back again is relatively painless.

Lastly, food charges are also worth considering. Some colleges operate on a pay as you go basis and have a lot of self-catering; others have a two-tier tariff with a fixed charge regardless of how much you use college catering. Brasenose, for example, has no fixed charge and the 2nd year annexe has kitchens with ovens but on main site because the buildings are listed there are currently no self-catering options, but kitchen prices are kept low (and the quality of the food high!) to reflect this.

The 'deal' (food + accommodation) is pretty good at all of the colleges if you compare it the other city university in Oxford and the private market. But the table linked to doesn't reflect all of the nuances and so if this aspect is important to you we suggest researching individual college websites which have more detail.

Brasenose Admissions
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