Classics at St John's Oxford?Watch
I'm intending to apply to Oxford for Classics and trying to sound out a few of the colleges - so far, I think St John's is probably my top choice (followed by Christ Church, Magdalen, and Brasenose).
However, a Classics teacher I know who was there said that the quality of tutors isn't great. Does anyone have any experience of that?
Also, everything else about St John's seems pretty amazing and I was wondering whether it would be worth it to apply somewhere else purely for the tutors...
I think Classics is probably the "arts" course which is likely to be least dependent on your college due to the amount content across various courses (e.g. the languages, archaeology, material based literature or history courses etc) which almost necessarily needs to be taught through intercollegiate/department based classes. On top of this there is the fact as above, you will likely get farmed out to other colleges as necessary if a particular specialist isn't available for a given paper in your college (which is common to most/all courses at Oxford to my understanding), so I really don't think it's nearly as much of an issue.
There is then of course the fact your teacher hasn't been there for a long a time, if ever, and how will they know the teaching quality of individual tutors in the department currently if they do not teach there themselves? Pick the college you think you'd like to live in for four (!) years, and consider e.g. whether they provide accommodation throughout the course or if you'll need to live out for some years of the course (several only provide accommodation for first and last year - for a 4 year course like Classics there, you'd then be living out of college for two years rather than just one. That said many of this "off-college" accommodation is still owned and managed by the colleges).
However nexttime and Plagioclase might be able to comment a little more in general on the collegiate structure at Oxford (and/or correct any incorrect information above about how tutorials work generally), although neither are/were Classicists to my knowledge (though they may know some!) and probably can't answer any questions about classics specifically. But as far as I can tell there is little point in choosing a college on the basis of some academic difference because realistically the differences between any given colleges, if existent, will be at the point of splitting hairs. If a college were drastically underperforming in the provision of some subject, I highly doubt they would continue offering that subject...especially for Classics which is (arguably?) Oxford's "flagship degree (nexttime can probably correct me on this if this belief is misplaced though!).
I'd try to get more specifics about your teacher's concerns if you could though. If she gives specific, hard recommendations against specific people who are still doing lots of teaching... well most differences between colleges are subtle anyway so that may be worth paying attention to. If its anything less... well probably not.
I mean, its Oxford's least competitive (40% offer rate) and most private school dominated (>75%) degree so not the one I'd pick! I'd guess most members of the public would pick PPE? Its the most applied to course by a long way anyway.