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American Studying Abroad! Applications? Colleges?

Hello guys!

Do you know if there it's better or worse for admission to apply to study abroad to individual Oxford colleges directly, or through special programs like Arcadia and IFSA-Butler?

And out of Hertford, Lady Margaret Hall, Mansfield, Regent's Park, St. Anne's, St. Catherine's, and St. Edmund, which college do you think is best? Is the social scene really determined by college?

Thanks so much!
I have quite a few friends who are at Oxford and they all say the social scene is really dependent on your friends and what kind of person you are, rather than the college. If you really want to go out a lot there will be plenty of people who are the same and are up for it, and equally, if you don't want to there is so much going on that you will still have a great time.

They've all recommended to apply to colleges based on the facilities that will be most helpful for your degree (eg I've chosen a college with a law library), and the extracurriculars you want to do. I've applied to a college that has amazing sports and dance/ music facilities as that's what I want to spend my spare time doing at uni.

Also, location can be really important!! Some colleges are really central, others not so much. If you don't mind a 20 min walk into the centre for your shopping that won't be so important, but if you do, try to choose somewhere more central!

Hope this helps - if you have any more questions feel free to ask and I can try answer or ask my friends who are studying at Oxf!
Original post by hanman453
Hello guys!

Do you know if there it's better or worse for admission to apply to study abroad to individual Oxford colleges directly, or through special programs like Arcadia and IFSA-Butler?

And out of Hertford, Lady Margaret Hall, Mansfield, Regent's Park, St. Anne's, St. Catherine's, and St. Edmund, which college do you think is best? Is the social scene really determined by college?

Thanks so much!

Hey!

I can't answer your first question but I did study through IFSA-Butler and really enjoyed my experience. You will have a healthy social scene wherever you end up as there are lots of Americans in all of those colleges and thus lots of support for the year abroad students. Personally I made most of my 'initial' friends within college and then expanded outward as time went on and I got more involved in university-wide societies/sport. I think that probably rings true for most Americans in Oxford although obviously I can't speak for everyone.

I'll give you a quick run down of the colleges you mentioned. This is just based on my ten months in Oxford so take with a grain of salt :smile:

Hertford: probably the most popular with international students because of its famous bridge and prime location in the center of Oxford but obviously that makes it the most competitive for entry as well! I went to several of their formals which were super lovely.
Lady Margaret Hall: super underrated college, in my opinion! It gets stereotyped for being far away from the city center but it's honestly quite convenient for the science/English/law faculties. :LMH has great access to the University Parks and their own punting dock on college grounds which is unique.
Mansfield: One of the smaller colleges for abroad students and it has a reputation for being a very international college. Mansfield is really intentional about its commitment to access (90% of students are from state schools) so it's very unfussy. Great location if you are doing sciences. Everyone I know who went to Mansfield loved it as it's very friendly, tight knit, and unpretentious. Some might say it's not as "Oxford-y" as a result, because pretentiousness is part of the experience :wink:
Regent's Park: Gets forgotten about a lot because it's a private hall rather than a traditional college. It's very small and takes the least number of visiting students of any college you mentioned. They have a focus on theology like many PPHs. It does have a nice location, tucked away on a side street between the city center and the Jericho neighborhood which is very popular with grad students and academics.
St. Anne's: I'm biased because I studied here! Like LMH I think this is an underrated college. It's large (for an Oxford college) and friendly, with lots of visiting students. The University Parks are right behind the college which is great for study breaks. It's a 5 min walk to Jericho and a 20 min walk to the humanities and social science lectures/faculty buildings.
St. Catherine's: Distinctly modern looking college with very polarizing architecture. Sort of tucked out of the way by the English/law/social science faculties. I think they take the most visiting students of any college. The only thing I really remember about Catz is that its students seemed to have lots of college pride.
St. Edmund's: Universally referred to as Teddy Hall so don't be confused by that. Like Hertford it is very popular with visiting students because of its historic architecture and central location literally across the road from High Street and the university lecture hall. If you are really into sports, Teddy has by far the easiest access to the University gym (not that I'm saying you should make your choice based on that.)

Contrary to general advice for undergraduate students, I would not make your college choice based on its faculty. Visiting students tend to end up with whoever has tutorial spots available regardless of college affiliation. Mine were at Brasenose and St. Hugh's, for example.

Unlike a "normal" undergraduate, study abroad students do not traditionally have access to the most famous Oxford colleges, which in a way makes the decision less stressful. Nearly all of the colleges that take visiting students are newer in college affiliation, located north of the city center, and have reputations for being more laid back than average. They are also all WONDERFUL so I don't think you can go wrong, but I'm happy to speak more about specifics over PM!

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