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Merton vs Magdalen

Hi, all. I'm applying for my DPhil at Oxford for 2023 entry and have narrowed down my college preferences to Merton or Magdalen. I know that, for postgraduates, the college preference isn't as important of a factor, but I still would like to put one.

There are fellows in my department at both these colleges that correspond to my research interests. So, based on the other criteria I'm looking for, can you help me decide?

1.) Potential major funding opportunities would help. I'm hoping for one of the major university-wide scholarships (Clarendon, Ertegun, AHRC), but I obviously don't want to bank on getting one of those, so it would be great for the college I choose to offer substantial scholarships as well. It appears that Merton offers quite a lot of full scholarships in the humanities, and that Magdalen (at the moment) doesn't. However, I also read recently that Magdalen is dramatically increasing its graduate scholarships, starting this year. Anyone know more about that or have any advice in this regard?

2.) Postgraduate accommodation is also important. Ideally, accommodation would be inexpensive and close to the college; I read somewhere that Merton has some of the most inexpensive postgrad housing at all of Oxford (I read ~1,000 pounds per term, which seems insanely inexpensive). Can anyone substantiate?

3.) Definitely want an old, historic, beautiful college setting and as much of the fabled Oxford experience as possible. It seems like both Merton and Magdalen have this covered?

4.) Would like a strong community feel. I love to get involved, and even though I know I'll be busy with my research, I definitely intend to join societies/clubs, etc. I'd enjoy a college with either a strong postgrad community/MCR and/or a college where undergrads and postgrads intermingle and have a whole-college community.

5.) I'm interested in joining a college choir but I'm not formally trained, so a non-auditioning and more casual one would be best. From what I've read, again, both Merton and Magdalen offer this?

6.) I'm fairly conservative politically and have strong opinions, but I'm not into talking politics 24/7. I'd like a college where people can have a variety of political perspectives, and it doesn't become an issue.

Thank you for any insights and advice!

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