The Student Room Group

OXFORD COLLEGES: Wadham vs Brasenose vs St Johns

Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is! For brasenose also wanted a bit more info on accomodation(if its good etc as heard rooms can be small/not many ensuites which isnt a huge issue but want to know if thats true) and also if the tourists are bit of a bother due to the location?

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu


Read through the ALTERNATIVE OXFORD UNIVERSITY GUIDES: https://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/

I wonder which course you're applying for? :s-smilie:
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu

I’d go for St John’s. One of the richest colleges.

@Oxford Mum maybe able to provide her excellent insights.
Reply 3
Original post by Wired_1800
I’d go for St John’s. One of the richest colleges.

@Oxford Mum maybe able to provide her excellent insights.


Yeah rlly liked that about it but don't know much about the general reputation of the college- do you know if its relatively outgoing or a particular political leaning like from what i can tell wadham has?
Original post by la_17
Yeah rlly liked that about it but don't know much about the general reputation of the college- do you know if its relatively outgoing or a particular political leaning like from what i can tell wadham has?

Don't have direct expertise of the Colleges, but I have heard from reputation that it is outgoing. Most of the colleges are outgoing.
Original post by la_17
applying for history and econ so v low intake overall but looks like wadham/st johns/pembroke take slightly more from what i can tell

http://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/compare/students-per-year/history-and-economics/

It is a choice between Balliol College, Oxford or St.Johns College, Oxford!!! :biggrin: lol
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo. For brasenose also wanted a bit more info on accomodation(if its good etc as heard rooms can be small/not many ensuites which isnt a huge issue but want to know if thats true) and also if the tourists are bit of a bother due to the location?

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu


All the colleges are outgoing. Son really liked the students at St. John’s but now the students will be different! St. John’s do tend to take quite a few state school students. My sons were really in love with brasenose, but it’s very popular and my younger son did not like the accommodation there as much as oriel, where he ended up. Brasenose are great at keeping tourists ( and even prospective candidates) out.

wadham is very right on woke, if that’s your thing and are very proud of their diversity (always a good thing)

if it’s central you want, have you thought of Exeter? It’s the most gorgeous college ( although it does have the odd tourist between 2-5pm). The accommodation can be quite modern ie 1960s if you don’t want to share. I think it will be less oversubscribed than the likes of brasenose and Worcester
Reply 7
Original post by la_17
applying for history and econ so v low intake overall but looks like wadham/st johns/pembroke take slightly more from what i can tell

H&E is a competitive course and there's no particular way of avoiding that.

You may find this data helpful
https://public.tableau.com/views/UniversityofOxford-CollegeSuccessRates2021/CollegeSuccessRates?:embed=y&:display_count=yes&:showTabs=y&:showVizHome=no

Brasenose weren't particularly oversubscribed for 2021 entry (nor 2022 entry - but data isn't included).

I wouldn't overthink the small numbers - at any college there'd be a decent number of historians and PPE/E&M students you'd be variously taught alongside.
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo. For brasenose also wanted a bit more info on accomodation(if its good etc as heard rooms can be small/not many ensuites which isnt a huge issue but want to know if thats true) and also if the tourists are bit of a bother due to the location?

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu

Wadham great location right opposite the Bodlian but tourists do not notice it Parks Rd.Has bops every two weeks which is much more than other colleges,no formal halls but you just have the same meal without gowns.Accommodation is for all three years with second year a little walk from town but meals can still be taken in college.You can sit on the lawns and the porters are lovely.St John's were a bit more fussy about the lawns and just stuffier over all.Wadham is pretty cheap for accommodation and everyone pays the same rate which we liked.
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo. For brasenose also wanted a bit more info on accomodation(if its good etc as heard rooms can be small/not many ensuites which isnt a huge issue but want to know if thats true) and also if the tourists are bit of a bother due to the location?

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu

Brasenose is great for accommodation in my opinion - you'll (almost certainly) get it for all 3 years and will be housed either in college or in Frewin Annexe (off Cornmarket Street next to the Oxford Union). Room size (and price) varies but it's true that overall there aren't as many ensuites compared to some colleges (e.g. Worcester). This didn't bother me much but YMMV.

I very rarely saw tourists in college. The only college where I found tourists to be rather annoying was Christ Church, overall I would say all the other colleges don't get a ton of tourists.
Original post by la_17
Hi,
trying to choose a college and rlly stuck between the 3 so was j wondering if any current students had any advice based on their experiences etc
- Looking for a friendly, central college w a good social life and gen outgoing repuation and guaranteed (cheap ideally) accom for the 3 yrs
- wadham has a rlly good reputation and takes quite a few ppl from my course but so does johns (plus the cheap accom/grants sounds great there)
- i really liked brasenose on the open day but from what i can tell brasenose takes very few people for my course (like 1/2 max a year) so I was wondering if that would make a significant difference to my chances? I'd rather not make it harder than it already is lmaoo. For brasenose also wanted a bit more info on accomodation(if its good etc as heard rooms can be small/not many ensuites which isnt a huge issue but want to know if thats true) and also if the tourists are bit of a bother due to the location?

If any current students have any advice then that would be great or if theres another college that sounds like what i want please do let me know!
Thank youu


Hey, I go to Wadham and really enjoy it. I would defo say it has a good social life and a lot of people I know applied because of that reputation, so naturally it attracts outgoing people and we have lots of bops and festivals. Tbh, all colleges will have groups of people who go out, just some will be smaller than others. The only bad thing is our bar which is new and not amazing (but is slowly improving). St Peter's bar is the best, but Peters is small and you have to live out 2nd year. Have also heard good things about Johns bar. We also don't do formals (fancy dinners where you wear gowns) but we do other fancy dinners (without gowns) like freshers dinner, guest nights, and subject dinners. I also love Wadham's location, a few mins from rad cam (history library) and tesco, and 10-15 mins from clubs. Personally I find colleges near Cornmarket street (like Balliol, Jesus) a bit too central as it's always rammed and touristy. Radcliffe square (where Brasenose is) is also full of tourists all year round. Wadham's 2nd year accommodation is further out which is kind of annoying (20 min walk/10 min cycle) and a bit more expensive but it's so nice - you get ensuites and a proper kitchen. Wadham does grants (e.g. for travel in summer, freshers books, prescriptions, etc) but they're a lot less money than you would get in richer colleges like Johns. Generally, accom and food in richer colleges is cheaper, but things like ball tickets are extremely expensive (£200+). As for Wadham's left wing reputation, it's very inclusive and has a lot of like-minded people but is not militant in the way people make it out to be. Besides, a lot of oxford colleges are fairly left leaning. Also, applying to a college which takes less people for your course shouldn't lower your chances of getting in due to the pooling system - so if you are a strong candidate but they don't have space for you, you'll get sent to another college. But it might mean you're less likely to get into the college you applied to originally. Good luck!
Reply 11
Great thanks so much for the replies! What do you mean by St Johns being stuffier? In terms of traditions or do people just not go out as much?

Also do you know anything in particular about Brasenose or anyone who goes there who could give ops on social/college life?

Original post by Bell0na
Hey, I go to Wadham and really enjoy it. I would defo say it has a good social life and a lot of people I know applied because of that reputation, so naturally it attracts outgoing people and we have lots of bops and festivals. Tbh, all colleges will have groups of people who go out, just some will be smaller than others. The only bad thing is our bar which is new and not amazing (but is slowly improving). St Peter's bar is the best, but Peters is small and you have to live out 2nd year. Have also heard good things about Johns bar. We also don't do formals (fancy dinners where you wear gowns) but we do other fancy dinners (without gowns) like freshers dinner, guest nights, and subject dinners. I also love Wadham's location, a few mins from rad cam (history library) and tesco, and 10-15 mins from clubs. Personally I find colleges near Cornmarket street (like Balliol, Jesus) a bit too central as it's always rammed and touristy. Radcliffe square (where Brasenose is) is also full of tourists all year round. Wadham's 2nd year accommodation is further out which is kind of annoying (20 min walk/10 min cycle) and a bit more expensive but it's so nice - you get ensuites and a proper kitchen. Wadham does grants (e.g. for travel in summer, freshers books, prescriptions, etc) but they're a lot less money than you would get in richer colleges like Johns. Generally, accom and food in richer colleges is cheaper, but things like ball tickets are extremely expensive (£200+). As for Wadham's left wing reputation, it's very inclusive and has a lot of like-minded people but is not militant in the way people make it out to be. Besides, a lot of oxford colleges are fairly left leaning. Also, applying to a college which takes less people for your course shouldn't lower your chances of getting in due to the pooling system - so if you are a strong candidate but they don't have space for you, you'll get sent to another college. But it might mean you're less likely to get into the college you applied to originally. Good luck!
Reply 12
Original post by mishieru07
Brasenose is great for accommodation in my opinion - you'll (almost certainly) get it for all 3 years and will be housed either in college or in Frewin Annexe (off Cornmarket Street next to the Oxford Union). Room size (and price) varies but it's true that overall there aren't as many ensuites compared to some colleges (e.g. Worcester). This didn't bother me much but YMMV.

I very rarely saw tourists in college. The only college where I found tourists to be rather annoying was Christ Church, overall I would say all the other colleges don't get a ton of tourists.

Thanks for replying St Johns is looking like my favourite atm what would u say the college/ social life is like there in general or in comparison to others like Brasenose?
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by la_17
Thanks for replying Brasenose is looking like my favourite atm what would u say the college/ social life is like there in general or in comparison to others like St Johns?

Re St John's the stuffier atmosphere is more from staff than students.Porters are much more officious,lots of rules regarding sitting on lawns ,and staff are nerder.They still have a lot of bops compared to other colleges rather than Wadham.They are loaded though and will literally throw money at you.Not much knowledge of Brasnose I am afraid.
Original post by la_17
Great thanks so much for the replies! What do you mean by St Johns being stuffier? In terms of traditions or do people just not go out as much?

Also do you know anything in particular about Brasenose or anyone who goes there who could give ops on social/college life?


When my son started out, his favourite friends were from St. John’s, however obviously the students will now have changed. As you say, you can make friends wherever you go.

Although brasenose is centrally located and it’s busy outside, they don’t let tourists in as a rule. Even as a prospective applicant they would sometimes not let my sons in. The ones who let tourists in are Christchurch, Magdalen and Exeter.

The rest are pretty quiet, as they respect the fact that the students want peace to study. All the colleges really protect and look after their students.
Original post by la_17
Thanks for replying Brasenose is looking like my favourite atm what would u say the college/ social life is like there in general or in comparison to others like St Johns?

I can't speak specifically to St John's, but Brasenose definitely has fun traditions like Arts Week and Ale Verses. As with other Oxford colleges, we also have your usual bops and formals. I would say overall it has a really friendly and cozy atmosphere.

That being said, I do think overall the colleges are more similar than dissimilar, and I'm sure you'll be able to find your tribe no matter which college you end up at! The beauty of the collegiate system is that if for whatever reason you don't really gel with your college mates (and this would be pretty unusual from my experience), you can still make friends at the university level (e.g. through sports and interest groups). From my experience, the vast majority of Oxford students are very welcoming.
Original post by mishieru07
I can't speak specifically to St John's, but Brasenose definitely has fun traditions like Arts Week and Ale Verses. As with other Oxford colleges, we also have your usual bops and formals. I would say overall it has a really friendly and cozy atmosphere.

That being said, I do think overall the colleges are more similar than dissimilar, and I'm sure you'll be able to find your tribe no matter which college you end up at! The beauty of the collegiate system is that if for whatever reason you don't really gel with your college mates (and this would be pretty unusual from my experience), you can still make friends at the university level (e.g. through sports and interest groups). From my experience, the vast majority of Oxford students are very welcoming.

I absolutely agree with the bit about the friendly students
Original post by la_17
Thanks for replying Brasenose is looking like my favourite atm what would u say the college/ social life is like there in general or in comparison to others like St Johns?

@Son of the Sea

Quick Reply

Latest