The Student Room Group

Oxford college recommendation

I'm applying to uni to study modern languages would like to apply for Oxford too. I have no clue about a college, I'd like a medium sized central one w lots of grounds and a rlly good state school population. I quite like the look of Magdalen but any suggestions would be very much appreciated:smile:
Central colleges generally don’t have grounds anywhere near as big as those further out for obvious reasons. I know LMH and St Hugh’s (they’re further out) have lots of green space. In terms of central ones the colleges that come to mind are New College and Christ Church, with the latter opening up onto Christ Church Meadow which has the river running through it.
Reply 2
Original post by Son of the Sea
Central colleges generally don’t have grounds anywhere near as big as those further out for obvious reasons. I know LMH and St Hugh’s (they’re further out) have lots of green space. In terms of central ones the colleges that come to mind are New College and Christ Church, with the latter opening up onto Christ Church Meadow which has the river running through it.

Yeah that makes sense, would you say Magdalen is a good college for green space?
Original post by H4ttie03
Yeah that makes sense, would you say Magdalen is a good college for green space?

I don’t know much about Magdalen personally but I do believe it has beautiful green spaces. Be aware though that in some colleges the green bits in the quads can only be walked on by members of staff and I think Magdalen is one of these colleges, or at least it has one section (I think the nicest bit) which undergrads aren’t allowed to walk on. So when you go to an open day make sure you ask about this as there’s no point picking a college with nice grass or gardens if all you can do is look at them! That said, green space probably shouldn’t be your main consideration as there is so much natural beauty in Oxford that you can access for free and as a member of the public. For example, anyone can walk into Christ Church Meadow and walk along the winding river. You’ve then got Port Meadow which is enormous and stunningly beautiful. There’s also South Park where you can sit on a bench at the top and have views of Oxford’s spires down below. And many other places too.
(edited 1 year ago)
You're looking for a college which doesn't exist - the central ones with large grounds are also the rich ones which traditionally haven't had so many state school students (though really we're talking about where it is between 60% and 70%) and large in terms of student numbers.

What do you actually want? Does it matter to you whether you are at Christ Church, which owns Christ Church Meadow an enormous green space, or Pembroke, which doesn't but is literally on the other side of the road and a whole ten yards further from it? Are you really bothered whether the average state school intake is 62% or 68%?

If I were you I'd be looking at things which might affect you directly. Are you interested in particular sports facilities or music ensembles or are your interests in things which happen at university level anyway? Do you want three years of guaranteed accommodation or are you really looking forward to living in a shared house? Are you terrified by the thought of cycling so want the shortest walking distance possible to where lectures (or practicals, or the river, or the sports centre) is?

It's also worth bearing in mind that 40% of Oxford undergraduates are at a college they didn't apply to. If you don't have a set preference, there's not much point artificially creating one for yourself when there's such a big chance that you won't end up there anyway.
Reply 5
Yeah thanks for the help guys! I really don't know to be honest

Original post by skylark2
You're looking for a college which doesn't exist - the central ones with large grounds are also the rich ones which traditionally haven't had so many state school students (though really we're talking about where it is between 60% and 70%) and large in terms of student numbers.

What do you actually want? Does it matter to you whether you are at Christ Church, which owns Christ Church Meadow an enormous green space, or Pembroke, which doesn't but is literally on the other side of the road and a whole ten yards further from it? Are you really bothered whether the average state school intake is 62% or 68%?

If I were you I'd be looking at things which might affect you directly. Are you interested in particular sports facilities or music ensembles or are your interests in things which happen at university level anyway? Do you want three years of guaranteed accommodation or are you really looking forward to living in a shared house? Are you terrified by the thought of cycling so want the shortest walking distance possible to where lectures (or practicals, or the river, or the sports centre) is?

It's also worth bearing in mind that 40% of Oxford undergraduates are at a college they didn't apply to. If you don't have a set preference, there's not much point artificially creating one for yourself when there's such a big chance that you won't end up there anyway.


Original post by Son of the Sea
I don’t know much about Magdalen personally but I do believe it has beautiful green spaces. Be aware though that in some colleges the green bits in the quads can only be walked on by members of staff and I think Magdalen is one of these colleges, or at least it has one section (I think the nicest bit) which undergrads aren’t allowed to walk on. So when you go to an open day make sure you ask about this as there’s no point picking a college with nice grass or gardens if all you can do is look at them! That said, green space probably shouldn’t be your main consideration as there is so much natural beauty in Oxford that you can access for free and as a member of the public. For example, anyone can walk into Christ Church Meadow and walk along the winding river. You’ve then got Port Meadow which is enormous and stunningly beautiful. There’s also South Park where you can sit on a bench at the top and have views of Oxford’s spires down below. And many other places too.

Honestly I might make an open application as I rlly don't have much idea. I'd like to live in college for all 3 years but other than that I rlly don't have much preference
Original post by H4ttie03
Yeah thanks for the help guys! I really don't know to be honest




Honestly I might make an open application as I rlly don't have much idea. I'd like to live in college for all 3 years but other than that I rlly don't have much preference

If you want to live in college for three years if I were you I’d research which ones have this option and apply to one of them because then there’s at least a chance you’ll get it (though it’s not uncommon to be pooled) whereas if you make an open application you could straightaway be allocated to one which doesn’t have accommodation for all years.
Original post by H4ttie03
I'm applying to uni to study modern languages would like to apply for Oxford too. I have no clue about a college, I'd like a medium sized central one w lots of grounds and a rlly good state school population. I quite like the look of Magdalen but any suggestions would be very much appreciated:smile:


Have you tried the Oxford Student Union Alternative Prospectus college suggester: https://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/suggester/

I personally think Magdalen is a really beautiful college. Plenty of green spaces (including a deer park with actual deer), but not quite as touristy as Christ Church.

Other colleges that come to mind in terms of large green spaces include Worcester (they have a lake with ducks!), New, Trinity, Lady Margaret Hall and St Hugh's.
Reply 8
Thank you so much!
Reply 9
Original post by H4ttie03
Yeah that makes sense, would you say Magdalen is a good college for green space?


Magdalen is not only a good college for green space, it’s undoubtedly the best. Its grounds are easily the largest of any college, sprawling along the Cherwell River, and including the famous deer park.

In terms of some other ones meeting your criteria of central, with lots of green space, I’d recommend Merton (it probably has the most beautiful location of any college, still very central, but south of the High Street and backing onto its own large field, and beyond that the huge Christ Church Meadow), Balliol (has a really big and lovely garden quad), and my own college, New College, which has very big gardens (with a mound!) and a stunning cloister. Admittedly Merton and New don’t meet your preference for a medium-sized college though in terms of student numbers, Merton is small and New is big. Just some recommendations, and if you do get into Oxford, you’ll love whichever college you end up at. As mentioned already, a large minority of Oxford students end up at a different college to the one they originally applied to, so don’t stress about college choice too much it’s probably the least important aspect of your application.

In terms of state school intake, while there is still variation between colleges, these days every single one is majority state school, and the elitist Oxford of David Cameron and Boris Johnson is thankfully long gone. It’s not something I’d worry about loads, and you’d probably barely notice the difference between a, say, 60% and 70% state school college.
(edited 1 year ago)
Reply 10
Original post by sfp04
Magdalen is not only a good college for green space, it’s undoubtedly the best. Its grounds are easily the largest of any college, sprawling along the Cherwell River, and including the famous deer park.

In terms of some other ones meeting your criteria of central, with lots of green space, I’d recommend Merton (it probably has the most beautiful location of any college, still very central, but south of the High Street and backing onto its own large field, and beyond that the huge Christ Church Meadow), Balliol (has a really big and lovely garden quad), and my own college, New College, which has very big gardens (with a mound!) and a stunning cloister. Admittedly Merton and New don’t meet your preference for a medium-sized college though in terms of student numbers, Merton is small and New is big. Just some recommendations, and if you do get into Oxford, you’ll love whichever college you end up at. As mentioned already, a large minority of Oxford students end up at a different college to the one they originally applied to, so don’t stress about college choice too much it’s probably the least important aspect of your application.

In terms of state school intake, while there is still variation between colleges, these days every single one is majority state school, and the elitist Oxford of David Cameron and Boris Johnson is thankfully long gone. It’s not something I’d worry about loads, and you’d probably barely notice the difference between a, say, 60% and 70% state school college.

Yeah I'm quite tempted by it as I love the location, I did consider Worcester, Hertford and Merton so it's nice to here Merton's good too. Thank you so much tho that's great!
Reply 11
St John’s College is central with a large campus, beautiful quads and gardens and also offers 3 years of onsite accommodation.

Edit
I would not get too focused on the state school representation within certain colleges. Former state school students at Oxford outnumber non state students by more than 2:1 so if you are a state school applicant you are in good company. Places at Oxford are awarded based on merit, for instance did you know that Euan Blair (the then sitting Prime Ministers son) won an offer for a place at Oxford. He missed his grades and was not allowed to take his place. So if you win a place at Oxford then chin up, chest out and be ready to take what’s yours because you can be sure you have earned it.
(edited 1 year ago)
I mean, they're all good. But Magdalen is large rather than medium sized, almost as non-central as it's possible to be by Oxford standards, and in the bottom half of the percentage of state school students. St John's is central but it isn't medium sized and is right in the middle by percentage of state school students. The thing with your criteria is that unless you start splitting hairs, either they pretty much all meet them or none of them do.

FWIW, I went to Oxford in the days of David Cameron and Boris Johnson - literally, and as an extremely ordinary state school student (I'd gone to an open entry sixth form which I don't think even exist any more, i.e. one with zero entry requirements for any course.) Even then it was about 50% state school, with outreach programs, reduced offers for people who'd had a poorer standard of education, and so on. They've been actively inclusive for generations now. There aren't any colleges where rich posh kids aren't seriously in the minority. It is not worth worrying about. (Actually, one consideration is that the colleges with a lower percentage of state school kids tend to be worried about it and trying to fix it - not by offering places to people who don't deserve them, there's no point trying to game the system that way, but by being generous with financial help.)

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