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Merton vs Oriel

Hi again, all!

I think I've narrowed my college preference to Merton or Oriel.

How important is it that there are fellows researching similar topics to you?

I'll be applying to the MSt in English (Medieval era). Merton doesn't currently have any English faculty specializing in that era, but it does have the History of the Book Group and a huge offering of medieval manuscripts in its library. Oriel does have English fellows in the Medieval era, but my concern with Oriel is that it doesn't give out many scholarships, while Merton typically gives the most Clarendon scholarships of any college.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Original post by CrispLeaves
Hi again, all!

I think I've narrowed my college preference to Merton or Oriel.

How important is it that there are fellows researching similar topics to you?

I'll be applying to the MSt in English (Medieval era). Merton doesn't currently have any English faculty specializing in that era, but it does have the History of the Book Group and a huge offering of medieval manuscripts in its library. Oriel does have English fellows in the Medieval era, but my concern with Oriel is that it doesn't give out many scholarships, while Merton typically gives the most Clarendon scholarships of any college.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Hey there, ooh sounds like a tough one. Sounds like a great course btw. I have looked very closely at both colleges. Of course, it is beneficial to have a specialist tutor, but I'm pretty sure you can collaborate with academics from different colleges if the college faculty cannot support you in your research interest. IMO this is no bad thing as you can essentially have top pick of any tutor :biggrin: I was told that it's best to choose a college based on the character and the community. Both are really great colleges, at the end of the day, it's your choice whether you prefer "Toriel" or "where fun goes to die" :wink:
Original post by AnnieBlue:)
Hey there, ooh sounds like a tough one. Sounds like a great course btw. I have looked very closely at both colleges. Of course, it is beneficial to have a specialist tutor, but I'm pretty sure you can collaborate with academics from different colleges if the college faculty cannot support you in your research interest. IMO this is no bad thing as you can essentially have top pick of any tutor :biggrin: I was told that it's best to choose a college based on the character and the community. Both are really great colleges, at the end of the day, it's your choice whether you prefer "Toriel" or "where fun goes to die" :wink:

Thank you, AnnieBlue! It is really tough. I'm trying to be strategic and consider every angle, even though I know there is no guarantee I'll get my college preference anyway. :P I just want to go with what I think is the best option so I don't regret it.

I'm leaning toward Oriel, just based on a gut feeling. I don't know why, but I just love the look of it and get a good vibe from it. And being a Tory myself, I would actually love if it lived up to its Toriel reputation, though from what I gather, it seems to have more left-wingers than right-wingers at the moment! I assume that any college will though, and I don't mind too much; I just wouldn't want to pick one that is especially known for being left-wing, like Wadham
Reply 3
Original post by CrispLeaves
Hi again, all!

I think I've narrowed my college preference to Merton or Oriel.

How important is it that there are fellows researching similar topics to you?

I'll be applying to the MSt in English (Medieval era). Merton doesn't currently have any English faculty specializing in that era, but it does have the History of the Book Group and a huge offering of medieval manuscripts in its library. Oriel does have English fellows in the Medieval era, but my concern with Oriel is that it doesn't give out many scholarships, while Merton typically gives the most Clarendon scholarships of any college.

Any advice would be appreciated!

Your best strategy is really to pick whichever college you feel good about, though by all means compare accommodation costs and other practical factors. (These can vary a lot depending on how rich the college in question is.) Academics in your field can be a plus, especially if the college has a strong medievalist community, but no more than that teaching and supervision is done through the Faculty. You should also be aware Oriel does not technically have medievalist fellows, as far as I know. (The academics listed for medieval English on the Oriel website are college lecturers there, meaning they teach undergrads at Oriel but are mainly employed elsewhere.) And finally, remember that this decision is a lot less important at the postgraduate level: admissions are administered by the Faculty (and most scholarships are allocated centrally, though very few indeed are given out at the master's level), so applicants frequently get moved from one college to another. (The only time I got the college I applied to was for undergrad; both for my master's and the DPhil, I was moved around for funding.)

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