The Student Room Group

Help with Oxford College decisions

Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx
Reply 1
Original post by Anonymous
Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx

There's no guarantee that the college you apply to will be the one offering you a place.
Original post by Anonymous
Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx

Hey I went to Oxford twice for interviews and am not an Oxford student. First time was good bc the college I liked but I didn’t get in lol (too nervous in the interview). The college was university college. Quite liked it there tbh. Anyways next year applied w grades to Queens and hated the experience bc they had in their welcome to interview briefing document something we as Muslims would find uncomfortable (at least for me definitely). So it said we had to stand during dinner bc of grace. Ppl were gonna say grace. Whilst I don’t mind other ppl expressing their religion as everyone should be free to do so, it shouldn’t be saying it’s compulsory. It said something along the lines of that but I can’t remember bc this was in 2019. Overall the experience at Queens college was awful bc they made us give the key in at 10:00 am ish even tho we had interviews at 16:00 ish at another college. That and the whole vibe for me was off personally so I’d recommend not to apply to Queens. Unfortunately I had applied to Queens directly instead of open so I got Queens college and ended up at Imperial instead. I also ate dinner at chicken cottage bc was too awkward for me to go to a dinner where everyone would stand and say grace.
Worcester College could accommodate you the full 3-4 years (I think they cannot guarantee the 6 years for medicine, but some people move colleges for the clinical years anyway!) and is 72% en suite accommodation, including access to good kitchen facilities (if you wanted to make your own halal food, or avoid the problem above about having to attend formal hall and stand silently during grace). That said, Worcester is one of the more oversubscribed colleges, so applying there runs the risk of being reallocated pre-interview.

FYI I believe most of the older, traditional colleges will have a grace said as part of the formal hall meal (the second dinner serving. There should also be a more casual, canteen option for dinner) :fyi:
Reply 4
Original post by Muttley79
There's no guarantee that the college you apply to will be the one offering you a place.


Yes I am totally aware if this it’s just that in the instance I do get offered a place -and I get offered a place from the college I applied to- I’d want to make sure I had made the right decision for me.
Reply 5
Original post by Anonymous
Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx

https://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/suggester/ the info on this tool is a bit out of date so please do double check with the college's websites (usually if you look for the JCR website that will have more up to date info on this sort of thing) but it might give you an idea of some initial colleges to look into further.

In terms of financial support the main thing you would get aside from student finance (assuming you are a Home fee status student) would be centralised university bursaries - Oxford Bursary and Crankstart are based on Student Finance's assessment of your household income. There are also other scholarships you can look into but you usually have to meet quite specific criteria. Financial support is less affected by college - colleges do have different levels of financial support for things like textbooks and study supplies, but its a difference of a few hundred pounds maximum. The main support you would get on top of student finance would be from the uni not your college. Though do check if there are any college specific scholarships as they occasionally pop up. There's a search tool on the Oxford uni website for scholarships.

also to give details on my college (Corpus Christi) - First years are guaranteed college owned accommodation usually across the road from the main site and you can request en-suite if you have a specific requirement (I think religious requirement would be acceptable!). However the first year ensuite rooms don't have good access to kitchens, its usually just a microwave/fridge freezer/toaster/kettle situation, though I believe they are looking into improving this and also might be becoming more open about letting you bring some types of portable cooking equipment if its PAT tested, but I wouldn't rely on that if kitchen access would be important to you. The college hall kitchen are also pretty good at working to dietary requirements like halal, and Corpus hall food is generally good and pretty cheap. In second year most people live in college-owned accomodation that is about 15-20 min away from college, and there are options with both ensuites and kitchens. In final years people move back to college (where again you could have an ensuite, but may not also be able to have full kitchen access) or stay in the previously mentioned accommodation that is a little further away. In terms of college-specific financial support you can claim up to around £150 per year for academic expenses. There are also £200 scholarship awards for people who do well in their first year exams. There are also lots of random funds for things like items for hobbies, travel, music etc. And if you get into financial trouble there is a possibility to access hardship funding as well. I am graduating though so this information may not be totally up to date by the time you apply!

I'd suggest drawing up a shortlist based on research with the college suggester and JCR websites, and then come visit on an open day if you can (you can get need based travel funding and accommodation for these if you qualify for it and apply for it well in advance) to check out what it is like.

As others have mentioned you may not get accepted to the college you apply to and end up somewhere else, but I'd imagine most colleges in Oxford will have the ability to meet your needs if you communicate them when you've been offered a place so don't worry.
Reply 6
Original post by Anonymous
Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx

I am not yet an Oxford student but received an offer from New College after applying there. I am also in a similar situation with income. The money you get from Oxford will be in the form of the Oxford bursary, which doesn't depend on the college. Most other scholarships and bursaries are also university-wide, but you can check on the Oxford website just to make sure.

My college (New college) will have accomodation for all years (currently they are building the 3rd year accomodation building but it will be done by the time you get to 3rd year). Most of the rooms are en suite, but accomodation is randomly assigned so you may not get an en-suite. I would advise that whatever college you apply to, contact them and let them know that you would prefer an en-suite for religious reasons. They will probably be able to accommodate you, as long as they have en-suites.

Other than that, keep in mind you may not get into the college you apply for, and also take into account other factors. For example New college has quite a lot of students, is one of the oldest colleges (ironically) and has old buildings, and is also fairly close to the city centre. You may also want to check how many tutors they have for your subject and if they have any that you would be interested in learning from (e.g. if you know any books or papers written by tutors at Oxford and would be interested in talking to them).

Good luck with your application!
Reply 7
Original post by eeeli
https://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/suggester/ the info on this tool is a bit out of date so please do double check with the college's websites (usually if you look for the JCR website that will have more up to date info on this sort of thing) but it might give you an idea of some initial colleges to look into further.

In terms of financial support the main thing you would get aside from student finance (assuming you are a Home fee status student) would be centralised university bursaries - Oxford Bursary and Crankstart are based on Student Finance's assessment of your household income. There are also other scholarships you can look into but you usually have to meet quite specific criteria. Financial support is less affected by college - colleges do have different levels of financial support for things like textbooks and study supplies, but its a difference of a few hundred pounds maximum. The main support you would get on top of student finance would be from the uni not your college. Though do check if there are any college specific scholarships as they occasionally pop up. There's a search tool on the Oxford uni website for scholarships.

also to give details on my college (Corpus Christi) - First years are guaranteed college owned accommodation usually across the road from the main site and you can request en-suite if you have a specific requirement (I think religious requirement would be acceptable!). However the first year ensuite rooms don't have good access to kitchens, its usually just a microwave/fridge freezer/toaster/kettle situation, though I believe they are looking into improving this and also might be becoming more open about letting you bring some types of portable cooking equipment if its PAT tested, but I wouldn't rely on that if kitchen access would be important to you. The college hall kitchen are also pretty good at working to dietary requirements like halal, and Corpus hall food is generally good and pretty cheap. In second year most people live in college-owned accomodation that is about 15-20 min away from college, and there are options with both ensuites and kitchens. In final years people move back to college (where again you could have an ensuite, but may not also be able to have full kitchen access) or stay in the previously mentioned accommodation that is a little further away. In terms of college-specific financial support you can claim up to around £150 per year for academic expenses. There are also £200 scholarship awards for people who do well in their first year exams. There are also lots of random funds for things like items for hobbies, travel, music etc. And if you get into financial trouble there is a possibility to access hardship funding as well. I am graduating though so this information may not be totally up to date by the time you apply!

I'd suggest drawing up a shortlist based on research with the college suggester and JCR websites, and then come visit on an open day if you can (you can get need based travel funding and accommodation for these if you qualify for it and apply for it well in advance) to check out what it is like.

As others have mentioned you may not get accepted to the college you apply to and end up somewhere else, but I'd imagine most colleges in Oxford will have the ability to meet your needs if you communicate them when you've been offered a place so don't worry.

Thank you so much for this it’s so informative.
Would you say that living in accommodation away from college is bothersome at all? I’ve noticed that whenever people give opinions on Oxford colleges, they tend to view living in houses away from college as a negative.
Reply 8
Original post by Alyssa_k
I am not yet an Oxford student but received an offer from New College after applying there. I am also in a similar situation with income. The money you get from Oxford will be in the form of the Oxford bursary, which doesn't depend on the college. Most other scholarships and bursaries are also university-wide, but you can check on the Oxford website just to make sure.

My college (New college) will have accomodation for all years (currently they are building the 3rd year accomodation building but it will be done by the time you get to 3rd year). Most of the rooms are en suite, but accomodation is randomly assigned so you may not get an en-suite. I would advise that whatever college you apply to, contact them and let them know that you would prefer an en-suite for religious reasons. They will probably be able to accommodate you, as long as they have en-suites.

Other than that, keep in mind you may not get into the college you apply for, and also take into account other factors. For example New college has quite a lot of students, is one of the oldest colleges (ironically) and has old buildings, and is also fairly close to the city centre. You may also want to check how many tutors they have for your subject and if they have any that you would be interested in learning from (e.g. if you know any books or papers written by tutors at Oxford and would be interested in talking to them).

Good luck with your application!


Thank you so much, and congrats on your offer!

I have heard not to focus on the tutors’ specialist areas of interest in preparing for my application. Is this something you did and do you think it helped you in any way?
Original post by Anonymous
Hi,

I’m hopefully applying to Oxford next year and I just wanted advice from Oxford students to see which college may suit me best.

I go to private school (on a full bursary), but I would probably be in need of a lot of financial support if I got in as my household income is around £8-10k. I would like to be at a college with in-college accommodation guaranteed. I am Muslim so I would prefer to have an en-suite bathroom?

I know it seems picky and I know I’m not guaranteed to be accepted but better safe than sorry right?

Thanks for any replies xx


I’m an offer holder who will be starting at Oxford in October.

I first checked the following:

-Which colleges offered my course (chemistry).
-Which colleges were not postgrad only.

I then used a college suggester to find the three colleges that best suited what I was looking for (I think this is it - it looks like it’s been updated heavily since the last time I saw it: https://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/suggester/) and went on an open day to scout out these colleges.

Now of course, you may end up at a different college to the one you initially applied to - I applied to Magdalen, but got an open offer underwritten by Queen’s. This is something to bear in mind.
Reply 10
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you so much, and congrats on your offer!

I have heard not to focus on the tutors’ specialist areas of interest in preparing for my application. Is this something you did and do you think it helped you in any way?


You shouldn't tailor your personal statement or college choices to specific tutors/professors, just do what you find most interesting, that way you'll be able to research, write about and talk about it better. If you're stuck choosing a college though, it may be useful to know what the general specialties of the tutors there are, but obviously don't make it the deciding factor.

But I did find it useful to research the tutors on the website before my interviews, it made me a little less nervous to be interviewed by them since I at least knew who they were in advance.
Reply 11
Original post by Anonymous
Thank you so much for this it’s so informative.
Would you say that living in accommodation away from college is bothersome at all? I’ve noticed that whenever people give opinions on Oxford colleges, they tend to view living in houses away from college as a negative.

I actually have lived in private rented accommodation further from college for two years as I didn’t get on well living in college so I may be biased but I don’t think it’s so bad. Oxford is a very walkable city, you’d basically never be more than like a mile or two from where you needed to be, and there are loads of buses too. Living in college owned accommodation that’s further away is still good from the social perspective as you still have that college community in the accom - I don’t live with anyone from my college and so I kind of grew apart from college life. Corpus accommodation is not that far from college and the city centre so it’s not so bad, however there are some colleges that have accommodation really far away (Univ house some second years in Headington and the people I know that live there find it pretty annoying) but for the most part it’s not so bad, Oxford is a small city.
Reply 12
I’m a student at Catz - I have some Muslim friends who have been guaranteed an ensuite for all years of study (1-3) if wanted and/or required. All 2nd years get brand new ensuite rooms anyway and 1/3 of 3rd years will get ensuites too. Students like yourself and other students with accessibility needs or medical conditions get entire priority within accommodation processes. The Accommodation officer is also lovely and always making sure those with needs have their needs met

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