Hi! You absolutely need to research the tutors and see which best suit your interests. Obviously, a set of tutors with different case backgrounds enables more exposure to different opinions/teaching styles. However, try to find tutors you think you’d feel the most comfortable learning from. Tutorials are like intense conversations, therefore in-order to cultivate a productive learning environment for yourself, it’s best to ensure you find kind tutors, who are simultaneously willing to push you. Having said this, almost all the tutors I’ve had interactions with in the past are fantastic academic mentors and some of the most supportive individuals I have come across, however there have been some occasions where I have had a somewhat negative experience. I must say this negative interaction is rather rare, so try not to worry about this too much when making a selection.
I remember considering societies offered by the colleges when I was applying. I must say I placed a lot of weight on it when in all honesty it doesn’t make a difference. The societies available at individual colleges are often pale imitations of what you can find university wide. I strongly recommend to broaden your horizons by participating in university provided societies. Often, colleges cause a lot of segregation between students, meaning you often tend to have very little to do with students at other colleges. Therefore, I wholeheartedly recommend you look at joining societies that every college has access to. You will make so many friends that can open a lot of doors for you elsewhere! Networking is one of the best skills to learn and this is a stepping stone to developing that skill.
Additionally, you will have access to every college’s alumni network through the department. Some colleges tend to foster a closer relationship with alumni, but this won’t necessarily affect you until after you have graduated. However, after attending Oxford, you won’t ever be able to separate yourself completely from it.
About the living/hall amenities. I must say I’ve heard some rather negative feedback about hall food at Christ Church. Although, nothing can be worse than my college’s copious amounts of mushrooms and potatoes. We were all convinced that it was a game the chefs were playing: who can come up with the most unconventional method of preparing the mushroom/potato. It definitely kept us on our toes. I can’t say I’ve heard much about food selection at Magdalen/Brasenose, however if you’re looking for fantastic food and access to kitchen facilities, I’d say go for St Catz!
Unfortunately, regarding modern accommodation, the room you are allocated is potluck. Due to the age of the colleges, there is a rather mixed array of rooms available to stay in. Some of the rooms can be very spacious and some can be reminiscent of a shoebox. Many colleges have renovated some of their older rooms, whilst also maintaining the integrity of their historic origin. Usually, the richer the college, the more luck you will have finding a more modern room. Additionally, the more recently founded colleges tend to have rooms similar to what you’d be looking for, however it sounds as if you’re looking for the more ‘traditional’ Oxford experience surrounded by the gorgeous architecture. Try not to worry too much about accommodation, it tends to be of a decent quality. In the eventuality that you end up with a smaller/less well equipped/poorly positioned room one year, colleges have something called a ballot system. Therefore, if you end up with a ‘bad’ room you will have a ‘good’ room the next year, and so on. This ensures everything is fair and the quality evens out over the course of your stay.
You will also be able to find out the duration of your degree a particular college is willing to offer you on the Oxford website college tab, scroll down and it should be listed in one of the graphs from what I can remember. Usually only smaller colleges tend to struggle to accommodate every student for the entirety of their degree, however Christ Church and Magdalen are some of the largest colleges you will come across, so there shouldn’t be an issue housing you for all three years.
Christ Church is one of the only colleges I can think of that guarantees an on-suite, however this is only what I’ve heard from ChCh students in passing, so I’m not sure how accurate this is. If you were unlucky to get a shared bathroom, usually it is shared between three people maximum (at my college at least).
I was lucky enough to be offered a place at my first choice university, however several of my friends were pooled. They wouldn’t change the college they were allocated for anything. There is always something you can find to love at your college. I know it’s the Oxford cliche of ‘your college is the best college’ but I do think that’s true in a way. Settling in and making friends at college was the easy part. Navigating your department and the workload on the other hand… let’s just say it was a steep learning curve. Best of luck with your application! I wish you all the best and I hope this has helped.