The Student Room Group

University of Oxford - the reality

I am writing about my experience of studying at the University of Oxford, as a law student, currently in my 2nd year of studies. The point of this testament is not directly to discourage people from applying to Oxford or from choosing it as their dream university, but it is to ground the (too often) glorified and overhyped image that Oxford seems to get.

I will start by addressing the obvious, my experience at Oxford has been atrocious. I do not intend to just throw this information out there without further specification or to simply create a scenario where others feel bad for me. I have far too often seen threads of people debating whether to leave Oxford or to stay, but they have addressed the issues which linger at this institution with little or no detail, failing to provide a meaningful account to others who contemplate attending this university. I therefore set out to provide a number of specific and essential trouble points which have completely dismantled my experience as a university student and as a potential lawyer.

Lack of organization

The greatest issue at Oxford is the complete lack of organization at any level of the institution. Lectures do not correspond, generally, to what is being taught in tutorials, which makes attending them useless in term time. Furthermore, even in tutorials, every tutor defines how they run their teaching independently. This leads to tutors who do a class and a tutorial, those who do a 60 min tutorial, a 90 min tutorial, those who assign an essay to be written 24h prior, 16h prior, 24 after the tutorial etc. etc. Nothing is harmonized, and no one can ever get any sense of getting into rhythm. The tutors don’t give a damn about anything, and most importantly, they do not care about your concerns. Frequently times of tutorials and deadlines change at random to cater to the needs of the tutors, with zero understanding for the difficulty of adjusting to these changes. This also applies to collections, the exams at the start of each term which places great pressure on the students to perform at a certain level, backed by threats of forced suspension of studies (or worse), but which are often left unmarked for extended periods (up to 300% of the 3 week prescribed period), or even never returned at all!

No teaching

One could talk for eternity about the shortcomings when it comes to organization, but those could be compensated if the university provided any sense of acquiring world-class information. Yet, that never occurs. Tutors do zero work. They come in for ONE HOUR, with their students having written their essays already and read the entire reading lists on their own. When I ever told them that I did not understand the content or some part of it, they basically told me to fu.. off. Deadlines are set at unreasonable periods, whereby one has to submit an essay on Wednesday 9am for a Thursday 3pm tute (every single week) only to get it back 6.5 weeks later. The exam format changed overnight at the halfway point of my degree, fundamentally destroying my note-taking skills or strategies developed over a year and a half. The response from the faculty? Too bad, fu..off. Tutors often provide little to no feedback even on the essays. Why? No one can ever compel them to do more. One is left with working alone for 6 days and 22-23 hours in a week, and 1-2 hours of tutorial where the tutors, who have already taught you nothing, pride themselves in “letting the students discuss.” It is comical, we discuss having taught ourselves everything while they sit back and do absolutely nothing…it's a failed system.
Student life

An eight-week term is great for an introverted nerd who happens to love their family. Why? 8 weeks means that the term is so short that every week’s work is so compressed that there is virtually no time to go out or interact with one's friends. Additionally, after each eight weeks, comes a six-week vacation (winter and spring) and an even longer summer. The college proceeds to confiscate your accommodation, make you move out your things on the first possible date and send you home (to rent it out to private companies and double down on their profit, once again at your own expense..which comes after paying over 700 pounds p/m for a *****y piece of acomm. already). Therefore most people just spend another month and something secluded, with their family with very little access to their friends, especially if geographically they live further away. This can hardly be described as a uni experience in any way shape or form. Oxford is a relatively pretty city, but that does not compensate for the fact that the 24 weeks spent here are insufficient given the workload to enjoy much of it.

The false aura of superiority

Lastly, the saddest part is that the entirety of the academic body, and many of the students seem to thrive in the sense that being part of Oxford automatically makes them super-human. Most people I have met here have been anti-social, freakish and complexed people (tutors and students alike) who have been ostracized because of their arrogance and anti-social ways their entire life and who have suddenly found a way to compensate their complex by assimilating themselves with the values of Oxford. These values can be described as an absolute sense of entitlement and superiority despite practically no tangible quality in anything that happens around them or even in the work that they themselves produce. This does not apply to everyone, but for a person who is well aware of the everpresent flaws, it is debilitating to see this army of fanaticized pro-Oxford people, who have no way of defending their views other than “cmon its Oxford”.

Hopefully this text allows some to get a little bit of an insight into Oxford beyond the Harry Potter dining halls and a fancy history, which has long been surpassed (at least in my opinion). Also an important reminder is that I am speaking from experience in my studies of law, which can by extension be applied to most humanities, but the experience in STEM subjects might be considerably different. I hope that this reaches not only those who are yet to enter Oxford but also those who are already here and who are going through the same experience that I am, and that may be searching for this verification of their thoughts and feelings.
(edited 1 month ago)

Scroll to see replies

I am sorry to read this. It certainly makes for uncomfortable reading. I applaud your honesty in sharing your experiences thus far. Whilst I don't recognise much of the Oxford you describe (aside from the paragraph about having to move out for holidays) from my own experience of the place, I recognise it's not always easy to share experiences that are less-than-rosy (having had many of those at Oxford myself, albeit different ones to yours). So hats off to you for putting yourself and your experiences out there :hat2:

I (perhaps naively) hope things may somehow improve for you in time to come :redface:
Why not leave? Another university might accept you to complete a degree. You might have a better time at another university with a different teaching style.

Academics at many universities spend time researching and writing about topics in their fields. Universities are partly funded by reference to the publication of research. This is arguably a bad thing, because in the past tutors could place more emphasis on teaching.

Some academics are good teachers, some are not. It may be that you have been unlucky with your tutors, and with your social circle.

It's a long time since I was at Oxford (an experience I enjoyed, academically and socially), but I have three nephews who studied at Oxford in recent years (reading Classics, Law, and Economics and Management) and their experiences did not accord with yours. At the offer holder's day at my daughter's college the other week, the incoming freshers and the student guides did not appear to be socially awkward nerds, and my daughter isn't a socially awkward nerd.

The tutorial system is intended to be about guided self-instruction. It works for many people but not for everyone.

I am sorry that you are not enjoying your time at Oxford. Many do, some don't. Transferring to another university might be possible: why not try that?
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Why not leave? Another university might accept you to complete a degree. You might have a better time at another university with a different teaching style.
Academics at many universities spend time researching and writing about topics in their fields. Universities are partly funded by reference to the publication of research. This is arguably a bad thing, because in the past tutors could place more emphasis on teaching.
Some academics are good teachers, some are not. It may be that you have been unlucky with your tutors, and with your social circle.
It's a long time since I was at Oxford (an experience I enjoyed, academically and socially), but I have three nephews who studied at Oxford in recent years (reading Classics, Law, and Economics and Management) and their experiences did not accord with yours. At the offer holder's day at my daughter's college the other week, the incoming freshers and the student guides did not appear to be socially awkward nerds, and my daughter isn't a socially awkward nerd.
The tutorial system is intended to be about guided self-instruction. It works for many people but not for everyone.
I am sorry that you are not enjoying your time at Oxford. Many do, some don't. Transferring to another university might be possible: why not try that?


theyre only giving their experience to give an alternative perspective to those who glorify and glamorise the uni. I dont think they were asking for direct advice or solutions, if you read the first paragraph
The question remains valid. If something isn't working, maybe try another thing.
Original post by Stiffy Byng
The question remains valid. If something isn't working, maybe try another thing.

I agree with @Stiffy Byng here. The OP is clearly having a bad time so why not try going elsewhere if Oxford doesn't suit them? Some of the OP's complaints seem like the university's fault (eg. lengthy times to return marked work) but if you don't like the people, the tutorial system, or the intense term structure then it's good advice for them to consider another university that might suit them better. University is meant to be fun after all.
Real. I'm a fellow second year Ox law student and relate to all of this, especially the problems with organisation and tutors not being very helpful
Original post by Username123ab
Real. I'm a fellow second year Ox law student and relate to all of this, especially the problems with organisation and tutors not being very helpful

I would be really interested to hear your viewpoint on the experience here at Oxford. Having related to the concerns that I raised, do you regret coming to Oxford? Or have you simply been able to overcome them and have a good time here?
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Anonymous
I agree with @Stiffy Byng here. The OP is clearly having a bad time so why not try going elsewhere if Oxford doesn't suit them? Some of the OP's complaints seem like the university's fault (eg. lengthy times to return marked work) but if you don't like the people, the tutorial system, or the intense term structure then it's good advice for them to consider another university that might suit them better. University is meant to be fun after all.

Whilst the advice to switch universities is a legitimate one, there are a number of considerations which make it so complicated, that I have chosen (at least thus far) to stay, despite clearly regretting coming here in the first place. Without going into heavy detail on the organizational and financial aspects, even more so as an international student, the primary reason is the waste of time that this switch would represent. 2nd year entry is very rare amongst higher quality institutions, whilst 3rd year entry is non-existent. I would therefore completely throw into the trash at least one, if not two years of work and resilience through which I had to go through at Oxford. Although the time spent here is totally unenjoyable and as mentioned in the original post, doesn't reflect almost anything which could properly be described as a "university experience," the issues raised above make it more complicated than it may seem to simply go elsewhere.

This relates to the point (correctly) raised by @shelleydrowning, which is that this thread is mainly meant to show the side of Oxford, which in my opinion, is extremely overlooked, and which should be communicated to those who only perceive the institution in its traditionally overly-glorified sense. Alternatively, it is aimed at those who are going through a similar experience and who might be able to relate to my experiences.
(edited 1 month ago)
"this thread is mainly meant to show the side of Oxford, which in my opinion, is extremely overlooked, and which should be communicated to those who only perceive the institution in its traditionally overly-glorified sense."

It's definitely true that Oxbridge isn't for everyone but you have quite a specific and personal set of complaints with Oxford, most of which appear to be your discomfort with a self-directed teaching style that has worked for 10s of 1000s of other students and your rather biased dislike of everyone else at the uni (somehow that's meant to reflect on them rather than you). It's sad that you're having a bad experience, but the vast majority of Oxbridge grads enjoy their experience so saying that Oxford "doesn't reflect almost anything which could properly be described as a "university experience"" is a statement that should probably be qualified with an acknowledgement that it's a personal opinion that puts you in a very small minority.

It's laudable to want to provide a warning to others but I'm afraid most of your complaints don't seem to be Oxford's fault. You complain that the lectures and tutorials aren't synchronized, but why should they be? It's sometimes useful if they feed off each other but they don't have to, and if they don't then it allows you to cover more ground. You complain that tutors have different teaching styles. So what? Some tutors are definitely worse than others, and some can be very poor indeed, but you complain about having to write essays to different deadlines and having different lengths for tutorials. What's the issue there? I'm sure it's inconvenient having tutorials rearranged, but that doesn't seem to be a major issue worthy of a warning to others. You complain that the exam format change has destroyed your note taking, but surely that's an issue with your notes rather than the exam - you should be trying to learn the material rather than fitting everything to an exam format. Aside from the issue with work not being returned promptly, which is unacceptable, your complaints mostly seem to stem from an expectation that you'll be spoon-fed the syllabus at a time and in a format that suits you. That's not how it works at any uni, Oxbridge or otherwise.

You also claim to be working around 23-25hrs per week, which is well below the expected 40hrs+ workload, but also somehow don't have time to socialize. There are 112 waking hours in the week so what're you doing with the other 87? I know several people at Oxford right now having a great time while doing 30+ hours of sport per week on top of their degrees*, and it's normal for people working harder than you to have a stack of extracurriculars outside of their studies, so your time management seems a bit off. In the spirit of useful advice, it may be worth reaching out to your welfare reps or the junior deans to ask for help with this. If you can crack better time management then you might find the whole thing gets more enjoyable.

I'm afraid your paragraph about how you detest everyone else at Oxford (and, indeed, your airing of a series of personal complaints as a universal truth that needs to be shared) just comes across as incredibly immature and egotistical. Someone definitely displays "arrogance and anti-social ways" and "an absolute sense of entitlement" but I'm not convinced it's your peers. I know lots of Oxbridge grads and academics and very few would fit your deeply unpleasant description of them as being "anti-social, freakish and complexed people... who have been ostracized because of their arrogance". Put it this way: the problem is either with you or with everyone else around you. I know which is more likely.


*They'd be having an even better time if they'd won the boat races, but still.
Original post by anonymous125555
I am writing about my experience of studying at the University of Oxford, as a law student, currently in my 2nd year of studies. The point of this testament is not directly to discourage people from applying to Oxford or from choosing it as their dream university, but it is to ground the (too often) glorified and overhyped image that Oxford seems to get.
I will start by addressing the obvious, my experience at Oxford has been atrocious. I do not intend to just throw this information out there without further specification or to simply create a scenario where others feel bad for me. I have far too often seen threads of people debating whether to leave Oxford or to stay, but they have addressed the issues which linger at this institution with little or no detail, failing to provide a meaningful account to others who contemplate attending this university. I therefore set out to provide a number of specific and essential trouble points which have completely dismantled my experience as a university student and as a potential lawyer.
Lack of organization
The greatest issue at Oxford is the complete lack of organization at any level of the institution. Lectures do not correspond, generally, to what is being taught in tutorials, which makes attending them useless in term time. Furthermore, even in tutorials, every tutor defines how they run their teaching independently. This leads to tutors who do a class and a tutorial, those who do a 60 min tutorial, a 90 min tutorial, those who assign an essay to be written 24h prior, 16h prior, 24 after the tutorial etc. etc. Nothing is harmonized, and no one can ever get any sense of getting into rhythm. The tutors don’t give a damn about anything, and most importantly, they do not care about your concerns. Frequently times of tutorials and deadlines change at random to cater to the needs of the tutors, with zero understanding for the difficulty of adjusting to these changes. This also applies to collections, the exams at the start of each term which places great pressure on the students to perform at a certain level, backed by threats of forced suspension of studies (or worse), but which are often left unmarked for extended periods (up to 300% of the 3 week prescribed period), or even never returned at all!
No teaching
One could talk for eternity about the shortcomings when it comes to organization, but those could be compensated if the university provided any sense of acquiring world-class information. Yet, that never occurs. Tutors do zero work. They come in for ONE HOUR, with their students having written their essays already and read the entire reading lists on their own. When I ever told them that I did not understand the content or some part of it, they basically told me to fu.. off. Deadlines are set at unreasonable periods, whereby one has to submit an essay on Wednesday 9am for a Thursday 3pm tute (every single week) only to get it back 6.5 weeks later. The exam format changed overnight at the halfway point of my degree, fundamentally destroying my note-taking skills or strategies developed over a year and a half. The response from the faculty? Too bad, fu..off. Tutors often provide little to no feedback even on the essays. Why? No one can ever compel them to do more. One is left with working alone for 6 days and 22-23 hours in a week, and 1-2 hours of tutorial where the tutors, who have already taught you nothing, pride themselves in “letting the students discuss.” It is comical, we discuss having taught ourselves everything while they sit back and do absolutely nothing…it's a failed system.
Student life
An eight-week term is great for an introverted nerd who happens to love their family. Why? 8 weeks means that the term is so short that every week’s work is so compressed that there is virtually no time to go out or interact with one's friends. Additionally, after each eight weeks, comes a six-week vacation (winter and spring) and an even longer summer. The college proceeds to confiscate your accommodation, make you move out your things on the first possible date and send you home (to rent it out to private companies and double down on their profit, once again at your own expense..which comes after paying over 700 pounds p/m for a *****y piece of acomm. already). Therefore most people just spend another month and something secluded, with their family with very little access to their friends, especially if geographically they live further away. This can hardly be described as a uni experience in any way shape or form. Oxford is a relatively pretty city, but that does not compensate for the fact that the 24 weeks spent here are insufficient given the workload to enjoy much of it.
The false aura of superiority
Lastly, the saddest part is that the entirety of the academic body, and many of the students seem to thrive in the sense that being part of Oxford automatically makes them super-human. Most people I have met here have been anti-social, freakish and complexed people (tutors and students alike) who have been ostracized because of their arrogance and anti-social ways their entire life and who have suddenly found a way to compensate their complex by assimilating themselves with the values of Oxford. These values can be described as an absolute sense of entitlement and superiority despite practically no tangible quality in anything that happens around them or even in the work that they themselves produce. This does not apply to everyone, but for a person who is well aware of the everpresent flaws, it is debilitating to see this army of fanaticized pro-Oxford people, who have no way of defending their views other than “cmon its Oxford”.
Hopefully this text allows some to get a little bit of an insight into Oxford beyond the Harry Potter dining halls and a fancy history, which has long been surpassed (at least in my opinion). Also an important reminder is that I am speaking from experience in my studies of law, which can by extension be applied to most humanities, but the experience in STEM subjects might be considerably different. I hope that this reaches not only those who are yet to enter Oxford but also those who are already here and who are going through the same experience that I am, and that may be searching for this verification of their thoughts and feelings.


I remember reading something similar by a biochemistry student at Oxford on tsr. Similarly, they said unreasonable work, 200 pages of textbook in a short period of time that didn't even correspond to lecture material, ended up learning content terms ahead of time, constantly being ridiculed by tutors for their essays not being good enough, with no constructive feedback. As my friend said, 'some tutors expect you to remember everything'. In the end, the other person left Oxford. I know someone who studied chemistry, and he'd say that professors would call him idiotic and storm out the room. Safe to say, you're not alone on this.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Anonymous
"this thread is mainly meant to show the side of Oxford, which in my opinion, is extremely overlooked, and which should be communicated to those who only perceive the institution in its traditionally overly-glorified sense."
It's definitely true that Oxbridge isn't for everyone but you have quite a specific and personal set of complaints with Oxford, most of which appear to be your discomfort with a self-directed teaching style that has worked for 10s of 1000s of other students and your rather biased dislike of everyone else at the uni (somehow that's meant to reflect on them rather than you). It's sad that you're having a bad experience, but the vast majority of Oxbridge grads enjoy their experience so saying that Oxford "doesn't reflect almost anything which could properly be described as a "university experience"" is a statement that should probably be qualified with an acknowledgement that it's a personal opinion that puts you in a very small minority.
It's laudable to want to provide a warning to others but I'm afraid most of your complaints don't seem to be Oxford's fault. You complain that the lectures and tutorials aren't synchronized, but why should they be? It's sometimes useful if they feed off each other but they don't have to, and if they don't then it allows you to cover more ground. You complain that tutors have different teaching styles. So what? Some tutors are definitely worse than others, and some can be very poor indeed, but you complain about having to write essays to different deadlines and having different lengths for tutorials. What's the issue there? I'm sure it's inconvenient having tutorials rearranged, but that doesn't seem to be a major issue worthy of a warning to others. You complain that the exam format change has destroyed your note taking, but surely that's an issue with your notes rather than the exam - you should be trying to learn the material rather than fitting everything to an exam format. Aside from the issue with work not being returned promptly, which is unacceptable, your complaints mostly seem to stem from an expectation that you'll be spoon-fed the syllabus at a time and in a format that suits you. That's not how it works at any uni, Oxbridge or otherwise.
You also claim to be working around 23-25hrs per week, which is well below the expected 40hrs+ workload, but also somehow don't have time to socialize. There are 112 waking hours in the week so what're you doing with the other 87? I know several people at Oxford right now having a great time while doing 30+ hours of sport per week on top of their degrees*, and it's normal for people working harder than you to have a stack of extracurriculars outside of their studies, so your time management seems a bit off. In the spirit of useful advice, it may be worth reaching out to your welfare reps or the junior deans to ask for help with this. If you can crack better time management then you might find the whole thing gets more enjoyable.
I'm afraid your paragraph about how you detest everyone else at Oxford (and, indeed, your airing of a series of personal complaints as a universal truth that needs to be shared) just comes across as incredibly immature and egotistical. Someone definitely displays "arrogance and anti-social ways" and "an absolute sense of entitlement" but I'm not convinced it's your peers. I know lots of Oxbridge grads and academics and very few would fit your deeply unpleasant description of them as being "anti-social, freakish and complexed people... who have been ostracized because of their arrogance". Put it this way: the problem is either with you or with everyone else around you. I know which is more likely.
*They'd be having an even better time if they'd won the boat races, but still.


My compsci friend has experienced, having been set problem sheets as little as 24 hrs before a tutorial, which he was quite annoyed about. Just because it may seem like it works for others, doesn't mean that it actually does, and that they're vocal about it. Also, you seem to be on an anonymous identity.
Original post by Anonymous
"this thread is mainly meant to show the side of Oxford, which in my opinion, is extremely overlooked, and which should be communicated to those who only perceive the institution in its traditionally overly-glorified sense."
It's definitely true that Oxbridge isn't for everyone but you have quite a specific and personal set of complaints with Oxford, most of which appear to be your discomfort with a self-directed teaching style that has worked for 10s of 1000s of other students and your rather biased dislike of everyone else at the uni (somehow that's meant to reflect on them rather than you). It's sad that you're having a bad experience, but the vast majority of Oxbridge grads enjoy their experience so saying that Oxford "doesn't reflect almost anything which could properly be described as a "university experience"" is a statement that should probably be qualified with an acknowledgement that it's a personal opinion that puts you in a very small minority.
It's laudable to want to provide a warning to others but I'm afraid most of your complaints don't seem to be Oxford's fault. You complain that the lectures and tutorials aren't synchronized, but why should they be? It's sometimes useful if they feed off each other but they don't have to, and if they don't then it allows you to cover more ground. You complain that tutors have different teaching styles. So what? Some tutors are definitely worse than others, and some can be very poor indeed, but you complain about having to write essays to different deadlines and having different lengths for tutorials. What's the issue there? I'm sure it's inconvenient having tutorials rearranged, but that doesn't seem to be a major issue worthy of a warning to others. You complain that the exam format change has destroyed your note taking, but surely that's an issue with your notes rather than the exam - you should be trying to learn the material rather than fitting everything to an exam format. Aside from the issue with work not being returned promptly, which is unacceptable, your complaints mostly seem to stem from an expectation that you'll be spoon-fed the syllabus at a time and in a format that suits you. That's not how it works at any uni, Oxbridge or otherwise.
You also claim to be working around 23-25hrs per week, which is well below the expected 40hrs+ workload, but also somehow don't have time to socialize. There are 112 waking hours in the week so what're you doing with the other 87? I know several people at Oxford right now having a great time while doing 30+ hours of sport per week on top of their degrees*, and it's normal for people working harder than you to have a stack of extracurriculars outside of their studies, so your time management seems a bit off. In the spirit of useful advice, it may be worth reaching out to your welfare reps or the junior deans to ask for help with this. If you can crack better time management then you might find the whole thing gets more enjoyable.
I'm afraid your paragraph about how you detest everyone else at Oxford (and, indeed, your airing of a series of personal complaints as a universal truth that needs to be shared) just comes across as incredibly immature and egotistical. Someone definitely displays "arrogance and anti-social ways" and "an absolute sense of entitlement" but I'm not convinced it's your peers. I know lots of Oxbridge grads and academics and very few would fit your deeply unpleasant description of them as being "anti-social, freakish and complexed people... who have been ostracized because of their arrogance". Put it this way: the problem is either with you or with everyone else around you. I know which is more likely.
*They'd be having an even better time if they'd won the boat races, but still.

I think many of OP's criticisms are fair. Their point of about (the lack of) organisation is 100% correct, and many students would agree with their criticism of the 8-week term. Their comments about the tutors and other students are unfair generalisations. However, I think the point of their post is that many students put Oxford on a pedestal, to an extent that is detached from the reality that Oxford isn't perfect, and your life isn't going to be sunshine and rainbows just because you got an offer (which should be obvious, but apparently isn't).
Original post by Sakai04
I remember reading something similar by a biochemistry student at Oxford on tsr. Similarly, they said unreasonable work, 300 pages of textbook for tutorial work per week that didn't even correspond to lecture material, ended up learning content terms ahead of time, constantly being ridiculed by tutors for their essays not being good enough, with no constructive feedback. As my friend said, 'some tutors expect you to remember everything'. In the end, the other person left Oxford. I know someone who studied chemistry, and he'd say that professors would call him idiotic and storm out the room. Safe to say, you're not alone on this.

Asking a student at a world class university to read three hundred pages in a week is not unreasonable. When studying history at Oxford, I read tons of history but also lots of poetry, novels, politics etc. Having so much time to read was great. The rest of the time I partied and acted in plays, and that was great too. My friends mostly worked hard and they had fun too.

Nowadays, working as a lawyer, I often read hundreds of pages of documents every day, and write vast amounts of stuff. I still have time to go to see plays, and party a bit.

There are youtube videos of students complaining about Oxford and Cambridge because they are expected to work hard, to figure stuff out for themselves, and the building they live in is old and lacks all mod cons. Did these students do any due diligence before applying?
Original post by Sakai04
I remember reading something similar by a biochemistry student at Oxford on tsr. Similarly, they said unreasonable work, 300 pages of textbook for tutorial work per week that didn't even correspond to lecture material, ended up learning content terms ahead of time, constantly being ridiculed by tutors for their essays not being good enough, with no constructive feedback. As my friend said, 'some tutors expect you to remember everything'. In the end, the other person left Oxford. I know someone who studied chemistry, and he'd say that professors would call him idiotic and storm out the room. Safe to say, you're not alone on this.

Is there any way you could get some more information from the guy who studied Chemistry? I’ve got an offer from Oxford but am currently really struggling to make a decision between that and UCL. So any more info would be really appreciated :smile:thanks x
Original post by 800dbcloud_
Is there any way you could get some more information from the guy who studied Chemistry? I’ve got an offer from Oxford but am currently really struggling to make a decision between that and UCL. So any more info would be really appreciated :smile:thanks x


In my opinion, I would go Oxford, UCL seems to have unpleasant non-adjusted grade boundaries, lack of student support etc. He dealt with the not very nice tutors and is now doing a pHD at Oxford. That being said, not all tutors are horrible. But also, not all tutors are the best people in the world.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Stiffy Byng
Asking a student at a world class university to read three hundred pages in a week is not unreasonable. When studying history at Oxford, I read tons of history but also lots of poetry, novels, politics etc. Having so much time to read was great. The rest of the time I partied and acted in plays, and that was great too. My friends mostly worked hard and they had fun too.
Nowadays, working as a lawyer, I often read hundreds of pages of documents every day, and write vast amounts of stuff. I still have time to go to see plays, and party a bit.
There are youtube videos of students complaining about Oxford and Cambridge because they are expected to work hard, to figure stuff out for themselves, and the building they live in is old and lacks all mod cons. Did these students do any due diligence before applying?


In my opinion, reading 200 pages of a STEM textbook is different to what is expected for a humanities student. Yes, the workload is expected to be high at a world leading institution, but when it's content several terms ahead given to a student who hasn't even attended the lectures involving prior content yet, I would also have a problem with that.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by anonymous125555
I am writing about my experience of studying at the University of Oxford, as a law student, currently in my 2nd year of studies. The point of this testament is not directly to discourage people from applying to Oxford or from choosing it as their dream university, but it is to ground the (too often) glorified and overhyped image that Oxford seems to get.
I will start by addressing the obvious, my experience at Oxford has been atrocious. I do not intend to just throw this information out there without further specification or to simply create a scenario where others feel bad for me. I have far too often seen threads of people debating whether to leave Oxford or to stay, but they have addressed the issues which linger at this institution with little or no detail, failing to provide a meaningful account to others who contemplate attending this university. I therefore set out to provide a number of specific and essential trouble points which have completely dismantled my experience as a university student and as a potential lawyer.
Lack of organization
The greatest issue at Oxford is the complete lack of organization at any level of the institution. Lectures do not correspond, generally, to what is being taught in tutorials, which makes attending them useless in term time. Furthermore, even in tutorials, every tutor defines how they run their teaching independently. This leads to tutors who do a class and a tutorial, those who do a 60 min tutorial, a 90 min tutorial, those who assign an essay to be written 24h prior, 16h prior, 24 after the tutorial etc. etc. Nothing is harmonized, and no one can ever get any sense of getting into rhythm. The tutors don’t give a damn about anything, and most importantly, they do not care about your concerns. Frequently times of tutorials and deadlines change at random to cater to the needs of the tutors, with zero understanding for the difficulty of adjusting to these changes. This also applies to collections, the exams at the start of each term which places great pressure on the students to perform at a certain level, backed by threats of forced suspension of studies (or worse), but which are often left unmarked for extended periods (up to 300% of the 3 week prescribed period), or even never returned at all!
No teaching
One could talk for eternity about the shortcomings when it comes to organization, but those could be compensated if the university provided any sense of acquiring world-class information. Yet, that never occurs. Tutors do zero work. They come in for ONE HOUR, with their students having written their essays already and read the entire reading lists on their own. When I ever told them that I did not understand the content or some part of it, they basically told me to fu.. off. Deadlines are set at unreasonable periods, whereby one has to submit an essay on Wednesday 9am for a Thursday 3pm tute (every single week) only to get it back 6.5 weeks later. The exam format changed overnight at the halfway point of my degree, fundamentally destroying my note-taking skills or strategies developed over a year and a half. The response from the faculty? Too bad, fu..off. Tutors often provide little to no feedback even on the essays. Why? No one can ever compel them to do more. One is left with working alone for 6 days and 22-23 hours in a week, and 1-2 hours of tutorial where the tutors, who have already taught you nothing, pride themselves in “letting the students discuss.” It is comical, we discuss having taught ourselves everything while they sit back and do absolutely nothing…it's a failed system.
Student life
An eight-week term is great for an introverted nerd who happens to love their family. Why? 8 weeks means that the term is so short that every week’s work is so compressed that there is virtually no time to go out or interact with one's friends. Additionally, after each eight weeks, comes a six-week vacation (winter and spring) and an even longer summer. The college proceeds to confiscate your accommodation, make you move out your things on the first possible date and send you home (to rent it out to private companies and double down on their profit, once again at your own expense..which comes after paying over 700 pounds p/m for a *****y piece of acomm. already). Therefore most people just spend another month and something secluded, with their family with very little access to their friends, especially if geographically they live further away. This can hardly be described as a uni experience in any way shape or form. Oxford is a relatively pretty city, but that does not compensate for the fact that the 24 weeks spent here are insufficient given the workload to enjoy much of it.
The false aura of superiority
Lastly, the saddest part is that the entirety of the academic body, and many of the students seem to thrive in the sense that being part of Oxford automatically makes them super-human. Most people I have met here have been anti-social, freakish and complexed people (tutors and students alike) who have been ostracized because of their arrogance and anti-social ways their entire life and who have suddenly found a way to compensate their complex by assimilating themselves with the values of Oxford. These values can be described as an absolute sense of entitlement and superiority despite practically no tangible quality in anything that happens around them or even in the work that they themselves produce. This does not apply to everyone, but for a person who is well aware of the everpresent flaws, it is debilitating to see this army of fanaticized pro-Oxford people, who have no way of defending their views other than “cmon its Oxford”.
Hopefully this text allows some to get a little bit of an insight into Oxford beyond the Harry Potter dining halls and a fancy history, which has long been surpassed (at least in my opinion). Also an important reminder is that I am speaking from experience in my studies of law, which can by extension be applied to most humanities, but the experience in STEM subjects might be considerably different. I hope that this reaches not only those who are yet to enter Oxford but also those who are already here and who are going through the same experience that I am, and that may be searching for this verification of their thoughts and feelings.

I am sorry you aren't enjoying your time at Oxford, and I do understand some of the points you have raised being frustrating. Does anyone know if this is similar to how it is at Cambridge? I am trying to decide which to apply to and this certainly does present Oxford negatively.
Original post by Anonymous
I am sorry you aren't enjoying your time at Oxford, and I do understand some of the points you have raised being frustrating. Does anyone know if this is similar to how it is at Cambridge? I am trying to decide which to apply to and this certainly does present Oxford negatively.

My classmate who goes Cambridge law is currently overwhelmed by the amount of work she has, but then I suppose that's to be expected with a law degree.

Latest

Trending

Trending