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Keble is located the top end of Parks Road, about 25 seconds away from the University Parks (on which are also a number of sports pitches, including Keble rugby's pitch) and about 50 yards from the Physics buildings, with the Engineering buildings also very close by. St Giles and Sainsbury’s, along with the Indy club Po Na Na and other amenities are also very easily accessed by using the 'magic gate' at the back of the college. Some say Keble is a bit out of the way, but the ‘magic gate’ puts you right into the mix very quickly given that walking down St Giles' puts you in the centre of Oxford.
For those who study and use books at the Bodleian, it’s basically a straight line down Parks Road and then past the History Faculty Library to get to the Bodleian Buildings and the Radcliff Camera (where the History and some English reading rooms are). The journey can be done in about 2 minutes on a bike, if you ignore red lights.
Accommodation is good in Keble. For the most part Keble can offer accommodation within college for at least 2 years of your course, and possibly for all of it if you are lucky. Accommodation is generally nice as Keble sucks up to the conference trade. Rooms are well furnished and there is a very high proportion of en-suite bathrooms (a relative rarity in Oxford). Every room is on the Oxford phone network and has access to the internet. You will though (as in the case of most colleges) have to completely leave your room at the end of every term, unless you are an international student in which case you may put some of your stuff into storage. Rent includes all the water, electricity, net connection payments (but not food).
Kitchen facilities vary. The older quads (Pusey and Liddon) have a shared kitchen on each corridor, the newer buildings have some kitchens and the college is making an effort to increase this. You will only need these facilities for snacks and hot drinks - Keble provides 3 hot meals a day in the Dining Hall (see FOOD below). And there are plenty of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Oxford - you certainly wont be stuck for places to eat!
In first year you don't get a lot of choice. You can't choose a specific room but I do believe you can choose a type of room and they will try where possible to match you to it. The types being (if I remember correctly)
- Standard - older parts of college, shared bathroom between many
- Superior - "New" retro 70s Hayward quad and De Brayne with own fridge and shared bathroom
- En-Suite - Older parts of college but en-suite. ARCO building - modern 1990s building.
The ARCO rooms known as 'Rick Mather' (see the drawing at the bottom of the page) are modern - clean, neat and well planned. These are reserved for third-years and mature students. Simple room with bed, big built in window desk, cupboard and chest of drawers. En Suite bathrooms consist of loo, basin and 'wet room' type shower with useful long towel rail for drying things. Kitchen shared by a group of rooms has basics - microwave, toaster, kettle, fridge etc - so you can heat up microwave meals/soup and make toast and coffee in the early hours. This building is at the back of the college and therefore away from any raucous 'back from the pub' shouting etc.
Lots of pictures, info and prices etc on the Keble webpage : http://www.keble.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/living-in-keble/accommodation-and-food
Library and Computing
Keble has both a 24 hour Library and Computer Room, the convenience of which cannot be over estimated. Books can be borrowed from the Library for a week at a time and easily renewed. Some subject's students however operate 'unwritten rules' in which books shouldn’t be removed given the Library is 24h. This is to avoid the potential frustrations of people urgently needing books that are sitting dormant in other student's rooms. The Library holds a valuable collection of writings from John Keble, a founding member of the College and a leading figure of the Oxford Movement. Like with most college libraries. Keble’s Library has a good, pervasive selection of books for most subjects and will invariably stock several of the introductory or more mainstream texts required for a tutorial essay, with more specialist or less popular texts requiring visits to faculty libraries of the Bodleian.
The Computer Room's computer's have recently been upgraded and are invaluable if network connections in student's rooms go down. It is rarely full and so is ideal quickly checking emails. It is, however, quite a small room and the high density of computers within it can create quite a loud atmosphere of computer fans spinning, keyboards being used and people chatting.
All students roomed are collected to the college network, and network cables can be bought very cheaply from the Computer Office. The college has a powerful internet so network speeds are fine for surfing and downloading. The Computer Office's staffs are also approachable and willing to fix computer problems (regarding both hardware and software) at short notice.
Keble's bar is big and spacious and has recently been overhauled. It's a 70s spacepod type thing, concrete and glass construction but still grade listed for its design. It serves all that you can want and they hold various events and bops in there to keep you occupied. The JCR is also well equipped with the usual sky tv, snooker table, table football and lots of comfy seats etc.
I would say the atmosphere is fairly friendly and informal. I always think of it as a friendly atmosphere - its not as pretentious as some Colleges. Being a big college it can be hard to know everyone, but this means you are likely to be able to find some people you like and get on with. Its big and busy - with lots going on.
Has a rugby team that hasn’t lost a game this season and looks set to maintain its position as league champions. Secured back to back promotions in the previous seasons and has a cuppers win just under its belt. Training is taken seriously, with one or two of the Rugby Blues studying at Keble regularly taking sessions. The football team was relegated from the premiership last season in a last game of the season thriller, and is mid table in division one now. Rowing is very well funded and has a good uptake, with there being four novice boats this year. The Women's Rowing team is particularly strong.
Fabulous Victorian dining-hall with gabled painted ceiling etc. Very Hogwarts. Long benches/tables and there is a great atmosphere at mealtimes. Food is served in Hall 3 times a day (cooked breakfast.......) during the week and twice a day at weekends for every day during term (Not all colleges offer this). Food is reasonable and sensibly priced. It's generally canteen style food at lunch time - chips, salads, sandwiches, pies, pizzas, pasta + 1 set meal - and a more formal hall in the evening. This will be of the form of meat and vegetables (+ a vegetarian option) and will be served as a formal hall (ie you will be required to wear your gown and stand up while grace is read (or sung from the balcony as on Sundays)). This might sound a bit silly/intimidating for those not from private schools. It isnt meant to be - its just a tradition. Everything is explained to new students, so there is no danger of you committing some terrible gaff by mistake - everyone is 'new' and they havnt got a clue what is going on either!