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Magdalen College is conveniently located on the High Street, a short walk from anything you could need. In Oxford terms Magdalen can seem quite a long way from the centre of town, which is at the other end of the High Street. For gym-goers, Magdalen is one of the closest colleges to the University gym and sports facilities.
Magdalen has the advantages of sitting on the river - that means in the summer you can sit out outside overlooking the river and Magdalen Boat House whilst having a drink or lunch.
One of the most important points to make is that Magdalen offers accommodation for the ENTIRE duration of your course. Secondly, accommodation is not determined by ability to pay; there is a flat rate for all rooms so you need never worry that you won’t be able to afford to live near your friends or end up with last pick.During your first year everyone is randomly balloted, and you choose your second-year room in the order of the ballot. Although groups of friends are often spaced out on the list, room swaps after the choosing mean that almost everyone can live with their friends. In your third year the ballot is reversed so everyone gets a fair chance.
On arriving in your first year you’ll be randomly given a room in either the Waynflete Building – more commonly and lovingly referred to as the ‘Flete – or one of the three outer houses – either 62 or 71 High Street, or Longwall Annexe. Each location has its own advantages and disadvantages. Should you live in the ‘Flete, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a vibrant community. Should you live on the Riverside side of the building, you’ll get a wonderful view from your window, and should you live on the Plainside, you get a sink. It’s a fairly decent trade-off really. There are communal bathrooms and kitchens, and the whole place is situated right above a Sainsbury’s Local – you’ll never have to go far should your supplies run low! The College is only a short walk across Magdalen Bridge, so you’ll be well situated for getting to tutorials, hall, Libraries and everything else the College provides.
The outer houses tend to form friendly, tightly knit families and also have communal bathrooms and kitchens. It’s only a walk across the road to get to College from these, and only a short walk across Magdalen Bridge to get to the ‘Flete and Sainsbury’s. You’re at no disadvantage living in the houses, and it comes down to what you make of it – just make sure you go and visit the other First Years in the ‘Flete too! After your first year, you could well be living in a castle!
Library and Computing
Magdalen, as mentioned above, has 5 libraries- The New Library, which is the main college library; The Denning Law Library; The Old Library, which contains the college’s collection of manuscripts and old printed books; The Daubeny Library, which consists of 19th Century scientific articles; and the McFarlane Mediæval History Library. As an undergraduate you will primarily use the New Library, with special permission needed to consult books stored in the Old, Daubeny, or McFarlane Libraries. The New Library contains the college’s lending collection, with books covering virtually all subject areas, as well as an extensive DVD collection- perfect for those nights-in with friends. Books can be borrowed for up to 4 weeks and DVDs for two nights. The New Library also contains a number of workspaces, for those individuals who work best in a more studious environment than their own rooms. The Denning Law Library is a brilliant resource for Magdalen’s Law Students, containing periodicals, case records, textbooks and monographs. It is reference only but as it is such a beautiful study area- with leather chairs, old law tomes, and portraits of distinguished legal alumni- and as a law student you have to read lots of small sections of lots of very large books, you probably wouldn’t want to take the books to your room even if you could! Magdalen Lawyers are exceeding fortunate when it comes to books in fact, with Slaughter and May, a ‘Magic Circle’ firm of solicitors paying for each student to have a copy of the principle textbook for their subjects on long term loan until their exams for that subject. What with this double blessing, and the large number of cases available on online databases, it will be only on rare occasions when you find you have to venture to the Bodelien Law Library- in the Law Faculty- for an elusive book, unlike friends at other colleges without their own Law Libraries. You probably will not have to use the other libraries in Magdalen during your time as an undergraduate- although when there is an exhibition in the Old Library it is well worth checking it out- there are some great items in there; including the fossilised wig of a former president of the college and a page from The Bible that is estimated to have been written in 60 AD.
There are two computer rooms available for undergraduates to use, with a third just for graduates. One is located near the centre of college, in the Cloisters, the other is at the top of St. Swithun’s Tower- a bit of a pain having to climb all the way up, but a wonderful view! The computers are connected to the university network, and the rooms are also equipped with printers and scanners.
Our student welfare team is here to provide support and help to anyone that is in need of it. No matter what problem you have you can confidentially come to any member of the welfare team for help, advice and information.
The deans are more than happy to talk to anyone about any problems and the junior deans especially are there to help with any pastoral issues you might face. There is also Michael Piret the college chaplain who is absolutely lovely and always happy to help everyone. Magdalen also has a nurse based in college with a drop in session from 9-10am every day to help if you have any health problems. The college also has an on-site counsellor so that there is always easy access to a trained professional for members of the college to talk to. Each first year also has two college parents in the year above whose job is to support and advise their children to ease their first few weeks at Magdalen. Magdalen is a lovely, friendly and diverse college. We have many international students and two dedicated LGBTQ reps that organise a number of events within the college. Magdalen is a very welcoming and friendly place with people from all walks of life and backgrounds all coming together to study and enjoy themselves.