Undergraduate students must live in Oxford, but there is no need to look for accommodation before you arrive. All colleges provide rooms for first-year students, and will make all of the arrangements for you. Your college may send you details of your room after places are confirmed in August, or they may simply give you the keys when you arrive. Most college rooms are single study-bedrooms, and you may have your own bathroom. Some colleges have ‘sets’ where two students share a study-living room, but you have your own bedroom. All rooms are furnished; some have an internal telephone and internet points. Your room may be on the main site or nearby.
Living in and living out
In the first year it's nice to have the support of living in college: it's very easy to meet people but then when we all lived out, we all lived on the same street anyway. It's liberating, you feel like you grow up a bit, having to do the washing up and pay the bills. You also see a whole other side of Oxford.
Colleges are very safe places. Each has a lodge at the entrance which is staffed by college porters 24 hours a day. They know everyone in their college and deal with visitors and oversee security.
All colleges will offer you a room for your first year and another year; in many colleges, you can ‘live in’ for your whole course. If you do have to ‘live out’ of college, or you prefer to, you can share a house with friends or rent a room in a family home. The University Accommodation Office will be able to help you with your search.
Living out can be a little more expensive than living in college, but it means you can stay on during the holidays. Students in college rooms usually have to move out at the end of each term.
All college rooms are either in the city centre or close by. Oxford is a small city and most private accommodation is also within a 15 minute walk or short cycle ride of the centre. In Oxford, there is no need to spend money on bus fares, as you would in larger cities.
Throughout your course, wherever you live, you can use your college’s library, computer room, sports facilities, laundry, bar, common room and dining hall – this serves three meals every day - often generously subsidised. You need to bring your own clothes, music and posters, of course! If you wish to cook, you may need to bring some kitchenware; your college will tell you what is provided.
Out of term
During the holidays, your college may be able to provide storage, particularly for overseas students. You may be able to stay on in college, or stay with friends who are living out. Some people use this time to work and prepare for next term; others just enjoy being in Oxford.