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How do I choose an Oxford college?

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Our advice is not to worry too much about choosing a college. Oxford colleges have more in common than they have differences, and we find that students develop a fierce loyalty to whichever college they are in, and all believe their college is the best! All Oxford colleges are alike in offering good computing, library, sports and music facilities, as well as in providing students with quality food and accommodation, plus a common room and a bar.

What's the best college for ...?

Colleges don’t specialise, and most colleges offer most courses. See Which colleges offer my course. They all have the same high academic standards. Extra-curricular opportunities don’t vary as much as you’d think, either – facilities may vary between colleges, but whatever you’re interested in, you can probably do it at university level.

Which college is easiest to get into?

It is a myth that some colleges are easier to get into than others. Application numbers change from year to year, and the difference is filled up with people who have made an open application. Sometimes, if a college is very oversubscribed for a particular course, it might pass you to another college for interview instead. Many applicants will be interviewed by several colleges. (For more on this, see Tutors are looking for the strongest applicants, regardless of whether or not you applied to their college.

How do I choose?

After you have checked which Oxford colleges offer your course, your choice is really a question of which college suits you best personally. You might like to consider

  • the size of the college (how many students it has)
  • how old or new it is
  • the location (is it in the city centre, or a few minutes away? Is it near your department building, the park, the river or the swimming pool?)

Will I be interviewed only at my chosen college?

Tutors from different colleges exchange information and meet to consider everyone applying to study their subject, to ensure that the best candidates get places, whichever college they chose. As well as your college of preference (or allocated college, if you make an open application), another college may also interview you and perhaps offer you a place. One in five students is at a college other than their college of preference; they are very happy there and would not want to be anywhere else.

How do I find out more?

  • Read further details about each college.
  • Come to an open day to look around (see open days). You will have the chance to see several colleges in one day.
  • If you can’t attend an open day, maybe come on a college tour instead, or download an audio tour (see tours).
  • Read the Alternative Prospectus.