Choosing a college | University of Oxford
Cjoosing a college
Oxford city.
(Image credit: Greg Smolonski / Oxford University Images).

Choosing a college

Most students love their college, and will tell you that theirs is the best. All colleges have signed up to a Common Framework on Admissions which means the same application process for your course at every college. Whichever college you go to, you will be studying for the same degree at the end of your course.

There are 35 Oxford colleges and halls offering undergraduate courses. You can express a preference for one of them when you make your application, or make an open application.


‘Although I didn’t actually apply to my college, I have absolutely fallen in love with it and couldn’t be happier.

Nicole, 1st year

To choose…

You can’t choose a college, though you can express a preference by entering a college campus code on your UCAS application. Campus codes are listed on each college page. Each college is different so you may like to consider their:

• size and age

• location – how close to the city centre, your department, the park, the river, the sports centre (see maps)

• accommodation – number of years of college accommodation, where it is, how much it will cost

• grants or other funding – as well as any support provided by the University

• facilities – all colleges have a library, dining hall and common room but other resources do vary (you can also use the University’s facilities)

• access – most colleges have facilities and accommodation for disabled students; however, given the age of the buildings, some areas of some colleges are not accessible for students with mobility issues. Please contact our Disability Advisory Service for advice.

Even if you do specify a college, other colleges may also interview you, and any of them may offer you a place. In 2015, 33% of successful applicants got an offer from a college they didn’t specify on their application. 

Or not to choose…

If you don’t mind which college you go to, you can make an open application by choosing campus code 9 on your UCAS application. Your application will be assigned to a college or hall that has relatively fewer applications for your course in the year you apply. In 2015, 18% of applicants made an open application. Tutors have no preference for direct or open applications: they are looking for the best applicants for their course.

What’s the best college for...?

Most colleges offer most courses so they don’t specialise, though the PPHs offer a smaller range of subjects. Check which colleges offer your course. They all have high academic standards. Extra-curricular opportunities don’t vary as much as you might think, either – facilities do vary between colleges, but you may be able to use another college’s facilities and you can join University-wide clubs and societies and use the University’s facilities. 

Which college is easiest to get into?

Competition for places at all Oxford colleges is very strong, and all our tutors are looking for the very best and brightest students. Some colleges tend to receive more applications for each place than others, but this does vary from year to year. Also, ‘open’ applicants are allocated to colleges which have fewer applications in that year. Sometimes, if a college is very oversubscribed for a particular course, shortlisted applicants might be invited to interview by another college instead, so each college interviews roughly the same number of applicants for each place. Many applicants will be interviewed by several colleges during the interview period in December. 

How can I find out more?

You can read more about each college on the college pages, on the colleges’ own websites, and in the Alternative Prospectus. You may also like to come and visit Oxford on one of our open days.