Meet our Students

What is it like to go to Oxford University from Yorkshire and Humberside? Our students are here to tell you about their experiences.

Hi! I’m Abbie.

I’m a first year English Language and Literature student at Mansfield College. I’m from Hull in East Yorkshire and went to my local state school, Sirius Academy West, for both secondary school and sixth form.

What advice would you give to anyone from Yorkshire and the Humber applying to Oxford?

The main piece of advice I would give is do not be put off from applying if you don’t know anyone from your area or school who has gotten into Oxford, or even applied in the first place. A common misconception about Oxford is that everybody is from a certain area of the country and of a certain social class, but this isn’t true; you have a shot wherever you are from! The tutors are focusing on you as a person and how you think, not the location on your UCAS application.

Mansfield is the link college for my city and many other parts of Yorkshire, so they provide a range of outreach events and there is a lot of support for people in our area. Something that really helped me was a visit from Mansfield to my school during the application process to help with interview preparation. If you have the opportunity to attend any access and outreach events, I would definitely recommend it.

I know that it can be scary seeing a lack of people from your area applying to the university - when I applied, I only knew one person who had applied to Oxford. But location is not a barrier; if you are passionate, it is always worth applying because you can never predict the outcome!

How did you find moving away from home?

Initially, moving to university so far away from home was a daunting process, especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. However, I eventually settled in well to my new environment, and the community atmosphere at Mansfield really helped with this; everybody is so supportive, and there are always people available to help. So, if you are worried about moving far from home, it will likely be easier than you think – many people will be feeling the same way!

Why did you apply to Oxford?

One of my main reasons for wanting to apply to Oxford was the appeal of the college system. Having attended a very small sixth form, I liked the idea of having a smaller community to live and study with whilst also being a part of the university as a whole. In my opinion (having experienced the benefits of this system in my time here so far) this is what makes the Oxford experience so special. You receive personalised teaching and support from tutors and peers whilst also becoming familiar with your surroundings very quickly.


Hello, I’m Isabelle!

I am a first-year student at Mansfield College studying English Language and Literature, and I am from Todmorden in West Yorkshire. I went to a state school called Wardle Academy, then did my A-Levels at Rochdale Sixth Form, which are both in Greater Manchester.

What advice would you give to anyone from Yorkshire and the Humber applying to Oxford?

When I decided to apply to Oxford, I never got my hopes up that I would actually end up here. I applied to four other universities, which – despite two of them having the same entry grade requirements as Oxford – seemed like much more realistic options, and when I inevitably got rejected from Oxford, I could just go to one of those great universities instead. I had heard so many stories about how difficult it is to get into Oxford, or about how people ‘like me’ – state school-educated, working class, and from Yorkshire – make up a small section of Oxford students, and as a result I was reluctant to apply and not optimistic when I did. But I learnt in my admissions process, which culminated in a surprising and exciting email letting me know I had been offered a place, that many of my doubts and insecurities were misplaced.

The course pages on the Oxford University website show the grade requirements for each course and have some information about what you will be studying. If you like the look of the course, and think you can achieve the grade requirement, there’s nothing you can lose by applying! Tutors at Oxford want to teach someone with passion for the subject, and this is much more important than some of the things you might have doubts about – your background, or how many books you’ve read, for example. Try to demonstrate the passion you have for your subject in your personal statement, and in your interviews. One way you could do this is by reading outside of the syllabus and including things you have learnt from your independent reading and researching in your personal statement and interviews.

How did you find moving away from home?

I was a little worried to move away from home because I knew living in a city like Oxford would be very different from living in the Pennine village I come from. And as an introvert, I worried that I wouldn’t fit in with the other students or make friends. I quickly found out that Oxford is a lovely place to live – it is beautiful, and there are plenty of shops, cafes and pubs to go to – the Tesco which is only a ten-minute walk away from Mansfield is probably my most frequently-visited shop! The other students I have met here have been friendly, intelligent and interesting, and I made new friends more easily than I had at any of the schools I have previously attended.

Why did you apply to Oxford?

I decided to apply to Oxford after reading the page for my course on the Oxford University website. The content of the course looked interesting and varied, mainly covering topics I was unfamiliar with but wanted to learn more about. Learning new things has been a rewarding part of my studies at Oxford, and even though the amount of content intimidated me at first, it has been fascinating and exciting every week to discover new areas of the subject I am already passionate about. The website also showed the grade requirements for my course, and I knew I could achieve them with hard work and effort, which helped me to decide to apply. I attended some open days, including one at Mansfield, which encouraged me to apply also.  I loved the university, the people, and the city from my short experiences there on open days.


Hi, I’m Tom!

I am a second-year medic at Brasenose College originally from a very small city in North Yorkshire called Ripon and I went to Ripon Grammar School for both my secondary and Sixth Form education.

What advice would you give to anyone from Yorkshire and the Humber applying to Oxford?

You have absolutely nothing to lose in applying. From the start of the application process I knew I would love the opportunity to study at a university like Oxford, having visited and done some digging online about the course. Irrespective of what people may have had me believe about the ‘type’ of person who got into Oxford I would never have known if it was for me if I hadn’t have gone for it.

Now that I am here I can confirm that there is in fact a ‘type’ of student at Oxford, but they aren’t characterised by their post-code or upbringing, instead it’s just people who really enjoy a subject and want to push themselves in it. My school were very supportive throughout the application process but I am aware not everybody has the same luxury and so my biggest piece of advice would be that if you have a passion and it’s something you take pleasure in then you should pursue it and not let anything limit your potential.

How did you find moving away from home?

Having grown up moving house fairly frequently, the idea of moving wasn’t too alien to me but in spite of this coming to university is an uneasy prospect for most as you are leaving your family for what is likely the first extended period of time. I think a mix of apprehension and excitement best described what I felt, the prospect of complete independence is both unsettling and exciting. Oxford is a beautiful city with so much going on and the collegiate system helps you to meet people from all walks of life, making it easy to find your kind of people who share similar interests, whether new or old. Despite the lack of home comforts I found the transition surprisingly easy and think that any concerns I had were very quickly forgotten or addressed once I had arrived.

Why did you apply to Oxford?

I only really considered applying to Oxford after Brasenose did an ‘Access & outreach’ event at my school, convincing me to give it a little more thought. After visiting Oxford my mind was made up for me and I knew I had to at least try to get in. In my opinion the city is a perfect mix of University and town, it is small enough that it feels homely and safe yet big enough to give you plenty of things to do. The tutorial system is quite unique to Oxbridge and from what I had learned about them, they seemed like an amazing way to take your understanding of a subject that little bit further, speaking with academics and experts in whatever field and going beyond what your simply expected to know. So a combination of the world-class teaching methods and the general allure of the city.


Hiya! I’m Anna.

I’m a third year Geography student at Brasenose College and I’m from near Easingwold in North Yorkshire. I went to Easingwold School (now Outwood Academy Easingwold) for both secondary school and sixth form.

What advice would you give to anyone from Yorkshire and the Humber applying to Oxford?

Read around your subject! If there’s something that’s come up at school that you find interesting, have a quick search on Google and see what comes up! Whether that’s news stories, books, podcasts, YouTube videos, whatever; it’s a great way of finding out what you’re interested in and seeing what your subject is like in the real world rather than just in the pages of a textbook. Plus, there’s loads of talks online these days that are really accessible – for example the Oxford Climate Society has some great discussions that they livestream to their YouTube channel!

Do not be put off by the stereotypes you see in the media, or worry that you won’t fit in! Firstly, the majority of people I’ve met have been wonderful and nothing at all like I expected from what I’d seen in the newspapers – they’re just normal people like you. Secondly, you’ll probably meet people from a similar background in your college, and if you don’t there are societies set up to help you meet likeminded people, such as the Oxford Northerner’s Society!

How did you find moving away from home?

I was nervous about moving away from home because I’d spent all my life living in a very rural area with no neighbours, and I had no idea how it would be to be thrown right into Oxford city centre. Turns out it’s amazing to have all your friends (and Tesco!) so close by and Oxford has some gorgeous parks, even if they’re no match for the Yorkshire Dales.

My biggest worry of all was whether I’d actually make any friends. When I started secondary school, I went with most of my friends I already had from primary school, so I wasn’t sure I could even remember how to talk to new people. Plus, I’d heard so many stereotypes about what ‘Oxford students’ were supposed to be like, and I knew I didn’t fit that. My worries disappeared as soon as I walked into our common room on the first day of my freshers’ week; every single person I spoke to was so genuinely kind and welcoming, and all the friends I’ve made over my 3 years here have been some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.

Why did you apply to Oxford?

It had never even crossed my mind to apply to Oxford until I was in year 11 and Joe Organ gave a talk at my school along with group of students from Oxford and Cambridge. Then, in the summer of year 12, I visited Oxford for the first time and stayed in Brasenose over their July open days. The student helpers in Brasenose made me feel so at home, and I could tell how close knit the college community was, knowing that this was something that didn’t really form at non-collegiate universities. On a whim, I also went and spoke to one of the college geography tutors, who turned out to be so relaxed and friendly and not at all what I expected from an Oxford academic! Learning about the tutorial system, I knew that this small group teaching would be so different to other universities, as well as much better suited to someone like me that’s intimidated by talking in front of 80 other students in a lecture.


Hi! I’m Hannah.


I’m a second-year music student at Worcester College, and I live right on the border between Kirklees and Oldham (Greater Manchester). I went to Saddleworth School and then did my A-Levels at Greenhead College in Huddersfield.


What advice would you give to anyone from the Yorkshire and the Humber applying to Oxford?

If you are not sure whether to apply to Oxbridge, my advice is to just go for it! The admissions teams at Oxbridge Colleges have lots of resources on applications, personal statement and interviews, so I recommend that you check those out.

When I was applying, I was worried that I didn’t know as much as other applicants, and therefore would not have much of a chance of getting in. However, I soon realised that tutors aren’t looking for someone who knows a lot factually, they are looking at the individual, unique ways in which people respond to knowledge and how they can apply it to different situations. If you are passionate about your subject, and think critically, then don’t be worried about not knowing something.

Also remember that although tutors and professors can seem scary and intimidating, they are just humans who are really lovely and want the best for students. J

How did you find moving away from home?

Initially I was scared about moving away from home to a new place, and worried that Oxford would be full of white, upper class men. However, I was excited by the chance to meet new people and realised that Oxford is actually a very diverse and multicultural city. It is normal to experience homesickness, but everyone I met in Oxford was so welcoming and I soon felt safe and comfortable. I think the College system really helps the move to be less daunting, because you can interact with people at the levels you feel comfortable (for instance, with people in your College, in your subject, and students across the university in societies etc.).


What is your favourite thing about Oxford?

There are a lot of things in Oxford that I love, but I would probably say that the beauty of the city is my favourite. I was surprised by how much greenery and wildlife there is in Oxford. Paired with some amazing architecture it feels like a really special and different place. I can’t pick just one thing, as I also love the friendly atmosphere and support that student give one another, both in College and within university-wide societies. Many times in Oxford I have been at an event, have started chatting to the person next to me and we have got on like a house on fire!