Oxford spires and oxfordshire countryside

The college system

Close up of young man smiling

Meeting people

"As soon as you start, you already know at least 80 people in your year, plus people in years above. And then there are the intercollegiate competitions (which are very relaxed). If you want to play some sport, your first avenue doesn’t need to be university level – it can just be on a college level. And through all this, it becomes so easy to meet people. At other universities, most people’s friendship groups are from their course, where they live, or people they know from school. With Oxford’s collegiate system, college is another avenue through which students can meet people."

Nobel, 4th Year, Lincoln College

Young woman smiling

Settling in

"One of my favourite things about the University of Oxford is the college system because I immediately felt settled and part of a community when I moved in. Also, the tutorial system is something that makes this university such an incredible place to learn, because it gives you the opportunity to discuss your work and any questions you have in small groups with your tutor."

Natalie, 1st Year, St Hilda's College

Green pitch with football goal, Merton and Corpus Christi college are in the background

Community

"I think the collegiate system is very special, it fosters such small, close communities within the larger university and allows participation in sports teams and societies at amateur level that would not be possible within university level clubs."

George, 3rd Year, St Edmund Hall

Young woman smiling

Making friends

"My college is a pretty small one but it feels like home to me, it is very easy to bump into someone you know just by walking around the college. I also get to know a lot of people doing different subjects!"

Hui Wen, 1st Year, St Edmund Hall

How do I choose a college?

Here are some suggestions from our student ambassadors

Beth, 1st year, St Hilda’s college

Have a look on the individual college websites to get a feel for the ethos and outlook to see which you feel would suit you most. All the colleges are really lovely, so don't stress too much about which you pick, and you may anyway get allocated to a different college during the admissions process. That happened to me with St Hilda's college, and I love it here so I am very glad I was allocated to Hilda's! College life is the best I love it! A lot of my friends are from my college because that is where you live, eat and have some social events, so this means you meet a lot of people who are outside of your course. I really enjoy eating in college halls because I meet up with my friends who are doing different courses. I spent ages picking and chose Worcester college, but was then allocated to St Hilda's college after my interview which I am really happy about! I have absolutely loved it here and it couldn't have worked out better. Hi! I think you can get a good feel for the colleges by looking on their websites. Everyone tends to feel their own colleges are the best, which reflects that all colleges are lovely places to be. I didn't choose St Hilda's college, but was allocated here after interview and I couldn't be more happy with how it has worked out, so don't worry too much :)

Sara, 3rd year, St Catherine's College

All Oxford colleges are great and unique in their own way. Depending on what is most important to you (i.e. architecture, location etc) you can try to find out more about their locations etc online or attend a few virtual open days to make a decision. Wherever you end up, people tend to like their college very much.

James, 2nd year, Somerville College

Things to consider when choosing a college are: cost of accommodation, distance from department, distance from the centre of Oxford, size of college, how nice it looks, gym facilities, student kitchen facilities. I just chose one at random and didn't get in, being 'pooled' to Somerville. Everyone loves the college they end up at though so it's not something to worry about toooo much.

Heather, 1st year, St John's College

When I was shortlisting colleges, I made a prioritized list of criteria I wanted them to fulfill (location, accommodation for all years of course, rent, size etc) and eliminated down the list until I had about 5 then looked round and eliminated down to 2 then met the tutors to find the one. This method really helped me so would recommend, but you will be happy in whichever college you end up going to.

George, 4th year, Teddy Hall

I think there are lots of things to consider but I will preface them by saying many students don't end up where they choose on the ucas form (myself included) and wherever you end up almost invariably you will end up calling it the best college! So here goes: Location (not just proximity to engineering but shops, sports facilities etc.), physical size (smaller may be more of a community but less years of in college accomodation), number of students, catering facilities - number of catered meals and their quality! and the societies, sports clubs and facilities the college offers

Rosie, 3rd year, University College Oxford

I knew there were a few things I was looking for in a college. Ideally, I wanted my college to be pretty centrally located for convenience. I also looked for good value accommodation. At Univ, everyone pays the same amount for accommodation but it's all really good quality! This means that you don't need to worry about whether you can afford a room in the same bit of college as your friends. Finally, I really liked that Univ was one of the oldest colleges, with lots of interesting traditions. However, it's worth saying that everyone loves the college they end up at - they all feel like home once you've settled in!