Suggest to me an Oxford college?

(72 Posts)
peplos Mon 08-Oct-18 23:57:17

DS is following in my footsteps and will apply to read Classics. I went to the other place, but he is dead set on a larger town, so Oxford.

Can anyone suggest some colleges he visit when we get there?

He tends to like older architecture, he is quite studious (at the moment). If it could have cheaper rents, then we’d be happier!

OP’s posts: |
BusMum79 Tue 09-Oct-18 00:11:24

I went to Exeter College. Beautiful - founded in 1314 so plenty old enough wink. Small, friendly - and in Turl St so right in the centre of the city and you can go see its arch-rival Jesus College as well as Lincoln, Balliol & Trinity while you’re in the vicinity. Wadham - just around the corner - also great & v liberal. Enjoy

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 08:20:18

It’s like this thread was made for me. I read Classics at Univ. The literature tutor there, Bill Allan, is awesome. Age wise it’s the oldest college, but architecture wise there’s a mix of old and new. Christ Church has the Regius Professor of Greek, and the architecture is stunning. If he is studious then St John’s or Magdalen would be worth visiting (Magdalen another stunner, with its own deer park too.)

Can’t speak intelligently about rents. I would have thought bigger (actually maybe I mean richer) colleges would have greater range of rents, and most likely greater provision of bursaries to support students.

So. What do I recommend? I think BusMum79 is right - if you head to Turl St you can knock off quite a few colleges in short order. If you’re on the high st, hit up Univ, Magdalen and Queen’s. Do visit ChCh, and Pembroke is near there as you’re in the vicinity. Worcester is a ‘relative’ schlep (10 minutes walk from Balliol/Trinity) but is right next to the Sackler Library, which is the Classics Library (and quite a fun looking circular building.) It’s near the Ashmolean Museum too, so you can get in a bit of culture if you’re all colleged out.

Your boy is applying for Greats - exciting! Does he have both Latin and Greek? Or one of them? Or neither of them?

mateysmum Tue 09-Oct-18 08:28:50

Don't write off the "newer" colleges. The rooms tend to be nicer (and warmer!), better kitchen facilities and less likelihood of tourists peering into your room just as you get undressed!
My college St Anne's I believe gives out more bursary money than any other college, despite not being wealthy. It has great pastoral care and 3 years in college accommodation, resolutely unstuffy and a 24/7 library which is one of the best in Oxford.
Hear endeth the commercial.
Seriously though, worth going to view the less fancy colleges on ana open day to get a feel for the atmosphere and don't stress out too much on college choice. They all have their merits and with the pooling system, it's common to end up at a college you didn't apply to.

Justanothermile Tue 09-Oct-18 08:41:12

Also, which colleges offer Classics?

DD is applying for A&A, which is only offered by approximately 8 (I may be out by one or two without checking) colleges, so that narrows it down.

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 08:58:05

Good point Justanothermile!

23 colleges. Lincoln and Pembroke don't offer Classics, so you can ignore them.

I forgot, St Hilda's is co-ed now, and their Ancient Historian, Katherine Clarke, is brilliant. Also worth a look.

peplos Tue 09-Oct-18 09:04:14

Thank you for the replies, ladies.

He is doing both Latin and Greek
to A level. He is not an Etonion, nor Harrow boy. He goes to a grammar.wink

I’ll send him a few links to the colleges suggested. My college at Cambridge was very similar to St Anne’s, but all female. He’s got a sort of “old library hogwarts” look in his head I believe.

I’ve just read a previous thread further down on St John’s, people seem to think fairly highly of that one.

OP’s posts: |


Justanothermile Tue 09-Oct-18 09:11:04

I think it's also very possible that the application process means that he may well not be allocated the college he originally applied for, they can be interviewed by as many as three.

horsemadmom Tue 09-Oct-18 09:46:16

A vote for Queen's here. DH loved it. Just a note to mateysmum, 3 years of accommodation leaves one year out for Classics.

goodbyestranger Tue 09-Oct-18 12:42:03

OP it's generally the case on MN (and elsewhere) that people here vote for a particular college because they, their partner, their DC, their cat or their parents went to it.
On the St John's thread the poster talking about book grants etc could equally well be talking about any number of other colleges in Oxford. The main support in grant terms comes from the Oxford Opportunity Bursary which is a university wide grant, and in the same way the Moritz-Heyman Scholarshipis awarded whichever college you choose. Plenty of colleges have travel grants for example, or dish out the heavier and pricier law text books. There are lots and lots of those more limited grants, so that shouldn't be decisive.
I'm very unsure indeed about the claim of one proud mother that St John's students are consistently slightly more intelligent! And Hingle, I'm not much more sure that you need to be any more 'studious' than the norm to get an offer from Magdalen, judging by my own DD and her friends who I would class as 'lively' (on many fronts, including the intellectual) rather than 'studious'. Magdalen's grounds have to be the best in the uni though surely.
DD4 isn't at the stage of thinking of college choice yet but so far in the family each of the DC has gone for their own college rather than to any of the colleges an older sibling has been to (they were mostly in consecutive years so there would have been lots of overlap) and they each loved their own - I think bolstering the argument that students really do tend to identify quite quickly with wherever they end up. DD4 may well have to break the convention though, or seven beautiful, central old colleges are ruled out and several of those are ones with a good reputation for the two subjects she's interested in. So I'm quite pleased that it's wide open for her and I'm genuinely unsure I have any real bias.
All mine are grammar school too OP and all ended up with friends from across the educational sector. My advice is to go and have a look and choose whichever takes his fancy on the day. It's quite hard to go wrong!

mateysmum Tue 09-Oct-18 12:48:30

horsemadmom Quite right. Not sure if they now offer 4 years accommodation.

goodbyestranger Tue 09-Oct-18 12:58:52

Hingle perhaps you meant the Classicists at Magdalen tend to be more studious. In which case I defer, obviously smile I think there are colleges where students in certain subjects do tend to share certain characteristics - not surprising given the selection process. I meant more generally, that Magdalen doesn't appear to restrict its intake to the more obviously studious types.

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 13:13:23

Thank you for the replies, ladies.

And (at least one) gentleman!

goodbyestranger - you committed the cardinal sin! Remember: the plural of anecdotes isn't data! wink

For Magdalen, it was a powerhouse when I was there (sugar, I'm about to commit that cardinal sin), and Norrington shows it's done pretty well in recent years (phew, clinical data, goalline save there Hingle), so studious seems not an ungenerous term, surely ref? I take your point though - plenty of indolent sorts have received offers from ilustrious universities over the years. I had been quoting OP in my use of studious - next time I shall be sure not to plagiarise, and use my own terminology!

I'm very unsure indeed about the claim of one proud mother that St John's students are consistently slightly more intelligent!

I think the context for this was that all things being equal, St Johns are typically a top 10 performer, so there is certainly something in the water. I'm sure they weren't claiming their child was single handedly raising the average.

jaguar67 Tue 09-Oct-18 13:14:25

New College worth adding to list too - huge tick for the 'old' & architecture boxes (cloisters used for Harry P filming, no less!). Large grounds with plenty of space - 3rd years typically live out (small number live in, I believe). Takes around 4-5 Classics undergrads each year. Evening meal included in termly rent bill - student group seems pretty diverse and v welcoming.

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 13:15:04

Sorry, just seen your update goodbyestranger - yes, my comment was mostly specifically for classicists, but I think more widely it still holds, but, again, studious was in hindsight the wrong word to adopt!

Regrets, I've had a few...

Harebellmeadow Tue 09-Oct-18 13:19:05

Merton. Could basically be the set of Gormenghast, the dining hall is straight out of Hogwarts and Tolkien was there, I think. i cried and cried when i didnt get it, but things worked out for the best for me

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 13:19:28

jaguar67 - you're spot on, New College another top place for Classics. I don't think Robin Lane Fox teaches there any more, does he? Looks like he's an Emeritus Fellow now.

Harebellmeadow Tue 09-Oct-18 13:23:30

And Merton has a wickedly medieval library with the ghost of Johannes Duns Scotus roaming and reading, but then again so do most colleges surely?? Good luck to your son.

Amateurish Tue 09-Oct-18 13:41:11

I think they are all great. My advice would be to apply to the college where he has greatest chance of success. Look at the admissions stats. Somewhere like St Hilda's offers double the chances of success as somewhere like St John's.

goodbyestranger Tue 09-Oct-18 13:51:15

I think look at the admissions stats very carefully before you pick a college based on them. The main thing I'd take from them is that whichever college you apply to makes very little difference to whether you get accepted into the university ans so on that basis, why not choose your preferred college?

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 15:22:52

And Merton is right next to Christ Church Meadows, so that’s awesome!

Two things peplos -

Oxford isn’t hugely bigger than Cambridge (Wikipedia tells me), so I hope your DS isn’t expecting a metropolis when he applies.

Don’t think your classically inspired username has passed us by! I approve.

Amateurish Tue 09-Oct-18 15:29:20

goodbyestranger - the college you apply to and the course you choose both make a huge difference to your likelihood of admission.

Also consider applying to a richer college.

HingleMcCringleberry Tue 09-Oct-18 15:34:08

Agree to course Amateurish but is it true for college? If you're 'Oxford' standard, you'll get shopped around to other colleges for interview won't you?

goodbyestranger Tue 09-Oct-18 15:40:36

Completely disagree as to college Amateur. The published stats suggest it's a fact.

IlonaRN Tue 09-Oct-18 15:46:21

I was a graduate student at New (because my supervisor was there), but it would have been much different as an undergraduate. They do have a lot more accommodation now there is a new building.

I would go for one of the richest colleges if I were to apply as an undergraduate now.

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