Which Oxford College Should I Apply To?

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Choosing a college is often seen as a difficult process, and many students will dedicate much more time to it than is necessary. Here we will provide some tips that should help you choose a college relatively quickly and efficiently.

Which Oxford Colleges offer Medicine?

Sadly, filtering by the colleges that offer Medicine won’t help you very much, as all of the following offer the course:

Balliol College, Brasenose College, Christ Church, Corpus Christi College, Exeter College, Hertford College, Jesus College, Keble College, Lady Margaret Hall, Lincoln College, Magdalen College, Merton College, New College, Oriel College, Pembroke College, The Queen’s College, St Anne’s College, St Catherine’s College, St Edmund Hall, St Hilda’s College, St Hugh’s College, St John’s College, St Peter’s College, Somerville College, Trinity College, University College, Wadham College, Worcester College

Are some Oxford Colleges Easier to Get Into?

No, you should see competition overall as very strong. Whilst some colleges will receive more applications than others, open applications will be allocated to those colleges with less applications than others, and oversubscribed colleges may see their applicants reallocated into a pool and invited to interview at other colleges. Therefore all colleges will interview roughly the same number of applicants for each place. Indeed, you might be interviewed by a number of different colleges.

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Do I have to Choose a College at Oxford?

No. Whilst you can specify a college when applying, you can also choose to make an open application. This sends your application to all colleges, much as if you were reallocated from a particular college. In 2020, 34% of all successful Oxford applicants received an offer from a college other than the college that they specified on their initial application.

How Do I Choose an Oxford College?

You should thoroughly research each college in order to understand if it fits with what you want. You might want to look at a college’s community – is it a graduate college, or is it undergraduate and graduate combined? Is it a large college or a small college? You might wish to look at the funding and scholarships that colleges offer.

All colleges have a dining hall, library, teaching rooms, and common room. Other facilities like playing fields are not as commonplace, and you should therefore check each college for them. Most colleges cannot guarantee accommodation for the entire period of your study, whereas some can. Certain colleges expect you to live off-college for a year or more, for example. You might wish to look into the location of the colleges, although bear in mind that all are relatively centrally located and therefore location is not encouraged as a factor when choosing. 

As Medicine is taught very centrally, don’t place too much emphasis on a College’s specific staff or its reputation for Medicine. The reputation is not likely to mean much in the grand scheme of things – all Oxford colleges are of a very high standard – and teaching staff will be effectively shared between the colleges for Undergraduate Medicine.

Colleges that accept a significant number of medical students each year are Trinity, Brasenose, Exeter, New, St Peters, Wadham, St Johns, Hertford and Keble. However, bear in mind that this only means five or six students per college.

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Should I believe the Stereotypes?

There is more than a grain of truth to Oxford college stereotypes. Wadham, for example, is very liberal, perfectly in line with its reputation. However, don’t look to base your decision on these stereotypes – colleges will all have a mixture of students, and no one college’s student base will be entirely different to another’s.

Top Tips when Applying to Oxford Colleges

Some of the most pertinent tips to those applying to Oxford are to speak to current students, and visit colleges as much as possible before applying. You will only really be able to establish a firm idea of what a college is like – and crucially, what it is like currently – through these tactics. Online research will never be a substitute. Do not focus too much on statistics, and certainly do not try to make a tactical application to a ‘weaker’ or ‘easier’ college as the standard will be much the same throughout the university, due to the reallocation pool.

Overall, avoid spending too long on this decision, as an open application is always a safe option. Your time is better spent on preparing for the interview in order to secure your place!

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