The second part of Rosie's story on choosing an Oxford college...
Keble was breathtaking and also offered my course so I thought that it would be the perfect choice for me. However with more research into each college that offered Archaeology and Anthropology and a granted request for my school to take me back down to Oxford, I changed my mind. St John’s had become my number 1. Now, I think that this was a comfort thing more than anything else, as my school’s singular ex-pupil at the University also happened to be at St John’s. She was kind enough to give a small group of us a tour and ran a short Q&A session. During the question and answer session, I found out about John’s incredibly generous plethora of grants and bursaries and as someone who believed that they were going to be far ‘too poor’ for Oxford, this was very inviting. Nonetheless, I didn’t actually end up applying to St John’s. I was in fact told by a staff member at my school that I wouldn’t get in there as I wasn’t of the ‘right sort’ and that their standards were ‘much too high’. Of course I was disheartened but I wasn’t one to argue. I already felt like I was trying to get into some sort of exclusive club that wasn’t designed for ‘people like me’. Instead I just took the teacher’s word for it and applied to Hertford aka a college with a much higher percentage of state school students.
In the end, it turned out that during my interviews I was pooled and so my worries about college choice were in vain. The University had decided themselves where they thought I would be most suited and they couldn’t have been more right. I feel at home now at St Peter’s and I would recommend it to anyone, despite not knowing it existed before my last minute interview. Writing my experience of the application process down reminds me of how much of a whirlwind it all was. You really are thrown straight into the deep end and whilst I was privileged enough to have a grandparent who understood the college system, it certainly didn’t deduct from the general worries about making the correct decision. Perhaps, if I had friends or family who could have told me about their own personal experiences of colleges, then choosing would have been easier. Perhaps, if my school had more faith in me to beat the competition –or more fairly to the school, more faith in the college not to adhere to stereotypes- then I would be somewhere else. Perhaps I’d have been somewhere else. I don’t think so. I think I ended up in a college that was just right for me. It just shows that even if you personally don’t know what you’re doing, the university admissions team has years of experience dealing with people from all different backgrounds and the tutors who interview you are great judges of character.
Trust me when I say that choosing a college shouldn’t be as scary it may initially seem. It may appear that when beginning to apply all 38 colleges are simply thrust upon you, and that you are left to clean up some sort of a colossal academic mess. However this isn’t the case and regardless of whether you are brand new to Oxbridge, or it has been in your family for 7 generations, there will always be someone who can discuss the application process with you. For example Youtube is an ever growing, excellent and engaging resource along with the more formal yet incredibly informative university website.
Some useful and fun links for help choosing an Oxford college:
University of Oxford - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igcbIeNudag
MollyatOxford - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-To5YsNJHc&t=23s
RosieCrawford - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdBVq9w5CS8
Alternative Prospectus - http://apply.oxfordsu.org/colleges/how-to-choose/
Choose Your Oxford College Quiz - http://www.chooseoxfordcollege.co.uk/