By Aikaterini Lygaki
What is a PPH you may ask? This acronym stands for Permanent Private Hall. Yes, this answer hasn’t been very useful, I agree. But this is what you get when you google PPHs in Oxford, and therefore this is what I encountered when I did my own google search after I got my offer to study at Regent’s Park College. During the application process, I had opted for an open application because the sheer volume of Oxford colleges was so completely overwhelming. So today, I’m here to shed some more light on what PPHs are and how they differ from proper colleges.
The most basic difference between colleges and PPHs is their source of funding. I know, so riveting. Basically, PPHs get their funding from external sources, whilst colleges get their funding from the University. This does mean that PPHs are much smaller than most colleges, and are generally not as aesthetically pleasing as the other Gothic buildings scattered around Oxford.
The fact that PPHs are smaller than colleges was a major source of anxiety for me before coming to university, anxiously contemplating whether I’d be able to find compatible friends. However, from the moment I got here, I have found studying at a PPH nothing but amazing. With the cohort being so small, I’ve had a chance to meet everyone in my year and make friends with the most welcoming people. My favourite part of Regent’s is that I can walk into the JCR (common room) and always see a friendly face. It is such a precious emotion to feel at home at university, and the friendly atmosphere that PPHs provide is unparalleled in this.
This all does not mean that you are limited in the people you interact with as a student at a PPH. You are still part of the wider University, just like any other college, and so you enjoy the same privileges as everyone else. I’ve loved taking part in university-wide clubs that have allowed me to stretch myself creatively and learn new people. Also, to be entirely truthful, my favourite part of my week is when I get to go for my weekly tutorial at another college as it is such a nice way change of pace. However, after a long day, all I want to do is go back to Regent’s and decompress with my friends.