Choosing a college can be a daunting experience. It will be where you spend (a very intense!) three years of your life. The majority of your time is spent in your college – your room will most likely be in college property for the duration of your course (although this does differ for some Oxford colleges), you will eat in your college hall and party at your college bar. On the more serious topic of your studies, your supervisions will take place with fellows at your college so it is important to consider the specialities of fellows at each college.
Below is a simple list of things to consider when choosing your college. It is a really good idea to make a shortlist of colleges and visit them as most students find that they instinctively feel at home at one college and being at a college that is a good fit will really help you enjoy your three years and to do well academically.
Some people love the idea of a smaller year group of around 80 where you really get to know everyone. Others prefer a larger year group of around 200 so you’re still getting to know people at the end of the year. Work out what suits you and your personality!
Your college will be your base so work out how far you’re willing to commute (daily!) to and from lectures and supervisions. Cambridge especially does not allow you to have a car so most of your commutes will be by foot or bicycle. Whilst this is lovely in nice weather, consider how willing you will be to travel in the rain and snow!
Consider what you’d like to be surrounded by for three years. Do you want to be close to restaurants, clubs or the river? Cambridge is small but even then, some colleges are further out and Oxford is big enough for location to be important.
All students studying the same course have lectures together but the style and focus of supervisions differ from college to college based on the Fellow and their specialisms. If you already have an idea of what area of your subject you want to focus on, it may help you decide what college you want to be at.
Certain colleges are renowned for their May Balls and bar parties. If your care about having your social life on your doorstep (and often these events are for the college students only), consider this when you make your choice. Different colleges have different societies too so do look into your options if these are important to you.
There are lots of factors to consider to work out what you care about and make a shortlist! Nothing beats an actual visit so do try and visit your shortlisted colleges and pick the one that feels like it could become home. You’ll spend three years of your life there so it is an important choice!
All views and ideas represented in this blog post are exclusive to Resham, and do not represent those of any other third party.