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12 Jun

Choosing College
<p>Choosing College</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Introduction</strong></p><p><br>When applying to either Oxford or Cambridge, applicants have the option of selecting a specific college to apply to. It is recommended that you do this instead of submitting a general application. Three years is a long time and you want to spend it in a college which suits you.&nbsp;</p><p><br>The process of doing research on your intended college confers several benefits. Firstly, it helps you understand what the strengths of the college are. Secondly, you will also know more about the resources they can offer you during your academic degree (e.g sponsorship for books). Finally, in the event that you’re asked in your interview why you decided to apply to them, you won’t be caught off guard.</p><p><br>When choosing your college, there are several factors to consider.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Academic Factors</strong></p><p><br><i>(1) Who are the Tutors?</i></p><p><br>Your tutors play an important role throughout your degree. You will be having tutorials with them and they are your main point of contact. So getting to know more about them beforehand is a good idea. Most colleges will display the tutors’ profiles on their website.</p><p><br>For applicants doing science degrees, being able to study under a tutor whose area of research is related to the student’s own personal interest is a plus. Consequently, this also means that your choice of college may turn on the tutors who are based there.</p><p><br>If you happen to have friends who are already undergraduates at the college, they can provide you with a first-hand account of the quality of teaching there. This in turn will help you make an informed decision.</p><p><br><i>(2) Does The College Offer Your Intended Course?</i></p><p><br>Major courses with cohort sizes of at least 100 students will be offered at most colleges. This may not always be the case though.&nbsp;</p><p><br>At Oxford for example, the Biomedical Sciences course is only offered at 16 colleges (out of a total of 44 colleges and halls).&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><br>Therefore, it is always good to check beforehand to confirm that your preferred college actually offers your desired course. To help you along, we’ve provided some useful links below.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><figure class="table"><table><tbody><tr><td>Oxford</td><td>Cambridge</td></tr><tr><td><a target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href=""></a>&nbsp;&nbsp;</td><td><p><a target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href=""></a>&nbsp;</p><p>*Each subject page will typically inform you of the colleges which offer that subject</p></td></tr></tbody></table></figure><p><i>(3) What is the Admission Success Rate?</i></p><p><br>Some students like to look at past year admissions data, such as the applicant to successful applicant ratio and total number of applicants. Be careful though, because the ratios do not tell the whole story. This section addresses some of the common beliefs that applicants have.</p><p><br>1. Avoid applying to the popular colleges</p><p><br>While there is some truth to this statement, do bear in mind that the pooling system put in place by the universities at the interview stage minimises the difference between students who apply to more popular and less popular colleges. The pooling system is discussed in greater detail under Chapter 4.6.&nbsp;</p><p><br>What might be true though, is the fact that the top colleges can be extremely stringent in their selection process. Applicants have told us that the interview questions encountered seemed more difficult than that of other colleges.</p><p><br>1. Lower ranked colleges are easier to get into</p><p><br>Each year, colleges at both Oxford and Cambridge are ranked. As a result, some students have the impression that it might be easier to get admitted to a college which is ranked lower on the list.&nbsp;</p><p><br>This is not always true. Asides from the top colleges on the ranking tables, college ranking is not strongly correlated with subject admission difficulty.</p><p><br>For example, even if Trinity College ranks in the middle, it could be a strong college for Chemistry. So a Chemistry student applying to Trinity College may not find it easier to get admitted even though Trinity College is not ranked as the first or second college.&nbsp;</p><p><br><br><strong>Non Academic Factors - Student Life</strong></p><p><br>You will (preferably) not be studying 24-7 for the whole of your university life. To ensure that you have a well-rounded education, here are some other factors to consider when deciding which college to apply to:&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><ol><li>College Culture</li><li>Location</li><li>Accommodation Available</li></ol><p><strong>College Culture</strong></p><p><br>Every college has its own distinct character. Some are more sports oriented, others are more artistically inclined.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><figure class="table"><table><tbody><tr><td>Oxford</td><td>Cambridge</td></tr><tr><td><p>Take the ‘College Suggester’ quiz to see which Oxford college most suits you:</p><p>www.<a target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" href=""></a></p></td><td><p>Read about the unique characteristics of various Cambridge colleges at:&nbsp;</p><p></p></td></tr></tbody></table></figure><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Location&nbsp;</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Some colleges are located further away from the town centre and this can be inconvenient if most of your lectures and activities are based there. For instance, it takes a good 20 - 30 minutes to walk from the town centre to St Hugh’s College in Oxford and even longer for Girton College, Cambridge.</p><p><br>If your course happens to feature a lot of lectures early in the morning, the location of your college can be quite important (unless you decide to get a bike).</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Accommodation</strong></p><p><br>All students live on campus during term time so another issue that you have to look into when choosing your college is whether you will be provided with accommodation.</p><p><br>Some colleges offer accommodation for their students for their entire degree. Some offer it for the first year. Others do not offer any accomodation at all so you’ll have to rent your own flat.&nbsp;</p><p><br>Another issue you should take note of is that some colleges have their accommodation in older premises which may need refurbishing. Extreme cases include rooms which are not warm enough in the winter due to windows which cannot be sealed tightly, or floors on the higher levels being slanted.&nbsp;</p><p><br>Certain colleges happen to have more financial resources at their disposal. Trinity College, Cambridge for instance, has 1000 scholarships which are meant for students who receive a First in their prelim exams. The more well off colleges tend to offer better accommodation too. They may also subsidise your rent.&nbsp;<br>&nbsp;</p>