Univ attracts students from all over the world, who bring a diverse range of interests, backgrounds and personalities to the College. A number of our students, both past and current, have written here about their life and work at Univ.
Whilst not all of Univ’s courses are represented here yet, you can learn more about our students studying:
Greek and Latin Languages
Politics, Philosophy and Economics
Why Classics at Oxford?
Studying Classics at Oxford is an extremely enjoyable and enriching process. It’s a very varied and interdisciplinary subject, and as the largest Classics faculty in the world, Oxford can offer an unparalleled range of courses, including the study of literature, the history and archaeology of the Greek and Roman Mediterranean, philosophy (both ancient and modern), and linguistics: there is something for everyone, and you can really tailor the course to suit your own interests! Having really enjoyed reading parts of the Iliad and Aeneid at school, I’ve now gone on to take lots of literature papers, but I’ve equally got friends at Univ who’ve taken lots of philosophy or history papers.
I’ve also found that tutorials, alongside lectures, are a great way to learn: the usual format is that one person in your tute group (usually 2/3 people) reads out their essay, followed by discussion of their thoughts and the topic more widely. The whole form of teaching is different to school, and the process did seem intimidating at first – I was, after all, sitting in the same room as a world-expert in the field and reading out my essay – but I had nothing to worry about. Tutors are just like school teachers: they’re there to help you learn and answer your questions, while also making you think in new directions, which is a nice challenge.
The University: Alongside the word-class academics, libraries and resources, Oxford also has a lot more to offer, and there are countless extra-curricular activities you can get involved in. All Univites get free membership at the University gym and pool on Iffley road, and the college also has a number of successful sports teams, recently winning trophies in Rugby and Cricket. Beyond sport, there is a whole plethora of things to get involved in. I personally have been involved in lots of music, playing and managing various orchestras, as well as dancing, performing as part of a salsa group at various events. In short, whatever you want to do in your spare time at Oxford, there will be something here for you (and if not, there are people in the University with the specific role of helping you create a new society!)
Why Classics at Univ?
Univ is a particularly good college for the study Classics.
Location-wise, it’s right in the middle of town, next door to the building where lectures are held and only a few minutes’ walk from the Bodleian Library. The Classics Faculty and Library are also nearby, and the Philosophy Faculty is directly behind Univ. With Oxford’s best baguetterie across the road, as well, everything is in close reach from Univ!
The College Library is also very well-stocked with books, meaning you don’t even need bother tracking books down in other libraries most of the time. And if the College Library does not have an important book, the Librarians are always ready to buy a copy - often on the very same day that you ask!
Univ is also lucky to have two Classics tutors who specialise in different fields. One focuses on Literature, and the other on Ancient History. This means that most teaching is done within the college itself, especially in the first few years of your degree, which allows you to get to know your tutors well and feel comfortable in tutes.
I really do think that I made the right choice by studying classics at Univ. There is a definite warm and sociable feel to the college that is certainly reflected in the teaching. The atmosphere is both relaxed as well as challenging and I think that is why classics at Univ is such a popular and successful subject.
My experience of applying to Oxford...
I am an archaeologist, but I have specialized in Egyptian material for several years. At Oxford I applied to both the Archaeological Science MSt and the MPhil in Egyptology. In the end I chose the MPhil for a few different reasons—such as Oxford’s being a top-tier place to study Egypt, if not the place to study Egypt—but mostly because everything I had heard about Oxford suggested that I’d want to stay longer than a year. That was certainly true; I love it here! When I was admitted to Oxford, it was at first to another college. But I was soon offered funding which opened up a second place for me at Univ, and the College contacted me about making a switch if I so chose. I have to say that I was a bit apprehensive, because in my excitement about coming to Oxford, I had already psyched myself up for a stint at the college where I was offered my original place. Having chosen my first college rather blindly (as I was unfamiliar with the Oxford system), I met with a colleague who had gone to Oxford—but not to Univ—and asked him what I should do. As soon as he heard that my second option was Univ, he told me to go for it. We talked about how Univ is close-knit but not so small as to feel insular; how it offers generous support for graduate travel for conferences and the like; and how its graduate student body has a reputation for being social and casual, not stuffy, while still getting work done. My colleague convinced me on the spot, and I could not be happier with my choice. At Univ I have found a group of friends who are fantastic at what they do academically, and equally as gifted in their extracurricular persuits.
I came to Oxford looking for a supportive and fun environment, and what I got are awesome house-mates; close connections with the administration and fellows; two trips to the Univ chalet (!); a coxing license complete with the experience of racing in four major Oxford events; the pleasure of planning bops and dinners for the WCR; and too many friendships to count.
I have always wanted to study English and when I was young I read that J R R Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, had attended Oxford. I decided from an early age that I wanted to study at that university – it was just a matter of getting there! When I started seriously considering a university course, I only became more certain that I wanted to study at Oxford. Oxford offers the widest course in English, allowing you to study everything from Beowulf to Carol Ann Duffy, so there is a huge amount to interest everyone. The course mainly focuses on English literature, although there is an English language module to increase your knowledge of the medium you are studying. This is fascinating, allowing an entirely new perspective on the subject after several terms of Milton and Chaucer! The course at University College (Univ) is taught by engaging and enthusiastic tutors, who encourage you to bring something individual to texts in order to keep literature alive. Additionally, you have access to the best resources in the world – if the college or faculty library does not have the book you want, you are guaranteed to find it at the Bodleian.
I chose Univ because I felt so welcome there from my first visit to the college. My parents and I were given a tour by one of the porters, who told us lots of anecdotes about Univ, including the presence of a college ghost!
There are lots of reasons why Univ is truly the best college...
Location: it is right in the middle of the High Street, so you are barely ten minutes walk from lectures and the Bod and, at the other end of the scale, the cinema, the pub, Christchurch meadows and Tesco…
Size: not too big, nor too small, so the college feels like one big diverse family – you cannot cross two quads without seeing someone you know
Resources: the college library is open 24/7, whilst there is also a computer room, a music room, a college bar and lots of grassy areas where you can relax and play croquet in the summer
Extracurricular activities: the college has a wide range of societies including a variety of sports clubs, several choirs, a joint college orchestra with Merton, a debating society, the Univ Players (a renowned drama society) and recently, even a Quidditch team!
Univ offers so many exciting opportunities for students – don’t miss out!
Why I chose EP...
I really came into psychology with the view to becoming a speech therapist and because I really enjoyed my A levels of Maths, Biology and Music. I felt that psychology incorporated all my favourite aspects of these and extended them in specific and exciting directions.
My course so far...
I am really loving EP and its many different areas, including development, perception, cognition, psychobiology, statistics and neurophysiology. I’m just starting my second year course, and the subject is really beginning to unfold into so many different areas, which allows each student to discover the one that really excites them. It really sums it up that I was absolutely buzzing after three consecutive hours of tutorials.
Life at Univ...
I didn’t actually choose Univ and wasn’t interviewed here but I am so glad that I ended up in such a warm and friendly environment. In Oxford in general, but in particular at Univ I have found people like me and have made lots of wonderful friends. Univ is a fantastic community incorporating both staff and students across all the years (the porters and scouts are really great). It is within easy access to many of the departments and the rest of town, whilst remaining quiet and close to the meadows and river. For me, the music at Univ is brilliant, in particular being part of the choir, as it is relaxed and encouraging whilst maintaining a high standard in a variety of groups. If I were applying again Univ would be top of my list as an excellent place to be for convenience, teaching and especially community.
As a native of Oxford, my first experience of Univ was cleaning it as a summer job one year. As well as the agreeable levels of hygiene I knew the College to possess, I knew that the members of staff were friendly and I became with acquainted with the collegeʼs beauty and history.
Applying and settling in...
Applying to Univ as a graduate student, my interests were more in the financial provision for graduates, which is generous, the location, which is bang in the centre, and the accommodation, which is in one of the most beautiful streets in Oxford. Upon arrival, at our welcome dinner, the Master told us that Univ was not just a pretty hall of residence but that it would be our home for as long as we were in Oxford. These words have proved true indeed, and I have been delighted to discover the following: the food at formal hall is five star, the MCR is thriving with exciting and eclectic entz events, the Univ boathouse is posher than all the other collegesʼ, and the porters are friendly. All these contribute to the warm atmosphere within the college which is welcoming to students from all backgrounds and countries.
The opportunity to read for an MSt. in classical languages and literature at Oxford, without a doubt the foremost institution for the subject, is unique. The work is rewarding, as not only does Oxford host leading research fellows but has resources such as its extensive libraries and unique papyrology department which make the study of classics a stimulating and diverse experience. Univ has been an ideal place from which to study, with its library, available twenty four hours a day for any last minute essays, and sport and activities to suit all levels and tastes. I have been extremely happy at Univ and, having got to know the University and the other colleges this year, I would have no hesitation in applying to Univ again.
Why did I choose history?
Well, I’m a bit of a history geek, which made Univ a fantastic match for me. I get to be part of a University faculty with great libraries, incredibly eclectic paper choices, and fantastic tutors and lectures. But I also get to be part of a college group of historians – we have quite a lot of historians at Univ, we share our own research, we have incredible tutors doing fascinating research, we work hard, and we have fun while we’re doing it! Being a college that seemed great for history was a definite tick in the ‘yes’ column when choosing Univ.
So, why did I choose Univ?
Well, I actually chose it twice. The first time, making my undergraduate application to Oxford I pored over prospectuses. Univ ticked a lot of boxes: city centre, on-site accommodation, 24 hour library, medium-sized, quite a lot of students in my subject. Looking around Oxford and Univ on the Open Day convinced me this was the place to be; the vibrancy of the tutors and students made everything seem very open, welcoming, exciting, friendly... Yes, pretty cliché, you’ve probably heard it before, but Univ does have this fantastic atmosphere of friendliness. It was the kind of place I could see myself having a lot of fun living, working, and playing in for three years. However, actually being a student at Univ threw at me quirks that the prospectus couldn’t have told me about. So when I applied for a Master’s degree there was no way I was going to hesitate over picking Univ again. It’s pretty difficult to list everything that makes Univ so, well, Univ. Another cliché, but it’s true. Fab food. A pioneering Ambassador scheme. Librarians who always help when I can’t find my books. Travel grants, book grants, generous bursaries. Brilliant tutors. Unlimited punting in the summer. A tortoise called Percy and a dog called Meg. A statue in the library that had to be dismantled when it was moved upstairs. A ‘ghost’ called Obadiah Walker. A lawn to eat lunch on in the summer. Fictional feathered mascots called Martlets. Guest nights, bops, bar nights, socials, and sofas to slouch on. A sense of fun, and a sense of exploring ideas. A bit of tradition and a bit of something new.
A friendly Univ Open Day...
I was instantly struck by the friendly atmosphere at Univ on the Open Day and of the enthusiasm that students seemed to have both for their subject and the college. A number of years later I still feel the same way and can am so glad to have had the opportunity to study here myself. As there are so many historians at Univ I have always felt part of a supportive community.
Studying for an Arts degree inevitably means a large proportion of time spent working alone and this could potentially feel quite isolating. Instead, at Univ there is always someone to talk to and discuss your ideas with, meaning that if you are having a difficult week or need help understanding a concept or event there is usually a fellow student who can help. Likewise, socialising together at organised history events and dinners means that whilst we might not meet people from other colleges in the same way that those studying a science do, we get a chance to interact with tutors and graduate students. As a result of this we have grown close within college and become a very tight knit friendship group. Studying history at Univ means that you benefit from fantastic tutors who take the time to get to know you, really care about your academic progress and are always on hand should you have any questions.
As well as this the college has a fantastic library which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week containing 1000s of history books with librarians who are prepared to buy books especially for you if they are not currently available. This combined with the fact that Univ is only a couple of minutes walk to all the main history libraries in Oxford has meant that I never struggle to find the books I need and have not purchased a book since arriving! More generally the Oxford history course appealed to me due to its fantastic breadth. Over my time here I have been amazed at the range of choice I have and at the opportunities to study vast and varying periods of history from 20th Century British history one term to medieval European the next. Yet as well as this there is great potential for in depth and detailed analysis, allowing you to learn from world experts in a field and immerse yourself fully in a specific period. Last term I studied the development of London in the 18th Century looking in great detail at individual neighbourhoods and even reading crime reports from the period and I am currently in the early stages of planning my thesis which I will submit next year. Overall I have had the most amazing time studying at Univ and the college and Oxford more generally has so much to offer prospective history students.
Why I Chose Univ...
I studied at Univ as an undergraduate, and this obviously informed my decision to remain at the college for graduate studies.
Graduate study requires a lot of independent work and self-motivation, so it can seem a bit isolating at times, which is why it's great to be part of a college which is so welcoming and friendly, with a real sense of community.
Despite the faculty-centric nature of graduate studies, there is still lots of interchange with other historians at Univ, and there are regular informal seminars in college, giving the opportunity to share research and engage with the diverse range of interests of other Univ historians.
The fellows at Univ are fantastic, and the system of college advisors allows graduate students to maintain contacts and receive advice from college fellows as well as their appointed supervisors.
The annual history dinner and drinks provide a more informal setting for all Univ historians, undergraduates, graduates and fellows, to come together socially and relax from the intensity of study.
The college library is a great place to study, and has a very strong history collection.
Social Life at College...
The academic pace at Oxford is rigorous, and as a graduate, the independence can feel isolating at times, but it's still possible to take time to relax and enjoy the more informal aspects of student life.
Univ is very strong on welfare concerns, and has supported me through personal problems with a great deal of sympathy and understanding.
The MCR puts on a busy an varied program of social events and entertainments, ranging from regular Sunday socials to themed bops, while the Common Room itself provides a social space in college for informal meetings and chats, as well as a space to unwind from the pressures of work.
Sarah-Louise Fernandez - Law (Jurisprudence)
Oxford for the first time...
I had visited Oxford in my early-teens and fell in love with the city (and its close proximity to Bicester Village), but if anyone had told me then that in five years I would be studying here, I simply would not have believed them. Getting into Oxford was initially more of a dream, but with a lot of hard work and persistence I managed to get good grades and then the teachers at my school, which was a state school, suggested applying. As I’d liked Oxford so much, I made an application, just to try my luck. However, choosing a College was a daunting task at the time. I attended an open day at Univ and instantly found it to be a truly welcoming place, where everyone was keen to provide information and help. At this stage, I also realised that there really is no stereotypical ‘Oxford student’, and that all that matters is being yourself and being enthusiastic about the subject you will be studying.
I decided to study Law because it was a field that had interested me since secondary school and, having done an Extended Project Qualification with a legal spin, I was keen to engage further with ‘the law’ and its wider impact on society. I also thought that studying law would showcase and further refine the skills that I had developed in my A-Level subjects. Law is certainly a challenging subject, which requires dedication, intellectual curiosity and quite a meticulous attention to detail. The first term presents quite a big jump from A-Level study and the initial transition process can be difficult. Nevertheless, there is a fantastic support network of older students and tutors, who provide assistance at any stage that it is required. Whilst the course entails a great deal of independent reading and thinking, the Oxford tutorial system is an excellent way of consolidating the knowledge obtained from one’s own reading and provides a great platform for debating conflicting opinions. There can be between two to four people in a tutorial and although tutorials will vary in approach, every student comes away with an enhanced knowledge of the given topic, having discussed their learning with a tutor at the top of their field. At Univ, the tutors are all genuinely friendly and care about their students succeeding. An added bonus is that they are all also contactable by e-mail. There are also seminars, which facilitate group discussion and give students the opportunity to discuss any queries that they have about the term’s work or exam technique. As well as this, there are frequent lectures on the various topics held at the Law Faculty, which is only around a ten minute walk away from Univ. The Law Faculty also hosts specialist lectures with renowned academics and lawyers from around the world, in addition to running classes that explain how to use all the databases that will give you access to online resources.
Libraries and examinations...
Univ also has its own Law Library, which holds most of the requisite resources for the duration of your degree (and if a particular book is missing, you can request it). The library is also open 24/7, which is advantageous as the Law Faculty library shuts at 10pm on weeknights. Having our own library means that law students develop a strong rapport with each other. With around eight law students in each year, it is understandable that we are a close-knit community. Law is slightly different from many other subjects, in that Law Moderations (exams) take place in the second term. You will be examined in Constitutional, Criminal and Roman Law, which will be studied across the first two terms. Although this means that you will be grappling with exams a term earlier than those studying some other subjects, it means that you will be able to make the most of Oxford in the sunshine in third term, which calls for punting and summer balls (as well as starting on exciting new subjects). On that note, a ‘work hard, play hard’ approach can, and should, be adopted.
The socialising lawyer...
As a law student at Univ. you will have automatic membership of the Eldon Society, which is one of the best-known college societies and the one that those from other subjects crave to join! As Secretary of the Society, I have been involved in organising career evenings and a multitude of social events. These include meals out, drinks, a Christmas party and the esteemed annual Eldon Dinner. There’s also the ‘Finalists’ Fling’ to look forward to at the end of summer term, which always proves to be an enjoyable event. That said, you are of course not restricted to Law alone. There are various societies at Univ: so whether your interests lie in music or perhaps sport, they will be accommodated. There are also quirkier societies such as the Assassins’ Guild or the Cheese Appreciation Society. Yet you will not be restricted to Univ societies and events alone. College can become a bit of a bubble sometimes, so it can be nice to escape and this can easily be done as the University offers an abundance of opportunities too, whether you’re keen to row or an avid journalist – it’s all there for you to get involved in. I have truly had the best experience here at Univ and do not think that anyone should be put off by media-driven stereotypes. A little ambition can go a long way, so if you want to study here, the most priceless piece of advice I can give you is this: apply.
Univ initially captured my interest, due to its status as the oldest college in Oxford and proud and central position on High Street, but it was only following an open day, that I became sure it was my college of choice. Univ has an impressive list of Fellows and alumni, a history of strong academic performance, and excellent proximity to the town centre, major faculties and lecture halls. What really attracted me to Univ, however, was the welcoming and accessible atmosphere, which was evident from my first visit. The college maintains a large and varied student population and offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities, without ever feeling impersonal or daunting. I have been fortunate enough to attend Univ as both an undergraduate and graduate student and so can say with total confidence that this quality is something that runs through the staff and student body at large. Whilst I would say that many of the stereotypes associated with the different colleges are largely inflated for fun, it is true that people often find a college that they simply ‘click’ with. For me, this was Univ, and I can confidently say that I have had some of the best and most formative years of my life here.
Tayyiba Bajwa - Law (Jurisprudence)
Law at Oxford...
The undergraduate law degree at Oxford is, without a doubt, the best law degree in the world (and no, I am definitely not biased!). The weekly essay means you are really able to get to grips with each topic that is covered and the tutorial system encourages you to think critically about everything that you read. You may only have one or two tutorials a week, but those few hours are worth hundreds of hours of lecture time in terms of the contribution they make to your intellectual development. The Oxford examination system is quite unique; you sit Law Moderations or ‘Mods’ (which are University-level exams) at the end of the second term of first year. These consist of three exams – Roman, Criminal and Constitutional Law. After Mods, you are not examined at the University level until the end of your final year. While this can make final year seem like a scary prospect, having survived Finals, I can honestly say that I think it really pushes you to reach your full potential, as when you sit your final exams you will have both a fantastically detailed and broad understanding of the law as a whole; something which no other university can give you. After completing your Mods you will study Contract, Tort, Land, Trusts, Administrative Law, Jurisprudence, EU Law and two optional courses: the law degree is very well structured and you will normally have, on average, one and a half essays a week.
Activities outside of your degree...
As a lawyer you will be expected to work hard but there is plenty of time to get involved with the huge variety of extra-curricular activities on offer both at the college and University level. I personally was involved with several charities, worked on the College Ball Committee and was heavily involved with the College Law Society. Univ is a fantastic college in which to be a lawyer, it has a rich and illustrious list of legal alumni and is very much known as being a ‘law’ college. The Eldon Society (our college law society) is always organising careers events, talks, and unrivalled social events. There is a real sense of community in Univ, particularly amongst the lawyers, and one of the things that most surprised me about my time in Oxford was how uncompetitive people were: people are always ready to help each other out and the College Fellows are always available if you have any problems (academic or otherwise). Univ also has its own separate college law library, affectionately known as the ‘Lawbrary’, which is open 24/7 and is the envy of many other colleges.
My year abroad...
I applied to do the four-year Law with Law Studies in Europe degree (Course II) and spent my third year at the University of Konstanz in Germany. This was an absolutely fantastic experience and I would encourage anyone with an interest in a year abroad in Europe to apply for Course II. I was given German language classes and, in my second year, German Law classes which ensured that I did not forget all of my German, but the real learning comes during your year abroad. Konstanz was a beautiful town in South West Germany just on the border with Switzerland. My bedroom window had views over Lake Constance and on clear days you could see the snow-topped mountains surrounding the lake. Everybody who does the year abroad absolutely loves it and you return to Oxford fluent in the relevant language with a solid grounding in another legal system, which gives you an interesting perspective on the English legal system. Overall, my undergraduate degree was an overwhelmingly positive experience. Univ is a fantastic college to be at, law is a hugely stimulating degree and you will come out of your degree wondering where the time went!
Choosing a course...
Choosing which course to study at university was pretty much a no-brainer for me. I really enjoyed Maths at school and always felt more comfortable in a Maths test than I did in a lab doing an experiment (which would inevitably go wrong). So I decided I would apply to the place with the strongest reputation for Maths – naturally Oxford. When I visited Oxford for the first time I was quite intimidated by some of the larger colleges. However, Univ really impressed me. Everyone I met was so welcoming and friendly, and they instantly put me at ease. Oxford was no longer that scary place inhabited only by the likes of Einstein and Samuel Johnson, but a place that could actually be my home.
My time at Univ...
Throughout my time at Univ there has never been a dull moment and I’m so glad I applied here. Mathematics at university is a completely different ball game from mathematics at school. Everything has to be treated in a far more rigorous manner, and this means starting from scratch and proving everything which has been taken for granted. I’m nearing the end of my second year and I couldn’t even tell you what a real number was (and won’t be able to until next year!). Still, there is absolutely no need to worry about anything as the introductory lectures ensure everyone gets the best possible start to their three (or four) years. In their first year everyone does the same courses. There are ten lectures a week, covering everything from Analysis and Geometry to Dynamics and Probability. However, it is the Oxford tutorial system that I value most. ‘Tutes’ are your chance to discuss problem sheet solutions, or indeed anything that interests you, with someone who is an expert in their field. Univ has arguably the best tutors of any college, and this means that the work they set will often be very challenging (sometimes impossible!). However, getting to the bottom of a difficult problem brings with it an enormous sense of satisfaction which is quite simply unbeatable.
Music at Univ...
Working hard is important, but it’s just as important to spend time away from Maths. As Organ Scholar at Univ I play the organ and conduct the choir once a week. I also like to go into London with friends to see a comedy show or watch a play, and I have an unhealthy love of cheese. Mmmm….
I loved maths long before I started thinking about university. I participated in many maths competitions back home in Bulgaria and enjoyed how creative I could get when encountering a new problem. It was completely certain that I was going to do a degree in maths. In picking a country for it, exploring a new culture was a top priority. Having studied in an American high school, I imagined that exploring Britain would enrich my understanding of the English-speaking world. I didn’t get the chance to visit before applying, so I based my choice of a college only on college websites. Univ seemed the friendliest, and now I know this was correct.
Starting my course...
When I first arrived here, I was surprised by the big difference between the Bulgarian and British curricula. I succeeded to catch up on time – thanks to Maths Week – a week organised by college before the start of the first term during which all science students revise A Level maths. I very much enjoy the structure of the mathematics course in Oxford. From the second year onwards, we have complete choice of a wide variety of subjects. Univ is a great place to learn maths because we have a lot of fellows specialising in various fields. But don’t just believe what I’m saying: check their pages. The tutorial system means we get a lot of assistance and attention. We receive excellent academic support and are surrounded by people who want us to succeed. In this environment, it is inevitable. Univ offers a great work/life balance. There are plenty of opportunities for one’s free time. College mathematicians enjoy regular maths drinks and the annual maths dinner.
Life outside of studying...
There are many extracurricular options. In particular, the Univ music society is really strong. We also have access to a great welfare support. I was afraid that I might be constantly home-sick as an international student, but I have never been because everyone is very friendly and there is always something entertaining going on. The college has its own bar, where parties and open mic nights take place. Every fresher gets assigned second-year “college parents.” For me, it was truly relieving to know that there was someone willing to answer all my questions. Two years ago, I made the intuitive decision to come to Univ, and I now know that it was the best decision I could have made.
Rachel Patel - BM BCh Medicine
How I came to study Medicine at Univ...
I really wanted to study Medicine at Oxford because of the course setup, which firstly ensures a rigorous grounding in science and progresses to allow students to put their knowledge into practice.
I didn’t know many people at Oxford when I was applying to university so I didn’t have any personal experiences to go by. Instead, I went to an open day and looked around almost all the colleges until my feet ached. They were all lovely but I felt a particular connection with Univ as the student helpers had been so friendly. Univ is not a huge college, but I did enough research to find out that roughly 4-6 Medics are taken in each year. I like the fact that the college system allows you to make friends who do completely different subjects from you, however it is nice to have a few other Medics around to ask questions to!
Why Univ has been such a great college...
There is so much support, whether you need to email a tutor to clarify a concept, or you need someone to talk to about personal issues. Univ puts a lot of emphasis on academic and pastoral care and it is never difficult to find someone to help you.
We have regular tutorials in our main subjects, with experts in their field, throughout first and second year. I remember being apprehensive about these at first because I was scared that I wouldn’t know enough but I have come to really enjoy these sessions. They are invaluable teaching time that not only presents you with fascinating information that no text book would ever give, but also allows you to flag up any problems that you are having.
There is so much to do! At school, I had always done a lot of music and sport, and was concerned that I would not have time to continue these hobbies. Although it is true that I am much busier with work that I was at school, it is still very possible to pursue other interests. Univ has many college teams if you don’t want to trial for University level, from rowing to croquet.
As a school student my subjects were a real mixed bag, I enjoyed maths as well as English and history. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy any of them enough to take as a degree. I thought about a number of subjects for University, but PPE really stood out for me. PPE has a bit of everything. Economics is very mathematical, philosophy really pushes you to consider abstract and complex problems while studying politics gives you an academic insight into what’s constantly being reported in the media. I’d never done any of the subjects at school but that wasn’t a problem at all. As a trio, the subjects work well together, even though you study each independently of the others. The whole course encourages you to challenge the world around you. That’s probably why so many former PPE students end up running the country.
The reason I chose Univ is quite simple, I came here on an open day and loved it. I stayed overnight before open day and the atmosphere was incredibly welcoming. I spent the morning looking at LSE, which was the opposite. Nobody approached me all day, the subject talks were dull and the rooms were drab. When I arrived at Univ it was totally different. Everyone was keen to help and make me feel at home. But part of the reason I looked at Univ in the first place was the number of PPE students here, around 11 a year. I wanted to be somewhere with lots of other people taking my course. In hindsight, that was a good decision. The fact that there are so many PPEists at Univ means that there are always people to talk to about work. You’re also more likely to make friends with other people on your course, so the more the better! PPE at Univ was the right choice for me; if I could go back I’d definitely pick the same again.
Not long after I started my sixth form studies, Lehman Brothers went bust, and Obama was creating a buzz within the American presidential elections. These events sparked my interest in economics and politics, and it is with these subjects in mind that I began to browse university prospectuses. The PPE course at Oxford appealed to me straight away. I would be given a solid grounding in all three disciplines in my first year, before having the chance to tailor the course to my own tastes from over fifty different options. I would hone my essay-writing skills, as well as my ability to solve more complex mathematical problems, and I would be able to critically engage with current affairs, having learned to develop persuasive arguments to defend my own original thinking.
Univ is a place that gives you space to grow. There are a range of societies, from debating, to drama, and strong sports teams. If you want to set something up that doesn’t already exist, the college will give you money to do so. The Common Room is a place where students can really make a difference in terms of college life, and extremely generous grants means that financial burdens do not get in the way of your academic work. Furthermore, the amazing work that Univ does with secondary schools around the country is a testament to how inclusive our community is and how supportive we are of the success of those around us. Oh, and Univ really is the friendliest college.
I planned to visit many different colleges on the September Open day and decided to visit Univ first because it was the oldest college and, from being a local, I knew the college was in a great location. My visit to Univ was nothing like I expected it would be. I was greeted by normal, friendly, down-to-earth people (current students) who took the time to show me around the college and informed me as to when a PPE tutor would be free if I had any other questions. The tutor was really helpful in explaining the admissions process and stressed that all he was looking for was academic potential - where you come from just doesn’t matter here. I had such a great time at Univ I decided not to visit any other colleges (as I wanted to avoid having to choose where to apply) and jumped on the bus home.
A typical day for a first year PPEist
9am – wake up and get ready for the day, eat breakfast in room because breakfast in Hall finishes at 9am!
9.30am – Do a bit of work on some Logic questions
10am-Midday – Comparative Government and Microeconomics Lectures in Exam Schools (which is NEXT DOOR to Univ!!)
12.15pm – Lunch in hall with friends, talk over Logic Questions with other PPEists
1pm – Finish Logic and hand in finished Problem Set at Lodge
2pm – Microeconomics Tutorial at Univ with 2 other people; finally get the answer to the question that kept you up all night the week before!
3pm – Read in Univ Library (Open 24/7!) for Comparative Government essay due in a few days
5.45pm – Dinner in hall with friends
6.30pm – Put some music on and catch-up on the day’s news
7pm – Attend a meeting of a club/society that you’re a member of
8pm – Go on a run, shower, get changed and spend an evening in the college bar playing darts and losing money on the quiz machine
11pm – Bed, need some sleep as the next morning at 6.30 you have to be at the Boathouse for rowing training…
My Top 10 favourite things about Univ
- The Food – amazing value and good variety.
- The Library – always open and if they don’t have the book you want they’ll probably get it for you for free.
- The Shelly Memorial – I always show this to people when I do a tour of college, ask to see it if you ever visit us!
- Location – I’ve timed it and Univ is 5 minutes away from Sainsbury’s and 5 minutes (the other way) from the middle of Oxford.
- The Boathouse – It was rebuilt quite recently and is definitely better than all others.
- The Porters – always there, always smiling, always funny (these guys look after the keys and the post and keep us safe).
- Univ’s Ambassador Scheme – a great bunch of people and the source of much of my Univ pride.
- Logic Lane – cobbled street at the heart of college.
- Main Quad – come and see it for yourself!
- My Subject – PPE is brilliant; it isn’t all essays but nor is it all numbers, it's perfect.