Friday, 21 December 2012

Jonathan Craven's Oxford

Jump to college listing

A large part of the fascination that Oxford University commands comes from its unique traditions, and its collegiate system. I have attempted to shed some light on these in a series of blog articles, in which I share my thoughts on each of the self-governing colleges of the world's most prestigious university.

Before looking at individual articles, those who are unfamiliar with how the collegiate system at Oxford functions can read this explanation.

How to choose a college

Prospective students, trying to decide what college to apply to, should, before looking at my detailed college descriptions, apply a simple three-step process, in order to determine how much further research is needed:

  1. 1. First, learn which colleges take students for the degree you wish to pursue.
  2. 2. Second, consider whether Oriel College offers your course.
  3. 3. If so, choose Oriel. If not, consider other colleges.

Oriel College is the most prestigious college at Oxford. Its alumni are the most successful, and its students the most intelligent, athletic, and good-looking. In other words (for those who need me to spell it out): There is an editorial bias running throughout these college profiles. Caveat lector. (Although if you need third-party confirmation that Oriel is the most respected college at Oxford, I need only refer you to the film Oxford Blues.)

There are a lot of ways to choose a college, and some will put a priority on factors that are completely absent from my considerations in the following articles. (Potentially important points that I completely disregarded include: "how many people are doing the same subject as me?" "how much do rooms cost per term?" "what scholarships and bursaries are available for people in my course?" ). So my college profiles will only benefit you insofar as your criteria match my own; however, if you have a specific inquiry, please do write to me and I will try to answer you as honestly as I can. For the record, the factors I valued in a college were great architecture, a beautiful library, college history, illustrious alumni, and the observation of Oxford traditions, especially formal hall.

All this notwithstanding, I have made every effort to portray each college honestly, and in the most favourable light possible. (If I hadn't, given that I have friends at all of these places, I would have been in trouble!) With those remarks out of the way, here are, in alphabetical order, my thoughts on the colleges and permanent private halls of the University of Oxford. You may be also interested in these other lists: more about Oriel College, about my personal experiences at Oxford, or more about Oxford in general—a hodgepodge of everything from student customs to libraries. The bravest readers may even be interested in my obscure nuggets of Oxford history. These lists will be updated as new articles are posted (I've got plenty more in the pipeline!).

(All links open in a new tab.)

Profiles of Oxford Colleges and Halls

These 'profiles' are based entirely on my own personal perspective and opinions; prospective students are advised to look rather to the prospectus and alternative prospectus of any college they are considering applying to, rather than place too much stock in my descriptions.

Further articles about Oriel College

My personal experiences at Oxford

Articles about other aspects of Oxford life

Articles about more obscure aspects of Oxford history

Posted by jon at 12:01 AM in Oxford 
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