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Colleges


The Collegiate System


O


xford is made up of many colleges, 30 of which accept undergraduates. In addition to these 30 colleges, there are also five Per- manent Private Halls which accept students and are very similar to colleges in most ways except their historical roots.


Colleges vary greatly in shape and size – they range from those which have 200 undergradu- ates, to those which have nearly 400. Your college will play a major role in your time at Oxford, offering you far more than just accom- modation and tuition. A constant bemuse- ment to tourists who ask, ‘but where is the actual University itself?’. The college system undoubtedly makes Oxford what it is - and by that we mean, it’s a varied place. There is no central, standard university. It’s made up of a lot of different colleges, departments, labora- tories, parks, libraries and other facilities. But for students on the ground, there are enough of these places to choose from and colonise that everyone soon finds the area in which they feel most comfortable. Remember, this may not even be in their own college. It’s quite possible that student societies or other groups will provide your true ‘home’ at university, so don’t get too hung up on the web of colleges alone. That said, it’s important to understand what colleges offer - so we put together these pages to explain.


Living and Eating


Every Oxford college offers accommodation for first year undergraduates, so you don’t need to worry before you arrive about finding some- where to live. Typically, colleges offer accom- modation for at least two years, although you may wish to check which colleges offer rooms for the full three years. Rooms vary in qual- ity both between colleges and within them. Some colleges also charge different rates for different rooms, with refurbishment programs meaning that some rooms in colleges are significantly nicer than others.


As well as providing housing, your college also feeds you. Each one has a hall which caters for students at various prices and quality depending on which college you go to. The extent to which you eat there will depend both on access to kitchen facilities, and how good you consider hall food to be. However, food provided in hall is typically reasonably priced and provides a good social hub, as many undergraduates eat two or three meals a day there.


Although provision of facilities varies greatly between colleges, some also provide a range of services you may find useful. These can include music rooms, gyms, and – particularly if you’re an international student – storage


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