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Intro


Why Oxford? A


sking why people apply to Oxford is an odd question in a lot of ways. Oxford has been one of the leading universities in the world for hundreds of years. It has top quality facilities and an internationally-renowned reputation. And in case that wasn’t enough, Oxford as a city is vibrant and exciting, as this prospectus will hopefully show you.


But while that’s the reality of Oxford, a lot of potential applicants still see it in very differ- ent terms. Too many people look at Oxford and think that alongside academic excellence goes an impenetrable old boy’s network and an admissions system rife with public school snobbery.


Don’t believe a word of it. Regardless of what was the case in decades gone by, applications to Oxford today depend only on your potential to succeed and your willingness to work hard to get there. What school you go to, whether your family went to university and how much money you have don’t matter – Oxford admits people only on the basis of academic potential.


You may think that to come to Oxford you have to be an ‘Oxford type’ or a ‘genius’. Too many talented students in your position think that way and don’t give Oxford enough considera- tion. If you’re passionate about your subject and could do well at university, then you’re in the same boat as many other applicants who get into Oxford every year.


If you need more convincing then read on. This section outlines some of the many reasons you may want to apply, which go far beyond academic excellence.


Tutorials


Oxford’s style of teaching is different from that of most universities in that it is built around tutorials. These are meetings with your tutor, which typically last an hour and take place either individually or with one or two other stu- dents. They involve discussion of your week’s work, normally centred either around an essay or problem sheets you have produced or on reading which you have done.


This may sound a bit daunting, but people quickly get used to the in-depth style of teach- ing which it allows. Your tutor will often have literally written the books which you’re study- ing, so being able to discuss topics with them in depth every week is an opportunity available at few other universities.


Libraries


It may not sound exciting, but you’ll quickly learn to appreciate the importance of easily being able to access books and not having to buy your own. Every Oxford student has access to the Bodleian Library. This is a copyright library, which means that it has a copy of every book, pamphlet, journal and magazine ever published in the UK. With over 11 million items and 153 miles of shelving, you’ll be able to find more or less any book you could want there. In addition to the Bodleian, there are over one hundred other libraries in Oxford, including at least one for every faculty and college. Although late-night working hours are something which happen to most university students at one point, at Oxford it certainly won’t be due to not being able to get your hands on the books.


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