Yes, we have classes, lectures and labs, but what really sets us apart, and at the heart of our teaching, is the tutorial. Imagine having an opportunity, at least once a week, to sit with a world-leading expert and have an in-depth conversation (and that’s really all it is – there often is no right or wrong answer) about your subject. Sounds pretty cool, doesn’t it? Well it was a game-changer for me. It was tailored to my pace and my needs, and really fostered my intellectual curiosity. What’s more, the people teaching you genuinely have written the books you would be studying elsewhere! I still remember experiencing that ‘whoooah’ feeling when I’d just spent an hour talking about an essay I wrote with my very cool, very humble Tutor, and then went into the library to see a whole row of books written by her! It means your course will always be cutting-edge, and that’s pretty unique to us. You’re really not going to get this rare level of personalised attention and contact time anywhere else (except the darker side *ahem Cambridge ahem*, but we don’t talk about them too much… )
Oxford's learning resources - from museums, to labs, to libraries - are world-class, and as a student, you have free access to them all. This means that you will very rarely have to spend money on academic books of your own, or pay to have access to other resources that you might need as part of your studies. You will also have the chance to study in some truly inspiring buildings - my personal favourite is the Bodleian (pictured right). It’s a copyright library, meaning it is entitled to a free copy of each book published in the UK! It also means that 1) we don’t have enough space to store them, so quite often you are walking over underground library tunnels 2) you can’t use the ‘I couldn’t find the book’ excuse, because there will always be a copy available, sorry.
Now, finances were a huge turn-off for me. I figured since University was expensive anyway (and it is, but it’s an investment, and there’s support in place to ensure you don’t have to pay upfront) Oxford was likely to be even more expensive, based on the premise that it’s the best. Right? Wrong! In some ways, it’s actually cheaper to study here because of all of the help available. We’re committed to ensuring that no one who is offered a place is unable to study here for financial reasons. In fact, around one in four UK/EU undergraduate students receive a bursary – my household income was below £16,000, so I received £4,500 a year, which was a huge help! And there’s more where that came from - from bursaries to scholarships, to travel and book grants, there’s plenty in place to ensure that finances won’t be a barrier.
What about pastoral support? Coming to Oxford can be daunting for anyone, especially with intense workloads and the novelty of being in a new city. That’s why at LMH and Oxford we have heaps of support available for anyone who needs it, so there’s always someone to turn to. These include - but are certainly not limited to - Welfare Reps, on-site Doctors and Nurses, Peer Mentors, College ‘Parents’, and a University Counselling Service.
Finally, everyone finds work a bit tough sometimes, and academic support is essential. Because of Oxford's tutorial system and personalised teaching (see Reason 1), your tutors here really get to know you as a person, and are in an excellent position to help you with any problems you encounter. As well as having subject tutors, you will also be assigned a Personal Tutor, and they can also be relied upon if you are struggling. In addition to this, Oxford University has central training resources which are second to none, and make it easy to access additional support if, for example, you need to brush up on your academic writing skills, or need to become more adept with a particular piece of software.
Ok, so I’d like to dispel a myth: Oxford is not all work and no play. We work hard, yes, but we play equally as hard! Oxford is ultimately going to be what you make it, so you can quite easily be the person who works hard (with some all-nighters thrown in for good measure) but also balances this with a social life (and, of course, some Netflix and Chill).
Being an Oxford student certainly isn’t limited to academic studies. There is a huge array of opportunity that exists beyond the libraries and the labs: with over 300 registered clubs and societies, there really is something for everyone, be it Music, Sports (Quidditch counts, for real), Drama or even Food. My personal favourite was the Islamic Society - just last year we held a Grand Iftaar (Opening of the fast during Ramadan) for people of all faiths and no faith. Think fairy lights, lanterns and plenty of opportunities to bond and learn more, over doner kebabs and samosas!
Whatever subject you choose, studying at Oxford prepares you for a broad range of careers. It’s a fantastic place to network and nurture personal development goals, throughout your course and beyond. So if you’re hoping to equip yourself with the skills that employers look for, and have access to thousands of UK-based and international internships or work experience, Oxford might just be what you’re looking for. The good news? Your connection to the University is for life! That means, to name just the one example, access to the University’s Careers Advice Service whenever you need it, over Skype or in person. So graduating from Oxford continues to benefit you throughout your working life.