VERSA | The Freshers Guide to Oxford Colleges

As a fresher, you are about to be thrown into a sea of confusion. “What kind of people will I meet?” “What societies will I join?” “Can I get this traffic cone on top of that statue?” However, the most important question of all is what this helpful guide can address. “What’s up with college x?”

And so I present to you a beacon in the fog of confusion that is the collegiate system. This is your key to working out who to avoid, how to get on with those exotic people from outside your own safe walls and of course, where you should have applied instead if only you’d known.


“Do you row? I row.” “Yah, I row. I row” “Oh, you row. Did I say I row?” This is a conversation one might have on a daily basis at Oriel. They may have done well in Summer Eights, but you do have to ask yourself; was it really worth the 6am starts, the dieting, and the drinking bans?  Formerly known as Toriel, it now has one of the lowest private school intakes, which means the rowing team might not go on quite so much about how they beat Harrow back in their jolly old schooldays.


The word ‘Merton’ is known to most Oxford students. We know that it’s definitely a college. It might be somewhere on the High Street? We’re pretty sure it has decent food. What we can all be absolutely sure about, though, is that we’ve never seen anyone from it. Often called the ‘place where fun goes to die’ its denizens can usually be found in the library. Or lectures. Or tutorials. Well, at least they come in at the top of the Norrington tables. Oh wait…

Christ Church

Christ Church is one of the largest colleges. It’s also one of the richest and is up there with the private schools. The net result is that if you go here in election season you will be bombarded on all sides by posh people in expensive suits asking for you to vote for them for the Union or OUCA. Although, a word of advice for incoming freshers – if you like being bought free stuff, embrace the hacking. As hacks become more desperate and elections loom closer, they become more extravagant – tell both sides you’ll vote for them and get on with your life.


They have not one, but two deer parks. Need I say more?

The floor of Wadham MCR, where JC can be seen hobnobbing with the locals about the evils of capitalism


Are you a committed socialist? Great! If not, then you might have more of an issue. Rumour has it that they sing The Red Flag every day at breakfast, and that Jeremy Corbyn is in fact an honorary member, and can regularly be seen sitting on the floor of the MCR, despite the number of seats available. Oh well. At least they have their safe space.

St Benet’s

You will never meet anyone from here.

St Hugh’s

Located somewhere in Abingdon (I think), it is certainly quite a walk to and from this college. Lectures become a day trip and nights out become all-nighters. If you are soon to be arriving here, bring a pair of sturdy walking boots. On the plus side, you’ll probably be extremely fit by the time you leave.