As you might have guessed, Oxford is a little bit different from most other universities. For a start, the University of Oxford is made up of lots of different colleges. All students at Oxford belong to a college, as well as being members of the University. So, when you apply, do you have to choose a college? You can apply to a specific college, if you like, or you can make an open application. An open application is just like saying ‘I don’t mind.’ When an open application arrives, it will be automatically assigned to a college by the Admissions Office computer. It’s kind of like a magic Sorting Hat. Applications made directly to a college are treated in exactly the same way as open applications that have been assigned to a college. Oxford colleges really have more in common than they have differences. They all provide excellent teaching standards, as well as academic and pastoral support. All have a library, computer access, a dining hall, bar and common room, in addition to a whole host of other facilities. You also get a room to live in, for at least your first year. If you want to choose a college, it’s more about your personal preferences than any academic decisions. After all, you’ll be studying the same course, whichever college you go to. You will be listening to the same lectures in the same places, and taking the same exams at the end. So, how do you choose a college if you want to? First, make sure that your college offers your course. Most colleges offer most courses, but it’s a good idea to check. Also, you might want to consider a few of the following things. The size of the college: how big is it? How many students are there? How many students will be taking your course? How old is the college? Some are hundreds of years old, others are much newer. Where is it? How close to the college is the city centre? Your department? The park? The river? The sports centre? What is the accommodation like at that college? How many years will you be able to live in? And, finally, you need to ask yourself: how does it feel? To help you make up your mind, come and visit, if you can, on an open day or tour. If you can’t visit, then make use of all the information that’s available online. Don’t worry too much about choosing. You may be interviewed by other colleges anyway, and you might receive an offer from another college. We work hard to make sure that the best candidates are successful, whichever college that they’ve applied to. Plus, we’ve found that everyone loves their college, and thinks it’s the best!