A few days back I secured a place at Green Templeton College at Oxford and have also applied for college accommodation. Considering that I am Round 2 admit and I am applying to what is considered a ‘safe’ choice of MBA students, I am confident of getting a place soon.
Oxford is a ‘collegiate university’,which means in addition to securing a place at your program you also have to enroll into a college in the University. Only then is your admission process considered complete, securing a place at Business School is not the end of it!
It’s a trifecta approach to academics:
1. The University – that enrolls you, conducts examinations and other formalities, conducts the marticulation and graduation ceremonies, etc.
2. Said Business School – for lectures and everything related to the course.
3. College – For socialising. There are 38 distinct autonomous colleges in the University, each with its own unique character. College is where you spend rest of your non-academic time at, interact with co-students from other programs/departments, eat, participate in extra-curricular activities and/or also reside. Colleges play a significant role in academics for undergraduate students, however for MBAs they do not matter much as most of our teaching is supervised by SBS.
Students make their preference for colleges based on a number of factors, it is essentially a personal choice. While some prefer the older ones ( Balliol, Merton etc), others like to be part of colleges that have had famous and notable alumni ( Christ Church, Magdalen etc). There are also colleges with intense sporting facilities and their own rowing teams (Keble, Trinity). For most of the MBAs (and for me) distance from the school is an important factor given our intensive schedule over the year, and we will anyway be spending most of our time at SBS.
Another factor to keep in mind while applying for colleges is that there are varying seats for MBAs in each institute. The more historical and popular ones are more difficult to get in with only about 1 or 2 seats for MBAs. Also, not all colleges have accommodation available, only first year undergraduate students are guaranteed a place to stay in college. That said, there are students who still go ahead with the college of their choice and take off-campus accommodation that is closer to SBS.
Green Templeton College (GTC) has maximum number of seats for MBAs and is often the most preffered choice given its distance and accommodation availability. I chose GTC because I want to be close to my cohort and the school, as I will have a lot to learn from my peers. While I am at Oxford, I hope to not miss visiting each of the other colleges!
This link on Oxford website may be useful focollege profiling and selection – http://www.ox.ac.uk/about/colleges
I also found this link useful when I was researching for colleges, although most of the information is pretty undergrad-centric – http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Oxford_College_Pros_and_Cons