The list of the best Oxford Colleges

The Best Oxford Colleges in 2024

The University of Oxford, one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, has 44 halls and colleges where students may learn, live and grow. With around 24 thousand applicants every year it’s one of the most popular educational institutions in the UK.

But, how hard is it to get into Oxford? Learn what are the best Oxford Colleges in 2024 and how to choose the right one for yourself

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How to Choose The Best Oxford College

Choosing the right college at Oxford University can be daunting, as there are over 30 colleges and 6 permanent private halls to choose from. However, with some research and careful consideration, you can find the college that is the best fit for you.

We will try to guide you through the steps to choose the best Oxford college for you. 

First, consider your academic interests and the courses you want to study. Some colleges may have a focus on certain subjects, so it’s important to research the colleges and their academic offerings to find the ones that align with your interests.

For example, suppose you’re interested in studying philosophy. In that case, you may want to consider colleges like Balliol College or Corpus Christi College, which have a strong focus on humanities and social sciences.

Next, consider the location and size of the college. Oxford is a small city, so you won’t be too far from any of the colleges, but some may be closer to your classes or other amenities that you may find important.

Additionally, some colleges are larger and have more facilities, while others are smaller and more intimate. Think about what kind of environment you prefer and choose an Oxbridge college that fits your needs.

Another factor to consider is the college community and extracurricular activities. Some colleges have a strong sense of community and offer a wide range of extracurricular activities, from sports teams to societies and clubs.

If you’re interested in getting involved in extracurricular activities, look for colleges that have a vibrant community and a wide range of opportunities.

Finally, don’t be afraid to visit the colleges and talk to current students and staff. Many colleges offer open days and tours, where you can get a sense of the college’s atmosphere and facilities. You can also contact the admissions office and ask to speak with a current student to get their perspective on the college and its community.

Choosing the right college at Oxford University can be a challenging task, but this must be your priority if you are applying to Oxford University. You will spend 3 to 5 years at university, so choose wisely your right Oxford College. 

With some research and careful consideration, you can find the college that is the best fit for you and your academic interests.

Finally, consider the courses you want to study, the location, the size of the college, the college community and extracurricular activities, and don’t be afraid to visit the colleges and talk to current students and staff.

Read the full guide here:

Which are the best colleges in Oxford?

Norrington table ranking is important for students who apply to Oxford and is the most popular ranking table. It could be one of the decision factors which Oxford College chooses.

Below is the list of the top 10 colleges based on the Norrington Table 2021. For a full list and guide visit Norrington Table

In overall, 10 best Oxford colleges to study are:

PositionCollegeNorrington Score
1Merton82.86%
2St John’s79.81%
3Lincoln79.56%
4Brasenose79.17%
5New College79.12%
6St Catherine’s79.01%
7Worcester78.69%
8Balliol78.68%
9Harris Manchester78.00%
10St Anne’s77.78%
The best 10 Oxford colleges according to Norrington table scoring
5 Best Oxford colleges for UK and International students
5 Best Oxford Colleges

Oxford Colleges Acceptance Rate 

The acceptance rate at Oxford Colleges is quite low, with only about one in four applicants being offered a place. According to Oxford’s official Annual Admission Statistical report, in the 2022 academic year, the overall acceptance rate was 13.73%.

This low acceptance rate is due to the highly competitive nature of Oxford University and the large number of Oxbridge applications it receives from highly qualified students.

However, the acceptance rate varies by college and course, so it’s important to research the specific programme you are interested in to get a more accurate idea of the chances of acceptance.

The acceptance rate of Oxford colleges for UK and international students in 2022 is:

  • UK applicants – 18.7%
  • EU applicants – 6%
  • International students (non-EU) – 7.8%

Below is a table with more data regarding the Oxford acceptance rate and offers being made by the university.

StudentsApplicationsOffersAcceptance rate
UK14401269118.7%
EU21361286.0%
Non-EU78016087.8%
All24338342714.1%

Acceptance Rate by College

According to the Oxford Annual Admission Report, the two most oversubscribed colleges for the 2019-2021 period are Worcester, Keble and Brasenose. Also, these three have the lowest acceptance rate Worcester – 10.8%, Brasenose – 12.5%, and Keble 13.7%. 

Oxford colleges with the highest acceptance rate are St Hugh’s College – 29.2% and St Hilda’s College – 31.7%. 

Below is the table with the acceptance rate for each college. 

CollegeAcceptance rate
Balliol College16.5%
Brasenose College12.5%
Christ Church20.1%
Corpus Christi College24.8%
Exeter College18.9%
Hertford College19.8%
Jesus College21.4%
Keble College13.7%
Lady Margaret Hall19.6%
Lincoln College21.5%
Magdalen College15.4%
Mansfield College22.8%
Merton College16.8%
New College22.2%
Oriel College21.1%
Pembroke College20.0%
Somerville College25.4%
St Anne’s College25.3%
St Catherine’s College20.7%
St Edmund Hall25.3%
St Hilda’s College31.7%
St Hugh’s College29.2%
St John’s College14.0%
St Peter’s College22.9%
The Ǫueen’s College21.0%
Trinity College20.2%
University College22.8%
Wadham College22.6%
Worcester College10.8%

Acceptance Rate by Subject

For three years total, 2019-2021, the most oversubscribed courses are medicine, law, physics, and mathematics. Below is the table is the acceptance rate by subject for Oxford colleges in 3 years period (2019-2021). 

SubjectsAcceptance rate
Biochemistry24%
Biology23%
Biomedical Sciences13%
Chemistry33%
Classics48%
Computer Science6%
Earth Sciences42%
Economics & Management9%
Engineering Science26%
English28%
Experimental Psychology20%
Geography22%
History25%
History & Politics14%
Law15%
Materials Science40%
Mathematics11%
Mathematics & Computer Science8%
Medicine13%
Modern Languages43%
Music50%
Oriental Studies31%
PPE17%
Physics12%
Theology and Religion38%

Learn more in our guide:

Oxford Collegiate System

The Oxford Collegiate system is a unique system of student support and guidance that is designed to help students make the most of their time at Oxford University.

It is based on the idea that students should be supported and guided by their peers, rather than relying solely on faculty members.

The system works by assigning each student to a college, which acts as their home base for the duration of their studies. Each college has its own set of rules and regulations, as well as a range of activities and services available to its members.

Students are encouraged to take part in these activities and services, which can include academic support, social events, sports teams, clubs and societies.

New students need to familiarise themselves with the rules and regulations of their college before they arrive at the University of Oxford. They should also take advantage of the resources available to them through their colleges, such as academic support services or social events.

Finally, they should make sure they get involved in the activities offered by their college so that they can make the most out of their time at Oxford.

The Most Popular Oxford Colleges 

Oxford University is made up of 38 colleges and 6 permanent private halls. The colleges are self-governing and financially independent institutions, each with its distinctive character and traditions.

Some of the most well-known colleges at Oxford University include Christ Church, Magdalen College, Balliol College, and Merton College.

Ultimately, the best college for you will depend on your personal preferences and academic interests. This is our list of the most popular colleges at Oxford University:

  • Christ Church
  • Magdalen College
  • New College
  • St. John’s College
  • Trinity College
  • Worcester College
  • Balliol College
  • University College
  • Merton College
  • Exeter College

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The Best Oxford Colleges for Law 

Brasenose College is one of the colleges at Oxford with the strongest reputation for law programmes. It has a dedicated law library and a law faculty that includes many distinguished scholars. There are more High Court judges produced by Brasenose than at any other institution.

Read our full guide: The Best Oxford Colleges for Law

In addition to having a long history of top lawyers teaching there, it also has a two-room law library, so you do most of your reading without having to trek to St Cross.

It also has a highly regarded law society, the Ellesmere Society. It took about twice as many lawyers as other colleges, and about 10% of students were studying law.

The Best Oxford Colleges for Medicine 

The best Oxford Colleges for Medicine are Christ Church, Magdalen, and St. John’s. All three of these colleges have excellent reputations for medical studies and offer a range of courses in the field.

Christ Church is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges at Oxford, and it has a long history of excellence in medical studies. It offers a range of courses in medicine, including pre-clinical and clinical studies. Magdalen College is also highly regarded for its medical courses, with a focus on research and teaching.

St. John’s College has an excellent reputation for its medical courses, with a strong emphasis on clinical practice. All three colleges have excellent facilities and resources to support students studying medicine at Oxford.

Notable alumni of these three colleges in medicine include Sir William Osler (Christ Church), Sir Alexander Fleming (Magdalen), and Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins (St. John’s). All three of these individuals made significant contributions to the field of medicine, and their work is still highly regarded today.

The overall acceptance rate for Oxford colleges in medicine is very low, with an average of around 13%.

The Best Oxford Colleges For Maths

Some of the colleges at Oxford with a reputation for excellence in mathematics are:

Balliol College: Balliol is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges at Oxford, and it has a strong reputation for mathematics. Many well-known mathematicians have studied or taught at Balliol.

Magdalen College: Magdalen is another top-ranked college at Oxford with a strong tradition in mathematics. It has a large and active mathematics community, and many of its students go on to study or work in mathematics and related fields after graduation.

St. John’s College: St. John’s is a college with a long history of excellence in mathematics. It has a thriving mathematics community and is home to many notable mathematicians and scientists.

Trinity College: Trinity is a college with a strong reputation for mathematics and science, and it has produced many notable mathematicians over the years. Its students have access to a range of mathematical resources and opportunities, including a dedicated mathematics library and a math club.

Merton College: Merton is a college with a strong tradition in mathematics and many notable mathematicians among its alumni. It has a thriving mathematics community and is home to a range of mathematical resources and opportunities for students.

Some notable alumni who made significant contributions to the field of mathematics from these colleges are

John Horton Conway mathematician is known for his contributions to combinatorial game theory and the creation of the “Conway’s Game of Life” cellular automaton, studied at Balliol College. Andrew Wiles, a mathematician who proved Fermat’s Last Theorem graduated from Magdalen.

Famous scientist and mathematician, Sir Isaac Newton, is known for his contributions to calculus, optics, and the laws of motion studied at Trinity College.

Best Oxford Colleges For History

Oxford University has a strong reputation for its history programmes, and several colleges are particularly well-known for their history offerings. Some of the best colleges for history at Oxford University include

Balliol College has a long history of excellence in the study of history, with many distinguished historians among its alumni and faculty. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in history, as well as a strong research culture.

Christ Church is one of the largest and most famous colleges at Oxford University, and it has a strong reputation for its history programs. It offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in history, as well as a range of extracurricular activities for history students.

Magdalen College is known for its beautiful gardens and riverside location, and it also has a strong reputation for its history programs. It offers a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in history, as well as a strong research culture and a vibrant student community.

Merton College has a long history of excellence in the study of history, and it offers a range of undergraduate and graduate courses in the subject. It also has a strong research culture and a vibrant student community.

St. John’s College is one of the largest and most prestigious colleges at Oxford University, and it has a strong reputation for its history programs. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses in history, as well as a strong research culture and a vibrant student community.

Best Oxford Colleges For English

The best Oxford college for English lectures is Magdalen College. It has a long history of excellence in English literature and has produced some of the most influential writers in the world, including J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Oscar Wilde.

The college also offers a range of courses in English literature and language, as well as seminars and tutorials with leading academics in the field.

FAQs

Which Oxford College is easiest to get into?

The easiest Oxford college to get into is Hilda’s. The University of Oxford has a system called ‘pooling’. The admissions tutor may send your Oxbridge application to other colleges if a course placed at one college fills up, but they still think you are a strong candidate.

Which Oxford College has the best reputation?

One of the most popular Oxford colleges for students is the castle-like Christ Church. There are several Harry Potter filming locations at the college, including Christ Church Cathedral.