Hometown: Liverpool

A Levels: Economics, Maths, Politics, AS Further Maths

Degree: PPE

Lewis Fisher

I hadn't really thought about applying to Oxford and didn’t personally know anyone who had made it here. That all changed when I took part in New College's Step-Up Programme in Year 11. After visiting New College and speaking to current students, preconceptions and worries I had (I vividly recall worrying before the trip that I wouldn’t fit in having a scouse accent, and that all Oxford students do is study all day every day!) were taken care of and I decided to apply for PPE – why not, I thought, given that you have 5 choices!

In my first two terms I’ve had the most amazing experience: an adjustment in terms of workload, but a manageable one that you grow into. Meeting so many new and diverse people who are all passionate about what they do has been a highlight – I love how everyone has such different backgrounds but we’re now all at the same place ( and quite united in our belief that New College is the best of the lot!). The social side of Oxford definitely makes the hard work worthwhile!

In my spare time I enjoy playing football for NCAFC, exploring different colleges with friends (as well as bringing them to ours), and attending talks from distinguished people in the fields I love to study. The fancy-dress parties are a highlight of the social scene down in Oxford too; having heard a lot about them, I can confirm they do indeed live up to the hype!
I’d say the best part about New College is the thriving community both academically (course cohorts are generally larger which means more people to discuss work with) and socially; as one of the larger colleges, there are so many people to meet in all years, plus the porters who look out for us 24/7. It’s also one of the most beautiful architecturally; I love bringing family & friends down for a tour!


Hometown: Leek, Staffordshire 

A levels: History, English Literature, Drama and Theatre 

Degree: History and Politics, History of War 

Evie Graham

It took a lot of effort to convince me that it would be worthwhile applying to Oxford, I was so sure that I wouldn’t get in that I resisted it up to the last second. I also didn’t really think about what it would be like to come here, but one of the best things about my experience was how much my perception changed since I started. It was an adjustment at first, and the workload was intense, but people encouraged me to see all three years of my degree as part of the learning process, which helped to remove some of the pressure and make it feel achievable. They also put a lot of emphasis on the importance of growing confidence academically, a huge part of which meant getting things wrong in the process, which made me realise that we aren't expected to know everything. I found this especially helpful as half of my degree was in politics which wasn’t offered at my school and so was entirely new to me, but by the end of the first year, I was more than happy to start a tutorial by talking about all of the things I didn’t understand, rather than worrying about them. My tutors always took the time to help me balance a daunting work week- including telling me to do a bit less work! I went from being unable to see how I could make Oxford work for me, to wanting to stay on and do a master's,  which I’m now really enjoying.

I visited New College several times with my school through the Step-Up programme which made it more familiar to me. While it can seem intimidating, I found that college grounds very quickly became home and the college system offers huge advantages to people who are coming from smaller state schools, as it replicates a similar communal environment. Seeing the same faces every day, and claiming your spaces within it, breaks down the big institution that’s imagined in your head and makes it into something that’s shaped much more by your own experiences. I didn’t even realise that New was one of the bigger colleges because you really do get to know everyone through the shared experience. Some of my favourite memories from Oxford so far have been events put on in college. I love being here around Christmas time. At first, I was a bit confused by formal dinners in hall, but now I look forward to the Christmas one every year because it’s so festive and just a good opportunity to spend the evening with your friends doing something a bit different. I also always had my friends from home come to stay with me in between terms. This helped to normalise Oxford a bit for them too and it was really fun having them meet my friends in college. 



Hometown: Barking

A Levels: Computer Science, Maths, Further Maths, Physics

Degree: Computer Science

Alex in New College gardens

Hello, I'm Alex, a second-year computer science student, and I am originally from Warsaw, though I have lived in London for most of my life. I was pretty dead set on going to Warwick, and I hadn't applied to Oxford until the very last second, after being convinced by a teacher that I had nothing to lose if I didn't make it. That was some of the best advice I had ever received.

I picked New College because it was the only Oxford college that I had been to before, on an outreach program called The Brilliant Club back in year 9. From having a massive garden to having the tallest dining hall in Oxford to even having the tree from the Harry Potter scene in our cloisters, very few colleges can compete with ours.

On top of having a nice site, there are many other things that I have come to love about New College in my time here, particularly the attention to student welfare, and the opportunities to get involved in the college.

The college has a dedicated welfare team, which is available throughout the term, where they offer a lot of confidential services, as well as subscriptions to apps like Headspace free of charge. On top of that, we also elect students to become welfare representatives (or a representative for something else), and they host many important welfare events throughout the term that the college mostly funds.

No matter which college you go to, there are so many societies to get involved in. One of my favourite activities is alternative ice hockey, which I do every Friday, as it is a great way to unwind after a week of work.


Hometown: Brighton & Hove

A levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Further Maths

Degree: Biochemistry

A smiling New College student

Before I applied to Oxford, I thought it was a place I could never fit in – I assumed I’d be much better off at a “normal” university! I first considered Oxford a possibility when I visited on an access trip in Year 10 but I remember feeling overwhelmed by the grand castle-like buildings and felt like it was a place I’d never be able to call home (oh how wrong I was!). I started seriously considering applying to Oxford after going on UNIQ, Oxford’s week-long summer school, in the summer between Year 12 and 13, which is actually when I visited New College for the first time and I instantly fell in love with the place – it felt welcoming despite its castle-like appearance.

Since being at Oxford, I have had the time of my life. Throwing myself into a brand new subject – you can’t study Biochemistry when you’re at school – was thrilling and particularly enjoy reflecting on everything I’ve learnt and seeing how much progress I’ve made since my first essay and problem sheet. The lifestyle here is definitely ‘work hard, play hard’, I spend a lot of time on my degree, it is a full time job after all, but I make sure to do social activities every day and to get involved in the College community. Getting to meet so many new people from all over the world has been one of my favourite parts about being here – living in a college really is a unique experience.

In my spare time, I spend nearly all of my time with my friends and with people as I’m a really sociable and extroverted person and it’s what makes all of the hard work manageable and worth it for me! The work is hard on everyone and it’s really lovely to be able to take your mind away from the academia every day and give yourself a break. I go out several times a week as it’s what appeals to me – I love to dance to get my energy out – but I also enjoy going out for meals with friends or just hanging out in each others’ rooms (or in the gardens when it’s sunny!). Apart from socialising, I spend my time working as JCR Inreach Officer, where I work to make sure students from “non-traditional” Oxford background feel happy, comfortable, and welcome here; as Creative Director of our Ball Committee, where I help to organise our triennial ball; and as Step Up Ambassador for the College and Student Ambassador for the University, where I work in outreach to encourage students to apply to Oxford.

It sounds really cheesy but the best thing really is the community we have here! With such a large college of around 420 undergraduates, you might not expect it to be exceptionally close, but everyone gets along with each other really well, even across year groups, helping to foster a strong college community which makes college events that much more fun. A large year group also makes it easier to find your people within College. Our buildings and grounds are also truly beautiful – this year I’m lucky enough to be living in a ‘double set’ with my friend, where we share a sitting room, a bathroom, and two bedrooms, with an amazing view of the stunning College gardens as well as the Radcliffe Camera!


Hometown: Pontyclun, South Wales
A levels: English Literature, Geography, History and Welsh Baccalaureate 

Degree: English Literature

Eryn in New College gardens

I’d always dreamt of studying at Oxford University, but I was always almost entirely convinced I wouldn’t be able to get in, I thought I didn’t stand a chance up against people who had attended some of the best schools in the world. However, in Year 12 a trip to Oxford with the Seren Network (a Welsh Government initiative to help Welsh state school students get into leading universities) and specifically a tour of New College opened my eyes to how many people like me were here, studying at Oxford. With the support of my teachers and armed with a healthy dose of realism from speaking to current and past students, I began to realise I truly had nothing to lose.  

I felt part of the New College community almost immediately. The army of second years that formed both the welcoming committee and ‘luggage handlers’ on arrival day not only eased the first day jitters but also made me realise that I would be able to fit in here. My fellow freshers were so friendly; I think we all realised no matter our backgrounds we were all in the same boat! Fresher’s week itself most definitely exceeded my expectations with so many events planned by the second-year reps, there was something for everyone! As a self-proclaimed ‘dress-up-phobe' I had been rather wary of what such events would entail. There is, however, something quite liberating about making small talk with people you’ve just met whilst dressed as a cow. From Toga Parties to college family meals, the Freshers events provide the perfect opportunity to get to know one another and for me helped forge friendships that I am sure will outlast my time in Oxford. 

Of course, like all good things, Freshers week had to come to an end. I was initially worried about being able to find the time to socialise with friends once lectures and tutorials started and how best to manage this alongside an intense workload. Surprisingly, this hasn’t been as difficult as I anticipated, especially as some of my closest friends also study English so we are often working towards the same deadlines. There have been times when we have been able to work collaboratively in the group study room, and the sense of shared purpose has been a hugely important support mechanism for me.  

Being able to eat dinner together each night is not only a great way to socialise and have a break from work, but it also relieves the pressure of having to worry about what food to buy and, if you are anything like me, how to cook it! In all honesty I am yet to make it to breakfast but the weekend brunch version I can highly recommend. Dinner is usually followed by a trip to the college bar where you can hone your darts or card skills or simply continue the dinner conversation.  

Since joining University, I’ve made the most of opportunities to try out new things like lacrosse and I’ve played netball for the first time since secondary school. If no amount of cajoling will entice you into the numerous sports clubs, there are plenty of other options. In fact, the temptation to join as many societies as you can in Fresher’s fair is only really tempered by the realisation that there are only so many hours in the day, and being slightly more selective allows for a more manageable social/work–life balance. Welsh is not my first language but being part of the Welsh society does afford me the opportunity to stay in touch with my Welsh roots.

I feel like I am at the start of what will be an amazing adventure. Like most adventures there will be challenges ahead but I have confidence that I will be fully supported and am determined to make the most of my time in Oxford. 


Hometown: Hampshire

A Levels: French, History, English Literature  

Degree: History

Freya Innes

Before I arrived, my limited knowledge of Oxford stemmed from its portrayals in films and tv which, in most cases, didn’t appeal to me. I couldn’t identify with many of the students depicted and so I couldn’t comprehend that - what I could only anticipate was a ‘rich adult boarding school’ – was to be for me. How wrong I was!

I didn’t have the opportunity to participate in an Outreach programme during school or sixth form, so my application was a shot in the dark. I visited the city for a day and decided that the town had many coffee shops I thought would be fun to study in. This has in fact proved to be true but nevertheless in hindsight remains a strange incentive, but I thought I had nothing to lose by including Oxford as one of my five university options.  

My first year here at New College has been the best of my life. It goes without saying that we do work hard, harder I would say than other universities, and our tutors have high expectations. However, I have felt supported the entire time and still have plenty of spare time to join societies and keep up hobbies. When I am not in the library, I will be dancing with the University Dance Society, organizing fundraising events in my role as charities officer or just taking time to chill out or head out with my friends. I also love the work I do as a Step-Up Ambassador,  giving tours and chatting to prospective students: an experience I would have valued before applying. 

It is easy to be overwhelmed, and I certainly was, by the concept of Oxford University as a large institution. But the college system allows us to have our own sanctuary and community here at New College. It is a well-located, welcoming, and fun environment to live and study in. There is always an amusing event to attend, a fancy dinner in hall to bring your family and friends to or a quiet spot in the garden to chill with a coffee and a book.


Hometown: Pontypridd, South Wales
A Levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths, Welsh Baccalaureate
Degree: Medicine

Abi in New College gardens

Having attended a Welsh state school and with no family background in Medicine, I doubted my own skills and abilities to secure a place here and was initially very reluctant to apply to Oxford at all. Overcoming others’ preconceived ideas about what a ‘successful Oxbridge applicant’ looks like was also a big hurdle. However, I was lucky enough to be part of the Seren Network during my A level studies which helped to give me a change of perspective regarding Oxford. It showed me that wanting to study here was not something I should be embarrassed about and that I could turn my dreams into a reality if I really wanted to.

Medicine does involve a lot of academia and studying but the workload is definitely manageable, especially once you get used to organising your time effectively. I try and attend a variety of events run by different societies, such as academic talks, social events or supporting outreach work (like this!). All are great ways to unwind and find a balance between work and play. The university also has an active MedSoc so it’s very easy to get to know other medics and have fun together outside of studying.

My time at New College has been amazing. Any worries quickly disappeared as soon as I experienced the college’s welcoming community. I feel extremely lucky to study in such a wonderful environment with incredibly supportive tutors and students. New College has given me the opportunity to gain so many new experiences, some that I could never have imagined before, including learning to row with the college boat club and attending events like evensong in our beautiful chapel. I have met some amazing people and formed friendships here that I know will last a lifetime! 


Hometown: London

A levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths

Degree: Biochemistry

A smiling New College student

I thought that everyone at Oxford would be absolute geniuses who know everything but, in reality, almost no-one is like that.  The people who are here are the ones that are really curious about their subject and are happy to work hard because they're interested in what they're studying.  

I only thought of applying to Oxford at the end of Year 12, because it was only then that I decided to apply for a course that I was genuinely passionate about.  Before that, I was thinking of applying for Dentistry just because it has a secure job at the end.  I'm so glad that I chose a course that I actually find interesting, otherwise it would have been much more difficult. 

My experience of Oxford has been amazing; I absolutely love it! There is obviously a lot of work, but it's also interesting so it's alright!  Also, everyone has a lot of things to do so it really bonds you together, because we're all going through the same thing.  In Biochemistry, we have lectures every weekday.  I really like this because we have the opportunity to meet people from other Colleges who have similar interests.

Outside of my degree, I'm a member of the New College Orchestra, where I play the trombone.  I also like to go out with friends for lunch, and enjoying going for walks with a hot chocolate!  

The people are definitely the best thing about New College; everyone is so nice and friendly.  New College is also one of the most beautiful Colleges and I'm trying not to take for granted that we get to eat in our amazing dining hall every day!


Hometown: Pontypridd, South Wales
A levels: Maths, Biology, Welsh Bacc, English Literature & Language 
Degree: Law


I was very worried about applying to Oxford; I assumed that everyone here would academically be leaps and bounds ahead of me, and that they would all look down on people from state schools. These could not be further from the truth. I cannot express just how much you are in the same boat as everyone else. In more difficult weeks, I can always find solace by venting to other people on my course since they feel the same as I do about the work.

The further I get into my degree, the better I become at time management. There is still plenty of time in a week to meet with friends and go to different society events. There is also such a large number of societies in Oxford. There’s a Taylor Swift society, a K-pop society, a frisbee society, an RPG society, and societies for many different countries. There is quite literally something for everyone. 

One of my favourite aspects of studying here is the fact that I am often taught by academics who are the top of their fields. It’s not an uncommon occurrence that one of my tutors or lecturers are actually on the reading list. I get very starstruck each time and its very interesting to discuss something my tutor has written with them, especially if it is not a widely agreed upon view. 

New College itself is absolutely beautiful. I can’t help but stare up at the buildings whenever I’m walking home from New College Library in the evenings. It’s very lucky that I haven’t walked into anything yet! I personally think it’s even more beautiful at night. There’s just something so enchanting looking at the old lamps barely lighting up the stone with light emanating from the moon in the background. This doesn’t even take into account the gorgeous dining hall, or the chapel, or the gardens which cover a surprisingly large area considering New College’s proximity to the city centre. 


Hometown: North Shields, Newcastle Upon Tyne
A levels: Mathematics, History, English Literature
Degree: Law 

Jess Battersby

My experience of applying to Oxford was daunting - I didn’t know anyone who had come here, and allowed myself to be influenced by a stereotype of what Oxford would be like, academically and culturally. Not only was I worried about the workload being unbearable, but also that this would impact the social side of things.

Once I actually arrived here, I felt an enormous sense of relief. Not only was Fresher’s week, and the nights out, actually really fun (maybe the biggest surprise of all), but I met so many great people. I realised that the Oxford stereotype wasn’t real – you will get to meet people like yourself here, but also lots of people from different backgrounds, which is a really positive thing. Being at a big college like New, you get to meet so many new people and find those that you fit in with.

Although there is no denying that you need to put in some hard work, this is something that you get used to. When you enjoy your subject, doing a bit more work than you would do at another Uni isn’t such a bad thing. Also, the work-life balance is much less towards the work side than I originally thought; you still have plenty of time to get involved in societies and go out.

As with every Uni, there is a different culture here, but I have found this to be one of the best parts of my Oxford experience so far. Getting dressed up a few times a term, attending socials that I’d never heard of and joining societies with incredible opportunities makes going here feel especially worth it. I’ve had such an incredible experience at Oxford so far and, looking back, I am so glad that I applied here. 


Hometown: Brighton
A levels: Music, German and History
Degree:  Music

Maria in New College gardens

My name is Maria, and I'm currently in second year! I had wanted to come to Oxford form a young age and worked so hard to get here - I took a gap year just to get more musical experience and qualifications and to do more pre-reading! I was expecting Oxford to be intense, academic and intellectual, but I wasn't expecting it to be so much fun! I've made some of my closest friends both in my college and out of it. I was also expecting to be a bit of an odd one out, having gone exclusively to state schools. However, not only did I find people of a similar background, I also found that most people with a more privileged background to mine who don't look down at others because of it; difference is nothing to be scared of. 

I'm part of many music societies, in many different capacities - from just a player, to a background committee member, to leading the whole ensemble! I love how the societies are student-run and student-led, especially the official music society ensembles; it makes them feel so much more friendly and welcoming, and also means you can get experience in lots of different roles.

I've also found Oxford to be a beautiful and interesting city in its own right, with loads of places to walk and plenty of nice pubs. The colleges feel very integrated into the town, which makes it feel far less insular and is also very convenient! I'm loving the whole experience; academically, musically and socially.



Hometown: Cowbridge, South Wales
A levels: History, French, Sociology
Degree:  Law with French Law

Seren in New College gardens

I never pictured myself as an ‘Oxford student’, and did not decide to apply until the day before the UCAS deadline, but I am so glad that I did. I definitely suffered from a lack of confidence in Sixth Form, and never believed that I would get into a university like Oxford. However, the faith and encouragement of my family and teachers pushed me to apply, which was the best decision I have ever made.

In many ways, Oxford and New College are exactly how I imagined; gowns, fancy dinners, and lots of work. However, I soon realised that I also had many misconceptions; not everyone here is ridiculously posh, the tutors aren’t (all) scary, and people have social lives! It took me a few weeks to realise these things, and settling in was not completely smooth sailing. However, once I found my feet, I found that lots of my worries about Oxford were misplaced.

I was lucky to quickly find friends, who have undoubtedly been the best part of my experience so far. The college system at Oxford means you are instantly part of a tight-knit community, allowing you to get to know people quickly and foster close friendships. However, I was also keen to meet people outside of college in the wider university, notably through the Welsh Society, which has given me a sense of home whilst studying here.

For anybody considering applying here, the best advice I can give is simply to just do it! Every day I am grateful that I had the confidence to apply, and would recommend it to anyone.



Hometown: London
A levels: Economics, Maths, Politics
Degree: PPE

Manuella stands in front of the metal gate by New College gardens

I vividly remember telling my teacher in year 4 that I was going to Oxford; I have no idea where I got that idea. By year 11, I had my heart set on applying to elsewhere and I had pretty much dismissed the idea of applying to Oxford - I just thought of Oxford as where the smartest people went to university which I definitely didn’t see myself as this. The turning point for me was the beginning of year 12 when I started at a new school for sixth form. I was encouraged to apply and, throughout the process of the application, I tried to maintain the attitude of just giving it a go.

One of my biggest worries was the workload and, although at times it can be considerably more than at other universities, I am motivated by the fact that I genuinely enjoy what I’m studying. My first year was a transformative experience, I tried so many things that I had never done before including rowing.  Joining different societies definitely helped me to find my place and helped me to make friends outside of college. 

I knew very little about New College before applying but now I can’t imagine life at any other College. It has a real community feel despite being big and grand. Every time I walk in through the New College Lane entrance, I almost can’t believe that I go here. 



Hometown: Hertfordshire
A levels: Economics, English Literature and History 
Degree: Law 

Maisie in New College gardens

Oxford had always seemed very distant to me. As the first person in my family to attend University, I wasn’t too sure if Uni was for me, let alone somewhere as renowned as Oxford. Because of this, I definitely let myself get sucked into the stereotypes - I remember being so anxious that there would be no one with similar interests or a similar background to me and that I would have to pretend to be something that I’m not.  

The reality is that couldn’t be further from the truth. Oxford embraces people from all walks of life and provides such an amazing opportunity to meet such a wide range of people. Doing this has encouraged me to learn so much more about myself and become much more of a confident person. The stereotypes that I let myself believe were certainly not true - of course, the workload can be difficult at times, but the uniqueness of Oxford is what makes it so special. There are so many wonderful social opportunities amongst the work and a real emphasis on a good work life balance.  

Outside of my degree I have plenty of time for non-academic extracurriculars- I play both University netball and New College Netball. Playing sport has been a wonderful way to meet people from other colleges and other subjects and has been really fun- there are a lot of socials involved! It has also been really useful for developing my time management skills. There are times when you can feel super busy, but when you realise how much you have managed to achieve it is very rewarding. There are so many non-academic extracurriculars at Oxford, from societies to music groups, there's pretty much something for everyone. Getting involved in these kinds of groups has been such a useful way to meet likeminded people and was something that really helped me get over my initial worries. 



Hometown: Cardiff
A levels: Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Welsh Baccalaureate
Degree: Biomedical Sciences

Rhodri in New College gardens

I’m Rhodri, a third-year Biomedical Sciences student at New College! In school, I never particularly considered which university I wanted to attend after finishing my A-levels, but Oxford was always a place I was aware of because it was a famous name I’d seen from the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race on the TV. My main reasons for applying were that the course looked interesting, the city looked pretty online (the pandemic meant I couldn’t visit before applying!) and the experiences people online talked about during their time here sounded amazing.

My impression of Oxford before coming was, on the whole, that it was a scary place for geniuses where everyone was constantly competing with one another. I really couldn’t have been further from the truth. Of course, everyone here wants to perform as well as they can and we all work really hard, but it’s a lovely and warm culture filled with friendly and supportive students and tutors alike.

Every university gives you countless opportunities both academically and in your extra-curriculars, but I think it’s at a different level at Oxford. I have personally thrown myself into New College’s rowing club and I’ve been to amazing dinners and black tie balls and attended talks by really interesting people, but there are SO many other types of activities and events to take part in beyond that! Despite all the busyness, you don’t miss out on the normal Uni experience of having a good group of mates in your flat that you can just relax and watch tv with, the college system means there are always at least 100 people that you know quite well in your year-group and it forms a warm culture where you live.

New College, in particular, is an amazing place to go to for university. From the beautiful buildings and gardens to the friendly people around the College, I’ve loved my time here so far and I’m delighted that I made the choice to apply!



Hometown: Norwich, Norfolk
A Levels: Mathematics, English Literature, Economics
Degree: Philosophy, Politics and Economics

Joanna in New College gardens

My experience at Oxford has far exceeded my expectations, I’ve loved it so much more than I thought I would. I definitely had some negative preconceptions before I arrived about what the other students would be like and whether I’d fit in. I expected to meet a lot of people who had been schooled since birth on how to get in, were familiar with hearing Latin and eating in grand dining halls. I wasn’t convinced that Oxford was made for someone like me, and didn’t really know anyone from home who had come here. But after some encouragement from my teachers and hearing a talk from an Outreach Officer who explained the application process, I decided it couldn’t hurt to apply here. I really didn’t get my hopes up; I had never even visited the city before the day I moved in! Looking back, I am so glad I decided to take that shot. When I arrived in freshers’ week, we were given so many opportunities to meet fellow freshers in college and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how ‘normal’ most people were. Within the first week, I had found those people who are still my closest friends now in third year. I’d say the close-knitted community is the best part about New College- I say hi to nearly everyone I pass around college!

I was also worried about the workload before I got here- I thought I’d have to spend most of my time in the library. The work is certainly different to school, mainly because you have to manage your own timetabling (something that took me a couple of terms to figure out!) and the content can be very different to A Levels- for instance, I hadn’t studied philosophy or politics before coming here. But, generally, I’ve found that as long as you pick the right subject for you (and try not to get behind on deadlines) studying at Oxford can be far more enjoyable than school, because you get to focus on what most interests you. Also, the small-group or one-on-one teaching we get via the tutorial system means there can be far more personalised help than you get in a big school like I came from.

So, I have not spent most of my time in the library- there are so many clubs and societies you can get involved with in your free time. I’ve mainly been involved with music societies, such as the New College Chamber Orchestra and the Oxford Festival Orchestra, but I’ve also dabbled in some college level sport (where little prior skill is needed, thankfully!). One of my favourite ways I have spent my time here at Oxford has been my work as a Step-Up Ambassador- I love the opportunity to meet with aspiring young students, who often remind me of myself a few years ago! I have particularly loved the visits from my old school, CNS, where I get to hear how things are going back at my old home, while I show them around my new one! In the evenings, I also like heading out with friends to all the different pubs, clubs, and bars that Oxford has to offer, and all of this really helps to balance out the work.



Hometown: Manchester / Stockport
A levels: Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry
Degree: Engineering Science

Luke in New College gardens in front of a brick wall

I was really excited to apply to university. Loads of new people, loads of independence, loads of sports to try out that I’d never heard of. But I was intimidated by the thought of applying to Oxford. 

Trying to pass an exam far out of my depth, blag my way through interviews and sneak past a famously competitive admission process, all to be met with what I’d primarily heard of as a stark, success-obsessed, elitist institution wasn’t very exciting. Would I be liked as someone from a Northern comprehensive? Would I even have time to be liked or just crammed into a library for four years? It was the height of Covid, so I couldn’t even visit. I watched a YouTube tier list on colleges and took a punt on New College and Oxford.

They were so right; New College is in fact an s-tier college. I’d happily go on record to say that first year was the best of my life and second looks to match it. The best way to describe university life here is every aspect is dialled up to 11; I’ve worked harder than I’d ever thought possible, crammed more activities into a week than I’d ever imagine, spent time with phenomenal people and caught sleep somewhere in the middle of it all.

One of my favourite aspects of college is how beautiful it is. It’s difficult to be in a slump when blessed with living in what can be best described as an extended castle. On top of this, the size of our year in College means there’ll always be people around to get stuck into things with, from octopush (worth looking up) to running excess meals to a local homeless shelter. We’re such a warm, happy college that’ll have you making friends with finalists, porters and postgrads. I’ve loved it here, be it the people, the independence or the sports I’d never hear of.