Hey, my name is Beth and I am a second-year studying Experimental Psychology (EP) at Corpus Christi College.
I hadn’t considered going to Oxford University until one of my teachers mentioned it at my college based on my AS-level results. Initially I laughed at her when she suggested it but after doing some googling I decided that I would at least go to the open day and see what it was like there. I went to one of the later open days that was just before the UCAS deadline and I have to say although I was scared about the prospect, I did fall in love with the place. The buildings were so beautiful and walking around all of the different colleges was like being in some sort of movie! When I was on the open day, I managed to speak to some current students at the different colleges and get a feel for what studying Psychology would look like at Oxford, and it suddenly felt a lot more normal than I had pictured in my head.
Following the open day I decided that I would at least try to apply, and if it was meant to be then it would happen. My college had never had anybody apply to Oxford before, so I really was on my own during the application process. Once I had finally made the decision that I would apply I only had five days to write my personal statement, which was difficult with little guidance but I just did it the best that I could. It was only after submitting my application that I realised I had to sit the TSA test and I got in contact with the SEREN Network, which is a Welsh support system for applications to Oxbridge that I found very useful. Though by the time I discovered this it was quite late into my application process.
I didn’t apply to Corpus; in fact, I didn’t even see it on the open day, but I must say that after two years here I am so glad that this is the college that I got allocated. It is on the smaller side when it comes to colleges, but this has so many benefits. I have many friends in the other years because we tend to mix much more given the small size and there is a really friendly nature about the college. You always recognise whoever you see walking around in the quad meaning that there is always a friendly face. All of the porters are so friendly and know everybody by name, giving the college much more of a family feel to it than would be experienced at some of the bigger colleges. It is also a very central college just a few minutes’ walk away from the Bodleian library and it backs onto Christ Church meadows, which are perfect for a study break walk (or jog if you’re into that!). It is very close to lots of cute coffee shops and places to grab a bite to eat, and overall it’s just a brilliant college to be a part of.
The Experimental Psychology course differs when compared to Psychology courses offered in other universities throughout the country. The focus on ‘experimental’ research is the basis for most of the lecture content, meaning that you get much more detail on current worldwide research that is going on, and labs (practical sessions) mean that we get to conduct a lot of research ourselves, which is extremely interesting! Oxford doesn’t come without its difficulties. The work is tough and can become overwhelming, but there is a large amount of support both university-wide and within the college. The tutorial system means that you get a lot of contact time with tutors in small groups to discuss things that aren’t understood in lectures, which definitely make things less daunting. Tutorials also give opportunities to meet people in other colleges once you reach second year in EP, meaning you not only have all of your friends in college but this can be extended to other colleges.
I definitely struggled with the transition from college to university; however, with the support available I can now say that Oxford has been a truly brilliant experience. I am happy to answer any questions (no matter how silly they might seem) if you are unsure about whether you should apply or not – though my advice will most probably be to go for it! I wish that I had the opportunity to know a bit more about the Oxford application process before I applied, so I am happy to provide details on the application process, the course, or university life in general. Please do not hesitate to contact me on the email address on the right!