Welcome!

Cat Jones, OUSU Vice President (Access and Academic Affairs)

Hey! Welcome to Oxford University Student Union’s (OUSU) Alternative Prospectus for 2016–18. This website has been written and produced entirely by Oxford students to provide you with an honest look at what it's like to live and study at Oxford University.

All sorts of misinformation is circulated about Oxford University. In 2012, I was nearly put off my application altogether when my well-intentioned head of Sixth Form suggested that Oxford is a traditional place where I would probably have to wear a skirt, rather than trousers, to make a good impression on the old fashioned tutors! As a state-schooled northerner, I was almost convinced that it wasn't worth applying. Now, as a recent Oxford graduate, I am in a good position to tell you that none of that was true.

Academically, Oxford is world-famous, but it also provided me with some incredible extra-curricular opportunities I wouldn't have experienced anywhere else. I received a travel grant to do an internship in Uganda, captained my college football team to a tournament final older than the FA cup, and attended everything from black-tie balls to fancy dress club nights. Check out our student life section to get a taste of just some of the things you can get involved in.

I hope you find this website useful and that, by the end of it, you can picture yourself fitting in somewhere amongst our 22,000 bright and enthusiastic students!

Cat Jones, OUSU Vice President (Access and Academic Affairs)
Jessica Sinyor, Alternative Prospectus Editor

Think ‘Oxford’, and you imagine academics, dusty books in labyrinthine libraries, and wearing a strange uniform for exams. As an applicant, my idea of Oxford was based largely on my long-harboured wish to go to Hogwarts! But the past two and a half years have dispelled that narrow impression. Sure, there're enough turrets to take the sting out of being a muggle, but there's far more to the University than its medieval buildings.

When I started looking for contributors for this prospectus, I was inundated with accounts of the opportunities Oxford affords beyond academics and dreaming spires. Of the 131 students who wrote back to me about their experience of studying and living here, not one person wrote about something ‘Oxford-y’. From acapella groups to improvisational comedy, student think tanks to women’s rugby, the breadth of activities the University offers attests to the enthusiasm of its varied student body.

From the website, I hope that you can get a glimpse of an exciting, vibrant environment which supports students getting involved. Oxford is full of possibilities, allowing you to develop your academic work alongside pretty much anything else you could possibly be interested in. It can promise more than beautiful buildings and Quidditch, so it's really about realising the University’s potential as much as your own. Oxford is well and truly what you make of it – and the students in this prospectus have made it their own.

Jessica Sinyor, Alternative Prospectus Editor