As any more boring prospectus will tell you, Hertford is the one with the bridge. There’s also a cat. With that out of the way, think about applying here if you’re after a chilled-out college that does a bit of everything Oxford has to offer. There’s no Hertford "type" - rather, the place strongly projects an open, progressive, and friendly atmosphere. Beautiful and super central, everything here is designed to help you get the most out of Oxford, and this applies to your academic work and everything beyond it!
Hall serves three meals a day in the week, and brunch and dinner at weekends (but no dinner on Saturdays), and students can choose which meals to attend. There are also catering facilities and a hall at the college's south Oxford annexe. At Hertford, students get to enjoy two formal dinners per week which can be balloted for and must be attended in semi-formal dress/jacket and tie. Throughout the year, there are several special formals for Christmas and other occasions. The Hall is good with catering for vegetarians but unfortunately provides neither Kosher nor Halal food. Payment is via Bodcard and is on battels at the end of term. There is a roast dinner every Wednesday and have some cool pop-up food stands at the annexe: from ramen to Bao Buns, Greek wraps, jerk chicken, and over to burgers, you'll find what you are looking for.
Hertford has been proud to offer all undergraduate students college rooms since 1995. In first year, these will be on the main site - all are single rooms with shared bathrooms. There are limited rooms in college for subsequent years, so most students live in the college's south Oxford annexe at Folly Bridge (which has its own dining hall) or in college-owned houses in north Oxford. There are laundry facilities at all sites, and the annexe and houses have kitchen facilities, although all students are allowed personal fridges. Unfortunately Hertford is not very accessible at present. The Hall is only accessible via a spiral staircase, but we do have a self-opening door to the Library and an accessible WC in the Old Buildings Quad. All rooms are the same price and are randomly assigned for freshers. After this, the JCR is in charge of the room ballot. The JCR Exec have designated rooms in college, and otherwise finalist scholars have the highest priority followed by finalists. As for graduate accommodation, this is available for fee-paying students (graduates can opt out of the MCR ballot during a fee-paying year in exchange for opting in during the first year that they become non fee-paying). Senior Scholars are entitled to rooms for the duration of their scholarship. Rooms are offered in the following order: overseas graduates, UK graduates (not Oxford), UK Oxford graduates, reserve list. The MCR is located in the Octagon, which is the oldest room in college and has a fantastic location overlooking Catte Street and the Sheldonian.
Music is huge at Hertford - there is a Jazz Band, Wind Band, Choir, an Orchestra... All the groups are non-auditioning and there are termly concerts. There is a grand piano that can be booked for practice, and there are frequent lunchtime recitals and open mic nights. In terms of sports, college teams compete in Rowing, Football, Rugby Union, Netball, Hockey, Darts, Cricket, Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee, and Basketball ("Cuppers" events feature other sports on top of that). Hertford has the highest overall number of women's crews across all colleges! There’s also an on-site gym (equipped with weights, cable machine, treadmill, bikes and ergs) and JCR and MCR also organise weekly yoga and Zumba classes. The JCR is highly politically and socially aware but doesn’t take itself too seriously! Other extracurricular activities involve business/enterprise societies – Hertford Business and Economics Society, and Tri-innovate, a joint initiative between Hertford, Pembroke and Wolfson, in which students create teams to build innovative commercial or social enterprises. "Hartfest" is an annual multi-disciplinary arts festival organised by the JCR.
Hertford's Welfare system is made up of senior members and students. The College Nurse, Registrar, Dean, and the Chaplain are supported by a special Welfare Coordinator (a qualified nurse) who offers weekly drop-in sessions for all students of the college. Additionally to these senior members, the Welfare team also includes Junior Deans at each of the accommodation sites, and there are both female and male JCR and MCR welfare reps, plus a number of student peer supporters. These are trained in dealing with difficult and sensitive issues, and they also run regular welfare teas with lots of (un)healthy food, offering a space to take a break from busy Oxford life.
Hertford entertainment is great, and this is mainly due to all its fabulous members! Bops are held at hired-out clubs in town as the common room (JCR) is too small. The JCR is located in the first-year accommodation quad. There is a pool table, TV, and lots of other things for general entertainment - for example, Hertford JCR is the only one in Oxford to have its own ball pit (which they’re very proud of). The MCR common room is in the Octagon in the heart of college. The bar is called DTB (Down The Bar) and is open 7pm-11pm Mon-Sat and 7pm-10:30pm Sun. It’s a rabbit warren of underground rooms each with different distinctive decoration, and students get to enjoy a range of delicious drinks (payment in cash only). There is a darts board, football table and games machine. There are also regular charity bar quizzes and open mic nights.
I really like Hertford’s genuinely unpretentious, open atmosphere, and the fact that we value the college's present and future as much as (if not more than) its past.
Hertford is one the friendliest Colleges there is. The atmosphere is relaxed and everyone is so supportive. It feels like a second home with a second family.
Hertford is a charming college. The Bar is yellow, the Bridge sighs, and the Bod is close at hand. All in all, it’s a good place.