St Hilda’s college is a five-minute walk away from the High Street, just over Magdalene Bridge. It is also right on the edge of East Oxford and the Cowley road, an area known for its unique vibe, array of restaurants and pubs, and great night life! St Hilda’s riverside location and pretty gardens make it prime instagram material (don’t believe us? Check out sthildascollegeoxfordjcr). The college is super friendly and down-to-earth. It’s one of the very few colleges where you can walk on the grass, it has free punts on site during the summer term, a family of college cats, and the infamous ‘king badger’!
The set-up for food at St Hilda’s is fairly informal compared to most colleges. It is the only college with round tables which makes for much more sociable meals. Canteen-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served Monday to Friday, whilst brunch is available on Saturday and roast dinner on Sunday. This means that you don’t have to sign yourself or any guests in for meals, (you just turn up), and you can pay for exactly what you eat rather than a set price for a three-course meal that you might not want. If you wanted to experience Formal Hall, there is still the option to attend one on Wednesday nights. If that’s not your thing, however, you can always grab a takeaway from the hall that day too!
Accommodation at St Hilda’s is provided for first and third years. This means second years live out in shared houses, often on Cowley road and the area close to it. This isn’t as scary as it sounds though, and many students look forward to the chance to live independently for a year. First year accommodation is allocated at random and all rooms are the same price to make it fair. There are shared kitchen and bathrooms for each floor, but both are sufficiently big to avoid any problems of space or competition. If you have a good reason not to share, the college is happy to make alternative arrangements.
The College has a purpose-built music building, equipped with music rooms and a recording studio. We are also lucky enough to have our own stage, meaning the drama society can put on termly plays! Sport at St Hilda’s is fairly relaxed. We view it primarily as a way to have fun and as a form of stress-release, and as such, there is little pressure to commit huge amount of your time. All teams are open to everybody, regardless of past experience. We also have our own netball and tennis court on site that you can book for free.
Welfare is taken very seriously at St Hilda’s. Amongst other things, we have a compulsory sexual consent workshop in fresher’s week, we put on tea and biscuit club during the summer term, and have a good network of peer supporters. We also have separate LGBTQ, Disability, Women’s and Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) officers that can provide support and run events catered to those students identifying with that group. The Welfare reps also oversee the 'college families'; a kind of buddy system for first years. While at some colleges, these 'marriages' are arranged by ballot, St Hilda’s students propose to each other and tend to put a lot of effort into crafting the perfect proposal! Past examples have included music videos, rooms filled with balloons, and pumpkin carvings.
We have one of the few surviving student run bars in Oxford. This means it is fairly cheap, with nights like ‘pound a pint’ Thursdays, and ‘Drink the bar Dry’ at the end of each term. The Entz team runs bops, with themes like ‘Disney’ and ‘Charity Shop BOP.’ We’ve had wine and cheese tasting nights, and have recently bought a large chest filled with board games for student use, alongside our pool table and table football.
St Hilda’s is a really friendly college. Sometimes the Oxford environment can feel a bit intimidating, so it’s nice to know you can escape to St Hilda’s and the Cowley area where things feel a lot more relaxed.
The student community is really friendly and supportive at St Hilda’s. They have lots of sweet traditions like ‘caroling on the stairs’ where the choir sings carols and students watch with mince pies and mulled wine!
St Hilda’s is quite different to a lot of other Oxford colleges, so it’s worth visiting on open days for comparison. Similarly, Cowley road is very different from the centre of Oxford, and really appreciated by the students here!
You might also want to take a look at the official college website.