St Hilda’s college is a situated a five-minute walk away from the High Street, just over Magdalen Bridge on the banks of the River Cherwell. The college is well known for its down-to-earth and friendly atmosphere, as well as its beautiful riverside location, making it prime Instagram material (don’t believe us? Check out @sthildasoxfordjcr. Located between the city centre and the edge of East Oxford and Cowley road, the college is situated away from the busy tourist areas, with a great view and lots of green space, in proximity to an area known for its unique vibe, array of restaurants and pubs, and great night life!
The catering set up at St Hilda’s is fairly informal compared to most colleges. All rooms on site have access to kitchen space (with varying appliances including fridge/freezers, hobs, microwaves, and kettles). The dining hall at St. Hilda's is the only one in Oxford to have round tables, making for much more sociable mealtimes, compared to the traditional benches at other colleges. A canteen-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner is served Monday to Friday, roast dinner on Sunday as well as Saturday morning brunch (a student favourite!).
There is a meal credit system at Hall meaning you don’t have to pre-book yourself or any guests in for meals - you can just turn up and pay for exactly what you eat, rather than paying a set price for a three-course meal that you might not always want. For those who want to get involved with traditional Formal Hall dinners, we have optional formals every Wednesday night, as well as special formals for specific societies (e.g. LGBTQ+ formal, sports formal, Christmas dinner and welcome formal). If that’s not your thing, however, you can always grab a takeaway from the hall on those days too.
Accommodation is provided for St Hilda’s first and third years, with some onsite accommodation available for second years should they need it. However, most second years live out in privately rented shared houses, often on Cowley road and the surrounding area, much like the typical uni experience of 'living out'. This is a great opportunity to grow your friendships and get a taste of living independently and is very popular amongst the second years!
First year accommodation is allocated at random, and all rooms are priced the same to make the allocation process fair. There are shared kitchen and bathrooms for each floor, but have ample room to avoid any issues with crowding or competition. If you have personal requirements that mean you cannot share, the college is happy to make alternative arrangements on a case-by-case basis.
The College is home to a purpose-built music building, equipped with practice rooms and a recording studio. We are also lucky enough to have our own stage where the drama society puts on termly plays and musicians/the college choir put on music recitals! Beyond music and sports, we also have several college-societies that you can be part of and an array of college events including the annual Arts Week as well as the Feminist Festival.
Sport at St Hilda’s is fairly relaxed, and all teams are open to everybody, regardless of experience - sport is primarily a way to have fun, meet new people and as a form of stress-release. Despite this, we have had a number of sporting successes, such as the football team winning the intercollegiate 'cuppers' competition in 2019. We also have our own netball court, tennis court, music practice rooms and gym free to book for all students. Thanks to our location on the river, we even have free kayaks and punts that you can take out for a paddle in the summer!
Welfare and pastoral care are taken very seriously at St Hilda’s, with JCR officers, welfare team, college nurses, tutors and peer supporters all aiming to support you throughout your time with us. Amongst other things, we have a compulsory sexual consent workshop and mental health workshops in fresher’s week and our liberation officers (LGBTQ, Disability, Women’s and Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) officers) are also there to provide support and run events for students identifying with the respective groups.
The Welfare reps also oversee the 'college families' (which is a kind of buddy system for first years). St Hilda’s students propose to each other, and the welfare team puts lots of effort in ensuring your college parents are best suited to be your point of contact and to support as you transition to university.
St Hilda's boasts a lively college bar in the JCR (Junior Common Room) serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks at amazing prices (we're talking £2 shots here)! The Entz team is responsible for organising social events to cater for all students, including nights like ‘pound a pint’ Thursdays, and ‘Drink the bar Dry’ at the end of each term, as well as pizza nights, movie screenings and bops (Big Organised Parties - basically fancy-dress parties), plus much more!
St Hilda's is the only college to have round tables in its dining hall - this is by far my favourite thing as it makes creates such a sociable and friendly atmosphere in Hall. This atmosphere is felt through everything the College does - whether that's going into the Buttery or the student-run Bar, enjoying international cuisines from people's home countries during Culture Week to celebrating a Cuppers Football success. Hilda's is full of the funniest and friendliest people.
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.