Applying to Oxford was always on the cards for me. Applying to Exeter, on the other hand, was a surprise. I’ll be honest, before coming to the Oxford open day, I had no idea Exeter College even existed, but what a hidden gem it turned out to be! I remember stumbling upon Exeter’s Cohen Quad and being amazed that such architectural beauty could exist. Couple that with the Fellows’ Garden at the Turl Street site and that was the beginning and end of my application story – I was sold! Maybe choosing a college based on second-year accommodation and the quad view isn’t the best advice I could give someone, but can you blame me once you’ve seen it?
After sending off my UCAS application, the tense wait for interviews began. Applying for Medical Sciences meant I was centrally allocated interviews at two different colleges. So while my interview took place at Exeter, my accommodation was at another college. The interview itself was fun but very intense. However, not staying at Exeter probably made coming to Oxford slightly more daunting when I got an offer. All the people I’d met at the interview were now at a different college to me. Although I knew Exeter was beautiful, I had no clue what studying here would be like.
My worries quickly eased when attending the offer holder day and, later, the Exeter Plus bridging programme. The offer holder day allowed us to talk to the medics in the years above, who shared how student life would be with a degree like Medicine. It was awesome at the start of term to already know a friendly face or two. The Exeter Plus programme was a godsend! We got to ease ourselves into undergraduate life without the pressure of being assessed, and I met my closest friend before university had even started!
My experience with Exeter has definitely been one of growth. I didn’t know much about the College when I applied (fully on me), and I didn’t know too many people when I started. However, Exeter is a super friendly college with genuinely decent people.
My biggest piece of advice would be to relax into it and take your time. It’s easy to go into university with all these huge expectations, and I’m sure we can all see now, sometimes they don’t pan out. University life will surprise you in unexpected but equally amazing ways if you let it.
I’ve met some of my closest friends at Exeter, and I can safely say the College is more than just a pretty face! Come with an open mind and your authentic self, and let the university experience shape itself (on a pretty nice backdrop, too!).