The prospect of coming to study at Oxford as a graduate student first arose when I met with the Dean of Graduate Studies at my undergraduate university to discuss my plans for after graduation. He emphasised the world-renowned reputation of the BCL as a law postgraduate course, and strongly encouraged me to apply, stressing how beneficial it would be for my future career prospects.
While the decision to apply to the BCL was therefore quite easy, choosing which college to apply to proved far more challenging. I had never been to Oxford and the collegiate system was completely unfamiliar. Ultimately I made the decision to apply to Exeter College because my main area of interest is Medical Law and Ethics, and I knew that Professor Jonathan Herring, one of the leading authorities on the subject, was a Fellow in the College.
Although the decision to apply to Exeter was based on this specific reason, throughout the course of my studies I have developed countless additional reasons as to why Exeter was the best choice for me. I had heard that the collegiate system was not as central to the life of a graduate student as it was to an undergraduate student, and to a certain extent this is true, as my study rarely takes place in Exeter and is instead managed by the Faculty of Law. However, college life is still hugely important, and in Exeter you join a wonderful community of students from all disciplines, alongside a large group of fellow BCL students too.
Living in the graduate accommodation at Exeter House means you immediately become part of the Exeter family and provides a brilliant way to get to know the other people in your college and make friends from beyond your course. This year, a fellow Exeter student has very kindly offered yoga classes which provide a lovely way to unwind after a long day in the library and a chance to catch up with others. The classes very quickly became one of the high points of my week, and I missed them when I went home for the vacation period!
The Exeter MCR is also excellent at organising social events to suit all tastes and ensuring that the graduate students feel just as integrated into college life as the undergraduates. In fact, this attention to the graduate experience goes all the way to the top, with the College organising events like the Graduate High Table and Subject Family Dinners, that command a high graduate turnout and promise fascinating conversation and good spirits.
I’m happy to say that Exeter provides a welcoming home away from home, with a friendly face never far away. All in all, if I were to start again with my BCL application, I would absolutely be choosing Exeter.