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So, no big deal, but New College cloisters are the set of some iconic Harry Potter scenes. Perhaps you recognise them – they’re one of the best known aspects of this Oxford college.

But, there are also some lesser-known features of New that give you plenty more reasons to pick it as your Oxford college!

First, a look at the famous New College cloisters

New College Oxford cloisters
A view of the cloisters in New College Oxford. Does the scenery look familiar?

But what else does New College Oxford have to offer?

When I applied, I didn’t really know how to choose between the Oxford colleges. Sure the handbook is helpful, but how could I really know where I would be happiest for 3 years?

But now I’m confident that New College is the best hands down, because of all the hidden gems and facilities available to students. Take a look at some of the secrets of New College, and hopefully this will make your Oxford college choice much easier!

Secrets of New College

Secret 1: We have a chalet in the Alps!!

New College Oxford Chalet
Chalet des Anglais New College

This rustic chalet in the French Alps has an amazing view of Mont Blanc.

Each year around 30 students can apply to go on a reading week, where we cook, walk, read, play games and meet members of the college from all subjects and years. We are so lucky to have this chalet – it was such a great week.

Mont Blanc and friends

This is a fantastic opportunity and the college is generous enough to help people who otherwise couldn’t afford the trip. Many colleges offer some kind of travel grant – you can read more about different kinds of Oxford funding opportunities here.

Secret 2: We have three dogs

Ask any Oxford student what would comfort them in the face of long essays and tough problem sheets, and they will almost certainly say a doggo! Luckily we have three New College dogs which run around the grounds and give everyone the perk up they need.

We can also put ourselves forward to walk them, as well as taking part in the Student Union weekly dog walks.

Secret 3: We have loads of societies and communities

No matter your interest, subject or background, New College Oxford has loads of typical Oxford sports and societies to be part of.

Netball, Rowing, Debating, Outreach, Drama, Medicine Society, Women’s Equality, there is an endless list of things to get involved in! This really adds to the community feel, which New College has displayed even from my very first day as a fresher.

Moreover, it is easy to get hands on in the New College JCR (‘Junior Common Room – it’s the student representative within the college and includes every undergraduate).

There are elected committee positions who organise events, change legislation, decide on funding. We are basically working to keep New College progressing and maintain its position as the best Oxford college every year.

Any student who wants to bring an idea forward can do so in a professional way, which allows all of our voices to be heard.

Secret 4: We have a Christmas panto in the hall, after Christmas dinner

Every year this is a highlight of Oxmas (that’s Oxford Christmas – celebrated a month early, since that’s when term ends!). We go to formal dinner with our friends, have a lovely Christmas meal, and then enjoy the pantomime.

The panto is always college themed and celebrates (or parodies) the best bits of the term so far. This is followed by a Christmas bop, which is when the JCR hires a club and we all have a college club night together.

Oxford College Christmas dinner
Christmas elves enjoy New College Oxmas

Secret 5: We have a fleet of 6 punts

A popular Oxford tradition is having a go at punting, which always leads to fun and laughs, and occasionally the odd swim.

A punt is perfect for summer time picnics and post-exam relaxation. With a mighty fleet of six available, you’re almost always able to book one when you want.

New College Oxford punting
Punting is an Oxford tradition


As we’ve seen, New College Oxford has many great unique qualities. But it’s also rich in the things you see in any great place to live: friendly people, good resources, strong support networks, and occasions to have fun.