Life after Freshers'


There's no denying that work is a big part of life at Oxford! You'll note that it's a bit differ­ent from school! Firstly, and most importantly, you will have tutorials ('tutes') a few times a week. These happen with your tutor, either individually or as part of a small group, and will hopefully take place in person. It's an amazing way to learn from others and gives you the chance to develop and defend your own opinions rather than just getting a few com­ments in red ink at the bottom of your essay.

For each tutorial, you'll be set work, probably the week before either an essay or a prob­lem sheet. Usually this work will form the basis of the discussion.
For science subjects it's often a good idea to hand in any rough work for questions that you haven't managed to complete fully, as then the tutor may be able to see where you're going wrong.

Another big change will be lectures. For many undergraduate courses, some or many lec­tures are essential, for some other courses, they will be optional. If you are in any doubt about which lectures you should be attending, please speak to your tutors in the first instance. You will get a lecture list for each term; most departments will put this on their websites or on Weblearn as well. First term lectures will take place online and information with regards to the other terms will be released later on in the year.

You'll notice pretty quickly that you get loads of freedom at university. There won't be anyone reminding you to work, which means you have to motivate yourself and find a pattern that suits you. This is something you'll probably figure out after your first late night essay crisis.

Many people find it easier to concentrate if they work somewhere other than their room; the College and University libraries (especially the fabulous Bodleian), the cafe area, and even coffee shops around the city may be good options.
At the start of most terms (except first term), you'll have Collections, which are exams on the previous term's work. Your first Collections will probably be in January 2022 (although this depends on your subject).

If you do have a problem with work, however trivial it may seem (even struggling with procrastination can be something it's helpful to get advice about), don't hesitate to contact someone. Your tutor, or one of the second years doing your subject can be a good starting point. Another option is the Academic Affairs Officer, Katie Brooker, who is always available to chat about work worries. Everyone here at New College wants to help you enjoy your subject so that you can achieve your full potential!


Finances: Before you arrive at Oxford it can be hard to estimate how much money you will need, or what to budget for. To make this easier, we have tried to give you an idea of what you'll need to pay for during your time at Oxford.

Battels: Battels are the charge you have to pay to College at the beginning of each term. They include the cost of accommodation and evening meals every night. Each evening meal costs £7.61. You can sign off from paying some of this charge if you don't plan to eat in College, as explained below. Your Battels statement when you arrive in Octo­ber will be £1859.40 for a term (60 nights), which breaks down to £456.60 for evening meals, and £1402.80 for accommodation rent (including insurance). As you are arriv­ing on Monday (amounting to 61 nights) you will be charged 1 extra nights meal and accommodation on your Michaelmas Term Battels.

Battels need to be paid by mid-day on the Friday of 1 st week of each term. Your bat­tels statement will be emailed to you at the beginning of Oth week of each term (this is the week preceding the first Sunday of term, so Freshers' Week is Oth week). Your first battels will be due by Friday 15th October. There are two ways to pay, either hand in a cheque at the College bursary, or pay by debit card or credit card online. You pay online through the meal booking website, Log on with your Oxford credentials and click 'Fees and Charges', then 'Pay Battels'. This is also where you can find all your Battels statements throughout your time at Oxford.

As well as accommodation and meals, many events in College and things like sports team photos, charity calendars and all wine purchased from the JCR Wine Cellar will be paid for through Battels. This means that your name will be noted and you will pay these charges on top of your standard Battels bill at the start of the next term. It is easy to let the hidden costs build up by not keeping track of your Battels spend­ing. It's a good idea to keep an eye in how much you've spent, which you can do by keeping a note for yourself whenever you charge something to Battels, or by emailing

For UK students with a student loan, tuition fees are automatically paid to College by the Student Loans Company. However, if you are paying fees yourself or are an inter­ national student, then these fees also appear on your Michaelmas Battels statement and can be paid using the same method.

Cost of Living: On top of paying your Battels, you will need money to keep you going on a day-to-day basis. This will cover breakfast, lunch, evenings out, toiletries and other spontaneous shopping, etc. You'll pay for food and drink purchased from Hall or the College Bar on your tills account (find out more about this in the food section below).

Students often spend more in their first term, particularly if you decide to buy your own books (although most people don't do this) or to join many societies. Most so­ societies cost around £10-30 to join, but some offer more expensive life memberships, whilst others charge you termly fees, known as subs. It is advisable to plan for extra spending because of this. Information on society fees can often be found on their websites, or will be provided at the Freshers' Fairs. Here are some examples of the vari­ation:

  • History Society Membership: £15 (£12 during first week), talks free and socials £2 for members (£1 and £5 respectively for non-members).
  • Oxford Union Life Membership: £257.50 during welcome period at the start of Mich­aelmas (£286.34 otherwise). Lower membership fee available (£169.95) for those with a full government maintenance loan.

There is no real average for what people spend per term, as your lifestyle will dictate how much you spend. For example, not drinking alcohol can make things a lot cheap­ er, or choosing to buy lunch from less expensive alternatives.
Having said that, here are some general weekly costs to give you an idea:

  • Sandwich at the ATS: £3-4 (N.B. they have a £5 card limit so remember to take cash!)
  • Pint at the Turf Tavern: £4.50 - 5.50
  • Drink in the College bar: £2-3 (variable depending on the alcohol)
  • Lunch in Hall: £3-5 (Hall lunch and dinner prices vary depending on how much food you get)
  • Breakfast in Hall: £0.50 - 3
  • Cereal and milk from Tesco: £0.75+£0.89 = £1.54
  • Tesco meal deal: £3
  • Society membership: variable as above
  • Trip home: depends on where you live
  • Ball tickets: £40-250, depending on the ball

Some other spending tops for once we're back to normal post-corona times:

  • The general price of a night out in Oxford is about: £5-10 for club entry, £8 for pre­drinks + drinks out = £13+

Some tips for making nights out less expensive:

  • Buy club tickets in advance on Fixr or from the College Entz reps as this will be cheap­er than on the door
  • Buying drinks at clubs will be more expensive than having drinks from the College bar/Tesco before you leave, but clubs will often have deals on specific drinks (eg. VKs, Jaegerbombs) so keep an eye out for those
  • If you can, avoid taking a coat or jacket so you don't have to pay for the cloakroom and take a jumper to tie around your waist

Example expenditure per term:

This person budgets around £85 a week. Not everyone lives like this and you may well find even if your budget is similar, it breaks down completely differently. Also, it is just an example and it is very possible to spend less (or significantly more) than this amount:

  • Standard Battels = £1859.40
  • Food £35/ week (e.g. Alternative Tuck Shop sandwich for lunch, cereal, brunch in hall, plus snacks) = £280
  • Club nights 12 times a term, at ~£13 a time = £156
  • Society memberships e.g. History society £12, £6 for a social x2 = £24
  • Laundry (8 sets of washes and dries) = £24 (make this cheaper and more eco-friendly by bringing a clothes horse to skip using the dryer!)
  • Drinks in the bar (4 pints a week) £2.68 x 4 x 8 = £85.76
  • Crew date (£15 curry plus £5 club entry, £5 bottle of wine, £5 of drinks) x 2 = £60
  • Guest night (£20 ticket + £10 wine) x2 = £60
  • Makeup/toiletries = £40
  • Vacation storage = Free if you meet certain criteria, otherwise £5 per box (see else­ where in the guide for more information)
    Bear in mind that this doesn't include one-off costs, like clothes shopping, buying stash or ball tickets, or anything paid for on Battels! Also, remember when setting a budget that you have an extra week in Freshers' Week which can also be quite expen­sive if you're drinking, so include some extra money for that outside of your weekly budget.

If you want any more information about specific costs living in Oxford, feel free to con­ tact the JCR VP for Operations and Finance Amberley Odysseas (see JCR committee profiles below!).

JCR Levies

Around halfway through Michaelmas, you will receive an email from the JCR VP for Op­erations and Finance, giving you the option to opt out of paying JCR levies. These levies are charged to your Battels at the start of Hilary, Trinity and in the middle of the Sum­mer vac for the previous term, so you won't have to pay for the Michaelmas levies if you opt out. The levies (per term) are as follows:

  • Refugee Scholarship Levy - £5
  • Offset CO2 Printing Levy - £1
  • Reach Oxford Levy - £6
  • Computer Levy - £1
  • Charities Levy - £7.50 (automatic amount, can be changed and gets split between three charities that the JCR votes for)
  • Art Levy - £2
  • Hardship Levy - £5
  • Sports Levy - £4
  • Punts usage Levy - £6 (only applies in Trinity Term)
    Staff Gratuity Levy - £2
  • New College Society membership - £22-50 (single payment only made once in your first year)

You can opt out of all of these except for the Computer levy. More information will be provided in the email giving you the option to opt out. There are also occasional other Battels charges through the year - through your till card (for breakfast, lunch or the College cafe/bar), and some Arts and Charity events.

Living Out

While New College provides accommodation for the first two years of your degree, you'll probably need to live out in third year (unless your degree includes a year abroad). There are very few third-year rooms in College, not enough for everyone. Whilst you probably won't need to be thinking about this until second year, it can be useful to have an idea of what to expect. We estimate that rents are usually £380-470+ per month.Then bills are £30-40 a month, TV licenses are £36 annually, and food costs £20-40 per week. On top of this, other costs like going out, playing sport, books etc. will also apply. You also have to pay housing costs year-round, rather than just during term times as you do in first and second year.

Financial Support

Oxford is one of the most generous universities in the country bursary-wise. The Uni­versity bursary scheme gives money to all students whose household income is less than circa £42,875. As long as you ticked the box, "I'm happy to share this information with universities" on your Student Finance Application, this is all sorted out automat­ically. It's also worth looking at the Oxford Uni Fees and Funding page ( to see the full range of bursa­ries available, and find out if you are eligible for any extra financial support. On top of this, you should have received information about potential Scholarship awards, which should also be detailed in the link above.

There is also a university-wide hardship fund, the University Hardship Fund ( More information about who this is available to can be found in the link above, but it is for students al­ ready at Oxford and work through an application process.
If you wish to apply for a study grant you can contact Bursar's PA (40B1 - first floor, right). You can make an appointment with the College Bursar, David Palfreyman, through his secretary (40B1) at; he is welcoming to any student with financial difficulty. If you do get into financial difficulty, for example, if your cir­cumstances change, contact the Bursary as soon as possible.

College are usually prepared to work out financial ar­rangements on an individual basis and are always very happy to help if they can. Don't be put off ask­ ing until the situation becomes an emergency! If you need any more information about Battels, general advice about finance from the Bursar, or more information about loans and grants, visit There's a great document which gives you information on all of the New College bursaries as well as financial advice to be found at The student finance officer ( can answer any of your questions about battels and student loans.

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