Accommodation

We could tell you about the rooms in St. John’s that date back to the fifteenth-century monastery that preceded the College, or those that make up the buildings which won the – admittedly, less than illustrious – Concrete Society Building Award in the seventies, or the extensive gardens that – legend has it – were designed by Capability Brown. But we know that, like every prospective student, you’re probably more concerned with who you’ll be sharing a bathroom with as a Fresher.

The mention of student halls doesn’t often evoke images of palatial grandeur and St. John’s undergraduate accommodation is no exception. When compared to other examples of student digs, though, John’s stands out in the provisions that will make your first and subsequent years that little bit easier. Unlike other colleges, all John’s accommodation is in central Oxford, with most rooms located within College and not on external sites. Rooms in John’s are graded based on their size and features, and are priced accordingly. Accommodation for first-years is allocated by the College; in later years, rooms are allocated by a ballot system which allows undergrads to choose a room.

Great variation exists between rooms in different parts of college, but the basic features are the same: all undergrad rooms in John’s are, for example, fitted with a mini-fridge as well as radiators and electric booster heaters for those wintery Oxford nights. The vast majority of rooms have a built-in basin and mirror; toilet and shower facilities are normally shared between students living on a staircase, though some high-grade rooms boast complete en suite bathrooms. Communal washing machines are available in most quads and operate on a swipe card system. Perhaps the greatest difference between college rooms is the availability of kitchen facilities.

The vast majority of first-year rooms are located in staircases with shared kitchens, though these are not guaranteed in later years when students may opt for rooms in older staircases that are not equipped with these facilities. In either case, catered dining in Hall is available to all students three times a day and is charged via a smart card system, leaving you to decide where and when you want to eat. Rooms in College are made available to all undergrads for each year of their course, though students can choose to ‘live out’ in later years if they wish. Room rates are highly competitive and – given John’s central location and the facilities available within College – accommodation is generally of very good value.

Undergrads are normally asked to vacate their rooms at the end of each term and this usually entails lugging everything back home for the vacation, but John’s students are able to make use of the ample storage facilities around College where you can leave those heftier items behind – the pots, pans and clothes horses that you won’t be using during the holidays, for example. College-owned houses in the adjacent Museum Road – a favourite of second-year students – even allow you to have the ‘living out’ experience with all the same benefits of living in College.