Reasons to choose Balliol

An outstanding education

Balliol is passionately dedicated to the pursuit and sharing of knowledge through the highest standards of learning, scholarship, and research. We take academic work very seriously and we take pride in the high level of commitment and achievement of our students.

One of Oxford's oldest and largest colleges

Come to Balliol and you will be part of a tradition that goes back more than 750 years, to 1263. Today Balliol is one of the larger colleges: we have about 400 undergraduates and a nearly equal number of graduates. 

Centrally located

Balliol is right in the middle of Oxford, close to laboratories, lecture theatres, libraries, and shops.

Open to all on merit

We have students from all kinds of background and from all over the world. In the 19th century, Balliol led the way in turning Oxford from the preserve of the upper classes into a place open to all on merit, and we remain committed to attracting students of exceptional talent regardless of their social, cultural or educational background.

Supports students financially

As well as offering financial aid for those in need, the College subsidises food, supports student clubs and societies, gives grants for academic projects and supports its students financially in many other ways.

Guaranteed accommodation

All Balliol undergraduates are guaranteed accommodation in their first year and for one other year (usually their final year). Many students opt to have a year ‘living out’, but the College is almost always able to accommodate any student who wishes to ‘live in’ in middle years.

A lively, informal community

Our diverse community is a friendly, close-knit one and the atmosphere is informal and relaxed. Students find College life lively and stimulating: there are many academic events and subject societies and they pursue a variety of extracurricular interests – theatre, sport, journalism, ecology, politics, debating, music.

See what our students say about life at Balliol.

Balliol's JCR

The JCR plays a special role in the life of the College. The JCR (Junior Common Room) is the name given to both the body of students as a whole and to an actual room. The room is the focus of student life, consisting of a TV area and photocopier at one end, the justly famous Pantry at the other, and a mass of newspaper-strewn seating in between. Downstairs is the bar and games room, and a well equipped gym. Balliol’s JCR is one of the most active amongst all the colleges: it is the place where students get together – for breakfast, for coffee, for lunch, for tea, for supper, to gossip, to read the papers, to share tips on the latest essay, or to conduct a post mortem on a just-finished tutorial.

Balliol is unique in the level of input its students make to College life. Each year, there are elections to jobs covering different areas of operation (Treasurer, Bar, Welfare, Entertainments, and so on). The student-run JCR Committee administers a substantial budget, liaises with the College regarding students’ needs and interests, and has a voice on key College committees. It is a friendly and expert source of information about student welfare and organises a constant round of social activities, including the annual Summer Event.

College life

For more about College life, see About Balliol, which includes information about: