Freshers’ QuickStart Guide

Welcome to Jesus College!

Congratulations on your offer of a place here at Jesus – the Middle Common Room (the ‘MCR’) are very much looking forward to meeting and welcoming you to your new home away from home! This page contains some of the answers to the questions you’ll no doubt have about your first few days as a ‘Fresher’.

Introductions and Before You Arrive

What is the Middle Common Room?

The Middle Common Room, or ‘MCR’ for short, is the College’s graduate student community. The MCR Committee organises social events, provides various services, and represents and supports graduate students in the College.

What is a Fresher?

For the benefit of non-UK students, ‘Fresher’ is the term used to describe students in the first year at a new university.

How many Freshers are there?

The Jesus MCR is welcoming around 90 Graduate Freshers for the 2018/19 academic year.

What is Freshers’ Week?

The week before Michaelmas Term begins (i.e. Week 0, October 1st to 7th) is known as Freshers’ Week. Your time will be divided between departmental induction events, as well as college induction events, and MCR social activities. Freshers’ Week provides a great opportunity to meet members of College, your new departments, and to explore what Oxford has to offer, both academically and socially.

Join the Facebook group

We have set up the 2018/19 Freshers’ Facebook group – click here to join. This group is a great tool for you to get to know the other incoming students, or ask the MCR Committee members a question. We’ll also keep you updated with specific event notices and additionally information for the first few weeks, before migrating you all to the main MCR Facebook Group.

Set up your Oxford Email

You will be allocated a university email address in the form and your department will likely provide you with an additional email alias in the form – all accessible from the same account. You should have been contacted by the University with details on how to set up your Oxford email. Please do so as soon as possible as we will be emailing College and MCR updates to your Oxford email address. More information can be found at the Oxford University Computing Services website:

Ask Lots of Questions!

If you have any general questions about the MCR, the College or the University, post them on the Facebook group. Or, feel free to contact the MCR President, Priyav Shah.

If you have any problems or concerns, please let us know!

Arriving in Oxford

How to Arrive

There are a number of ways to get to Oxford, depending on your origin and budget.

There is no parking available around the Main College Site, but it is possible to obtain short term (30 minute) permits from the Porters’ Lodge to unload your belongings into College Accommodation from Ship Street.

The nearest train station to Jesus College is the Oxford Railway Station, which is approximately a short 15-minute walk away. Trains depart London Paddington to Oxford frequently throughout the day.

The nearest coach station is the Oxford Coach Stations, also known as Gloucester Green, a short 10-minute walk from the College Main Site.

Coming from an Airport?
The easiest transfer option from the London airports is by Coach, with direct services to Oxford operating frequently.

Make your way to Central Bus Terminal and find the Airline bus to Oxford and pay in cash to the driver (it’s cheaper than purchasing from the ticket kiosks inside the station – though not as cheap as booking ahead online: see their website here). If you prefer to travel by train, the Heathrow Express to London Paddington operates frequently, allow you to change at Paddington for a service to Oxford. This is an expensive option.

Like Heathrow, the Airline bus to Oxford is your best option. The bus departs from both the North and South Terminals. Pay in cash to the driver, or book ahead online: see their website here.
You can also catch a train from the Gatwick Railway Station. The journey will take approximately 2 hours, and requires you to change trains at Reading, but if booked in advance can be comparable price wise with the coach option. Try your luck here.

National Express operate a coach service from Stansted to Oxford. For more information and to book tickets, click here.

Regardless of how you’re getting to Oxford, if you’re getting in alone and would like a friendly face to greet you there, contact the MCR and we’ll organise someone to meet you and show you to college!

Getting into your Room

When you arrive in Oxford you should head straight to the Porters’ Lodge, located at the Turl Street College Entrance to collect your keys and/or access cards. You’ll be provided with a map to your room and of the main college site. If you arrive on Friday 2nd October you will find our graduate helpers welcome team at the desk in the Lodge ready to assist with any questions you might have.

Where do you live?

  • Ship Street: Most Graduate Freshers will be residing in the Ship Street accommodation, located adjacent the Main College site. Click here.
  • Woodstock Road: Approximately a 20-minute walk North of College. Click here.
  • Herbert Close: Approximately 35-minute walk East of College. From the City Centre, take the 1, 5, or 10 Bus (towards Blackbird Leys). Click here.

Your Bod Card

Once you’ve set up your new room make sure you visit the Academic Office (in First Quad, Staircase III) to collect your Bod Card. The Academic Office is also where you can organise for your Enrolment Certificate to be stamped with the College Crest and signed by the Graduate Administrator, which, if you are a non-UK student, you will need in order to set up a bank account etc. (It must be stamped and signed or the bank wont accept it!)


Jesus College operates its own wireless network which is available at all college sites. Your log-in credentials will be provided to you by the College IT department. There is a computing lab located on the College main site, and the MCR provides a computer with free printing in the common room.

Access is also provided to the Eduroam network. You must register for this yourself by creating a Remote Access Account: you can find more information here. Once registered you’ll have access to the Internet at all University and College sites throughout the city, including your departments (and in many strategically placed cafes)

Food and Drink

College Meals

Meals are available in Hall. Breakfast is available Mon-Sat from 8:00-8:45am. Lunch is served Mon-Fri from 12:15-1:30pm and Sat-Sun from 12:15-1:00pm. Dinner is available in two styles: First Hall (cafeteria style) available all nights except Saturday from 6:00-6:45pm, and Second Hall (served 3 course meal) is available all nights except Saturday from 7:15pm. Second Hall must be booked online by 10am. Two guests are permitted at any one time.


There is a Tesco Metro and a Sainsbury’s Local located on Magdalen Street, a short 2-4-minute walk away, open until midnight throughout the week. There is also a larger Sainsbury’s at the Westgate Shopping Centre at the end of Queen Street. Also on Queen Street is Marks & Spencer, walk through the entrance and keep heading straight to find the food department.

Eating Out

Being a central college, we Jesubites are spoilt for choice when it comes to bars, restaurants and cafes near our accommodation. But, the key areas to explore for food in Oxford are Jericho (to the North) and towards Cowley (to the East).

To get you started with cafes, here are few suggestions (in order of distance from the main site):

  • Turl Street Kitchen – Turl Street
  • Missing Bean – Turl Street
  • Jericho Coffee Traders – King Edward Street
  • Wills Deli – Woodstock Road
  • Companion – Little Clarendon Street
  • Brew – North Parade Avenue
  • Quarter Horse – Cowley Road


Jesus is located next to the central area of Oxford, with a large variety of shopping options.

  • Cornmarket Street. Shops include Boots (pharmacy), WHSmith (stationers), Waterstones (bookshop), Boswell’s and Debenhams (department stores), clothing stores, fast food chains and cafes.
  • Clarendon Shopping Centre. Shops include Currys PC World (technology) and clothing stores.
  • Queen Street. Here you’ll find more cafes, Ryman (stationers), Marks & Spencer (department store), and clothing stores. Just off Queen Street you’ll also find an Argos.
  • Westgate Shopping Centre.

There are also a number of larger shopping areas throughout the city. There’s Templar Square Shopping Centre in Cowley, where you’ll find T.K.Maxx, ASDA, and Wilko. And, on Botley Road, west of the train station, you’ll also find a selection of larger stores, an ALDI, and a newly constructed Waitrose.

For those who really enjoy shopping, Oxford is a short bus ride away from the Bicester Village Designer Outlet Mall.

Other Essentials


At some point in your first week you’ll need to organise your Sub-Fusc, or Academic Dress.

Graduate Students at formal academic occasions must wear a dark suit, or dark trousers/skirt/tights, a white shirt, dark shoes and dark socks, and a white bowtie or black ribbon. Notions of gender specific options are not enforced, and graduate students encouraged to wear whatever combination they feel comfortable with.

All students must wear the appropriate robe. Graduate Students who graduated from a university other than Oxford are able to, if they have them, wear the robes and colours of the University from which they graduated. Almost all, however, choose to wear the Oxford Graduate Commoner’s Robe. This is up to you.

Sub-Fusc and robe packs can be purchased on arrival in Oxford at various locations. Expect to pay between £25-£35 for a new pack containing the graduate robe, mortar board, and your choice of bow tie or ribbon. Second hand options are available.

Bank Account

Jesus is located in close walking distance to all major bank branches: Lloyds, Barclays, NatWest, HSBC, RBS, Santander etc.

International Students beware, many advertised student accounts come with benefits that you may not be entitled to. These incentives include interest free overdrafts, and discount vouchers which you likely wont be eligible for. The best you can hope for is a fee free ‘current account’ and an associated ‘savings account’ with very low interest rates.

But do shop around. The different banks offer a number of different services and technologies to make your experience easier. Most bank websites offer examples of their online banking interfaces and features – find the one you like most and go from there.

To set up your account make sure you have Photo ID (Passport and/or UK VISA), and your signed and stamped Enrolment Certificate. Some banks may also require an additional proof of status/residency: take a copy of your college contract just in case.

Mobile/Cell Phone

If you are coming from outside the UK, you will likely want to obtain a UK SIM card. There are number of service providers, all conveniently located within walking distance of the college main site. These include: Three, Vodafone, EE, O2 and Virgin Media to name but a few.

You will have the option of getting a ‘Pay-as-you-go’ SIM to use your existing phone, or a 12-24-month contract with a new phone. Each has their benefits depending on your situation. But do your research based on your usage habits to find the best deal available: this website will give you a useful overview of options.

If you are interested in getting a phone on contract, only do so after you set up a UK bank account.

Additional Information

A wealth of information about the University of Oxford, Jesus College, and your new city is available online. Here are some links to get you started: