Honest Talk About Oxford College

Emory University has two campuses where a first-year student can start their college experience. This year, 474 students chose to start their Emory undergraduate education at Oxford College, located in Oxford, GA, 38 miles east of the Atlanta campus.

Oxford offers the distinctive advantage of a liberal arts education on a close-knit college campus with the resources of a world-class research university. With 979 total students, Oxford provides a community for first- and second-year students with unique leadership opportunities and close relationships with faculty.

Click here to read about how some Oxford students spent their summer researching directly with a faculty member!

After their sophomore year, all Oxford students move to Emory’s Atlanta campus to complete their bachelor’s degrees at either Emory College, Goizueta Business School, or the School of Nursing. We’ve made a handy graphic to show you the different paths through Emory University:

Oxford students enjoy the benefit of small class sizes, direct relationships with their faculty, community with their peers, and unique advantages of living on a small college campus. In fact, 99% of class at Oxford has fewer than 30 students enrolled in them

Curious to learn more? Read on! We’ve tackled some of the most frequently asked questions, but if you think of others, comment on the blog or email us (admission@emory.edu).

What is the purpose of having two campuses?

Oxford College is where Emory began in 1836. After Emory College of Arts and Sciences became part of Emory University in Atlanta in 1919, Oxford became a division where students could begin their first two years of a four-year liberal arts education.

Emory University is the only major research institution in the nation where entering first-year students can choose from two distinct undergraduate communities. Emory and Oxford offer equivalent curricula and maintain parallel academic standards, yet are very distinct in setting, size, and campus community.

Why should a student choose Oxford?

The difference lies in the kind of community you want for your first two years. There are three main distinctions from the Emory College campus which may draw students to choose the Oxford campus:

  1. The emphasis at Oxford is on rigorous, liberal arts coursework in a close-knit setting. The strong advising system and small class sizes are attractive features for many students.
  2. A second reason for choosing Oxford is that it offers increased opportunities for leadership in activities that at larger schools are often led by upper-class students. Some of these activities include: honor council, newspaper, student government, resident assistant (RA), supplemental instructor (SI), and research sponsorship.
  3. Oxford is Emory University’s smallest division but also its most diverse. Only 32% of this year’s incoming class is from the Southeast. And 18% are international students. So you will have the opportunity to form close bonds with your peers from all over the world.
So, why would I want to change locations if I already know I want either a smaller campus like Oxford or larger campus like Emory College?

Oxford provides an opportunity for students to experience two unique environments in their college career; a small liberal arts setting and the resources of a renowned research university. This combination is found nowhere else in American higher education. It allows students to have engaging classroom instruction while also having the opportunity to do cutting-edge research and experience a unique campus pathway through their college career.

Oxford is not rural, by any means. We call it a community because there is such a concentration of like-minded college students in the area. The Covington/Conyers area provides many amenities including theaters, restaurants, bowling alleys, and an annual concert series. Also, students are only 45 minutes from the Atlanta campus and the heart of Atlanta and 45 minutes from Athens, GA, another great college town. One of the best parts, is that the Emory shuttle system provides transportation between campuses every day, several times a day!

Is it easier to get into Oxford than Emory?

Nope, some students who apply to both campuses are denied at Oxford and admitted to Emory College and vice versa. The two divisions are selective with admission criteria, and the primary reason for admittance to one and not the other campus is due to a student’s fit at either campus. The Admission Counselors at each campus look for students who will both contribute to and benefit from their respective campuses. You can read more about our holistic application review process by visiting our blog post. Students get independent admission decisions, so applying to one campus or both will not affect your admission decision at either.

What if I apply to both but am only admitted to Oxford College? Is Oxford a “back door” into the Atlanta campus?

Oxford College and Emory College are academically equal and both programs are looking for the most qualified students. The decision to Admit, Wait List, Refer or Deny a student depends primarily upon the student’s academic credentials, including strengths of high school curriculum, classes taken, test scores, and fit for campus environment.

A number of other factors, which contribute to the diversity of the class and a better fit for the individual student are also considered, for example, leadership and extracurricular activities and demographic factors. Our goal is to create on each campus, classes that are part of the educational experience we provide, and to make an Emory education available to as many qualified applicants as we can accommodate.

Don’t hesitate to connect with us by posting a comment to this blog, tweeting us @emoryadmission, or emailing us at admission@emory.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

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  1. Katherine Mills

    Hi! So getting admitted into Oxford College guaranteed entry into the school of nursing after sophomore year?

    1. Jessica Miller

      Hi Katherine, here is the link to read the information for yourself, but basically yes. As long as you meet the prerequisites during your first two years at Oxford, you can transition into the Nursing Program on the Atlanta campus.

  2. Soni

    Once they finish undergraduate 2 years from oxford as they have been selected for tht then junior and senior at Emory. After graduation does their transcript says Emory student or oxford university ?

    1. Author
      Steven Anderson

      All Oxford students continue their 3rd & 4th years on the Atlanta campus, either at Emory College, Gouizueta School of Business, or Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Bachelor degrees from these schools all say Emory University.

  3. Jeff Newberry

    Our son attended Oxford College and Emory University in the early 2000. While he was accepted at both schools after his high school graduation in 1999, he chose Oxford for two reasons not stated in this article. Probably most important was the cost. Not only was tuition lower at Oxford, he was invited to their scholarship competition and was eventually awarded a half-tuition scholarship. This scholarship was transferred to Emory when he enrolled in the business school in the fall of 2001. Saved about $50,000 in 2003 dollars over the four years. I’m not sure if it still could work this way in 2020 but it was appreciated back in 1999. The other consideration that made him chose Oxford was athletics. He was able to participate in the basketball program for 2 years at Oxford. During those same two years, he was also able to run track and cross country with the main campus team. When he enrolled at Emory in 2001, he chose to continue with track and cross country where he qualified to run in the NCAA National Championship all for years. During his sophomore year at Oxford, he was also a resident advisor. His Oxford/Emory education has led him to a 8 year career with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks in their marketing department, acceptance in Ohio State University’s PHD program in Sports Management and his current position as Web Manager with Habitatfor Humanity. Needless to say, we love Oxford/Emory.

    1. ANN KIM

      Thanks Jeff for your added info. Very helpful for undecided seniors like my son.

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