Matriculation is the formal ceremony in which Freshers’ are officially enrolled into the University. You’ll typically matriculate towards the end of Freshers’ week, though it can sometimes be as late as mid-October, depending on when your college has booked it for.
An official University ceremony, you’ll need to wear what is essentially the Oxford equivalent of a school uniform called sub fusc. Relax though, this will be one of the only times you have to, as its only really worn for exams apart from this.
Sub fusc typically consists of a white bow tie or black ribbon, a waist length gown and square hat called a mortarboard. The hat is not actually worn, you just carry it to the ceremony and chances are it’ll end up being used as a pencil case or spare change dish for the rest of the year.
The outfit can be purchased for as little as £15 from shops on High Street like Shepherd & Woodward and Ede & Ravenscroft, alternatively you can find it online and order before you arrive at Oxford. The gown you may also use for college formals quite regularly so try to look after it.
The ceremony itself takes place inside the Sheldonian Theatre. For all its hype its over in a matter of minutes. You all file in, the Vice Chancellor gives a short speech and reads a Latin passage, and before you know it its done – you’re now officially a member of the University!
This leaves the rest of the day to eat, drink and be merry. Make the most of the occasion and get as many photos for your Facebook and Instagram as you can. College’s typically have professional photographers to take a year group photo also, and sometimes individual ones as well.
This is also a good opportunity to give punting a go as well, so head down to Magdalen Bridge or Cherwell Boat House to see if you can master the tricky technique. Some of the clubs in Oxford also host special events to celebrate the day (aptly named “Matriculash”). Keep an eye on Facebook for these events, or you can ask your Freshers’ Reps or Entz team for more information closer to the time on where you can get tickets.
Matriculation is so much more than a ceremony. It’s a day full of fun activities, weird Oxford quirks and fun photo opportunities, so don’t hold back. Even if you have work due, you’ll regret missing out later on in the year, so give yourself the day off and celebrate becoming a member of the University in style.