StudyAdvantage Magazine

The Luxury Choice: Why Oxford beat Harvard

Published: August 30, 2016

Erik Hammar Oxford


Being accepted to both Harvard and Oxford is something most students can only dream of. But indulge for a second in pondering what you would have chosen, if you were given the options.

Swede Erik Hammar (on the right in the picture below) from the small village Skärv actually found himself in this scenario a few years ago. A privileged dilemma to say the least, but a dilemma nevertheless. Below, Erik summarizes his reasoning and how he ultimately landed on the decision of choosing Oxford over Harvard for his undergraduate degree.


What two things most attracted you to Oxford?

  1. First and foremost, the tutorial system. Every week, your essay is critiqued by a world-leading professor or researcher within the relevant academic field. You sit down and discuss your essay and the weekly topic with this person. This was something I thought would be incredibly cool and a great way to develop personally.
  2. The style. Ranging from the gorgeous architecture to the wonderful flow of the British English and the well-ironed dress shirts. But above all the long history of research and scholarship. The academic is in Oxford’s nature, and you can feel it in the walls of the colleges.


What two things most attracted you to Harvard?

  1. The international atmosphere and the challenge of going through a material culture shift (moving to Boston from a small town in Sweden). When I visited Harvard on a “welcome day” I met such a diverse group of fantastic people.
  2. All the opportunities that the United States in combination with Harvard’s generous scholarships in all areas would offer. Harvard offers a lot of financial aid when it comes to summer courses etc, and the US has the most well-developed internship culture. These things would open up for a lot of opportunity.


Erik Hammar Oxford

Erik Hammar busy studying in the scenic, Oxfordian environment.


When did you finally decide?

Five minutes ahead of Harvard’s deadline, in a state of dissolution.


What ultimately made you decide either way?

My (at this point confirmed) belief in the virtues of Oxford’s tutorial system, as well as my hope that I’d be able to experience the attractions of Harvard through extra-curriculars and side projects while at Oxford. And…I still have a looming intention to try and do a master’s degree at Harvard – so I may not have to choose between the two after all…


Erik thoroughly enjoyed his time studying PPE at Christ Church, Oxford. He graduated as one of the top 10 PPE-students in 2015, and now works as an advisor in London.

Other magazine articles