Over a hill frequented by several generations of rabbits, a college for the great and good stands on the “other” side of University Road. As the home of the Economics and Chemistry departments, Alcuin can offer students studying these subjects a crucial extra ten minutes in bed before a 9am lecture. Affectionately known as the “En-Suite Elite”, Alcuin residents can rely on their own individual shower/bath blocks and toilets (toilet paper sadly not included). Although these rooms are slightly pricier per week, the 34 week contract option allows you to rent the room for less time and save money.
Alcuin have an active JCRC team who organised everything last year from an outdoor festival to a weekend in Amsterdam. Every JCRC has a character and this lot have tended to be a bit off the wall but very much on the ball. Do not hesitate to get involved when you arrive!
If sport is your thing but you’d like to take part on a more light-hearted level, the college has a range of sport teams that you can get involved in – even if you have never played before. Rugby, volleyball, netball and rounders are just some of what is on offer.
There’s a brand new café which will be arriving with the freshers in September. It is yet to be named, but will provide sandwiches, cakes and other food to eat-in or take-away. Open seven days a week it’s expected to inject a new lease of life into the college’s social area. The college is also next to the library – this may be conceived as good or bad depending on your point of view.
For 35 week lets Alcuin can offer premium ensuite accommodation at £127 per week (£4457 pa), or if you want your room during the Easter break, standard ensuites are let for 40 weeks at £124 per week (£4972 pa) and premium ensuites are £127 (£5093 pa)
What the prospectus doesn’t tell you:
Alcuin sadly does not have any bars which serve alcohol, however V bar is less than five minutes away if you have nice long legs! Trust me, you won’t be short of ways to find alcohol…
A word from the Chair, Josh Lee (3rd Year Management Student):
“Hello Freshers 2013! Welcome to the University of York and in particular welcome to Alcuin. Over the next three, four or more years you will have the best time of your life, meet new friends and do things you will (or won’t) tell your grandchildren. At University you are accepted for who you are, so get up and get involved. Join that society, write that article, join the JCRC. Welcome and if you see me around say Hello!”
Nouse Sport Editor: “Top choice for netball”
“If you’re a netball fan then Alcuin is the college for you. They have been the college to beat in the league for the past four years and while they lost their league title to James in the spring term last year, you’d still back them on paper. The college netball league is one of the best organised college leagues on campus and their excellent relationship with the University netball team allows players who have impressed a chance to break into the university teams.”
Alcuin’s a college that can sometimes be seen as a fit detached from the rest of campus but with the new YUSU cafe starting up in September, and the Library cafe now in full swing, this is all expected to change. And anyway, students in Alcuin certainly wouldn’t agree!
Situated closest to the extravagant Heslington Hall is the University’s original college. Opened in 1965 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II herself, the college nostalgically sits as it did back when the University first opened (whether that’s a good thing or not can be left down to your interpretation). If you’re a fan of 1960’s architecture, concrete, or just four-sided shapes in general, then this is the college for you. Whether you appreciate the architecture or not, the college certainly has character and charm. Last year, the college population doubled in size overnight when Derwent’s neighbours and local long-standing rival, Langwith, retreated to the swamps of Heslington East and Derwent expanded into their territory. And good riddance to them.
Despite a dated feel to the accommodation, there is a spirit to this college. Derwent prides itself on its happy-go-lucky community that makes the experience of being a Derwenter so iconic, illustrious and unforgettable. As for entertainment, D-Bar offers a bright and roomy place to chill and to play pool and darts, with the offer of £2 pints often being its biggest attraction with some of the best prices on campus. The bar also hosts Céilidh’s and Club-D events all year, which peaks with Big-D at the end of the year with all students of the university welcome.
In the heart of the new part of Derwent (known affectionately as Old Langwith) is the Courtyard; one of the university’s most popular daytime and evening spots, it offers great value-for-money food served all day and special themed events that always make for a quirky and entertaining evening.
Sport is another great part of the college spirit, and Derwent prides itself in its rugby dominance. But regardless of a team’s success, the college has teams in all major sports.
Derwent is also the college that is situated closest to Heslington village, which is just across the road past Heslington Hall. There you can find two very charming pubs that serve food, a post office and newsagent, several bank branches, and perhaps the greatest sandwich shop in the world – Brown’s.
All of the lets in Derwent are for 40 weeks and there is a whole range of catered and non-catered room types to choose from (none of which, however, include the word ‘premium’ in their description). Standard rooms can be picked up for as little as £99 per week (or £3962pa), or £121 (£4840 pa) if you opt to be catered.
Upgraded standard rooms are also on offer if you want a splash of white paint and new furnishings, as well as access to an updated kitchen – all for the added price of £117 per week (£4684 pa). Although they aren’t catered, the addition of two, small black leather sofas to share between twenty floor-mates make it one of Derwent’s most exclusive offers.
Alternatively, at the business end of the college, there are some economy ensuite catered rooms available for £143.43pw (£5737 pa).
Both standard (£79 per week/£3169 pa) and upgraded standard (£96 per week/£3872 pa) rooms also offer the option of shared twin rooms. All rooms have access to shared kitchen areas and laundry rooms.
What the prospectus doesn’t tell you:
The walls aren’t exactly thick. They say the walls have ears, but in Derwent they genuinely do because there is a strong chance that someone can hear you, somewhere. This can make noise a bit of an issue when Derwent’s fun-loving atmosphere thrives perhaps a bit too much. And with such old blocks, the standard accommodation is pretty basic.
Favourite college hangouts:
If the lake isn’t good enough for you, then just up the path is the Quiet Place in the gardens of Heslington Hall. As the title implies, it offers a quiet recluse among beautifully shaped hedges for students to get away from it all. The grassy areas around it also offer groups of chums to sit around and relax.
Nouse Sports Editor: “Top choice for rugby”
“Derwent’s bragging rights lie in rugby. They claimed victory in the league last year with a thumping 95-0 win over Alcuin in the final. They also won the rugby 10’s competition without dropping a single point along the way. For years, Derwent have dominated college rugby so if you want to keep playing rugby in a competitive and relaxed environment, Derwent is your go to.”
Derwent’s accommodation is about as close you can get to being in the trenches, but it is cheap. When it comes to Derwent you’ll either love it or hate it. We’re not going to award it the coveted title of party college (every college thinks they’re the party college), but it is a loud college with big tight-knit blocks who like to get involved in all aspects of uni life.
The Goodricke accommodation is still only a few years old (although the college has existed since 1968) and has neither the party-going attitude of Derwent or James, nor the quiet feel of Alcuin. In fact, it falls both inside and outside of those extreme parameters. What you can guarantee is that you’ll get to know a diverse range of people, who get involved in all manner of activities on Heslington campuses both East and West.
The college can be found on the new Heslington East campus. Goodrickers take pride in, and full advantage of, the shiny new facilities on Hes East that few other students even know about. Langwith College has also moved to Heslington East this year, meaning there are over 1000 students there to socialise around the hub provided by the aptly names Nucleus, and The Glasshouse in Langwith next door. The brand new York Sport Village is located a stone throw away from Hes East and can be accessed by bike or by bus, making Goodricke a top choice for budding cyclists, swimmers and athletes.
There is a cashpoint a short distance away at The Glasshouse. Hes East still lacks a shop, but necessities like bread and milk can be bought in the Ron Cooke Hub café during the day, otherwise you’ll need to hop on a short (and free) bus ride to campus. The 44 also goes through campus to York town centre.
Overall, toastie nights and film nights in the JCR, as well as frequent college events, notably summer festival GoodFest, make Goodricke a fun and friendly college.
All the accommodation in Goodricke is self-catered and let for 40 weeks per year. Premium standard comes in at £117 per week (£4684 pa), while Premium ensuite comes in both single (£127 per week/£5093 pa) and twinned (£102 per week/£4074 pa).
What the prospectus missed out
Security is great but does mean that Goodrickers aren’t as free to roam as they might wish. Hes East can also seem pretty quiet in the winter months, but the winter social experience is improving every year.
Favourite college hangouts
When those kitchen chairs become too hard to bear, the JCR and GCR are there offering comfort and entertainment in the form of sofas, board games, wide-screen TVs, video games, films, a piano, and toasty nights. In the summer the quads fill with people chatting, sunbathing, having BBQs, even playing ping-pong or cooling off in paddling pools.
“It takes ages to get to main campus”. This is a lie. It’s actually two minutes by bus, four minutes by bike, and thirteen by foot.
Goodricke was the first college onto the new Hes East campus, and got a bit of a bad rep for being too quiet but this is changing now Langwith’s made the move, and with the York Sport Village so close and some of the best quality accommodation in York, it’s a great choice for 2013.
Situated a few yards off campus and beside the 22 acres sports fields, admittedly Halifax is a bit out of the way, but that doesn’t stop it being one of the most lively colleges at York. Unlike many of the other colleges at the University, Halifax isn’t the home of any subject but this only means you get to know those you live with even better.
The college is split into courtyards consisting of several townhouses of ten or twelve people. The accommodation is basic, with few ensuites in sight, but provides a great location for your first year.
The town house set-up is ideal as you will find yourself regularly congregating in the kitchen, reminiscing about the night before rather than holed up at the end of a corridor.
As the biggest college there are plenty of ways to get involved and the JCRC are welcoming and always on hand to help out or go out. They also organise more and more events every year with ‘Faxival’, the biggest annual fixture (other than Freshers’ Week of course!). The common room JJ’s lacks a bar but with your house around the corner there is no need. Plus Halifax has its very own Costcuctter so you don’t have to go far to find food (or more importantly drink).
The college spirit at Halifax may not be the strongest but what it lacks in this is more than made up for by the fun of the courtyard. Whether this be snow ball fights on the roof of JJ’s in the winter or paddling pools and BBQs in the summer there is always something going on in Halifax.
The college is traditionally a strong contender in the sports competitions and with the introduction of a Hogwarts style inter-college cup Halifax will be more active than ever.
The majority of rooms are let for 40 weeks at £117 per week (£4684.40 pa). There are a very limited number of en-suite rooms available on a 50 week let at £124 per week (£6216 pa).
A word from the JCRC Chair, Marian Lally:
“Hi I’m Marian, Halifax College President and when it comes to colleges, bigger really is better! With Halifax being the biggest at the uni, you’re bound to find something for you with our diverse range of students and activities, not just during freshers, but throughout the year. Got an idea for an event you’d like to see? Don’t hesitate to get in touch with the HCSA (Halifax College Students Association), we’d love to hear from you. Hope you’re excited, we sure are! See you soon, it’s gonna be BIG!”
Nouse Sport Editor: “Top choice for football”
“Football is by far the most popular sport on campus and as a result is easily the most competitive. The league title has swapped hands numerous times over the past few years, but I would say that Halifax is the top choice for college football. They are a consistently competitive side and won the College Cup this year. For freshers there is the added bonus that many of Halifax’s players are graduating, so it provides an excellent opportunity for first years who want to make an impact in college football.”
What the prospectus doesn’t tell you:
Halifax is a little bit out of the way. But this only encourages you to socialise and get to know people you would have never met as well as integrate with your housemates.
Also be warned the name Costcutter has never cut a cost in its life!
A bit off campus, but still a lively college that will help you make the most of your first year. Basic but modern accommodation in a courtyard layout is a great setting to begin your student life.
James College is in the south of the Heslington West, in an ideal location for access to the sports centre and gym (willpower is another matter), as well as the resident subject block Psychology and nearby Physics. Most of the accommodation in James College is split into blocks and houses with a ground floor kitchen as opposed to corridors. This is perfect for getting to know everyone in the block, and the various blocks are situated around quads allowing easy socialising between the different blocks in the college.
James also has its own bar. The Lounge, found next the Roger Kirk Centre (where, if you’re catered, you’ll be getting your full English on hungover mornings). As well as this there are two common rooms, great for revision and socials.
As freshers you’ll start of the term cooing over the ducks and geese and saying how adorable they all are, but don’t be fooled. I give that naïve innocence until the morning of your first hangover, just when you’re after peace and quiet, until the cacophony of noise drives you back under the duvet…
In the winter Yorkshire snow inevitably leads to the biggest snowball fight on campus. And once the sun comes out in the spring and summer term James comes into its own as blocks come out of hibernation and enjoy the weather whilst using the many BBQ pits provided. But all year round there are great block parties to be had, a vibrant JCR-fuelled social scene and some of the strongest college sports teams on campus for you to get involved in.
There are uncatered 34 week lets at the ensuite (£124 per week/£4209 pa) and premium ensuite (£127 per week/£4311) level. If you want catered you’re up for a 40 week let, in standard (£121 per week/£4841 pa), upgraded standard (£143 per week/£5737 p) or ensuite (£151 per week/£6026 pa). The catering package includes breakfast and dinner during weekdays.
Catered or not you get a fully equipped kitchen, shared between 6-17 people per kitchen, depending on your block/room type.
Communal areas (bathrooms and kitchens) are cleaned once a week – make sure you look after your cleaner (buy her presents/make sure you’re decent, even the morning after sports socials…), he or she can be your best friend when your kitchen looks like a bomb site!
Favourite college hangouts:
James students love hanging out in their kitchens (especially if you’re in a swanky glass fronted one) and on the grass quads. The Lounge is also popular, and serves cheap cocktails. It could claim to be the smartest bar on campus, and is great for having a chilled night with friends.
A big college housing people who go into all walks of campus life. College spirit is strong with a well-organised JCR who put together events like the sports tournament against Durham’s major sports college.
Having ventured to the blustery realms of Heslington East last year, Langwith has established itself as an old college in new, snazzy surroundings. Comprised of four courts, providing a selection of ensuite or standard rooms, this is the newest and best accommodation on campus.
At the heart of Langwith is the Glasshouse which provides a student friendly menu and bar and the perfect place to socialise, relax and recover from the night before. As well as playing host to regular quiz nights the Glasshouse is home to the infamous “Marmite” nights. A short walk away is the newly built York Sports Village for any gym addicts which boasts state of the art facilities.
Despite a renowned reputation as a college lacking sporting prowess, Langwith has an abundance of college spirit and pride. As regular partakers in community and charity volunteering there’s always something to get involved with.
All accommodation in Langwith is self-catered and let for 40 weeks per year, but comes in two levels, premium standard (£117 per week/£4684 pa) and premium ensuite £127 per week/£5093 pa). Kitchens are shared between 4 and 12 people, depending on where you end up.
A word from the Chair, Sam Mag Uidhir:
“Langwith are excited to welcome this year’s crop of new recruits with a series of events and activities building on and surpassing last year’s first Freshers Week on Heslington East. The itinerary is guaranteed to instil them with college spirit and excitement that will see them through seven amazing days of fun and festivities and set them up to have Langwith at the heart of their university experience. The college’s biggest strength has always been its community, pride and dedication to its students and we look forward to students both old and new experiencing this in September and the coming year ahead!”
The accommodation in Langwith is really nice. Like really nice. And being next to the sports centre is a big plus if you’re a cyclist, swimmer or athlete. Hes East is yet to become a social centre in its own right, but there are now over a thousand students on Hes East with a bar to boot, so it can only be a matter of time before it kicks off.
Centrally located by the lake and Market Square, Vanbrugh College is one of the most sociable on campus. Its Volume events continue to be successful, and Vanbrugh’s proximity to main lecture theatres and departments means you can literally roll out of bed and wander over in your PJs. The appeal of sitting by the lake or on the grassy Vanbrugh bowl during the summer term means there are plenty of places to relax and study, as well as socialise.
The college is split into ‘old’ and ‘new’ Vanbrugh. Nicknamed ‘Vanbrugh Palace’, the new part of Vanbrugh is the luxurious Donald Barron and Barbara Scott courts, which offer some of the best accommodation on campus. The old part is the less shiny Eric Milner, but these provide some of the closest knit blocks on Hes West. The JCR is the centre of the college with sofas and a pool table, situated next to recently refurbished V-Bar where students from across campus come for the cheap drinks on offer in both the bar and the cafe.
College spirit runs high with many Vanbrugh students across all walks of college life. Choices of accommodation range from the long corridor layout of Le Page, which translates to living and socialising with lots of people, to the more intimate house layout of the newer courts.
You can only take a 34 week let in top-of-the-range premium ensuite, which, uncatered, comes in at a cool £127 per week (£4311 pa)
Rooms in off-campus Fairfax House (about 400m down the road) are standard catered but with breakfast only, and are let for 40 weeks per year (£109 per week/£4360 pa)
Standard catered comes in two sizes: single (£121 per week/£4841 pa) and twin (£97 per week/£3872 pa), and both are let for 40 weeks per year.
Catered or not you get a fully equipped kitchen, and there are laundrettes for you to use at a small charge.
Favourite college hangouts:
Le Page students spend most of their summer term lounging on the grass outside. ‘Vanbrugh Paradise’ (inappropriately named slabs of concrete bordering the lake) is a great hangout and V-Bar acts as a great centralised meeting place for people of all colleges.
Word from the JCRC Chair:
“We are as centrally located on the main campus as you get without going in the lake. As the ‘music college’ we have Jazz nights, battle-of-the-bands, a ‘garage’ for band practices and a handful of choirs. Beyond music, we’ve got a packed events calendar; it’s busy – but that’s half the fun of uni life. We are the ONLY college that has absolutely no fees for our college sports training. We’re enthusiastic and have the best spirit on campus.”
A big college at the centre of the buzzing Hes West campus, meaning you’re right next to Costcutter, Central Hall and the lake. Vanbrugh has great spirit and produces campus-renowned sports teams, and V Bar means you’ll never be out of reach of a cheap pint.
Opened in 1972, Wentworth and became the only college exclusively for graduate students in 2001, though they may live in any college on York campus. Much of the accommodation was rebuilt or renovated in 2002 so it’s all in good condition.
Housing the departments for Sociology and Criminal Justice, Wentworth is the centre of the Graduate Student Associate (GSA), and the location for GSA events throughout the term.
Popular and well-attended comedy nights are held throughout each term at the college bar, the Edge, which also has a reputation for serving the best food on campus. An art studio and the Dixon Drama Studio (both open to all students), can also be found in the college. You can supposedly rent musical instruments from the college, but somehow I don’t imagine you’ll be choosing it for this reason.
Wentworth has three types of rooms, are self-catered and are all let for 50 weeks: Premium ensuite comes in at £127.33 per week (£6366.50 pa) and studio flats are £153.23 per week (£7661.50 pa) if privacy’s your thing.
They’ve also got some off-campus accommodation in the form of Constantine House and 65-7 Fulford Road (check google maps for their location). These are standard accommodation (no ensuite) and come in at £99.05 per week (£4952.50 pa).
A word from the Provost, Russell Yates:
“Wentworth College is a hub for graduate activity in the University. As well as housing over 500 residents , the College’s excellent study and social facilities are available to all of York’s graduate students. We have a simple aim at Wentworth: each member of the College should have as full, rich, productive and enjoyable a graduate experience as possible while at York. The College has a private dining room, a common room, and a 350 capacity venue that has hosted New Year’s Eve parties, comedy nights, jazz concerts and gigs from emerging talent.”
Wentworth has a whole range of up-to-date accommodation blocks which house the greater part of the campus postgrad community, and although postgrads can live in all colleges across campus, Wentworth offers accommodation next to Fulford’s grassy commons, and away from the noisy hubbub of freshers week.