Often branded as the quiet college by members of other colleges on campus, Alcuin is situated to the north of campus, behind the library. Alcuin was one of the first colleges at the university, and now boasts some of the most modern and spacious accommodation on campus.
The boring but important stuff
Ensuite room: 36 or 40 week let, £127 per week
Premium ensuite room: 36 or 40 week let, £131 per week
Food: self-catered only
Nearest departments: Health Sciences – nursing and midwifery, HY Medical school
What made you choose your college in the first place?
It was partly a process of elimination: I wanted to live on campus which ruled out the Boulevard, all my lectures took place on Heslington West. Alcuin’s scenery also appealed to me, as did its reputation as a quieter college. Ultimately, since I was aiming for a premium ensuite room it came down to Vanbrugh or Alcuin, and since I got on the application website late I thought I had better chances of getting into the latter. It worked, and I didn’t regret my decision.
What are the rooms like?
All the rooms are ensuites, which is pretty damn nifty – you can lord the opulent wealth of your slightly infested shower over the economy peons like a sneering medieval king.
The room I stayed in was an ensuite on the ground-floor of M Block. Blocks are split off into about five floors with thirteen rooms on each one, and you need a keycard to access each. Our floor interacted more with each other than the building as a whole, though other nearby blocks were more sociable between floors.
The room was spacious enough – though it wasn’t as spacious as others in different houses, it did come with a built-in toilet and shower.
Are you happy with where it is on campus?
Alcuin’s actually in quite a good spot – you’re not in the “probes just recently discovered life” regions of Halifax or Heslington East, but you’re not so close to everything that you can’t sleep at night (as a few of my Derwent friends complained). It’s only about five minutes away from the library, as well as Vanbrugh or Derwent depending on the route you take.
Wildlife routinely spotted around the area includes rabbits, ducks and LARPers. The rabbits are adorable, the ducks are no more evil than any others on campus and the LARPers keep the White Walkers out (hey, we’re in the North, you know! Winter’s coming!)
Would you say it’s good value for money?
As of now, a premium ensuite room costs £1311 for a ten-week term. Sounds a lot, but given even an economy standard room (a room in a cheap block without a bathroom) costs £1019, it’s worth spending the extra if you can.
Are there any things you wish the prospectus told you before you picked?
It’s worth noting that Alcuin has no bars, though they do have a nice bistro near the library bridge and a café in reception. They also don’t serve catered food, though I got around this by getting a MAD card and using the facilities in Vanbrugh. It’s also not particularly great for phone connections unless you go outside (there’s a pun about “no bars” in there but I’m too lazy to find it).
Anything that’s been great that the prospectus didn’t even mention?
Well, from the students to the STYCs to the staff, everyone there was nice and welcoming, and I’m not telling you how much they paid me to say that. There’s a lot of greenery and open spaces, and especially in summer you can sit outside and find new and exciting ways to avoid exam revision. The internet in my room was also surprisingly quick, although that didn’t apply to everyone.
Any tips for new freshers?
Try and get to know your neighbours on the first night, though the STYCs’ll end up throwing everyone together regardless. Take a night off during Freshers’ if you need it, and remember the one thing greater than alcohol is moderation (unless you have like a bouncy castle or something). Remember you’ll settle in eventually, even if it doesn’t feel like it right away.
And remember that first year’s the year that doesn’t really count, so try new things and have fun!
The opinions expressed in the college guide articles are those of the writers