As one of the larger and older colleges (turning 50 next year), Derwent offers a good range of accommodation for new undergraduates all on 40 week lets. Known to be the meeting place for the notorious fancy dress sports social on a wednesday, Derwent isn’t the college for those looking for peace and quiet.
The boring but important stuff
Economy standard room: 40 week let, £102 per week
Standard room: 40 week let, £120 per week
Standard Shared Twin: 40 week let, £96.46 per person
Economy Standard Catered: 40 week let, £124.67 per week
Economy Standard Catered Shared Twin: 40 week let, £99.75 per person per week
Economy Ensuite Catered: 40 week let, £147.70 per week
Food: self-catered and catered options
Nearest departments: English literature, Education, Politics
What made you choose your college in the first place?
I read so much about the colleges, but it gave no real insight into why I should choose a college. In the end, it came down to what sort of room I wanted, my budget and the kind of student life that the college offered. It’s often said that Derwent is the ‘party college’, but I won’t perpetuate that opinion, however Derwent is a very sociable college (but everyone would say that). There is always something going on in Derwent and that’s what I like. There are two bars in the college, Courtyard and D Bar, and both are relatively cheap. The college also puts on “Club D” events each term in D Bar, which are always fun. Then we have our big end of year event “Project D” which recently played host to Basshunter, Artful Dodger and Mausi; a great end of year, post-exams blowout!
What are the rooms like?
After 50 years of wear and tear Derwent accommodation is showing signs of ageing; the rooms offered are pretty basic and the walls are like paper, but they’re perfectly livable. They vary in size and facilities; you can get en-suite or shared bathrooms. There are never too many people to a kitchen or a shower and even if it’s one of the bigger corridors, not every shower is in use at once so there is never a wait. Also, Derwent’s ethos is that people should get to know one another, so there are no locks between floors in each block. This means instead of just befriending your flat, you get to befriend every flat above or below you too.
Are you happy with where it is on campus?
Situated at the scenic end of campus, Derwent sits amongst the stunning Heslington Hall, the Quiet Place and the lawns surrounding the end of the lake – not to mention two bars. To get to a lecture, the longest you’ll have to walk is 10 minutes and you’re only 5 minutes from the campus shop! The far end of Derwent also gets the benefits of Heslington village: two pubs, two banks, a post office and Browns, who sell the best sandwiches in the world, probably.
Would you say it’s good value for money?
Rents have increased campus-wide, but Derwent allows you the chance to stay in some of the cheapest, basic accommodation – economy standard self-catered at £101.92pw (there are shared options which go for £81–96pw) – as well as offering some of the pricier rooms. I’d say there’s a good range of options across Derwent, something for everyone.
Are there any things you wish the prospectus told you before you picked?
I wish I’d been told that Heslington Hall wasn’t where my lectures were going to be. The hall is actually for the university administrative staff, not students. A lot of the photos of Derwent show off the hall so I assumed I would be using the building – unfortunately not. However, if you pick Derwent, at least you’ll get to Instagram it’s exterior. Also how incredibly patriotic and defensive you become about your college within the first few days of fresher’s week (“Derwent ‘til I die”).
Anything that’s been great that the prospectus didn’t even mention?
I really enjoyed all the waterfowl, also the great events that Derwent and its JCRC put on throughout the year, but mostly the ducks.
Any tips for new freshers?
Don’t fall in the lake. And don’t stress out about choosing a college, you’ll have a fantastic time wherever you end up (choose Derwent).
The opinions expressed in the college guide articles are those of the writers