Picking a university is hard. It’s one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make in your life, and it’s completely understandable if you’re nervous. So let me tell you why I chose the department, and explain two of the great things about York – the colleges and the city.
Firstly, the department.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time on Google looking up various courses, so you probably know that the department is one of the highest ranked in the country. With over forty members of staff, it is also one of the largest. One of the main reasons that I chose York was just how much you could possibly study. When I went on the open day, I remember looking at a board showing a selection of the modules offered. The choice was huge. From the end of the Roman Empire to modern Japan, the choice of modules at York is incredible, and was one of the reasons that I picked York over my other choices. There are a few examples of modules on the website for you have a look at. Even though they change every year, the amount of choice means that I have always found something that I wanted to study.
Unlike many other universities I looked at, the periods that you study in your second and third year is up to you. In second and third year, apart from compulsory modules to develop your skills as a historian, everything you study is what you choose, meaning you can work on what you are interested in. Not only does the department offer courses relating to many periods, but the department’s geographical diversity is hard to match. Recently, the department has been expanding the number of staff it has who work on American and Asian history, meaning that there is always something different to learn about,
Not only are the staff experts in their specific fields, but they are incredibly approachable and helpful. Even before I came to York, they were incredibly helpful in explaining how the degree worked. Whenever I’ve had problems relating to work, they always invited me to their office to talk things through and spent considerable time contacting the right people to ensure that support was given.
That’s the department done. So what about the colleges?
York’s college system is something that I’d highly recommend, and that few universities can match. Before I came here, like many I didn’t really understand what they were. What the nine colleges do is provide you with a community away from your degree from the very first day, meaning meeting people is incredibly easy. Rather than just being stuck knowing people who are in your halls, you develop a community identity with a much wider number of students. Apart from the social aspects such as Freshers’ Weeks and college events, a great thing about the colleges is the level of support they provide when you find things hard going. With student based welfare, they provide somewhere to turn to with people who may have had similar issues to you and can greatly empathise with you.
Unlike certain other collegiate universities, you’re not tied to a college by your subject – although the History Department is based in Vanbrugh, you don’t have to choose Vanbrugh as your college if you don’t want to – meaning you can choose whatever accommodation you want.
Finally, another reason I chose York is the city.
York is by no means the largest city in the world, and is quite small even by British standards. However, its small and compact nature means that, as well as being beautiful, it is easy to get around.
For such a small and friendly city, there is so much to do. From live music, cocktail bars, high tea, ghost walks, railway museums, through to allegedly having a pub for every day of the year, there are so many things to do in York to suit so many interests. If you ever want to go elsewhere, York is incredibly well connected to the rest of Great Britain. Have a look at my previous post to see just how much interest the city holds for History students – as King George VI famously said, the ‘history of York is the history of England’.
I hope I’ve explained about why I like studying History here. If you have any more questions about why I chose York, please comment below 🙂