My time choosing York for my degree

As the new academic year is approaching fast, prospective students will be considering studying at York. I remember this feeling well, even though it is over three years ago now!! Those mixed feelings of excitement and apprehension when exploring the open days and meeting students and lecturers. But what I do remember is why I chose York as the university to study my Criminology degree, the thing that made York stand out as a top university and why I believed I would suit the city.

The course

Mum and me at the York open day

When arriving for the open day at York with my mum, I remember getting the train from Doncaster (my hometown) to York. My dad was dropping us off at the station and saying, “don’t bring Alex back, leave her there and let her go to university now”. We all joked and my mum and I headed for our girly day to York, to explore the university and the city. We hopped on a bus at the station and ended up at the campus, where we were greeted by some students to point us in the right direction to where we needed to be for the Criminology talks, this was down in Wentworth College. We met with the Criminology lecturers who spoke about the degree content, how the three years would pan out, and the assessments, but also non-academic aspects such as the help and support available for students, and also student societies at York. For me, this was what made York stand out compared to other universities I had attended for open days. York was not only concerned with making the course stand out but also other extra-curricular activities available to students too.


After our welcome talk with the department, we were taken by students to explore the university and some accommodation blocks. This all seems quite a blur looking back now, but I think this is due to the overwhelming experience of being at the university and seeing so much in one day. On our tour of campus I remember seeing the shops in Market Square, attending the library, seeing what I still call today the Spaceship (Central Hall) but also going to all the colleges throughout university.

uni room
My room on the day of arrival at York – Vanbrugh College, Donald Barron Court.

The accommodation that I viewed on my open day was one in Vanbrugh College, called Donald Barron Court, but also James College in the square. I loved both accommodations; however I preferred Vanbrugh’s Donald Barron as the rooms were en-suite, with big kitchens and a lovely grass outdoor area. This is the accommodation I managed to secure when coming to York in my first year (so am quite biased to love this).

The City

The Shambles

After our day exploring and talking to the staff at the university, Mum and I headed into the city itself to explore the sites and have lunch. This is where I was sure York was the university for me – not only was the university, course and accommodation excellent, the city was out of this world. Mum and I walked up the Shambles, and up to the Minister.

York Minster

Decision time

We had a lovely day in York, but now it was decision time. I was, at that point, holding an unconditional offer to study at York, so Mum and I discussed the upsides of studying at York. Criminology was what I loved, and knew I wanted to pursue. The welcome talk we had attended was very informative from the department, and I knew this course would suit me well as it was assessment-based with only a few exams. The accommodation that we viewed was lovely and I could definitely see myself at this university. The city was attractive with plenty to do; it was historical with plenty of sightseeing opportunities for when friends visited. It was at this point I knew York was the place for me for the next three years of studying.

We arrived back to my dad collecting us from Doncaster train station, he was joking asking why mum had brought me back from York, and it was at this point we told him my decision to attend York to study. Less than six months later, we were driving to York for me to stay here for my studies. It is now quite sad that, as I write this, I am now coming to the end of my three years of studying here at York, but if I could do my time again, I would not change my decision. I would encourage anyone to attend York to study their degree. Criminology and the Department of Sociology have been amazing, the university is great with plenty to do, and the city has everything anyone could ask for. Everyone come to York!!


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I am Alex and I am a third year Criminology student at The University Of York. I am currently a member of Vanbrugh College and a member of the JCRC (junior common room committee) as the Vice Chair of Welfare until Christmas.

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