York is one of only a handful of universities in the UK with a collegiate system, so when you come to study here you will be a part of one of the nine colleges. Six of which are on Campus West whilst three are over on Campus East. When I first discovered that there was a collegiate system at York, on a language and linguistic visit day about 2 years ago, the Oxbridge college system instantly came to mind. But at York, the colleges don’t have an academic purpose, and without that aspect it is much easier to enjoy the colleges and meet a larger variety of people outside of your studies.
For me, the York college system has always been just that, a great way to integrate into University life. Support comes from the college welfare system, and although I never needed it, it was always great to know that it’s there. Every college has its own social space/bar as well as its own reception, where you pick up post. You’ll be sure to pop in every now and again when you realise you’ve locked yourself out of your room. Student bars like The Lounge in James or D Bar in Derwent are the social hubs of every college, and here there will be themed nights out during freshers week with pub-quizzes and band nights throughout the year. As well as making friends here, on your course and through societies; social spaces such as the Junior Common Room also act as places where you can meet people.
Every college is independent in that it will have its own activities and events. At James college for example there are regular toasty nights during exams (as a self-catered student these were a necessity) at the lakeside, pub quizzes at The Lounge and many sports events only a stones throw away where you can find the gym, tennis courts and astro-turf pitches. It’s safe to say that if you are into any type of collegiate sport then the system at York is great for inter-college competitions where you can participate competitively or just for fun. And its not just sport that gets competitive, James college holds its own annual photo competition for all the budding photographers on campus. Through the college system, there truly is something for everybody and its definitely worth researching any specific events each college may host if you have a particular interest such as photography. At the end of the day, it offers a great way to try new things and get the most out of your time at University. As well as these weekly events, every college has its own take on a winter ball and summer formal which gives you the opportunity to pretend that you really are part of a Hogwarts house.
As a second year student I don’t actually live on the University campus anymore but that isn’t to say that there isn’t that same college experience. All the events still apply and if you’re part of one of the hundreds of societies at York, you can always organise your own events on campus. And anyway, If you finish your first year and just can’t bear to leave the college system behind there are always opportunities to live on campus for 2nd and 3rd year students.
I would try and convince you to join James college but I think i’m slightly biased. And if you have spoken to any current students at university open days or visit days you will know for sure that every student will always have a strong sense of college pride. There isn’t any one college that is the best or worst, so i guess the choice is pretty easy after all, they’re all great in their particular ways and it’s always great to do a bit of research based on any particular interests you might have. (James is just slightly better)