One of the unique aspects of the University of York is the collegiate system, yet for many applicants it is something that you know little about prior to actually arriving at your college on the first day of term. So to give you an insight into what colleges are and what they offer you, I’ve been talking to the Vice Chair of Services for Goodricke, my college. Goodricke is one of the eight undergraduate colleges at York and one of three located on Campus East. It is one of the smaller colleges and prides itself on being community-orientated.
Why do we have colleges at York?
Colleges are more than just the physical blocks in which you will live – they also play a big part in your student life (whether you realise it or not!). Each college is overseen by a group of resident postgraduate college tutors and run by a committee of undergraduate students like myself. We are responsible for the organisation of a whole host of social activities, from the major events like Freshers Week to very small activities like our weekly free food events. Along with the college tutors, we are also there to take care of your general welfare, respond to any issues and provide a friendly face around the accommodation blocks. Colleges also have their own set of sports teams that regularly compete with each other in the college leagues.
Colleges have their own common room spaces and student bars. At Goodricke we have a ‘nucleus’ with table-tennis tables, dartboards and more. We share The Glasshouse bar with Langwith College. It’s always busy in there throughout the day and at night.
Besides free food and Freshers Week what else do you put on?
At Goodricke we have lots of small, regular events such as open mics, film nights and pub quizzes in our college bar/common room as well as off campus events like our organised bar crawls. We also put on an array of special events throughout the year: the Winter and Summer balls, and ‘GoodFest’, our own little summer festival in the college grounds. We have lots of home-grown talent as well as some bigger acts – last year we had Autumn Sharif from the Voice. In January all the Colleges organise their own ‘Refeshers Week’ after exams.
Is there a big college rivalry?
When it comes to sport yes, especially when Varsity comes around. Varsity is a major competition between our best college sports teams and Durham’s best college sports teams that takes place once a year. But the big sporting rivalry at York is with Lancaster University.
What sports do colleges offer?
College sports tend to be the more popular sports, where there’s a lot of competition to get into the University teams. At Goodricke we currently have 12 college teams: three football teams, two netball teams, cricket, rugby, hockey, badminton, squash, pool and darts teams. College sports are great because they allow you to play your sport but without having to get really serious (and competitive) like the Uni teams do.
So which is the best college?
On a serious note though I genuinely don’t think it matters – you will get to know and love whichever college you find yourself in. I’ll happily admit that they don’t actually vary that much – we all offer the same sort of events at the end of the day! Most people choose their college preference based upon the type of accommodation it offers, its location on campus, whether or not it is catered, whether it has an en suite, etc. So I’d definitely recommend thinking about that first.
I’d also point out that you don’t need to apply for colleges based on your academic department. York is a campus university, so you’re never far away. Even if you live on Campus East and have lectures on Campus West you’re still only five minutes away on the bus. Lots of people in my year did this and actually quite liked the commute!