Misty369
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I'm going to apply for psychology at Durham 2021 but I don't know where to start with choosing a college. There aren't many discussions about this so I thought I'd start one.

Here's some things we can start with:
1) Course?
2) Preferences for a college
3) How you are going to choose one
4) Any advice for others

Feel free to add anything else
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LuigiMario
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Last time I looked at Durham , they had just opened an annexe, miles away, somewhere near Newcastle (I might be exaggerating) , but it felt like that.

So try and choose a college & course where your centre of activities is basically the gorgeous town of Durham.
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Anonymous #1
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Hi, I'm a 2020 offer holder, and this is how I chose my college preference/what I considered?

1. This can really narrow down your options: catered or non-catered?
There are pros and cons to both, catered means that you don't need to prepare your own food, and as long as you budget in your rent properly, you don't need to think too much about food costs. However, your options are more limited if you go catered, which could be a problem if you're a picky eater. Ultimately, you need to weigh up what suits you better.

2. Shared rooms. I really didn't want to share a room, so I chose a college that didn't have any shared rooms. This was probably a little drastic, as if you had a vague preference against it, the odds would probably be in your favour for even a college with a few shared rooms. If it's really important to you though, you may want to avoid colleges with a high proportion of shared rooms.

3. Ensuite or shared bathroom? If you really want an Ensuite, you're going to want to look at the colleges where this is a likely option, some colleges have very few Ensuite rooms, which are usually reserved for those who require them for medical needs, other colleges have almost exclusively Ensuite rooms.

4. Formal or Informal? Do you want to go to gowned formal dinners, or would you prefer a more informal experience. Formal dinners (in regular years) can occur several times a moth to once or twice per term, or not at all depending on your college. This one really is just a preference and is only as important as you make it - if you have a strong preference you may put this high on your criteria, or you may not care at all.

5. Location - Durham is pretty small. I doubt location makes much difference unless you have health or mobility considerations that make it so. That being said, as a general rule, science students will have the shortest distances to lectures from hill colleges, and humanities students will have the shortest distances to lectures form Bailey colleges.
Hill colleges are closer to the Bill Bryson Library, but even then, the Bailey colleges aren't far.

6. Facilities - every college has access to different facilities, which may be worth a look at when choosing your preference.

7. The feel of the place. Obviously, this year you may not be able to visit in person, so I would look at student testimonials, and make a short list of colleges whose resources you want to have a look at during a virtual open day.

Even with these options, current students/ambassadors I've spoken to seem to say that you end up liking your college no matter which it is, and will be of the opinion that your college is pretty much the best. However, if its going to be really important to you, try and get your application in as early as you can, to try and be in the first college allocation draw (you will need an offer for your course before you're allocated a college).

Hope this helps, good luck with your applications!
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Misty369
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi, I'm a 2020 offer holder, and this is how I chose my college preference/what I considered?

1. This can really narrow down your options: catered or non-catered?
There are pros and cons to both, catered means that you don't need to prepare your own food, and as long as you budget in your rent properly, you don't need to think too much about food costs. However, your options are more limited if you go catered, which could be a problem if you're a picky eater. Ultimately, you need to weigh up what suits you better.

2. Shared rooms. I really didn't want to share a room, so I chose a college that didn't have any shared rooms. This was probably a little drastic, as if you had a vague preference against it, the odds would probably be in your favour for even a college with a few shared rooms. If it's really important to you though, you may want to avoid colleges with a high proportion of shared rooms.

3. Ensuite or shared bathroom? If you really want an Ensuite, you're going to want to look at the colleges where this is a likely option, some colleges have very few Ensuite rooms, which are usually reserved for those who require them for medical needs, other colleges have almost exclusively Ensuite rooms.

4. Formal or Informal? Do you want to go to gowned formal dinners, or would you prefer a more informal experience. Formal dinners (in regular years) can occur several times a moth to once or twice per term, or not at all depending on your college. This one really is just a preference and is only as important as you make it - if you have a strong preference you may put this high on your criteria, or you may not care at all.

5. Location - Durham is pretty small. I doubt location makes much difference unless you have health or mobility considerations that make it so. That being said, as a general rule, science students will have the shortest distances to lectures from hill colleges, and humanities students will have the shortest distances to lectures form Bailey colleges.
Hill colleges are closer to the Bill Bryson Library, but even then, the Bailey colleges aren't far.

6. Facilities - every college has access to different facilities, which may be worth a look at when choosing your preference.

7. The feel of the place. Obviously, this year you may not be able to visit in person, so I would look at student testimonials, and make a short list of colleges whose resources you want to have a look at during a virtual open day.

Even with these options, current students/ambassadors I've spoken to seem to say that you end up liking your college no matter which it is, and will be of the opinion that your college is pretty much the best. However, if its going to be really important to you, try and get your application in as early as you can, to try and be in the first college allocation draw (you will need an offer for your course before you're allocated a college).

Hope this helps, good luck with your applications!
Hi, thank you this helps a lot. Do you happen to know if you get a basic kitchen if you are catered, like a fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle etc. I've been googling it and can't seem to find any answers. Also, what college did you get accepted to, if you don't mind me asking that is?
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Misty369)
Hi, thank you this helps a lot. Do you happen to know if you get a basic kitchen if you are catered, like a fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle etc. I've been googling it and can't seem to find any answers. Also, what college did you get accepted to, if you don't mind me asking that is?
Yes, from the few catered colleges I visited, you get a basic shared kitchen (Google 'Durham Stephenson college kitchen' for a vague idea - I will say it was nicer in person).

I have a place at St Mary's, which I chose mostly based on the feel of the college and not wanting a shared room. I have an offer to study natural sciences, again, hope this helps!
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Misty369
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yes, from the few catered colleges I visited, you get a basic shared kitchen (Google 'Durham Stephenson college kitchen' for a vague idea - I will say it was nicer in person).

I have a place at St Mary's, which I chose mostly based on the feel of the college and not wanting a shared room. I have an offer to study natural sciences, again, hope this helps!
Perfect, thank you!
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hellolol12345
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(Original post by Misty369)
Hi, thank you this helps a lot. Do you happen to know if you get a basic kitchen if you are catered, like a fridge/freezer, microwave, kettle etc. I've been googling it and can't seem to find any answers. Also, what college did you get accepted to, if you don't mind me asking that is?
I went to Mary's and had access to a small fridge, microwave, kettle and toaster. Some people also had a freezer and oven/hob but this wasn't common. I reckon it's similar at other catered colleges.
Another thing that hasn't been mentioned above is the size of college. Do you wan't to know everyone in your year, or would a small college make you feel claustrophobic?
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Southcoaster747
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So what I'd really like to know is: does it really matter what college you're in after the first year?

Unlike Oxbridge, at Durham most people live out in private accommodation after the first year and no teaching gets done in college.

So really, Durham colleges are just fancy first year halls of residences, right?

Or tell me otherwise please, Durham students, I'm keen to understand what I'm missing, if you think that's not so.
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Misty369
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(Original post by Southcoaster747)
So what I'd really like to know is: does it really matter what college you're in after the first year?

Unlike Oxbridge, at Durham most people live out in private accommodation after the first year and no teaching gets done in college.

So really, Durham colleges are just fancy first year halls of residences, right?

Or tell me otherwise please, Durham students, I'm keen to understand what I'm missing, if you think that's not so.
From what I've researched- the colleges are halls of residencies (you can live there every year but they like you to atleast take one year out) but its more of a community since you are part of the college your whole time at Durham. It's there the JCR/MCR are located aswell as the bar, cafe, a toasty bar if youre lucky enough to have one, and where all meals are eaten since even when you are living out, and are at a catered college, you can buy meal tickets and go back for formals in every college. Hope this helps
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Southcoaster747
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(Original post by Misty369)
From what I've researched- the colleges are halls of residencies (you can live there every year but they like you to atleast take one year out) but its more of a community since you are part of the college your whole time at Durham. It's there the JCR/MCR are located aswell as the bar, cafe, a toasty bar if youre lucky enough to have one, and where all meals are eaten since even when you are living out, and are at a catered college, you can buy meal tickets and go back for formals in every college. Hope this helps
Thanks!
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