thijazi
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I was just wondering how you decided what colleges to apply to? Im applying for politics and phillsophy and am not sure wether to apply for a specific college or just not specify?
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Anonymous #1
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I would definitely specify! My partner got an offer last year and was randomly assigned hilde and bede as it is always undersubscribed... we honestly thought it was awful and couldn't even finish the tour because it was so stuffy and hot in there (the students said some of their dorm windows didn't open and it was always like that, and the bathroom we were shown didn't look too nice either. I'm not sure whether this is common to all Durham accommodation, but the other options do seem nicer at least. I chose which one I applied to based on whether i wanted self catered or catered accommodation, and then by when it was built and location in relation to where my subject is taught. At the end of the day tho, the way they assign colleges is completely random even if you've chosen one, so you are less likely to get your chosen college than say oxford, where if your application is good enough they will want you. I still think its worth applying, for a slightly higher chance of not being allocated somewhere you hate. Hope that helps
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thijazi
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Very much, thank you!!
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HedgePig
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“At the end of the day tho, the way they assign colleges is completely random even if you've chosen one,..”

This isn’t quite true. My understanding of the process is that applicants who’ve picked a college are all put into one group and ordered randomly within that group. The Durham sorting hat goes through the list starting at number one and working it’s way down. For each person, it looks at the college they have chosen and if there are any unfilled positions, allocated them. Note that “any unfilled positions” really means any positions left for people taking that particular course since the sorting hat specifically ensures that there is a spread of subjects. So it could be that person 1000 on the list who wants to study Maths doesn’t get allocated his chosen college because they have “enough” maths applicants already, while person 1001 who wants to study English Literature does get allocated to that exact same college because they haven’t yet filled up their English Literature quota. All the people who don’t get their choice (ie who end up not getting their choice in the first pass through) are then added to the second list, which also contains all the people who made an open allocation.

Once the first list has been completed, the second list is gone through by the sorting hat. This list is also ordered randomly and if I remember correctly the first person is then assigned a college at random - if there is not a space for them, then one of the remaining colleges is picked, and so on, until they are ultimately allocated.

What this means is that if you choose a less popular college you do have a relatively high chance of being allocated as normally that college would be filled mostly from the second list.

But I agree it’s very different from Oxbridge where you apply to a specific college even though you may end up being pooled. Furthermore at Durham, you are likely to spend your second and third years not living in college. So overall I don’t think it’s worth getting too invested in aiming for a particular college - it doesn’t matter as much. I have a child at Durham who made an open application and ended up being allocated to one of the less popular hill colleges - and was very happy indeed there.
Last edited by HedgePig; 1 month ago
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