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University of York
York

Durham vs York uni

Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.

The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)

Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.
York is a very depressing university and place. I wouldn’t recommend it. It is actually quite prestigious as it is in the Russel group and for a lot of courses it is even top 10 in the country, however that is the only good thing going for it. Everything else about the university and the people and the city is just rubbish. Durham I would imagine is quite similar and both universities are actually quite similar in most things (e.g. collegiate system). The uni is very disorganised and unhelpful, the people suck and it’s hard to make friends, the area is overrated and I would say it’s one of the most depressing parts of the country. I left the Uni very recently after completing my first year there, couldn’t continue anymore. My suggestion would be to firm Durham and then choose literally any other uni as a 2nd choice, don’t go to York, sure it’s a great uni but you will regret the whole experience.
(edited 1 month ago)
University of York
York
Reply 2
Original post by Bo77 Tman
York is a very depressing university and place. I wouldn’t recommend it. It is actually quite prestigious as it is in the Russel group and for a lot of courses it is even top 10 in the country, however that is the only good thing going for it. Everything else about the university and the people and the city is just rubbish. Durham I would imagine is quite similar and both universities are actually quite similar in most things (e.g. collegiate system). The uni is very disorganised and unhelpful, the people suck and it’s hard to make friends, the area is overrated and I would say it’s one of the most depressing parts of the country. I left the Uni very recently after completing my first year there, couldn’t continue anymore. My suggestion would be to firm Durham and then choose literally any other uni as a 2nd choice, don’t go to York, sure it’s a great uni but you will regret the whole experience.

Well yikes! Can I ask what you're doing now? I also have offers from Lancaster and Loughborough, but to be honest, they seemed worse. Would like to know if you have an opinion on it anyhow
Original post by Leverager
Well yikes! Can I ask what you're doing now? I also have offers from Lancaster and Loughborough, but to be honest, they seemed worse. Would like to know if you have an opinion on it anyhow

Tbh I’m a little bit lost right now, I made the wrong choices in my life and now I’m paying the price for it. That’s the main reason I’m on this website, it’s to make sure others don’t make sh*t choices like I did and end up lost and depressed. York when I applied was top 12 in the UK for my subject and I thought great, this is perfect, one of the best uni’s in the country, heard good things about the place, etc etc. Then reality sunk in when I did my first year there and found it utterly miserable the whole time. My advice would be to go for one of Lancaster or Loughborough as your 2nd choice, if you love sports then Loughborough would be a great option too. Don’t know much about those two universities on a detailed level but they can’t be worse than York that’s for sure. I have a friend at Loughborough who said they are enjoying it so make of that what you will. Did you apply to any City universities or are they all campus universities? I think I made the same mistake of applying to all campus universities, it might be good to get some variety in there. If you don’t end up getting into Durham, another good option would be to just go through clearing, in actual fact that is a great option and I would’ve done that if I knew what I know now.
Reply 4
Original post by Bo77 Tman
Tbh I’m a little bit lost right now, I made the wrong choices in my life and now I’m paying the price for it. That’s the main reason I’m on this website, it’s to make sure others don’t make sh*t choices like I did and end up lost and depressed. York when I applied was top 12 in the UK for my subject and I thought great, this is perfect, one of the best uni’s in the country, heard good things about the place, etc etc. Then reality sunk in when I did my first year there and found it utterly miserable the whole time. My advice would be to go for one of Lancaster or Loughborough as your 2nd choice, if you love sports then Loughborough would be a great option too. Don’t know much about those two universities on a detailed level but they can’t be worse than York that’s for sure. I have a friend at Loughborough who said they are enjoying it so make of that what you will. Did you apply to any City universities or are they all campus universities? I think I made the same mistake of applying to all campus universities, it might be good to get some variety in there. If you don’t end up getting into Durham, another good option would be to just go through clearing, in actual fact that is a great option and I would’ve done that if I knew what I know now.

Personally I would much prefer a campus university. I'm really sorry to hear about your bad experience at York. Do you mind going into detail about why you disliked it so much?
Reply 5
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.

It is a really difficult choice to make since Durham is obviously so highly rated. I went to a postgrad open day there a few weeks ago and loved it, but there definitely is even less to do there than York and I have heard similar stories to you. My main is advice is that there really isn’t any point in staying in a place you hate for three years: you’re going to be miserable, unmotivated to do work and possibly missing classes/spending more money to get the train home every week. While three years might not sound like a lot of time, it’s going to drag if you hate the place you live in.
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.
I'm firming York for Law, I do geography at A level however I do not know about the geography course, but I know for law that no law firms will care if you went to York or Durham as they are both very prestigious universities (for law York is ranked 1st for learning opportunities due to their unique learning style, often helping a lot in interviews). If geography is anything like law, then I'm sure you will be just fine. Also it is important to note that everybody will have a different experience at university, your time is not guaranteed to be absolutely horrific like other people's might be, but also not guaranteed to be absolutely perfect like some might be as well. Look at what both universities have to offer, by the time you come to get a job York might be ranked higher (especially since it is a relatively new uni and for geography and env. science it has rose 15 places in one year to rank 15th, but it is simply guesswork). Maybe look at https://www.york.ac.uk/environment/
Original post by phh03
It is a really difficult choice to make since Durham is obviously so highly rated. I went to a postgrad open day there a few weeks ago and loved it, but there definitely is even less to do there than York and I have heard similar stories to you. My main is advice is that there really isn’t any point in staying in a place you hate for three years: you’re going to be miserable, unmotivated to do work and possibly missing classes/spending more money to get the train home every week. While three years might not sound like a lot of time, it’s going to drag if you hate the place you live in.


Why not just do that (firm Durham and insurance York) then even if u get A*AA you don’t have to take Durham you can still choose York ????? Mate aswell for some extra motivation if u change ur mind or smth
Reply 8
Original post by Conradstephens
Why not just do that (firm Durham and insurance York) then even if u get A*AA you don’t have to take Durham you can still choose York ????? Mate aswell for some extra motivation if u change ur mind or smth

That’s also a good idea to take the pressure off A-Levels a bit if the poster would be happy with either uni! I know some unis allow you to transfer within the first few months as well, so that’s always a last resort option if things are really bad.
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.

Go where you will be happiest.
Reply 10
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.

I stayed at Durham for a Summer residential, and now put Durham as my Firm. I see why you think Durham has an 'elitist' reputation, but on this summer school I found that their work on becoming more progressive and inclusive to minorities, tackling the reputation that was built up in the past is really coming alone. I really enjoyed my time at Durham for a week and a half, I find all of the resources so brilliant, work spaces, and just help from the Uni in terms of i.e., academic development (we had several talks on these things and were given lectures on these facilities). For reference, Northern and working-class so had equally shared worries that it wasn't going to be the place from me from other opiniona, but from first hand experience of the place, i think it's the best for me! And also, like you said it's ranked very highly, where for my course in English Lit, I know it's going to serve me well.
I've also got an offer from York! And it's my insurance choice- because it's a lower offer for Durham (and less ranked for the course).
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.

Hi there!

Congratulations on your offers, it sounds like you've done really well!

Just to offer a different perspective to Bo77 Tman, I studied Biology at York (graduated in June 2022) and I hugely enjoyed my time there. I found York to be a very friendly city where I quickly felt at home. There was always plenty going on, especially for a city of its size, which is on the smaller side! Plus, York's train station is well-connected to the rest of the UK: only two hours to London, two hours to Edinburgh, and 20 minutes from Leeds, so you're not too far from a 'big' city if you fancy a visit. I also liked the collegiate system, particularly in my first year, as I found it gave an immediate sense of community, which you might not find in 'standard' halls of residence.

The staff in the Biology department were very supportive and attentive too, so overall I loved my course and where I was living. However, I can't speak for what the Human Geography and Environment course is like specifically (as I didn't study it!) so I'd recommend visiting if you can:

we have open days on 22 and 23 of June

you may have been invited to a Visit day for offer holders (though don't worry if you haven't, not all departments run one of these visit days)

you could contact your department ([email protected]) and it may be possible to arrange a one-to-one visit and tour of your department.


Hopefully this helps with your upcoming decision! My overall advice would be to pick the University that feels right for you.

Best of luck! - Hannah 🙂
I went to York in the late 90s for 1 year and it was the largest nightmare of my life. Massively dated soulless accommodation and interior design from the late 60s / 70s. It should never have got in the Russell Group. It is more like a science park than a university. To be fair, Central Hall, the lake, some of the landscaping around the music hall area, and some of the newer buildings, even then, were semi-interesting but it's a place to visit, not to live. It is an awful place to live, but then so possibly are some other campus universities. Like a post apocalyptic Butlins. I love Brutalism but York has no distinctive examples of it, it was just soulless CLASP architecture like some kind of Russian jail. It's easy to see some new buildings at York and think "That looks nice". It's easy to look nice out of context. The context is 60s origin campus universities can have a weird vibe and they should never have been designed as places to live.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Leverager
Hi all, I’ve just received all my offers back and was originally going to firm Durham and have York as my backup (A*AA and BBB respectively). However, I don’t know if it would be better for me to just go to York. I prefer the city, the atmosphere, prices, ect. But of course Durham is much more prestigious and the course is ranked miles higher. I just feel that the whole prestigious grounds of Durham puts me off, from the high prices to classism - I just think maybe I’d be happier at york. Plus it gets rid of some of the stress of NEEDING A*AA (which… revision is not looking good for me). My brother goes to York uni and idc if we’d go to the same one, it just means when he leaves after I finish first year if he guaranteed his house. I’ve been to york to see him many many times and I have become familiar with and really enjoyed it there. Plus it seems miles easier to get a job, which I’m going to need. However, I have not had experience with the geography department. I went to the Durham open day a few months ago and of course the geography department and accommodation was great. Just not the biggest fan of the city.
The courses I have to choose from are:
Durham: human geography (BA)
York: human geography and environment (BA)
Please give me your opinions on which is better/the right one. And if you happen to do any of these courses, please let me know how it’s been.

please go where you think you'll be happier. it is genuinely not worth it to pick based on rankings alone. i have seen some very miserable people drop out because they should have gone somewhere else, and people who are making through but only because they've found something to make it worth it (a relationship or society). prestige matters but not at the cost of your enjoyment. if you've got to spend at least 3 years in a place you may as well enjoy it!
p.s. i go to york and love it immensely

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