• University of York - Student Guide

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The University of York

These university guides by written by our members offer individual accounts of aspects of day to day life. See the main university guide for information on facilities, opening hours, locations, policies etc.

The University

Overall Opinions

You can use this section to offer your overall opinions on the university. What one main thing would you like to highlight to future applicants?

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Campus - Buildings and Enviroment

Username: -WhySoSerious?

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: General look and feel is very much concrete 60's style architecture. Central Hall is quite eye catching, whilst the newer buildings have a much better look and design. The Physics/Exhibition centre is wide and open with a few of the bigger lecture rooms. The Berrick Saul building has quite a cool wooden exterior. Lecture/seminar rooms are all well equipped with comfy chairs and pop out tables to write on.


Username: AirRaven

Date: November 2009

Comment: If you can't cope with concrete, this probably isn't the place for you. On the other hand, I can't stand brutalist architecture- but it's grown on me over time. The place has a certain charm about it- and once you're inside the places, it really does cease to matter. The rest of the campus is lovely, too- beautiful greenery, a somewhat scenic lake (Fallen in? Enjoy your bubonic plague), and myriad things that go quack.

Do not underestimate the number of ducks and geese on campus. You will learn to love them, eventually. *grins*

If you're not sure about the place, I'd recommend going for a walk around the Derwent/Heslington Hall area- the area with the topiaries is one of the nicest on campus.


Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: The campus itself is very beautiful and well kept. A lake is situated in the centre so you'll probably be crossing bridges to get to and from lectures. The buildings are all concrete, and are close enough to each other that you can get from one on the far end of campus to the near end in ten minutes. There is enough space, easily, for biking from lecture to lecture and everywhere is accessible by wheelchair also. There is, however, a vast number of ducks and geese and if you really don't like these kinds of birds, then it should be easy enough to stay clear of them. Generally they stay clear of you, unless you have bread out!

Campus - Nightlife

Username: AirRaven

Date: 21st July 2010

Comment: York's Student Union is a bit rubbish, in that it doesn't actually have a building- let alone a nightclub. On the other hand, we have a Union Bar ("The Courtyard") in Langwith College which is rather nice indeed, along with bars in just about every college on campus bar Goodricke and Halifax.

There's a reasonable nightlife despite this, however- town's very close by, so it's hardly an inconvenience. The main student clubbing nights are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, with weekends, and to a lesser extent Fridays, generally being reserved for the locals. Perfectly possible to have a whale of a time.


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Societies

Username: ieuanf

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: The societies at York seem to be particularly good. Previous to coming to York, I went to Cardiff University, and the societies at York seem to be so much better run than those at Cardiff. There's a society for every need. Nouse (newspaper) is excellent, NGS is very good, OTC seems brilliant; fencing, dramasoc, world cinema - I've heard excellent things about them all. The only problem is that you'll not have enough time to do all of the things you'll want to.


Username: super-emily

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: I completey agree with ieuan - there just isn't enough time! For example, Poetry Soc, Medieval Soc, English Soc and History Soc all meet at the same time on the same day; Tuesdays is Christian Union, Fencing, a couple of papers, Vanbrugh Voices (Choir), Theatre Goers Soc; Wednesday is another couple of papers, Vegetarian Soc, Zamar choir....you can see the issues we have. Everything is well run in my experience, and there's no pressure to sign away your soul. Which can only be a plus.


Username:Schmokie Dragon

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: There are so MANY societies. I believe York has more societies than almost any other university. We even have an underwater hockey society. My pet society is LGBT Social, which caters for LGBT people and their friends. It meets twice a week, almost without fail, and puts on an awesome range of events from cheese and wine nights to film nights to bar crawls to games nights to club nights to pub nights to city trips to theatre trips to pizza nights to massive glow-stick extravaganzas . . . there is something for everyone and it's a really great and diverse bunch of people. Definitely a lot of fun.

Other societies? To be honest, I've not had time for much more. Sports societies/clubs can be fairly expensive to join but many societies only charge the requisite £4 a year. I gave FragSoc (the computer gamers society) a go and found it really elitist. I was a bit of a gamer but not very technical and I was really looked down upon for not knowing stuff. I also had a pretty rubbish rig at the time (not anymore, suckers) and this also contributed to the disdain. Ah well. I went to one LAN party and never returned. Loads of people love it there so I'm chaulking it up to an isolated experience.


Teaching and Courses

Teaching

Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: As a studier of English Language and Linguistics, I've found the teaching so far to be of excellent standard. The teaching is slow, to ensure that everybody is of the same level (and the first three weeks of term were going over Fundamental Linguistics - similar topics to if you do English Language at A Level). They don't go slow enough so that you get bored, and the lectures are challenging and do require some thought. There is also a hefty reading list (my books came to £100+ for 8 books) for the first year and outside reading is essential. However the general quality is brilliant and I would highly recommend it for anybody with a passion for learning how the language works.

The lectures are also quite varied from each other. For example, learning Semantics is nothing like learning Phonetics, as the latter is much more interactive while the former is much more theory based. Despite the differences though, I've enjoyed each of them at a similar level and I think that anybody who wants to do Linguistics will find themselves at home with this course.


Username: mikethemuse

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: As a lawyer, you may come to expect a barrowload of reading, with no social life whatsoever and spending 27 hours a day in the library. Not true. Not in the slightest. Lawyers are worked hard, damn hard in fact. But the way in which we are taught makes the subject interesting. More importantly, we enjoy it!
Law at York is likely to be different to anything you've seen before. You can check the website for more details, but basically, the cohort is split up into numerous "Student Law Firms" (SLFs) which become your main network. Twice weekly, you have PBL sessions (what other subjects may call 'seminars') to discuss problems of law. But, rather than being told what it is, we work through the problem with a tutor offering us guidance. We work out what's happening, and at the end, we're given learning outcomes to go and figure out what would happen if the case continued. Plenaries are generally an hour long, with Legal Skills usually taking 2 hours. Skills is the most practical of the 6 first year modules, as we've already had practice at interviewing a witness, and will be taking part in an assessed moot (mock court/trial) after Christmas. You're given a block guide for each block of teaching, which helps you through, tells you what you should be looking at and offers you 'tasks' which will further your understanding of the topics.
The lectures are very approachable if you don't understand anything, and actively encourage questions, whether they be during the session or afterwards. The 6 first year modules are all compulsory, but we'll get choices in year 2. Buying books is not essential to your course, as there is a key text section in the library, but I am going to get hold of a couple of books which I think would be really useful to own a copy of. I'd also advise getting a legal dictionary, very useful piece of kit!

Course Opinions

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Facilities and Services

Library and Study Facilities

Username: ieuanf

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: The main library is currently (11/2009) undergoing a rejigging, and isn't ideal in its provision of materials. It usually has the books that I want, but sometimes I find that others have taken them out first. The uni, however, provides excellent access to a lot of online services that have e-books and e-journals. The building is ok - nice and airy inside on the whole. It's open until 12 every night, which is great. The internet connections are fine, and PC access is also fine.


Username: AirRaven

Date: November 2009

Comment: The main library, as has been already said, is being reorganised- meaning the electronic catalogue's not entirely functional (Maps to shelves not working, etc)- but that's something you get over with time. As far as the place itself goes, though, the provision's more than adequate- there are books the place doesn't have, but I've really had to push the boat out a bit to find them. There are regular bus services to the British Library if you feel the urge to look up something a bit more obscure, should it catch your fancy. The place is fantastic to work in, I have to say- plenty of space, with decent ICT facilities on offer should you need it. There's a Silent Study Room, if you're particularly desperate to get a certain assignment finished with minimal distractions- but the rest of the library's more than decent. Wi-Fi coverage is a bit spotty, but it works most of the time. You *will*, however, find yourself cursing the lack of 24 Hour Service fairly quickly if you're prone to pushing deadlines a tad. This is an issue that the Uni's looking to address after the current restructuring of the place- due to be finished... Just ask the current intake graduates in 2012? Hurrah.


Username:Bigforehead

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: As previously mentioned, the library is undergoing re-arrangement and this is at the moment leading to lots of students bungling about all over the place looking for the relevant books. Provision of books when you do get there though is pretty good and although sometimes you may have to wait a bit (especially for Key Texts), this is expected with 100 students to one book :) This apart from 24-hour opening is the only issue that I have with the library.


IT Facilities

Username: Bigforehead

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: The Wi-Fi "eduroam" provides a pretty good service, but sometimes this can be a bit hit and miss, but generally the coverage and speed is good. The ethernet connected internet, however, is far more preferable and there are ports in every room for use. This internet boasts high speeds and very few limits.


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Shops and Food

Username: super-emily

Date: 29/11/2009

Comment: Dining halls will vary depending on college, and you will always get people disagreeing on the quality and cost of food based on college membership! I tend not to eat in college dining halls because it's just cheaper to make your own food, but they are reasonably priced - could be cheaper, but they have obviously taken into account that we are students! Costcutters is central on campus, and although it is waaay more expensive than morrisons or tescos, you will use it for bread, milk, ben and jerrys and alcohol. YourShop is the uni shop next door which is pretty comprehensive, and you can buy YUSU event tickets from there as well.


Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: Unfortunately I've only eaten at Vanbrugh College dining hall, but I'd imagine it won't be that different for others. The meals are approximately £5, so they can be quite dear, but rest assured you will be filled up. The quantity and quality of the food is well worth the price, and there are plenty of places to eat your food and socialise or listen to music and read. Its very handy if you're in between lectures and fancy filling yourself up before trudging off to those seminars.

As for shops, on campus there is a Costcutters which, contrary to its name, is not very Costcutting and shouldn't be used to do regular shopping in. However it has its obvious uses if you live on campus and desperately need some milk for that cup of tea you've got brewing (or alcohol for that party you're having!). Thankfully, however, there is a Morrisons nearby, about twenty minutes walk from campus. I would also advise that you buy in bulk, as it is cheaper in the longrun, so I suggest making friends with somebody who has a car and organising a big shopping trip.

Username: mikethemuse

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: So, starting with the shops. On market square there are Costcutters and YourShop, both serving pretty different purposes. Costcutters is more for buying food that you'll use to make meals (if you're one of those students blessed with cooking skills) and has most foods you'd expect in a normal 'big' supermarket. There's fruit, meat, bread, and various other items for the freezer. Inside costcutters is also a York memorabilia shop, selling things like T-shirts/Hoodies/various other York merch. YourShop on the other hand is very much the Newsagents of campus. Selling all the daily papers, various bits of stationary and offering a pretty good meal deal (put it this way, I'm often seen with a sandwich, drink, crisps and the Times for £3.30). If you need a quick sandwich, go here, it's cheaper AND nicer than Costcutters.
Eating on campus is a generally pleasent experience. Being an Alcuiner, I frequent B Henry's, where a BurgerStack (burger, bacon, cheese w/chips and salad garnish) sets you back £4. To be fair, most places on campus offer fairly good value for money. Derwent bar has it's 'coffee shop' open on weekdays, selling some hot food, again at a reasonable price. I've heard the food in Courtyard is very good, and from what I've eaten in Vanbrugh's restaurant, that place seems good also. Many of these places offer the opportunity to take your food out or have a sit down and chat. B Henry's even have the radio controlled coasters which buzz when your food is ready. A novelty of course, but it's a bit quirky. Eating on campus is by no means a bad thing, and you can generally get very good value for money.

Sporting

Username: Olibert

Date: 24/11/09

Comment: The University offers loads of different sports to play. Unfortunately with the intensity of my course (Chemistry) I am unable to play any university sports at a competitive level. College sport pits the various colleges against each other in games of hockey, rugby, football...LOADS! These games are played at the weekend and are an excellent opportunity to play some sport. If you want to make use of the sports center it is best to join a club because the cost to hire courts, use the gym etc is extortionate. The badminton club for example charges £10 a year and has a total of 8 hours court time a week (Less than 5p an hour)


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Medical/Welfare Facilities

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Other

Are there any other leisure facilities offered? Are specific facilities offered for religious activity - such as prayer rooms or chapels? Facilities for disabled students? If you have experience of these things, share them here.

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Accommodation

What are/were your halls like?

Username: archly

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: University accommodation seems to be a very much a mixed bag but you do have a fair amount of control over what you get with the current application system. I'm living in Derwent this year and my main priorities when I picked were bathroom & kitchen share ratios. I ended up sharing 1 kitchen, 1 toilet & 1 shower with 3 other students. Honestly, Derwent is a little grotty in some respects and you find yourself joking about things having been there "since the college was built" in the '60s pretty often but even the smallest of rooms in my block is bigger than most of those I've visited elsewhere within the university & at other universities I visited. Access to most university accommodation blocks is by keycard. Derwent is just about the only exception to this. We have a 4-digit door code which minimises the risk of locking yourself out & allows your friends to let themselves in but it is a little dubious on the security side of things. This year, accommodation costs were ~£82 a week for standard and ~£100 a week for ensuite.


Username: ieuanf

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: Archly's comments capture the quality of the broad sweep of Uni of York accommodation quite well. I, however, have had the rather wonderful experience of living in Fairfax House, which is an off-campus residence for 90ish students. It's arranged into corridors, but all of them are open for access by all Fairfax students. We have a common room with a sometimes broken pool table, quiz machine and table football table. We also have a TV Room with quite a big telly. Furthermore, we (at a reasonable extra cost) are provided with a 'continental breakfast' from 8:30-9:30am every weekday. We have 6 kitchens that are open to all - but are a bit dodgy at times. All of the above contributes to the brilliant house spirit. Most people know one another, and we have a great general social atmosphere. Everybody here seems to love it massively, and find it difficult to imagine living anywhere else.


Username: rainbow drops

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: I'm in one of the new Vanbrugh buildings this year next to the biology department, and they're widely considered to be the nicest accommodation available on campus. My room is very big in comparison to some in other accommodation blocks and I have an en-suite 'pod' which is quite small, but more than sufficient for one person. Each floor is laid out into two flats, each holding 6 people, and there's one huge (I mean really big and new and shiny) kitchen per floor. Because it's so big, lots of people can be in there at once socialising even when people are cooking food. Entry to my block is by keycard and the only parts of the building I can't access with the card are other people's rooms, so this allows for people to wander in and out of other floors' kitchens and chat, something which has become very common in my block. There's 48 of us altogether and we see people from other floors all the time which is really nice. It's on the edge of campus but is still very close to everything else because the campus is small anyway, and it's very much part of Vanbrugh, one of the most sociable and fun colleges. One slight drawback is that the rooms are 33 week let rather than 38, so I have to move all of my things out over Easter for conference guests, but even this is positive in itself because the cost is lessened, so I pay a very similar amount to people in grottier rooms elsewhere ;) I'd definitely recommend applying, I love my accommodation.


Username: -WhySoSerious?

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: I live in Halifax college, which is just off campus. People generally have a fear of being put here as you're a little further from the action and without a bar in the local JCR (JJs). As with any college accommodation there are good and bad points. The good: Halifax in general is pretty damn sociable - we have a great community atmosphere and you'll find people in and our of other peoples houses all the time. That brings me on to another point, if you live in St. Lawrence Court (the biggest court in Halifax) the accommodation is split up into houses of 10 people. (2 on the bottom floor, 4 on the first floor, 4 on the second floor) which means that you become close friends with the room mates on your level as well as the house in general. Accommodation in St. Lawrence Court is (I'm not going to lie) pretty crap. The rooms are basic and the kitchen is tiny - however you'll make it home really quickly, and if you have good housemates, the rest doesn't really matter. Other courts have much better rooms, but have 12 people sharing a flat.


Username: super-emily

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: I live in the same type of accommodation as rainbow drops, so pretty much everything has been covered, but one thing I would add is that as nice as it is that the other floors in your block can wander in and out of your kitchen/corridor, it does tend to get tedious when at 5am there are 20 drunk rugby players trying to break down your bedroom door. Add to this the fact that our college (VANBRUGH) doesn't have 24 hour portering, and you can get some complicated situations. That said, I love my accommodation - it's more New York penthouse then university halls!


Username: Meadows14

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: I live in New Goodricke college which hasn't been covered so far. Now, the main good thing about Goodricke is that EVERYTHING is brand new, the doors, the bathrooms, the tables, yup, everything is brand new, which is cool. There is the drawback of a slight lack of character to things, but the buildings do look nice, and this college is very eco-friendly. The biggest drawback is the fact that we're off campus. This has many ramifications, I spend about 10 hours a week on Hes West, which basically means that 7 weeks in, I still don't know my way around, and still haven't got many Hes West friends. It also means that journey times to lectures are considerable. Not terrible by any means, about 15 minutes to Derwent, Alcuin, Langwidth, about 30 minutes to Wentworth/Biology walking, but still worth thinking about (although this does lead to Goodricke being the fittest college!). Goodricke is also the biggest college of the university, with over 600 people, (Halifax has over 1000! -WSS) so there's a lot of friends to make. Overall, I love it here and wouldn't move anywhere else.


Username: Olibert

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: My humble abode is loacated in Derwent College D Block. Not the prettiest college on campus but the best college on campus for socialising. 19 people per floor can seem quite daunting but with large kitchen areas and coridoors, there's tonnes of space. There's nothing quite like the fun of pre-drinks with 18 other people in the communal areas. Location wise, couldn't be better. 5 minute walk from Brown's the greatest sandwich shop in the world, 2 minutes walk to the bus stop and a minute walk to the bar. The chemistry department is across the road, PPE and economics hold seminars in the college and English is mainly held in Langwith which is a few minutes away.

It's difficult to explain the following but I'll do my best. You may have fears that the facilities in Derwent are going to be bad and that the lack of en-suite is going to put you off applying. Honestly, 100% truthfully those fears will disappear in the first week. Decorate your room with posters, get some nice fairy lights and make it feel like home. You will forget that your room is over 40 years old. Sure you could go and live in the brand new Goodricke or any other college, spend that extra £10-£20 a week and get en-suite, but you would be miles from campus, you wouldn't find tramps living in your blocks and you wouldn't be having half the fun you could be having in Derwent.


Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: Like ieuanf, I live in Fairfax house just off campus. I couldn't recommend it highly enough. The scenery is beautiful and the building has a lot of character to it. But most importantly, it is ideal for socialising and you very quickly get to know all of the nearly-100 students living with you. However, if you're looking for a spacious place and value this more important that socialising and enjoying the University atmosphere then I'd recommend a different place. The kitchens, in particular, are small and get very messy very quickly. On the other hand, you get a breakfast included in the price (and is cheaper than actually buying breakfast from the shops!), a common room which is usually lively and a TV room. As a member of the Fairfax community you will also be a part of Vanbrugh college.

Speaking generally, your decision as to your accommodation is very important, and it entirely depends on your priorities. For example, if you fancy enjoying the social side of Uni, then go with Fairfax/Vanbrugh; or if you fancy somewhere cleaner and more modernised, go with Alcuin, etc; or a healthy balance would be Derwent for example. Just look around, find out what you want and what each college accommodation offers.


Username: bigforehead

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: I don't think Alcuin College has been discussed yet so I will try to provide a brief overview. In days gone by we were forever referred to as the snooty people on the hill who looked down from our posh accomodation. I am glad to say that not much has changed :) ! The accomodation in comparison to all the other colleges is pretty plush. Alcuin is split in to a variety of blocks, with living accomodation occupying E-Q block, all of which is ensuite. Block E is "the houses", which are 3 seperate houses of 16 students. These students are 4/5 per floor and then share one kitchen on the ground floor. However, the E block kitchens are massive, featuring around 4 fridges, 4 ovens, 4 hobs etc. E block also is the only block to have bath/toilet ensuites. Blocks F-Q are split in to 6 flats per block, usually accomodating 7 people in each flat, all sharing a kitchen (with 2 fridges and 2 ovens/hobs). Ensuites here are shower/toilet. All the rooms are reasonably sized and provide more than enough storage space. Kitchens are the same. All doors run on a keycard system. All the furniture is also modern and regularly maintained. Porters are also available on hand to deal with any problems you may have with anything in your room, which tends to get solved very quickly!

In terms of the college spirit, Alcuin used to be seen as pretty boring but things have dramatically changed and Alcuin is one of the spirited colleges on campus. Generally throws great late-licence events, boasts a great bar (which is a restaurant at lunch time) and has a great community feel. Yes, it is a little out of the way, but trust me, you really do not notice at all by the time you move in. Plus if you are a student who loves the library or the pub then Alcuin college is well-located for you!


Username: Schmokie Dragon

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: The rooms and general accomodation experiences are very, very varied. In my first year I got a taste of two rather different lifestyles, both in the same college and no more than 3 minutes walk from each other. I lived in Langwith B Block. My room was a fairly good size but I did have a rather tackly metal-framed bed. Fortunately, it was fairly comfortable and I got decent sleep. The room came with desk, desk chair, sink, built in wardrobe, shelves, bed, small set of drawers-come-bedside table and of course, my bed. There was a decent amount of storage space, even if the room hadn't been redecorated since the block was built. However, I enjoyed my room and I still miss the super-studenty atmosphere now. The kitchen in the block was pretty huge and very recently re-done. It was well equipped with multiple hobs and fridges, ample cupboard space and even some lockers, as well as two good sized tables. The toilets were little single cubicle jobs without a sink and the shared showers looked tacky but were actually awesome. Back in the day, the room was cleaned weekly and the cleaners were really lovely. We had fire alarm tests at 8am, once a week, which was a pain but YUSU is trying to get that changed.

My other experience was of Langwith D Block, where my then-boyfriend was staying. He had an en-suite which was little more than an aeroplane toilet with trickly shower and an awful bed that was little more than a wooden box with a mattress. However, the rooms were modern and well presented. The room sizes were all over the place - some where literally over twice the size of others. The kitchen was shared between 10-12 people and pretty small. Only one table, one sink, one hob, two tiny fridges. Much less space per person than in B Block, and the kitchens were much older. Although I spent a lot of time there, I tried to cook at mine.

The internet was pretty good, although wireless was almost non-existent in accommodation blocks (and still is, although Hes East is apparently getting wireless in the accommodation, score!). They relaxed the constraints on use in my first year so I was happily playing online games and looking at tasteless websites before long. Laundrette was often beseiged by swans, but pretty good.

Common room? Langwith had their JCR assimilated into The Courtyard at the beginning of my second year and while still technically our JCR, is pretty inaccessible after hours and always full of trendy students from other colleges eating pasta and reading Woolfe. Langwith does, however, have the Langwith Lounge which is a tiny, fairly private room that can be accessed by signing out a keycard. It's cosy, intimate and has a massive TV and kitchenette. Much nicer than a bustling JCR, although it is pretty small and can have a bit of a cliquey atmosphere due to being constantly inhabited by JCRC members and other 'big names' in Langwith.

I'll be honest. I adore Langwith. It's small, it's tacky, it's old, it's awesome. We have a healthy rivalry with Derwent (never went in for that silliness myself) and there is a truck load of college spirit. Accommodation is, as I said, mixed but I've seen much worse at other unis (even if the windows in A Block still don't close properly). However, if you move in after 2012, expect to be in a shiny 9 story tower block in Hes East. I'll probably be long gone then, though.


Username: mikethemuse

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: I'm a first year Alcuin student, and have a pretty good idea of the in's and out's of our accommodation. Firstly, most of the accommodation is Alcuin has been built since 2000, with the exception of E block, where I currently reside, which was built in the 80's. The exterior of the buildings is not inkeeping with the "concrete jungle" you might have come to expect with some other parts of campus. You can see varying pictures of the accommodation and surrounding areas on alcuin's website.

So, quality of the accommodation. From what I've seen of other accommodation on campus, I'd say Alcuin ranks pretty highly in terms of quality. Let's look at the good points first...
- The kitchens (with the exception of E block, more on that later) are very spacious, have plenty of space for cooking and sitting and provide a great means of getting to know your housemates.
- The advantages of en-suite cannot be over-emphasised. Alcuin may be known amongst other colleges as the 'en-suite elite' but turning up for a 9:15 nicely washed and relaxed instead of having to get up early to make use of the communal washing facilities in other colleges.
- Our JCR has bean bags and a giant connect 4!
- The welfare team are always on hand with our famed 3Cs evenings; coffee, cake and condoms.
- There's a great spirit within the college, lots of encouragement to get to know each other.
- Because it's set out in quads, with (big!) grassy areas, the place just looks nice.
- There's only one big subject area nearby, so you don't often get alot of students walking past at 9am when you're trying to sleep.
- The bedrooms provide ample storage space.
E block is, by virtue of being built 20years previous, a little different. E block is the ONLY block on the whole campus which has en-suite baths, and the rooms are pretty big (say, 10ft by 17ft ish). The only problem with the rooms is that there is not much storage space - we have 3 1m-ish shelves above our desk, a bedside drawer and a wardrode with a lockable box on top. It's not alot of space, so I'd advise getting hold of some banana boxes or things which you can store things in to shove under your bed.
Any bad points? There are a couple, but these don't really cancel out the good points, and some of these aren't even applicable to everyone:
- Being 'on the hill', Alcuin is not central to campus. The campus isn't big, but it's not as central as, say Vanbrugh. This does bring it's advantages as well, like less noise, but each person likes different things.
- B Henry's (our bar) is always under threat of closure, and is less of a 'bar' than say Derwent Bar. BH is not very big, holding about 60 people max, and there's no pool table or dart board...you have to go to the JCR for those.
Some other useful pointers:
The internet connection in Alcuin is generally excellent, with little to no lag. In rooms, I'd advise using wired, and in E block (not sure about other blocks) we can use wireless in our kitchens.
In reference to an above comment about E block kitchen sizes, I'd say they are far from massive. E block have smaller kitchens than any other Alcuin block, and we have to accommodate 16 people in them. We have 2 ovens, 2 fridges and 3 freezers between us. There's a cupboard for everyone, but it can get a little cramped.
Alcuin is but a stone's throw away from Heslington village, featuring 2 very good pubs; King Charles and the Deramore. The KC serves very good food at very reasonable prices...it's possible to be heartily fed for under a fiver. They also have a generous selection of alcohol. The KC can get very busy, especially on Friday and Saturday nights, which brings us to the Deramore. This pub is a bit further down than the KC, hence attracts less students. Food is more expensive, but opinion is that the beer is better here, with 'proper ales' such as Black Sheep and Spitfire. The average price of a pint here is £2.40, whereas KC is about £2.00.
All in all, Alcuin is a great college. Of course, I'm going to say that, I live here. But it caters for all my needs, and the needs of the people I live with. I'm less than 5 minutes away from my subject, and 5 minutes or so again from market square. The spirit is great, there's lots of things going on, and we generally know how to be the best uni students. Come here, and before you know it, you too will be chanting 'Alcuin 'til I die!!!'

Non-University Accommodation

Username: Schmokie Dragon

Date: Dec 2009

Comment: I've lived in Tang Hall for approaching two years now. You'll hear a lot about how much of a hell hole Tang Hall is but you just need to remember - this is YORK. York doesn't really do hell holes, at least not compared to many other UK towns.

In my second year I lived in St. Hilda's Mews, near the shops on Tang Hall Lane. It is a quiet cul-du-sac of small, modern houses, mostly inhabited by students and professional couples. We rarely had trouble and it was very close to local amenities such as a bus stop and shops, and only a 20 minute walk from campus. The house was very well presented thanks to highly professional landlords and despite being small, we were very at home there. I'd love a pad like that as my first house, actually. We did once see someone try to steal a car on the street, but this is still Tang Hall and these things happen.

This year, I live in the centre of Tang Hall. No quiet cul-du-sac, no barrier from the locals. I don't want to come accross as though I've been born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I'm really not used to local kids climbing in the trees in the garden, throwing our rubbish around and making a point of damaging the wall beyond all repair. We've tried talking to their parents and just been met with abuse. It's also pretty loud, being right next to a main thoroughfare, and there are often local kids/teenagers being very noisy in the streets. Seriously considering moving elsewhere next year.


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The City of York

Shops, Buildings and Environment

Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: York is a beautiful city. It feels spacious, but never entirely quiet. There is a lot of greenery, and the streets are generally very clean. The buildings have a lot of character about them and just walking through the city centre you get a feeling of lots of history about it. There is pretty much every kind of shop you could want, although one complaint would be trying to find each of them, as the city centre has many winding streets. There's nowhere, really, in York that feels ugly, but people at the University will tell you if there's any "dodgy" areas. I'd highly recommend going to York Minster - it's a simply fabulous place, an awe inspiring building.


Username: AirRaven

Date: December 2009

Comment: Go to the Yorkshire Museum Gardens. Just west of the Minster. Don't question- just do it. Nicest parks you'll find for miles.

Nightlife/Recreation

Username: -WhySoSerious?

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: Moving here from a small rural village means that pretty much any nightlife is better than what I would get back home. That said, York is (in my opinion) a pretty decent place to go out. The main clubs are the Gallery, Tru, Salvation, Ziggy's and BPM (only been there for a foam party or two though). However, if you're more of a pubbing type York is the place to be. You could probably visit a different place every night, and still find new ones a year later. Some of the better ones i've been to are: Charles XIII, The Lowther, The Priory, Evil Eye (for cocktails), Fibbers, The Nag's Head, and the Deramore arms.

Recreation wise - for sport, you have the sports centre and the tent, running track, astroturf, football pitches, etc. Usually if you want something to do then it's to the JCR for pool/table tennis/table football/tv or just a chat.


Username: super-emily

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: You'll find at York that certain nights are only for specific places - you can go to Evil Eye anytime, but Tuesdays are Trudays, Wednesday is Ziggy's, Thursday is Gallery. Fibbers on a Friday does some great live music, and Duchess on a Friday has a good indie night. Difficult to decide, I hear you cry! Not a problem - Duchess and Fibbers are next door to each other. The Golden Fleece is a good olde worlde pub to take the parents to, and introduce them to mead! Be prepared, however, to find yourself in a completely new place one night, and never again be able to find it - there are just so many great places to go. If, however, you eventually tire of the Tru/Ziggy/Gallery cycle, Leeds is only £7 away.

What's local transport like?

Username: super-emily

Date: Nov 2009

Comment: the bus from Campus into town is £2.50 return with a student card, but you can walk into the centre of town in 20 minutes, passing some of the best shops on the way, and it saves going to the gym. Taxis here are numerous, friendly, and cheap - I'm from the south, and a taxi home here is about half the price than at home. From the centre of town, you're looking at about £6-8, depending on which side you are. Always take a taxi with 3+ friends, and it ends up cheaper than the bus. Walk into town on a night out - saves time, and again you pass some great pubs and bars on the way.


Username: Stu Laverty

Date: November 2009

Comment: There is a bus going to and from the University (even going all the way to Goodricke, the furthest place) from the city centre every ten minutes, so if you have heavy legs there's always transport available. The taxi service also gives lots of deals to Freshers at the Fresher's Fair, so make sure you grab them all. Generally, though, walking from campus to the city centre takes about 15 minutes and isn't a problem at all, so if you need to save the pennies for a bit extra drink then you can very easily.

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