Why you shouldn’t stress about not getting your first-choice college!

Harry Naylor

If you are a prospective student reading this, you might not be familiar with the college system at Durham. There are 17 different colleges in Durham, each one has its own buildings, own student body and own reasons why people in that college will tell you it’s the best.

Well hang on a sec, what are colleges?

The 17 colleges are where the vast majority of first year students live. But what sets Durham apart is that they are so much more than simply accommodation blocks, they also act as social hubs and make a great place for freshers to meet each other and make friends.

When I was a fresher, I may have been in a position similar to yours, where I had been assigned a college which wasn’t my first choice, and I was a little uncertain about how I would fit in and whether the college I had been assigned to would feel like home.

Your college will be the BEST college

The biggest piece of advice I can give incoming students about college allocations is this: Please don’t worry. You’ve made the important decision already about whether you want to be catered or self-catered and depending on college whether you want to be in a shared room, a standard room or an en suite room. And from my experience and that of many people I’ve spoken to, whichever college you’ve been assigned to will almost certainly immediately become the best college. On your first day, you’ll be greeted with some friendly freshers’ representatives (we call them Freps) whose job it is to make you feel really welcome and included in college life.

Trevs Frep team

Friends in other colleges

The good thing about colleges though is that they are really open and welcoming to all students. It maybe says something about a typical student experience that I’ve visited the bars of 16 out of 17 of the Durham College bars (not managed Ustinov the post-graduate college yet!), I’ve also played in a band with members of St John’s and John Snow, and played board games with people from Collingwood, South and St Mary’s. So definitely lots of chances to get involved with people from different colleges that you’re not in.

Dressing up with Game Soc

Hill colleges are great for 9am lectures

I also found there have been some unexpected benefits to not going to the college I was originally put as my first choice. I originally had St Chad’s as my first-choice college, with my current college Trevelyan in second place. But as I study Geography, being on a hill college in really convenient as it is a 5-minute walk downhill to lectures as opposed to the uphill walk I would have had to endure had I been in St Chad’s! Anything to make those 9 am lectures a little easier. I also really enjoy the sense of space on the Hill, the colleges are much more spread out, and although being in the central colleges on the Bailey would be very convenient and very “Harry Potter”, the hill is also pretty awesome too! 😊

I don’t like wishing people luck for things, as it shouldn’t come down to that, but I hope you enjoy your time at Durham, and get involved with as many things as you can, as there are lots of chances to be busy and really make the most of your time!

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Harry Naylor

Hi there I’m Harry, I’m a second year Human Geography student in Trevs. I really enjoy Durham because of everything going on and how many things you can do to keep yourself busy and occupied. When I’m not studying I like going to watch football games in the north east, or playing in a band (we’re called the Red Penguins please come and say hi).

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