* Prices may differ from that shown
From an international student's perspective (non caucasian):
Racism - Ever pervasive. Both overt and covert racism are rampant. International students are considered inferior and treated with contempt. A large number of international students face racial abuse on a regular basis. Complaints lead to university 'investigations' which always exonnerate the culprits because of endemic triabilism. In all its years of existence not one university academic has ever been fired or punished for wrong doing. Students and staff at all levels are racist be it undergraduates or postgraduates, lecturers, administrators, college porters or temporary staff.
Tribalism - Most of the teaching and administrative staff has been at the university for decades. Triablism is endemic to such an extent that the laws of the land and of the university code of practice are merely tools to torment anyone who dares to question or complain.
Mediocrity - Most of the teaching is of poor quality. No department is immune as the rotten standards transcends departmental boundaries. Many departments obtain highest rankings in national research assessment exercises but that is merely on the basis of their research outputs. Teaching quality is horrendous in most courses.
Narrow mindedness - Most academics and administrators are narrow minded and totally unreceptive of critisism about any shortcomings in their way of functioning. Those complaining are 'punished' which scares everyone else from coming forward with complaints.
My sincere advice to international students is to stay away from this university at all costs. If you have no other option then don't be foolish enough to try and fight the system. All you will get for your efforts is pain and suffering.
Although York has a brilliant reputation it fails miserably to deliver at almost every turn.
I am genuinely happy for other students who have better things to say for their experience but clearly not all departments are equal.
I study Social Work. The majority of teachers are academic titans, however they lack any recent experience or true practical application within the last decade. Resulting in dreary, basic, idealistic and lack luster lectures of dubious relevance in the face of current practice. Of course there are a few individual lecturers who are the exception but overall I can honestly say there is nothing they could teach you that couldn't pick up from any basic book. Obviously this makes assignments incredibly challenging - as ironically they expect fireworks!
In addition to this placements provided for this course are without doubt the worst in the country, so if nothing else you take from this please consider this impact this will have on your education / future employment prospects.
Aside from this matter - admin staff are lousy and Library fines are some of the highest in the country. Add to this a secluded country campas with exorbitant and scarce parking, you begin to get a flavour of the everyday frustrations facing a York University student.
If you are looking for a University which is going to keep up - then I'm sorry to say that you should forget York, for Social Work at least.
Hi, the university life in york is pretty limited. If you get bored, all you have is the city center, the ducks, the lakes and the green.
If you are from a big city like me( i am from london) , i am pretty sure you would want to run away from the university within the first two months. No wonder, the drop out rates of this university are high...!!
My suggestion would be if you could afford, try to go to university in a big city, rather than a old city. Infact, this university is situated in a village.
Although, the student union tries to make the university appealing to the students, i dont think they are really successful.
If you are a male, and looking for fun, this is definitely not the best university to go( you can't even find a good strip club around york to have fun)
Most people are international and its quite interesting because you get to meet a lot of people( but this can happen in any university)
I had to take three A's to get in here. I am transferring to another university for my second year.
Girls are pretty boring too.. but if you break up with somone, you end up seeing her daily because you keep on running into each other all the time and every time she sees you with another girl, she goes really mad.. For the Love of God, trust me.. on this one.
If you are starting at this university this year, good luck with that......!
Well, as an International Student, the University of York it is quite expensive and do not deliver anything from the price I'm paying: racism is rampant, the British do not mingle with other cultures, and it is a pricey city that only got to show a lot of ducks and a lot of drunken people out there. I'm pretty disappointed overall with the courses, most of them are Power Point and I spent $30,000 for one year for only writing two drafts. What is wrong with this Uni? The Academia is not worth the hype. The British culture is pretty cold (like his god awful weather) fake and their ego is huge. The attitude here is: We are the empire, and you are a peasant. Obviously, because I'm foreigner my experience is different compare to a UK native but plz try to find another Uni for you.
A lot of the older buildings aren't particularly pretty, but it's a very green campus with a huge lake in the middle. All I can say now is that the ducks will probably drive you a bit mad, but the ducklings in the spring time make up for it! The newer buildings are certainly in a better condition, but even the older buildings are well equipped and in good condition.
The food courts serve up some lovely nosh, although it's overpriced compared to other universities. The same applies to the bars, you certainly pay more than elsewhere in the country!
The university admin varies between very organised and clueless, depending on what you need. I know that's two extremes, but it is completely dependant on what help you require, from what department! Finance seems to be the most red-tape heavy, but I suppose that is not a surprise.
The library facilities are fairly comprehensive, although the numbers of books are usually limited- you have to get there quick. If you need something that isn't available in the library as standard they're great at getting it quickly though!
To summarise, the facilities at York are good but expensive, but that could be because it's actually a very small university.
The University of York was founded in 1963. It resides in a kind of valley (either natural or man-made) on the outskirts of York, next to a small village called Heslington. The various colleges are situated around the edges of a huge lake, once the largest man-made lake in Europe.
Often highly rated for its teaching, it ranks well, if rarely spectacularly, in many of the subjects that it chooses to teach.
York is a beautiful walled city with a long and interesting history. It shares nothing in common with the campus which is physically and philosophically removed, isolated, from the city. You may as well be on another planet because you don't feel that York Minster is a short walk away. The campus is a colourless, mostly charmless and humourless collection of the most pedestrian of 1960s creations. A campus, lacking in the heart that is a student union, that becomes almost entirely drained of life on a weekend. It has the feel of a place where people hide out until they work out what what they want to be - IF they want to be. The Central Hall gives the campus a veneer of drama. Thankfully, in the last few years, the campus has been graced with some modern buildings but this is still a university where some of the least good looking facilities and accommodation have not been upgraded at all in over 40 years. The money must have been going to pay for staff surely. The university is collegiate apparently, whatever difference that makes (none in my experience - nobody, not the personal tutor or anyone else, monitors the individual welfare of students).
Going to university is one of the most exciting periods of your life - adults always tell you to make the most of it (in that thoroughly annoying way they have); you are in a place surrounded by like-minded, intelligent people who will go on to be some of your closest friends, and you are still young enough to know everything and be absolutely right in all your opinions. I am now in my final term here at York, and all in all, I am so glad that I came.
Located (obviously enough) in the city of York in North Yorkshire, it is a modern campus-based university built in the '60s. It is about two miles outside the city walls, so is close enough that you can easily get into town either by walking or by bus (there is a bus route, the no. 4, serviced by a number of highly phallic purple bendy buses that come every 10 minutes), but distant enough that it does feel like a campus - a lot of people like to have a campus as it means that everything is self-contained, so if you prefer campus universities to the kind spread out all over a city, then this would be for you. The only exception to this is King's Manor; a collection of beautiful old buildings right in the heart of the city nextto the art gallery where a lot of tutors have their offices, and is also a centre for postgrad teaching.
The University is built around an artificial lake, known to contain several thousand types of bacteria due to the fact that, even though it is only about 5 feet deep, the bottom two feet of that consist of duck, goose and swan faeces, of which the university has a more than abundant supply. Every year during Fresher's Week some idiot decides to jump in, and then has to go to hospital to be immunised. The lake is quite a pleasant feature; unfortunately, due to the fact it is artificial, when it was built all the flora and fauna were introduced at once, and as a result a balanced equilibrium of the eco-system never developed. This means it turns green in Spring and occasionally smells. The propectus for the university makes the uni look beautiful; this is because it shows a lot of pictures of King's Manor, Heslington Hall (a lovely local manor house next to the university that used to be owned by the Lords Deramore but is now administritive buildings for the uni), and a lot of attractive shots of the lake, with the rather grim pebble-dashed concrete blocks that comprise the rest of the uni only just peaking in the corner of the picture. What was the appeal of concrete to the free-loving, psychadelic nature of the '60s we shall never know, but suffice to say the buildings are really quite unattractive - and, being so unattractive, have of course won several architectural awards. There are several more modern buildings, including James and Alcuin College, which are nice enough, but unless you are a fan of concrete the university is not all that nice to look at. The creme de la creme of the concrete monstrosities is Central Hall, the biggest venue in the university capable of seating several thousand, which sits by the lake looking, depending on whom you talk to, either like a spaceship or a giant pimple.
However, we should never judge a book by its cover, and despite its unattractiveness it is still a great university.
Currently in development is the Heslington East complex; a new addition to the university which will be a whole new campus, increasing the university's capacity twofold. We can only hope that they aren't bewitched by the lure of pebble-dashing...
The university opeates on a collegiate system. Currently, there are eight colleges: Langwith, Derwent, Vanbrugh, Goodricke,, James, Alcuin, Halifax and Wentworth. Wentworth is the postgrad college (although postgrads do pop up in other colleges as well). Each college has its own JCRC (Junior Common Room Committee, the undergrad college council), classrooms and lecture theatres (with the exception of Halifax), halls of accomodation, cafe, common room and bar. Langwith College has the newly built Student Union venue, which is called the Courtyard and is run by YUSU, the York University Student's Union. The university itself runs the rest of the college bars, so they offer very cheap drinks, but whilst the Courtyard is more expensive, all profits go back to the students via YUSU, and it is also one of the nicest bars on campus.
Each college is responsible for its own administration by the Senior Staff such as the Provost as well as the JCRC. Colleges organise their own events - film nights, quiz nights, bar crawls etc. which are always very cheap, as the prices are normally just to cover costs. Each college (with the exception of James and Goodricke, which share) has its own Porter's Lodge, who for the most part are friendly souls, happy to help out in times of need, such as when you manage to lock yourself out of your room after taking your shower and have nothing but a towel on. Each college also produces their own merchandise, for the most part the ubiquitous hoodie - that key symbol of student life.
Halls of acommodation:
Students are encouraged to spend their first year within halls, and I think it is a good idea as it is a good way to meet people. There is a discussion board for the uni halls on Dooyoo, so I won't talk about them for too long. Suffice to say that they are fairly hit and miss; the older colleges - Langwith, Derwent, Goodricke and Vanbrugh - are renowned for the poor quality of their halls, with Goodricke widely agreed to have some of the worst. You can choose whether to have ensuite accomodation (obviously for a price) or to share bathrooms, and there is also the provision for single-sex corridors and floors if that is a particular issue for you. I believe that most of the university accomodation are self-catering, but there is a meal scheme, called the MAD scheme, which allows you to buy vouchers in bulk to use in the canteens for your meals at a discounted price. Vanbrugh College has recently been built a set of new halls, but it is pot luck whether you get something nice or something really rather dingy. Hopefully, however, once Hes East is built, the standards of accomodation will improve.
You pay the university rent, so the university acts as your landlord, and although the rent is expensive, all bills are included. TV licences, however, are not, so if you want to bring a tv you must get one. If you don't have a tv, however, you will spend your entire time in halls being bombarded with threatening letters from the tv licensing agency telling you that they are going to send an enforcement officer round to get medieval on yo' ass if you are watching tv without a licence. Just bin the letters as soon as they turn up.
The Administration and Welfare:
The university generally ticks along as well as any large institution can in this mad world so tied up with red tape that it is next to impossible to get anything done. People complain about it, but what else is new? I haven't really noticed anything serious, so I wouldn't worry too much. The university charges the full whack for top-up fees - at the moment just over £3100, so be aware of that.
The Student's Union, YUSU, is one of the most important institutions on campus as it is the medium of interaction between the university and the students. For a lot of people a role within YUSU is their first heady taste of power, but student politics are really pretty tame. The YUSU officers always seem to be getting voted off due to being incompetent. One of the main things YUSU takes responsibility for is student welfare and safety, so expect to be bombarded with condoms and rape alarms in your first week - I was given 27 condoms on my first day alone. They do provide condoms free, which is nice. YUSU is a member of the NUS, the National Union of Students, so students can apply for the NUS Extra card for a tenner, which gives you a lot of deals and discounts at a number of places, both local and national, including Pizza Hut, Topshop, Amazon.co.uk etc. For more details see nusextra.org.
The Welfare system is pretty good; I had a friend who, struggling under heavy loads of work and a recent death in the family, went for counselling which the university provides. It is easy to use, it is free, and it did seem to help her. There is also a student-run initiative called NightLine, which is a support service provided by students between 8pm and 8am at night. You can ring them, email them or pop in to visit them at their flat in Wentworth college. They are there for whatever you need - a chat, a sympathetic ear, and also can provide free condoms and free pregnancy kits, which can be requested anonymously to be sent through the internal mail. I have never had to use them, but I think it is a great service. Your college also provides two Welfare reps, who again are there if you need someone to talk to, but if you are dealing with a more serious issue (bereavement, depression etc.) I would recommend going to the counselling service.
Societies, Sports, Facilities etc:
As with any university, there are a number of societies (or socs) that you can join: the Real Ale Soc, the Pant Soc (pantomime society), Kart Soc (go-karting), foreign student socs... you name it, it probably exists. Prizes for the most original suggestion. Socs are subsidised by the university so membership is practically free - normally just a couple of quid for a year. If you cannot find a soc that tailors to your interests, then you can start one up with support from YUSU. There are a couple of bigger socs, like the Drama Soc, and for sports, there is the AU - the Athletics Union. Membership costs £40 for the year, but this gives you free membership to any sport socs as well as discounted rates for booking pitches or courts, as well as discounted rates for the Fitness Suite, which is the university gym.
There are tennis courts, astro pitches, grass playing fields as well as indoor facilities for basketball, squash etc. The Sports Centre recently underwent an £800,000 refurbishment program, so it all looks really good now, and the gym has been greatly improved. There isn't a pool, unfortunately, which is a downside, but there are a number of council pools in York.
Other facilities include Market Square, the university shopping area, near campus. Due to the fact that the university charges a huge rent on these places there aren't many shops within the complex; but there is the SU shop, called YOURShop, as well as a Costcutters, Blackwell's bookshop and a copy-and-print shop. Unfortunately the computer shop had to close down, which I think is a problem as it provided cheap software and repairs.
The library is fantastic; it is huge, contains all the information you could ever want, and has knowledgeable and helpful staff. The only problem can be when a teacher asks you to read a book in the library for next week of which there is only one copy - it means that there are then 30 people trying to get hold of it. However, if you check your seminar sheet in advance, and see what reading you need to do, you can do it in your own leisure.
As a university, the academic side is almost as important as the socialising, societies, sports etc. Each department is different, so I cannot comment on them all. I am studying English Literature so am a member of the English and Related Literature dept., widely regarded as one of the best in the country, particularly for its medieval studies. Each student is assigned a supervisor within their dept., whom they meet twice a term to discuss their progress and any issues. Your supervisor is part of your Welfare system; for any academic problems (for example, due to my mother's recent illness with cancer I have fallen behind in my work and have had to apply for an extension) they are the first port of call, and on graduating they will often provide a job reference for you.
Each dept. is different and is assessed differently - my course is very heavily based on essays, and in fact I have only sat one exam in my entire three years here, which was yesterday. The future Mrs. F., however, is in the Linguistics dept. and has mostly sat exams, with only a couple of essays thrown in. Each dept. varies in the number of contact hours you have a week - I have never had more than 7, as most of the work I have to do is reading, but for something like science you might well have 30+ hours of contact time a week.
Obviously, if you are considering York, then do come to an open day as every dept. is different. Find out how your course is assessed, what kind of contact hours you have, how it works, whether you have free choice in your modules... anything you can think of, ask, as if you don't then you may well end up on the wrong course for you. I have really enjoyed my course, but Mrs. F-to-be hasn't, as it was somewhat missold to her as an arts degree, when really it is a science degree. The university is among the top of the academic league table so the teaching is generally of a very high standard, but this is a very important decision, so make sure you read up on it.
All in all, I have really enjoyed my time here. Remember, you are only going to get out of university what you put in, so if you make no effort, you won't enjoy yourself - and it will be your fault, not the university's. I have had a cracking time; I met my future wife on a bar crawl in Fresher's Week, I have made some great friends and I have loved my course. The social life is great (a lot of people complain about it due to the small number of clubs in York; as I am not a clubber, it doesn't bother me), as York is a great night out and the uni bars are good. York itself is a wonderful place to be, and even if the university isn't very attractive, York is; and the fact that most of my lessons were taught inside grim concrete blocks does not change the fact that I have received a very high level of education here.
If you are considering university, York is a great place to come. However, never make such an important decision on a whim; make sure you find out as much as you can. I hope that this has been useful, but there is a lot more that I have not been able to tell you, and your course itself is the most important thing, as if you don't like it, then it will make a big difference on whether you have as amazing a time here as I did.
To find out more about the uni visit the website:
I'm in my second year studying at York and I'm loving it. It wasn't my first choice, but I'm very happy being there. I'm enjoying the course (well, some of the lectures aren't brilliant) and the social life if great.
~ General Information ~
The university was founded in 1963 and had only 200 students. Now, there are about 10000.
Chancellor- Greg Dyke
Vice-Chancellor- Brian Cantor
Email address for applicants- firstname.lastname@example.org for undergraduate study.
email@example.com for those applying for undergraduate study using clearing
firstname.lastname@example.org as the address suggests, for those applying for graduate study.
~ The Campus ~
York is situated on its own campus, just a little more than half an hour's walk from the centre of town and with a very good bus service. One of the things I like is that, walking anywhere on campus, I'm bound to see someone that I know. It forms a nice, friendly community.
There is an artificial lake built in the centre of the campus, with little offshoots spreading everywhere. I've been told that it's there for drainage, to prevent the campus being fairly swamp-like. It's alright most of the year, but in summer, some of the areas around biology smell. Some areas are extremely pretty. It's just a problem that most of the buildings in central campus were built in the 60's and are hideous.
Originally, it was designed so that it would take no longer than ten minutes to get between lectures, even if they were on opposite ends of the campus. However, the university has grown since then. It's still possible for the most part.
~ Reaching the campus ~
For those arriving by train, the number 4 bus leaves from right outside the station. The 'university' in big letters on the front should be a dead give away. There are three stops that are convinient for the university, but its the last two that are the most common. Under library bridge (so called because its a bridge next to the library), a large number of people get off here. The stop is directly under a big bridge across the road. Or, if you're a little unsure, you can keep going one stop further to the end of the line. This stop is just across the road from Derwent college.
By car, the university is well-signed. From the centre of York, you'll want to head to Hull Road, A1079, and then turn right onto University Road which runs straight through the campus. If you miss this turning, it's not the end of the world. Keep going until a large roundabout with a B&Q next to it and turn right. From out of York, its probably best to come along the A64 and then turn off onto Hull Road, A1079. Keep going until the roundabout next to B&Q and then turn left.
From the B&Q roundabout, go straight on until you reach a slightly misshapen roundabout and turn right. You're now on University Road. This goes through the campus and the central carpark is just off this road.
~ The Colleges ~
There are seven colleges. These aren't anything like those in Oxford and Cambridge. They're only really for first year accomodation and for sports.
Derwent - This is the college I'm in. The rooms aren't brilliant, but they're not the worst either. The kitchens are small, so you'll find yourself fighting over who gets to use the Baby Bellings (tiny, poor quality ovens.)
James - The accomodation is new and very nice, with large kitchen and good bedrooms. If you go on open day, this will be the college you'll get taken round. Despite having nice rooms, this college doesn't have its own bar.
Alcuin - Like James, the rooms are new and nice. This college is rather more on the outskirts of campus than James though, but not too much.
Langwith - Very like Derwent. The rooms and kitchens aren't great, but the aren't the worst.
Vanbrugh - I've not actually been in any of the Vanbrugh rooms. I think they're similar to Derwent and Langwith. They're certainly not the nice new ones.
Goodrick - This college has the reputation for the worst accomodation. This is largely the fault of C-block, which was recently dubbed 'cell block c'. It's truly terrible. They do have a good college spirit though, if only because the rooms are so awful that they have to spend their time outside them, getting to know each other.
Halifax - The rooms are very nice. I had a friend here who's kitchen was about three times the size of mine, despite the fact there were less people living in her house. The downside is that this college is a short walk from the main campus. It does have facilities, such a pizza place, bar and launderette, but the distance is a problem.
There's also Wentworth, but this is a graduate college. As such, I don't really know much about it.
~ The Facilities ~
There are laundries in most of the colleges which can be accessed by anyone, though a couple have been closed now since the university is building new accommodation with built in laundries. There are a couple of cash points scattered round as well as two at market square. This is a little group of shops including a book shop, small supermarket (but you'll be better off joining up with other people and doing a group online shop from Tesco), a stationary shop and a few others. Your Shop sells snacks, food, stationary, cards, a few electrical goods and a variety of things that are extremely useful such as flannels and toothbrushes in case you've forgotten them.
There's also Your Books, which is the campus, second-hand book shop. It's much cheaper than Blackwells, the other bookshop, and very likely to have what you're after. Because lecturers tends to recommend the same books every year, Your Books buys them from the students who did that module last year and sells them to those doing it this year.
There are a few restaurants, but none of them are brilliant. Vanbrugh has been done up recently and does a nice carvary most lunch times, but the rest of the food isn't great. About the only thing that's worth eating at the Rodger Kirk Centre are the jacket potatoes, since even they can't mess them up. You can usually get a good dinner of fish and chips on a Friday, but otherwise it's dubious as to whether there'll be anything nice on the menu. Most of the restaurants are closed on a Sunday, so you'd better hope your kitchen isn't too terrible. Opening times for these can be found at www.york.ac.uk/commercialservices/termopening.html
There are computer rooms around the campus that are open all hours. There's one computer room by each college and it seems that they are always upgrading the computers in one lab or another. The Langwith computer room has recently been extended, with a new load of really fast computers. They can sometimes fill up so you might have to wait a few minutes to get a computer, or you can walk to another room and see if there's space. Next to the computer rooms in most colleges are small, study rooms. These just have tables and chairs but are a nice place to go to work because everyone else in there is being quiet and getting on with things, so you don't get disturbed.
I don't go to the library that often, but the opening hours have recently been extended. I can't comment on it, since I don't have to do anywhere near as much reading as the arts students, but they always seem to find what they need.
Nightline is a support line that students can call if they have problems or if they just want a chat. Its run by volunteers and has a drop-in centre near Wentworth college that anyone can just go into. The number is free to call from any internal phone on 3735. Or it can be called from anywhere on 01904 433735.
There is a university television station, but I don't think anybody actually watches it. And there is a radio station, which does get a few listeners. Its website is http://ury.york.ac.uk and you can listen online from the site. It also has a listen again feature on some shows, so that if you miss the actual broadcast, you can catch up over the next week. I'd recommend Technical Difficulties, which is on Wednesday at 9pm.
There are two campus newspapers, which seem to spend as much time being rude about the others as they do reporting the news. Still, if you're interested in journalism you might enjoy writing for them. There's also a campus magazine, YourMag, and a literary and art magazine, Word Salad and Art Chips.
~ The Teaching ~
The university has in recent years been coming very high in the league tables. In computer science its ranked with Oxbridge. You'd be best to check the league tables for your subject in particular.
It's also rated 6th out of 172 higher education centres for research. This probably isn't a great deal of interest to undergraduates, apart from the fact that universities get their money through research. If the department has a good research grants, its also going to have good facilities.
I can only really talk about my course. I'm a maths and computer science student, so I get taught by two departments. I have lectures, practicals, tutorials and seminars.
My lectures could be anywhere on campus, so I get to know the different lecture theatres very well. PX-001, in the physics building, is a really nice one, with good accoustics. It's used by the student cinema because of its size and the fact it has good screens. V-045, in Vanbrugh, is another one I'm in frequently. It's alright most of the year, but gets very stuffy in hot weather.
Some of the lecturers are extremely interesting, with well-presented materials and good use of the overhead projectors and blackboards. Others seem intent on sending you to sleep. There were two modules I had last year that were hideously boring. The lecture slides were available on the computer science network and the lecturer said nothing that wasn't written on the slides.
I think whatever university you go to, you're going to get a mixture of the two, with quite a lot in the middle. York does ask students to fill out questionaires about the teaching and I think some lecturers do take into account what's been said about them and try to improve.
We have a lot of computer science practicals in a purpose-built comp-sci building. I find these, on the whole, extremely interesting. They tend to be a lot more fun than the lectures and helpful in understanding the material. The computer science students can get into the labs any time they want, day or night, which is useful when you've got a project on.
We have seminars for our maths modules. These allow the students to ask lecturers or post grad students about areas they're struggling with and, sometimes, to get hints on how to solve assignments.
We had a tutorials last year with the computer science department. They were meant to expand our learning to things outside of our course and teach us skills like giving presentations that would be useful in later life. Personally, I didn't think they were great. However, we could go and talk to our tutors at any point if we were struggling about our course.
The departments, and I think all departments, tried to encourage students to talk to people if they needed help. All students are given a supervisor, joint honours students get two, who they can talk to about any difficulties.
Because of my course, I have a mixture of exams and open assessments. With maths, we get weekly homeworks and the best two thirds count for 10% of each module. Some of the computer science modules are assessed by projects. We're given a problem to solve and a length of time to come up with a solution, a couple of times for a short project, a couple of weeks for a longer one.
~ What Subjects are Available ~
The university has a lot of departments, covering the majority of the normal science and arts subjects. There are also joint honours degrees that are run by two deparments, such as the one I'm on: computer science and maths. You can find a list of the university departments on their website, linked to from the homepage. If you've got a specific course in mind that you want to study, you should be able to find out if it's available at York using the ucas website (I'd recommend this website if you're applying for uni anywhere).
York also has the Hull York Medical School. This is a very new medical school, which could work in your advantage. They're trying to establish themselves as a good place to study, so the students there are getting a lot of good equipment and facilities. Because it's new, everything is really up to date.
Some subjects are going to be taught better than others. If you're applying to uni, look at the league tables not just for a university in general but for the department you're interested in.
~ The Social Life ~
I'm not a great one for going out clubbing, but I know quite a lot of people who are. They have a lot of fun going out to Ziggy's in town. There are also a huge number of pubs in York and the campus bars. If you go into town, Evil Eye is worth a look. It serves a huge range of cocktails (including some non-alcoholic ones) that should be tried. They always ask for ID, even if you just want a glass of water.
All colleges except for James have their own bar and organise events that go on in them. Although these events are organised by one college, they are open to anyone at the university. There's been a huge fuss lately about reducing the opening times of the campus bar, but it looks like the change will happen despite the student's protests. It's very likely that only a couple of bars will be open most nights instead of, as it has been, them all being open daily. This is a shame, because a nice thing about having so many bars was that you'd be able to find one that was quiet.
There are a huge number of societies. I am a member of Writer's Soc, the magazine Word Salad and Art Chips, Doug Soc and Juggle Soc. Last year, I was a part of the uni pantomime. There are loads of societies about anything that can be imagined and they're easy to set up. There is Tea Soc, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Bellringing, Drama Soc, Outdoors Society, Book Soc. There are a load to do with political organisations or the academic courses. There have also been some very strange ones including Aaadvark and Lemon Fanta Society.
Joining societies is a great way to make friends. My advice would be to go to Freshers' fair and put you email address down for anything that looks vaguely interesting. Just don't pay up until you've been to a couple of meetings and decide if you like it.
~ Sports ~
There isn't a swimming pool at York, which I find annoying, but there are good facilities for plenty of other sports. The sports centre is in the process of being extended right now.
I'm not very sporty, but I am a part of the badminton club and play for the college. Most sports have inter-college matches. These aren't as serious as the university teams but are more focussed on having fun. (And winning, of course.)
There are a lot of different sports on offer, including the usual ones like netball, football and hockey. There are also clubs for parachuting, water polo, pot-holing, lacrosse and fencing. Apparently chess club also counts as a sport.
They've recently expanded the sports centre with a large sports hall. This is often known as the freezer because it's extremely cold in there. Even if you're running round, it's best to wear a jumper. I also have problems with the lighting in there; when playing badmiton it's very easy to lose the shuttle in the lights. It gives more space, but I don't like playing in the extension at all.
~ Events ~
These are many and varied (though freqently with a common theme of getting drunk, but this isn't compulsory.) Almost all societies and sports clubs organise socials. These are usually either a meal followed by a bar, or just skipping the eating and going straight to the drinking.
Freshers' Fair is an important event on the first Saturday on term. Two large buildings, the Rodger Kirk Centre and the Physics building, are filled with stands. Some of these are from professional companies, but most are from the uni's societies. The companies will have piles of freebies to try and entice people, and its generally accepted that people will take the free stuff even if their not interested. Also take a good look round at the societies and put your email address down for anything that's interesting.
All the colleges and some departments have balls at the end of term. These involve dressing up in black tie, having a nice meal and then a disco. The balls are at different locations, so you can go to several and get a different atmosphere and a different meal.
Battle of the Bands happens a couple of times a year. Some of the bands are pretty good. Some aren't. It's about what you would expect.
There are a variety of college events, though they are in fact open to people from different colleges. The names have a letter in them, so you know which college is organising them, such as Club D for Derwent and Planet V for Vanbrugh. These have a theme each time and you don't have to pay as much if you dress up in a costume to do with that theme. These events take place in college bars and involve dancing and getting drunk.
There are various plays put on by Drama Soc and concerts by the music department. I can't predict what these will be, since it will depend entirely on them from year to year. This will be the third year in which the university has had a pantomime.
Woodstock occurs near the end of the summer term. It's an outdoor concert which is a great deal of fun if its not raining. The better campus bands, ie. the ones who won Battle of the Bands, will play. There are a variety of food vans of the sort usually seen at fairs, selling greasy fried food and candyfloss. Juggle Soc are also there, entertaining people with their skills and, if we can persuade health and safety, fire juggling.
There are noticeboards all round the university that advertise other events as they're planned. They don't all involve drinking and many are still fun if, like me, you don't like alcohol.
~ The Town ~
York is a very pretty city, with lots of old buildings including Cliffords Tower and, naturally, the Minster. It can get clogged with tourists at weekends, but its a very nice place.
There are plenty of shops, including the standard ones that can be found in every city centre in the country. But York does have quaint, little streets full of unique shops that are worth a look at. Just avoid the ones selling tourist trash such as models of Big Ben and London buses. There's also a designer outlet on the outskirts of the city, but its not particularly easy to get to if you don't have a car.
There are a couple of cinemas in central York: Odeon and City Screen. Odeon is very small, but quite nice. The popcorn at City Screen is more ludicrously expensive than most other cinemas. There's also the Vue cinema, but that's a little out of town. You can get there on the number 6 bus, but it takes a fairly roundabout route.
Compared to a lot of other cities, York is safe. It has a relatively low crime rate. Even the bad areas, such as Tang Hall, are a lot better than bad areas in other parts of the country.
~ Housing ~
First year accomodation is on campus and organised by the uni. Depending on your college (Halifax tend to have room) you can apply to stay on college in your second and third year. In most colleges, there aren't many rooms available. Some third years get a place, most don't.
International students get to stay on campus if they want to with no difficulty at all.
Almost everyone in their second year lives off campus. The university have a list of landlords renting to students, so you can be sure to get a rent that lasts the length of time you want. The uni has also checked the contracts for these places, but you'd be best to read it through yourself.
The cost of the on-campus housing depends on which college your in. As could be expected, being in a nice room, such as James, would be more expensive than being in Goodrick. There are also varying lengths of rent. Some of the Halifax rooms are rented for the entire year whereas most of the others are only up until the end of the summer term. Some of the rooms are let out other the Easter holidays for conferences, so you will be expected to clear all your things out. This generally happens in Alcuin, James and some of the Derwent and Langwith rooms.
When applying for campus accomodation, you'll be able to choose the length of rent you want and you'll be fully warned if you're one of those that has to move your belongings for a holiday.
~ Overall ~
I love York Uni. I've enjoyed by time here immensely and intend to enjoy the time I've got left. I have good friends and good times and (hopefully) good grades.
It's a very good university and offers industrial placements and years abroad. It has languages for all courses that can be taken by anyone, allowing you to learn a new language as well as your subject. The staff are generally friendly.
My advice is to come and look for yourself. Come on an open day and speak to the lecturers for your course, look at what facilities are available for your subject. Your own opinion is always more important than other people's when choosing the next stage of your life.
I've made some changes, but I've published this review on Ciao under the same user name.
As a third year just having finished my finals at the university of York I can honestly say what a great university this is. It's reputation speaks for itself, having only been founded little over 40 years ago it has developed into a university with a reputation rivally Oxbridge and is consistantly in the top 10 universities in the country. The department in which I was based (economics) has a particularly high reputation, second only in teaching to Cambridge and I really do feel I have had a great reputation.
The university is situated on a campus just over a mile out of the centre of York. This at first can be a little isolating, I remember when I started I felt like I was living in a little student bubble. The campus is organised on the college based system in terms of accommodation and most colleges have a bar, catering facilities, a common room, computer room and laundrette. It is reckoned that the college system provides a way of bonding, this can be explained no better way than considering the sports league where each college compete against each other. To be honest though, this is something I felt was less important than an affiliation with students on the same course.
The accommodation veers from the old to the new and it is simply a lottery as to where you end up. The accommodation based on the centre of campus (around the lake) tends to be old and some blocks are notoriously bad, with one shower between 12 people and the tiniest kitchens in the world. Yet the newer colleges: James, Alcuin and Halifax are more modern, larger and even have the luxury on en suite facilities. Off campus accommodation is relatively cheap, this year I am paying £50 a week in a four bedroomed house, although I do get the sense that prices are rising as there is more demand from a growing student population.
The city of York itself is beautiful, the people are really friendly and I still haven't got bored walking the cobbled streets. There are more pubs and bars than there are days of the year but if you want a nightlife more exciting than that then Leeds is the best place to go (where trains run till 3am) There are 3 nightclubs in York, generally the cheesiest places I've ever been to and unless you're prepared to ignore the rubbishness of it all and go and just have a fun time I can't see it being well recieved
First off, I am considering dropping out of uni, so this may not be the perkiest of reviews, neither the most accurate. Secondly, I have been here for barely three days so this may lack the detail you seek,
UNIVERSITY IN GENERAL:
Everyone either says the campus is beautiful or the campus is hideous, which confused me lots before I came here. Basically, the buildings are giant blocks of grey concrete splattered between beautiful surroundings. There are loads of ducks as I'm sure you've figured out by now, lots of greenery, trees, lakes, and its generally a very pleasent place to walk around. Also, the campus is about a 15 minute walk across campus at the most so any lectures you need to attend are never going to be far away. If you're reading this deciding on whether to come to the university or not, do not base it on what it looks like.
Some of it is en suite with real kitchens and is lovely, the majority though are relatively large rooms with 2 showers and 2 toilets shared between about 10 - 15 people. Because of the high demand for en suite, it is by luck if you get it, although the university is currently trying to make more en suite accomodation so your chances might be better.
York has 4 nightclubs, one miles away on the bus, and I think the others are on campus. I've never visited one myself, although apparently they are a laugh as you're bound to know someone when you get there. If you are a hardcore clubber, the clubs might be a bit tame here but leeds is only 10 minutes away on the train. If you don't like clubbing, try not to get stuck on a floor with people who do...
there are millions of pubs, if you're a pub person.
WOULD I RECOMMEND IT:
If you're extroverted, loud and enjoy constant socialising and getting drunk out of your head, then I thoroughly recommend coming here. If you're quite quiet, quickly find people similar to you or you will get lost in a maze of people you don't know. Lots of people tend to lable the type of person that goes to a university: There are thousands of people here, all different, and there is no specific 'type' of people.
My main piece of advice to anyone considering applying to any university is to make sure you are head over heels in love with your subject, want to study it in your spare time, and can't get enough of it. York is a popular university so don't assume you might be able to switch to a different course by the time you get here.
I spent 3 years at York University studying Computer Science and Maths between 1998 and 2002 (I know that is 4 years - I spent a year in London in between my second and third years on an industrial placement).
** Background **
York is a relatively new university founded in 1963. It has developed rapidly over the years and continues to grow and develop now. Since I first went to York in 1997 for an open day there have been some big changes in the campus and size of the University. Shortly before my arrival the Computer Science department relocated to a new purpose built building on the edge of the campus and during my time in York there were new buildings for the Biology department, some of the colleges and the building of a supermarket and shopping row on site.
Since leaving York there have been further developments with a new Student Services building, continued college development and development of the Library and surrounding buildings.
** Campus **
The campus is situated on the outskirts of the city near a village called Heslington. Although on the outskirts of the city, York is quite small as cities go and it is only a short walk into the city centre (about 20 minutes), and there are regular buses that run from the campus into town.
The campus itself is around 200 acres (according to the university literature I havent counted them myself) and has a large man-made lake running through the middle of it. The lake is home to several hundred (at a guess) ducks and fish (including some carps for all fish lovers). For me the ducks were the highlight of the campus, but I didnt live in halls near the lake (apparently their laughing can get really annoying) and I have a really childish sense of humour so still think it is funny to hear the ducks laughing and see them sleeping on one leg. One down side to the number of ducks and geese around the lake is the amount of mess they make. Not even I find that funny.
The campus is relatively flat apart from a small hill at one end and has a main road running through it, where there is a bus stop for bus services to town. The top of the hill is home to the Library and various departments and a college. There is full disabled access to these facilities from a ramp and bridge over the road and up the hill.
** Colleges **
The university is divided into eight colleges each of which have their own facilities and their own identity. All the colleges are of equal status in the university and in no way represent ability or anything else. Each college has an elected committee to handling the running of the college and the organisation of college events. Each college also has a number of sports teams that compete against the other colleges.
The colleges are:
Alcuin This college is located on the hill near the Library. A lot of the accommodation in this college has been built recently and has en-suite bathrooms.
Derwent This college is located on the east side of the campus and is a mixture of old and new accommodation. It has what is probably the largest college bar/dining area and is often the location for events. It has a couple of pool tables and table football in the college bar.
Langwith This college is located between Derwent and Vanburgh colleges and is built near the lake. It has some new accommodation but is mainly older buildings.
Vanburgh This college is located in the middle of campus between the lake and the Student Services building (which houses the supermarket). The accommodation in this college is relatively old. Facilities are shared between corridors of rooms. This college has a large bar area and a couple of pool tables and arcade games available.
Halifax This college is located to the south of the campus. It is next to the sports fields and is quite a way from the lake. All the accommodation is new as are all the facilities in this college. The facilities have been purpose built in the last couple of years. The rooms are not en-suite and are grouped into houses of between 6 and 10 rooms. These houses share bathroom and cooking facilities.
James Similar to Halifax this college is fairly newly built and is divided into houses. The difference with James is that some of the rooms are en-suite.
Wentworth Wentworth college is an all-graduate college. It is located to the west of the campus near the biology department.
Goodricke This college is situated across the lake from Vanburgh. It has a large dining room and a hand-made sandwich shop among its facilities. It also has the largest number of computers available for checking emails and surfing the web.
All colleges have common rooms, some of which have pool tables in. The colleges also have computer access and food and drink facilities, including a bar.
The University does not have a central Student Union bar and so makes use of the smaller bars in the colleges.
** Departments **
The college departments are found in the colleges (described above there are no departments in Halifax college). The subject studied does not determine the college that you are put in. For example the Maths department is in Vanburgh college but I was a member of Halifax college. There are around 23 departments in York university specific details of which can be found on the website.
I only had contact with two departments first hand and dont feel that it would be fair for me to repeat other things that I heard second hand about other departments.
Computer Science Department Housed in a purpose built building on top of the hill near the library. There are two large software labs and two large hardware labs in the building. Only practicals and tutorials are held in the department with the rest of the lectures being held in lecture theatres across the campus. The department requires students to have regular tutorials in the first year, which are held with a tutor and a small group of peers. These were not compulsory during the second year but returned in the final year during the final year project. The final year project was conducted under the supervision of a single tutor who I found to be very helpful in guiding me as to the project requirements.
Mathematics Department Based in Vanburgh college, maths lectures are conducted across the campus. For each subject studied there are weekly/bi-weekly tutorials with post-graduates or lecturers. These additional tutorials are held in small groups and are compulsory. They continued for the full duration of my degree.
Communication between the departments could have been better as could the organisation of exams and assessments. At one point I ended up having an open assessment in Computer Science in the same week that I had numerous Maths exams, making it difficult to juggle priorities. I think this has been addressed since then and assessments are coordinated between the departments.
Aside from this small problem I didnt have any problems from either department. I had a tutor in each department who kept track of my progress and addressed any issues I had.
** Sports **
There are a large number of sports teams at York, that cover a wide range of sports. If there is a sport that does not currently have a club at the University then the Athletic Union will help you set one up, provided there is enough interest. At the beginning of each year there is an Athletic Union fair where the sport clubs have the chance to attract new members to their clubs. It is normally held in the sports centre and offers students the chance to meet the people who run the clubs and find out what it is all about. If you already know the sports that you want to do then this is the place to go and sign up.
As mentioned previously there are inter college sports that take place. I am not sure how the sports are selected but the basic idea is that each college picks a team for a given sport and then they play against the other colleges and the results are recorded in a league. This makes for additional friendly rivalry between colleges and allows people from different colleges to meet up.
In addition to the regular sporting events, each year York and Lancaster Universities recreate the War Of The Roses. Instead of trying to kill each other though they compete against each other at different sporting activities. The war normally takes place over a weekend early in May at alternating locations (York and Lancaster). Every year hundreds of participants travel to compete in these events leading to a party atmosphere for the whole weekend for everyone. The war works by awarding points to the victorious University in a variety of events. Put simply the University with the most points at the end of the weekend is the winner. The events included in Roses weekend are wide-ranging and diverse. It is basically the case that if both Universities are able to enter a team then it will be included so there is something for everyone.
** Town **
Obviously if you are going to attend York University it is important to know about the town itself as well as the university. Here is a brief summary of my experience of the town itself from a students point of view. Im sure there will be some more detailed reviews of the city itself in the city guide section.
Although technically a city, York is a very small place with a population of around 40,000. It is easy to get around with plenty of regular bus services from the campus to the town centre, although the cost of these services is continually rising. It takes about 30 minutes to walk from the campus into the city centre and is relatively easy to do so.
The basic layout of the city centre is that there is a river (Ouse) running through the middle with the town built up on both sides. The majority of the shops are on one side of the river (North) with the pubs and hotels mainly to the other (South). The city centre itself is small and easy to get around. The train station is within easy reach of the city centre as it is just outside the walls.
Once in the city centre there is a pleasant mix of the history of the city and new developments. Generally the city centre has quite an old feel to it, particularly around the historic sites like York Minster and the Shambles. In recent years there have been steps taken to modernise some parts of the city including the building of some new wine bars, restaurants and a cinema on the side of the river.
There is a good mix of shops available in York ranging from large department stores like Debenhams to small shops around the shambles selling handmade goods. Due to the tourist trade in York there are a large number of souvenir shops, particularly around the places of interest, but there are also a lot of shops for people who live in York. There are also three retail parks on the outskirts of the city: Monks Cross (containing large supermarkets and large stores), Clifton Moore (containing a bowling alley, large cinema, retail park and night club) and McArther Glen (a designer outlet village selling discounted designer clothes).
I found the city to be quite a friendly place. There is no real trouble to mention even on race days when the city can get very busy with race goes. There are plenty of pubs around the city and enough shops for everyday shopping. There are some really nice places to eat and lots to see.
Getting into and out of the city is quite easy too. As I mentioned earlier the train station is close to the city centre and offers direct trains to London, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester as well as other destinations. Driving to York is quite straightforward too as it is easily signposted from both the M1 and M62. There is a bypass that almost loops around the outskirts of the city allowing easy access to all parts.
** Nightlife **
I must admit that the nightlife in York is a bit of a disappointment. While there are lots (and lots) of pubs and wine bars in the city when it comes to clubbing York doesnt have a lot to offer. There are four night clubs in the city:
The Gallery (formerly Silks): probably the best club in town. It has two main rooms playing different styles of music depending on the night.
Toffs: This club does some good student nights in the week. It has two rooms downstairs playing different types of music depending on the night and there is a bar section upstairs too where there are sofas and food available.
Ziggys: This club is like a house that has been converted. It is normally very hot inside and is often very packed. There are three (small) floors to this club. There are dance floors on the top and bottom floors and a quiet bar on the middle floor. I cant stress enough how hot it can get in this club!
Ikon & Diva: This is the newest club in York but unfortunately is out of town. There are free buses to and from the venue but it always seemed like too much hassle for me. The club itself is large and open. It has two sections playing different music depending on the night. The University have used this club for some of its social events in the past.
All the clubs close at 2pm (or thereabouts) and there is nowhere to go afterwards but home or to the kebab shop.
Having criticised the clubbing in the city I cant fault the bars and pubs. There is plenty of variety of venue for your early evening drinks from quieter local-style pubs to modern wine-bars and everything in between.
** Off Campus Housing **
As with most campus based Universities there is only a limited amount of accommodation for students on campus. First years are guaranteed a room (if they want one) on campus and the remaining rooms tend to go to students returning in their final year. This means that for at least one year of your stay at York you will be required to find your own housing. Fear not though as help is at hand from Student Services who will produce a housing list around January. This will have a list of all the available houses and contact details for the landlord. Then all you have to do is have a scan through and a phone around and sort out viewing some.
If you want the best houses then I would find someone who has a copy of last years housing list and start looking through that before the new one comes out.
The best locations tend to go quite quickly but there do tend to be a lot of houses in these areas. From experience I would say that somewhere around Heslington Road is probably the best as it is half way between the campus and the town centre (about a 10 minute walk to each) and is on a major bus route if you are feeling lazy.
** Surrounding Area **
While York is a nice place (you will hear that a lot if you go there) it is a small place and so you may want something a little extra. Well you are in luck because York is pretty well situated for major cities and coastal town.
Leeds is about 30 miles away and can be easily reached by either car or train. There are regular direct trains from York to Leeds, which take about 20 minutes. Travelling by car it can take about half an hour by the time you have got out of/in to the cities. Leeds is a much bigger city and has more to offer in terms of shopping and nightlife. (See other reviews for more details)
If the seaside is your thing then you will be pleased to know that a short distance away is Scarborough, a small costal town with a beach and all the tourist attractions you would expect.
As I mentioned before, York also has good train links making it easy to get to places like London, Liverpool and Edinburgh
** After You Graduate **
Your York experience doesnt end with your graduation though. Each year the University sponsors a race at the October race meet and they invite graduates to attend with their friends/family. I have been for the last two years and it has been great. The tickets are discounted as you get them through the University and it is for entrance into the posh stand so you have plenty of shelter from the October showers. Admittedly the October meeting is probably not the highlight of the racing calendar but for people like me (who know little or nothing about horse racing) it is a top day out and is a good excuse to catch up with some friends and enjoy a day out.
In addition to the race day there is also a regular magazine (GrapeVine) that is published and distributed to graduates of the University. This contains latest news about the University and information about other York graduates.
** My Opinion **
I loved my time at York and have no regrets about going there. I made a lot of good friends while I was there and had some great times. I do accept that it will not be to everyones taste though. As I have said there is not a lot of nightlife in the city, so if you like clubbing it may not be the best place for you. Having said that there is lots to see and do both at the University and in the city. Also the University has come a long way since I left and I expect the development to continue. York is undoubtedly one of the leading Universities in the country and it has a great atmosphere.
My advice would be to go to an open day. I went and as I was leaving I knew that this was the place I wanted to come.
** More Information **
If you want more information then check out the University website: http://www.york.ac.uk
Thanks for reading
The University of York is renound for being known as the University of Dork in the papers, though I didn't know this prior to accepting a place! This is probably because it has been climbing the league tables and is currently seventh in the Times top universities but also won "university of the year" for 2003, so its only natural that some of the students spend more time looking in their books than looking in the mirror. GEEKS I am also pretty biased seeing as I do Maths, which is full of "geeks" where as subjects such as humanities, business courses etc are a lot more trendy nowadays and the students are slightly cooler! In a questionnaire about the university I was asked to fill in gave me the question "draw and describe a typical maths student." My response was big hair, spotty, glasses, no style whatsoever, could smell slightly. THE CAMPUS This is a problem with the university but there are positive aspects about it that I love. The campus is beautiful and consists of nine colleges situated around a beautiful lake. This is by far and away my favourite aspect of York. In the summer it is beautiful and everyone sits out by the lake. There is also a lot of wildlife because of the lake which brings me to a positive and a negative point about the university. + Baby ducks in the summer which are ridiculously cute. - Vast quantities of duck poo everywhere, predominantly on your shoes. Each college has a canteen which serves (not-so-nice) food but luckily for us there is a supermarket and also stationary shops, bookshops and an insurance place right in the centre of campus. The library has just been done up so is all nice and modern and a good place to study in. ACCOMMODATI
9;N Accommodation in the colleges vary in quality drastically. Tip for anyone thinking of applying to halls: say you have problems controlling your bladder to guarentee en-suite accommodation. When I joined a standard room in halls cost £50 a week where as an en-suite room cost £55. This meant everyone applied for en-suite and only those who had "valid reasons" and liars got the rooms. It is not just the luxury of having your own bathroom I am talking about, it happens to be coincidental that all the en-suite halls are lovely and all the standard halls ming and are 100 years old. I am a student living in the latter type of accommodation. My kitchen does not even have a cooker but a mini cooker which looks like a microwave and has two hobs on top of it and is also 100 years old. Living off campus isn't much more expensive. I paid £50 a week for a beautiful 7 bedroomed house last year and it was the best year I've had at York. It works out more expensive after bills and paying for your room over the summer/christmas/easter holidays when you aren't even there but it is a small price to pay to not have the geeks playing violins/trumpets/guitars on your corridor day in day out. NIGHTLIFE Nightlife in York does suck. There is no main SU bar/club like other universities have but instead a bar in each college so you only really meet people on your course and in your college. There are four clubs in York and each has a student night one night of Monday through to Thursday. Its pretty fun for about five minutes but you soon get bored of the lack of variety. Mind you, Leeds is only £5 on the train for a return and trains run throughout the night so I prefer to go there. As you might guess I'm not a big fan of York. But I am a f
un outgoing person and my friends are usually similar, which is why I only have a few good friends here. If you think you might be a geek it'll be great. If you are slightly more than that it might not be the place for you.
The review I wrote for this seems to have disappeared, which is a shame because it wasn't too bad. Suffice to say that I said nice things about the University of York, and would say the nice things again if I had time to do so. In fact, I might even say more nice things.
I'd recommend that you look at the league tables (York does very well in the scores for teaching) and at York's website to get a better idea of the place. Perhaps look at the library funding and the funding for your particular department, as well as statistics about how many students drop out before completely a degree. My firm belief is that one should visit a university and see how one feels about it, rather than relying solely upon statistics and opinions. If it feels right, you'll be much happier than you would be somewhere "perfect" that just doesn't suit you.
Thus endeth the lesson. :)
Having been a student at the University of York for two terms now I think I am a reasonable position from which to offer an opinion for anyone who is considering university education in the near future. Long ago when I was new to the idea of Dooyoo I wrote a particularly poor opinion on archaeology at York, a degree that I am now happily enduring (a contradiction perhaps? You decide!). Regrettably, when I wrote that opinion I was a prospective student, i.e. I had not actually done any of the degree. I based my opinion on open days that I had attended, and on prospectuses that I had been sent by the department. Whilst these are good starting points, they do not tell the whole story. Instead they opt to show you the glossy covers of university life and the strengths of all-things from that particular institution. I hope to offer a balanced opinion here, giving both the pro's and the con's. For that reason I have reserved my opinion about the University itself until now, the Easter holiday after 20 weeks of study, the reason being that I hope have accumulated enough experience to know what I am talking about. So, with no more rambling to cram into an introduction...enjoy: THE CAMPUS: BUILDINGS AND DEVELOPMENTS: Physically, the University is a schizophrenic place. Being engineered in the 1960s and 1970s the older buildings are made of a grey concrete that brings anyone who gazes upon them to immediately think of "dull", "bleak", and all their synonyms. It looks like someone has taken that horrible grey Northern motorway material and wrapped it around the buildings...sadly the result is an insult to both architecture and to the eye, and at first glance the University itself looks like a cold and uninviting place...not the sort of first impression that would lead someone to commit three years of their life to the place. However, look closer...the University has undergone serious redevelopm
ent in the last decade and the later buildings are much more pleasing. Since 1990 the university has had some form of construction or renovation taking place, and a clear image of the development of the University of York can be seen from the buildings...in the centre is the drab old concrete of the 70s, around the outskirts is the nice new brick of the 90s. The new colleges look closer to hotels than to prisons, the sports centre is state of the art, and, as I write this, the big Physics & Electronics Department is undergoing a huge renovation to transform it into a "modern" building. The campus library is also scheduled for redevelopment work, and several colleges are being upgraded over the current year. Added to this is major development work for the Department of Environmental Studies, and Chemistry is also being treated to new buildings in a massive new Science complex that is being constructed on campus. As you will therefore expect there is lots of construction work to disturb the feng shui of the environment on campus, but the end result will be worth it. York is a first class university, and it is about time it had some first class buildings, for both teaching and for living. THE LAKE AND OTHER STUFF: The University of York's main campus is a charming place, if you can learn to accept the vast amount of concrete, and this charm is aided to a great extent by the lake that occupies the middle of the campus. Apparently it is the biggest manmade lake in Europe, although I find that a little hard to believe! The lake is crossed by four bridges, and has a nice fountain in the middle that is either a beauty or a burden...depending on which way the wind is blowing! In winter the lake, unsurprisingly, can freeze over which leads to quite a lot of fun in the face of danger as we students attempt all manner of crazy games upon the inch-thick ice. Needless to say, some of the more intoxicated students get we
t! The lake is home to a large amount of ducks that live on campus, probably rivalling students in terms of numbers, and these ducks find their way between the colleges via the many "green areas" that run along the paths and between the buildings. The presence of these ducks is certainly a novelty that makes studying at York a little bit special...but I guess you have to live alongside them before you appreciate that! Also on campus is the Quiet Area, which is effectively a walled garden away from the hustle and bustle of central campus life. A quick fact for you - part of the Harry Potter film (2001) was filmed in the Quiet Area. I personally have never seen the film and haven't spent much time in there - so I wouldn't be able to point it out to you, but there are plenty of students who find it incredibly exciting and would be willing to direct you to the exact spot if you were to ask. The campus is currently under development around the 'retail centre', which in reality equates to two or three shops. There is a reasonably stocked Costcutter supermarket on campus, which is suitable for general living needs. Also there are two bookshops, one of them plush and new, the other cheaper and secondhand, and a York University Students Union shop. There is little difference between Costcutter and the YUSU shop, except that the YUSU shop sells newspapers and magazines, as well as merchandise for the university. Profits from the YUSU shop goes back into the Student Union and is spent on other initiatives around campus, so it is worth buying the little things in there rather than in Costcutter, which generates no money for the union. So, a lake surrounded by both concrete monstrosities and, a little further back, 1990s guilt-inspired redevelopments (guilty of the sinful architecture as much as anything!) - the University of York's main campus is certainly an odd one compared to many universi
ties around the country. It is away from the city of York by a 15 minute walk or so, and as a result the campus has a definite independent 'student vibe' to it that might be lost at a university that was in the middle of a city. All in all, a good place to study and a good place to live. THE COLLEGES: The University of York is divided into colleges. Whilst these are not seen as branches of the university themselves, as may be the case at Oxford or Cambridge, they serve as the place in which you live and are the small inter-university community to which you belong. At the moment the colleges are as follows, named as they are after people or things from history that are significant to the city of York; Alcuin, Derwent, Langwith, Vanbrugh, Goodricke, Wentworth, and James. Vanbrugh college is the largest and has three spin-off colleges near to the campus; Halifax Court, Eden Court, and Fairfax House. These are basically accommodation blocks that are built slightly off campus because they couldn't fit them into Vanbrugh. James and Alcuin are the newest colleges, and from a buildings point of view are therefore the envy of the other older colleges, such as Goodricke and Derwent. I am fortunate enough to be able to call myself a resident of Alcuin college, which means I get a nice big room in a nice new building :-) COLLEGE ALLOCATION: When I went through the application process, in the early summer of 2001, allocation to colleges was entirely random. In other words, you could not directly choose which of the colleges you would be put into. There was some leeway on the application form for you to cite preferences, such as "please put me in the same college as this friend from school"...but ultimately, apart from good luck and coincidence, allocation to the colleges was an entirely random process. I am not sure if this has changed since I applied, as far as I am aware it has not. However, do not let this put you off...the campus is small enough so that you are never out of reach from other colleges. One of my friends from home is at the other side of the campus completely, but in reality is only five or ten minutes walk around the lake away. One of the biggest problems that the University has been forced to confront recently is the idea of differential rates. As I have already mentioned, the colleges vary in both age and style significantly across campus, and with a flat "University Rate" for all students it was understandable that those who were allocated to one of the 'poorer' colleges should feel hard done by. The general argument is, e.g.; "why should I pay the same, for this crappy old room in Goodricke, as he/she is paying for that nice new one in James?" The last I heard this matter was unresolved so it is probably best that any prospective students, or perhaps more importantly their parents, check up on the issue on the university's website (see bottom). A TYPICAL YORK COLLEGE: Whilst the appearance of the colleges might alter dramatically across campus, the facilities remain basically the same. Each college typically has between four and six residential 'blocks', in which are the rooms and the kitchens. Accompanying the residential blocks is usually a 'main block', which includes the main reception desk, computer room, bar/dining area, common rooms, laundry services, and administrative offices. This is a general summary, and it is worth pointing out that James college does not have a bar or a computer room. This is something that the university is working towards correcting, so that all colleges have the same facilities. Regardless of this all students have the same facilities on campus because any student can use any facility from any college. I live in Alcuin but I am still able to use the computer rooms in another college.
The college's are guarded and looked after by Porters, who man the main reception desk. Recently there was an up-roar on campus when the administration decided to remove 24-hour portering from several colleges, prompting issues about student safety to be raised. This is a point worth asking of the university if you are interested in studying at York, as it will make them realise that it is off-putting to prospective students as well and so action may be forced through. Bars in the colleges are pretty much the same across campus. Food is of a suprising high standard for the price, it is not the sort of café food you might find in any town centre. Alcohol is cheap and readily available but there is currently no student union bar...something that has raised arguments. Whilst the college system is a good idea, it does tend to restrict people from mingling together in a centralised Union bar. This is currently being addressed and there are plans to make a central Students Union bar on campus in the near future. TEACHING: Most of the teaching is done on campus, in teaching rooms and lecture theatres within the main college buildings. I study Archaeology, so my course is taught off-campus in the Kings Manor, which is in the city near York Minster. In general most students are within shouting distance of their course at any time, which might not be the case if you were studying at a big city university with residential blocks miles away from the main campus. Similarly in a centralised space is the JB Morrell Library, which stocks all of the books that any course is ever going to require you to read. Studying at York, therefore, is not a problem...unless like me you do archaeology and have to struggle into the town at 9am on a rainy winter morning with a bad hangover! As for the standard of teaching prospective students need only look at the University 'League Tables' for proof that York is one of the top in
stitutions in the country. York regularly places in the top 5 against, usually, Oxford, Cambridge, UCL, and Loughborough. Recently the department of Archaeology scored a perfect 24/24 on an assessment of teaching standards, and the sciences have also been praised at York. Without wanting to sound too preachy, York is a very good place to study. It is often reminded that it has the highest number of Ox-Bridge rejects in the country...which in theory makes it Number 3 behind the 'Big Two'. Of course certain subjects will be taught better than others, as at any institution, but across the board York retains a consistently high academic standard that ensures it is always there or thereabouts on the imaginary league tables. THE CITY OF YORK - A HOME FROM HOME? I personally love the city of York, and always have done for some reason! Maybe because I am studying archaeology, with a keen interest in history, York is an obviously appealing place with it's own history being very much on display throughout the city. Whilst it might seem a little out of the way in North Yorkshire, York is a busy tourist centre and is often over-run with day-trippers from across the country and from Europe. For that reason there is a vibrant and lively atmosphere to the city centre, which is big enough for shopping and lifestyle needs whilst being small enough to remain 'cosy'. York, with its high number of continental coffee chains and al fresco sandwich bars, has a curiously cosmopolitan feel to it. Sitting on an old Roman road sipping a cappuccino in the sun you could be forgiven for thinking you were somewhere in sunny Europe, when in reality you are in the northern reaches England. It is an attractive city with a nice combination of the old and the new. Much of the heritage is on show, such as the Roman and Medieval walls, the Minster, and the large number of Anglo Saxon churches. The only thing that damages t
he cosmopolitan feel of York is, of course, the weather. This is a nuisance at first, but eventually you get used to it and begin to live alongside the November and December rain that drives the River Ouse high above its banks. The campus is nowhere near enough to the river to be flooded, but the city occasionally loses and gains a few metres as the water level rises and falls by the day. This is just another quirk that makes York a special place to live. York boasts a staggering amount of clubs, around 366 (at last count!) in all. In theory there is a different pub for everyday of the year. In practice the city centre is home to only some of these, but there are still plenty of different watering holes in close company to one another. Bars are reasonably well spread out in the city centre, with the furthest you'd ever need to walk from one to the next being only about 5 minutes. As for clubs, York is disappointing. With a thriving student community you might expect there to be more clubs on offer, but York sadly has just four. One of these, Ikon & Diva, is not even in the city but is a bus-ride into no man?s land. So, in reality we have just three clubs in York and one of these is a converted house (Ziggy's). Don't let that put you off though...you get used to it. Ziggy's should not be good fun at all, in theory, but cram in a group of your friends with several hundred other students on three floors of homely atmosphere and it becomes a nice place to spend the evening. Unless you are a die-hard clubber, who needs the big lights of a Leeds or London Mecca-Club, you should survive easily in York. GENERAL In general, I love York. The University was always high on my list of choices for further education and I am just thankful that I was able to do well enough to secure a place on the course I wanted. The city is a wonderful place to live, if you can get used to the rain at the end of the year. Anybo
dy who is seriously considering further education should give York a look; it is a very high standard university with a nice if somewhat unusual campus in one of the most well-loved cities in England. I hope this opinion might lead some of you at least to consider the University of York...you could do much worse. For further information, see www.york.ac.uk
ive just left york. the teaching is great, the staff are on the whole friendly, and when its sunny - grand. but, the graduation outfit is GREY!, the geese are menacing, the library facilities are poor and the computer service aint up to scratch. the uni seems to be gearing itself towards science degrees (although the comps are poo), and arts students often feel left out. also the uni employs the most menacing porters in the world, and also the worlds strangest porter - go to alcuin. he looks like a man but sounds like a 12 year old girl. a real treat. the accomodation is patchy, and the place is a permanent building site. outside of the uni, york is pretty but not excactly party city, and campus nightlife is dominated by skinny physics students and toady-from-neighbours-alikes. there was or is also a gent who bears a startling resemblance to william hauge. in terms of value of degree, i can only speak for myself, but i got a 2:1 in politics and cant get a job no matter how hard i try. maybe i smell though. finally, avoid clashed with ron weir, dont use the library toilets (they smell odd), and you may as well do as many "languages for all" courses as you can. they're fairly easy and look impressive. but avoid the majority of students as they play sport and are a bit posh, and dont go if you are from anywhere north of...erm...london, because none of the students will understand what you are saying.