Your complete and essential guide to Uni of York’s 11 colleges

The REAL pros and cons to college life x

No word of a lie, the college system at York is a pretty nice welcome to uni. You move from one home straight into another, a community packed with loads of freshers all in the same position.

It’s mostly friendly between the 11 colleges, but that doesn’t stop the bus chants on the way to the clubs. Stereotypes and rivalries are at their peak during Freshers’ Week, so here’s your much-needed guide to everything college related.


Known for it’s location right by the sports centre, James’ sporty reputation is a difficult one to dismiss. Students here are always involved in a load of activities (not just sports!) and love getting about campus to meet new people. For a college that’s a little bit further out than central West, it’s got a huge personality and reputation.

What to expect: Sports, sports, and more sports.


Right in the heart of West, Vanbrugh claims the perfect location by the main lake at Greg’s place (no, there isn’t a Greggs). You’ve got easy access to the Market Square shops, library, bus stops, and the whole rest of campus. Chill but fun, Vanbrugh has a real quirky vibe to it and is typically packed with loads of interesting people.

What to expect: Music – Vanbrugh’s weekly live music nights in V-bar are always super fun and open to everyone.


Disclaimer – this picture is Heslington Hall, NOT Derwent (get ready for a camera roll full of ducks and this building.) Derwent might not be the nicest looking, but it does know how to have a good time. Home to student bar faves and a load of flat parties, the social scene at Derwent is arguably the best of all colleges. Plus, the ducks LOVE Derwent – watch out for the angry geese in spring x

What to expect: Party animals – bed at 7am, lecture at 9am.


What to expect: Party animals – bed at 7am, lecture at 9am.


Overall, Alcuin’s pretty quiet. Separate to other West colleges, it’s up on the library hill with a reputation for being quite academic. Plus, it’s got both the Library Café and the Kitchen at Alcuin – arguably the best cafés on campus.

What to expect: Chill vibes – rumour has it Alcuin students sleep in the library at least twice a week…


Overall, Halifax is pretty great. You might have heard that it’s miles away, but it’s no further than Campus East (it just doesn’t have any uni buildings or student bars nearby). You get the best of both worlds – a chill distance from the chaos of campus, and then just the pure chaos of Halifax. Students here make their own fun, have a mad night out, and then head to campus in the morning like the academics they are.

What to expect: A little bit of everything – as the biggest college on campus, be prepared for meeting big groups of people and loads of socialising (only if you want to)!


Moving over to Campus East, Goodricke is 100 per cent one of the most underrated colleges. Chill, sunny and green – this college definitely has the most homely vibe to it. Plus, it’s in a perfect location on Campus East – right by the uni buildings (especially Law & Computer Science), shops, bus stops, and a fairly nice 15 minute walk to West.

What to expect: Big homely flats, college brunches, sunsets… and a rough 4am walk up the stairs after a night out.


It’s a vibe. If you’re in Langwith, you’re pretty cool. The flats and townhouses surround East’s only bar The Glasshouse, which gets packed full on karaoke Fridays. Plus, some flats even have patio balconies on the bottom floor… lucky.

What to expect: Loads of nights out – being the closest college to the bus stop is a huge pro for night outs.


As fancy as you can get on East … say hello to TVs and sofas (Goodricke could never). The biggest problem with Constantine is that it’s pretty far out – you literally need a taxi to get there. That’s an exaggeration, but it is the furthest from Campus West and a bit of a trek after long morning lectures.

What to expect: Puffer coats & rugby lads – it’s the closest to the sports village!

David Cato & Anne Lister

The new colleges – both opened just last September in 2022. Compared to the other colleges, they’ve not got much character yet (but it’s growing!) The reception areas have TVs, comfy sofas & pool tables – great areas to meet even more people. Plus, as they’re so shiny and new, moving in here is super exciting & other college students always give a little sigh when you tell them you live here.

What to expect: Lots of college activities & socials – they’ve got a reputation to build!


Postgrad college, so if you’re a fresher…don’t even worry about it. It’s across this bridge on West – if you ever find it, you’re probably lost.

What to expect: Right now? Nothing…

Related stories recommended by this writer:

From snazzy to sickening: A definitive guide to the best and worst toilets on York’s campus

Bored of the Morrell? Here are some of the best alternative places to study in York