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Durham university - explain the college system to me?
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cashewnutty · 29/08/2015 18:15

DD2 wants to apply to Durham and seems very keen on the course they offer (anthropology). In know nothing about this university but I do know it operates a college system. Can someone explain this to me?

Has anyone attended Durham? What is it like? DD2 is fairly quiet and would hate a raucous party type environment.

Any information would be gratefully accepted.

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TheYellowWallpaper · 29/08/2015 18:18

Colleges at Durham are not the same as oxbridge- they are more like halls of residence but also have their own bars and sports teams. Different colleges have very different atmospheres so worth lolling round and applying for the one that fits best. All lectures are organised and held by the academic departments and they accept or refuse applicants. Once in you are allocated to a college so.again different to oxbridge.

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TheYellowWallpaper · 29/08/2015 18:18

Looking not lolling!

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cashewnutty · 29/08/2015 18:22

Thanks yellow She is going to an Open day so hopefully she will get a feel for how it works then.

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Jenijena · 29/08/2015 18:23

Durham grad here, I loved it.

The collegiate system is 'more' than halls but less than Oxbridge, in that you don't get taught within colleges, but you maintain a (life)long relationship with your college. I think you still apply directly to college.

Each college has a different flavour. Some have a reputation of attracting 'posher' students (Castle and Hatfield in particular). Others are particularly musical, sporty, etc. although I suspect most positive Durham grads would have had a great time at whichever college they ended up, there is fierce loyalty to, and rivalry between, colleges. So I need to tell you Trevelyan is best :)

An advantage of the collegiate system is that there is - particularly in the smaller colleges - a sense of community, reinforced by mixed years in colleges and within the catered colleges (most of them) shared mealtimes. A disadvantage is that it can be claustrophobic.

When I first started, some of my (posher) friends compared it to boarding school. I'm a comp girl myself but couldn't comment.

Durham itself is full of people who didn't choose party central universities - Leeds, Manchester etc - and although all colleges will have events, being a fairly quiet person certainly wouldn't have been unusual when I was there.

Oh and it's the most beautiful place in the world.

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cashewnutty · 29/08/2015 18:28

JeniJena She is a day pupil at a private school (posh girl right there). All the 6th form day pupils are assigned to one of the boarding houses where they sign in and have their spares/chill out time and can make snacks. I suspect this system will feel right to her.

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CalmYoBadSelf · 29/08/2015 18:57

My son went to Durham and loved it. As others have said, it is not like Oxbridge as you study in the academic departments but the colleges are where you live, eat, play sport and socialise

The colleges on "The Bailey" (next to the castle and cathedral) are very historic and have a lot of legacy students so more wealth and poshness but do have "ordinary people" too. The "Hill colleges" just a short walk away are more modern. Some colleges tend to be known for their sport, music, etc

My son would agree with Jenijena in saying Trevelyan is best Grin He found being in a smaller college a great experience as you got to know people with different talents and interests that you might not have mixed with in a bigger place and had more chance of being involved or selected for sports, drama, etc.

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gonegrey56 · 30/08/2015 12:32

My dd is in Chads and absolutely loves it - smallest college, which suits her. But she has friends across the University and everyone thinks "their" college is the best ....

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SquirrelledAway · 30/08/2015 13:00

Lovely city, shame that the post grads don't get that college experience (or at least they didn't when I was there).

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SladeGreen · 30/08/2015 19:36

Can anyone tell me what John Snow, and George Stephenson's colleges are like? Is one more academic, or sporty etc?

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ToBeAChadsman · 30/08/2015 19:59

Durham grad here and PPs have described the college system well. I was fairly quiet too and Durham suited me well. I was at Chad's which I enjoyed but I think John's college have alternative freshers' week activities (in addition to the normal ones) which might suit your DD if she's not into boozing and clubbing.

Students like to scare freshers by quoting statistics of the percentage of Durham grads (and college grads) who marry each other. Been married to my fellow Chadsman for 8 years now (and have several uni friends also married to fellow grads)!

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HildaFlorence · 31/08/2015 08:06

Another Trevelyan graduate here , married to a Hatfield man for 25 years , meeting up today with another Durham couple , they also have a daughter at Durham????.

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cashewnutty · 31/08/2015 20:39

She has now booked to go to an open day and Trevelyan is the college she and her friend are going to look round. Exciting stuff!

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boys3 · 31/08/2015 21:07

cash Durham produce a whole raft of admission stats including number of applications for each college (worth remembering actual applications for each course are decided by the faculties, college comes after the offer has been made)

www.dur.ac.uk/ug.admissions/admindocuments/admissions2012-13/

tables 3.1 and 3.3 A lot get very oversubscribed so all I'd advise is not to get too wedded to one at this stage. DS1 applied to one of the bailey colleges but got offered a Hill college, as Durham was his insurance not the end of the world. A friend of his did however get their place at one of the most oversubscribed Bailey colleges. I got the sense, perhaps others can confirm whether this is correct or not, that Durham try to ensure a good subject spread across all the colleges, so whilst 90% of offer holders for say English might apply to Bailey colleges they will in reality get spread more evenly across all the colleges.

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Molio · 01/09/2015 08:22

boys3 Durham says in terms that each college only has a set number of places for each subject - it's either in the prospectus or in one of the letters of explanation sent to one or other DC.

Also, vast numbers of students live out after first year.

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fastdaytears · 01/09/2015 08:31

She'll love it! All colleges have a mix of people. I think you still have to share rooms in the Bailey colleges in the first year- but my info is 11 Hmm years out of date now.
No pressure to be a big party person. Some of my best friends opted out of all of that. College bars are mostly just quietish friendly places and then whether you want to experience what Durham thinks is clubbing is up to you.
I was Grey and loved it.
You do have to pick a college in advance but if oversubscribed they can offer you somewhere else. Used to be as a girl you'd be offered Mary's (was single sex and usually undersubscribed) or as a boy Cuth's (which is not very college-y) but probably changed now Mary's is mixed.
No one I ever met didn't like their college though.

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fastdaytears · 01/09/2015 08:33

Oh and again old info but my cousin starts next month and says the same, no option to live in college (medical reasons aside) other than in first and third/fourth year. Finalists (whether on 3rd or 4th year course) get the "fancy" rooms (but adjust expectations in advance...). Most people live with college friends though and my road was weirdly almost all Grey people.

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knittingbee · 01/09/2015 08:42

Can I just say that Aiden's is the best ;)

I applied to another college initially but didn't quite get my grades - department still wanted me so they offered me Mary's (at the time single-sex) or Aiden's... Met life-long friends and had the most awesome time. As others have already said, it's a brilliant mix as you do form strong bonds in your college but meet others on your course when you're taught in your department. It's a tiny place - that was quite a shock since I come from a big city that's well-known for its club culture - but frankly I doubt I'd have got any work done in Manchester or London! And the degree course was excellent. Your DD is right to go on the strength of the course.

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knittingbee · 01/09/2015 08:44

Aidan's not Aiden's... Bloody autocorrect!
My degree was in English BTW Blush

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monkerina · 01/09/2015 08:50

I went to Durham and loved it- have to tell you that Grey is the best college (Hill college but one of the closer ones to town, so slightly less walking/slightly more time in bed before lectures) but DH would tell you Hild Bede is awesome he's wrong I found that Hill colleges tended to be slightly more science-y, as they're next to the Science site, but overall there's a good mix of people everywhere.

As others have said, different colleges do have slightly different atmospheres so it's definitely worth thinking about what she wants and then look at the different amenities offered by each, and then going and seeing what the people are like.

Slade, John Snow and Stephenson aren't actually in Durham- they're on the Queen's Campus in Stockton. Never had cause to go there, or to my knowledge meet anyone from there, in my 4 years- it would be super inconvenient if the course is taught in Durham city itself...

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ptumbi · 01/09/2015 08:53

My Ds starts there in Oct OP - doing anthropology! HE can't wait!

Negatives - it;s a 5 hours drive from here Sad, it's a very late start, (11th Oct) and the enrolment paperwork and website is absolutely appalling. (I had to phone 3 times to get answers to - things like 'press exit buttton to save' when there is no 'exit' button...a screenshot showing you how to fill a form in, but no web address for it, and to clarify where the Student Finance details went - cos it doesn't say)

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fastdaytears · 01/09/2015 09:07

Yay hi Monkerina

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monkerina · 01/09/2015 09:50

fistbump fastday

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frikadela01 · 01/09/2015 09:58

John snow alumni here... like pp said it's based in Stockton on Tees. Not going to lie we were often seen as the poor contingent of Durham university. You would only be in snow or Stephenson if you were studying at Queens campus. When I was there (2004-2007) that was basically business studies, biomedical sciences and the more scientific portion of the anthropology department. I loved it there but lots were unhappy that they had to "slum it" as it were.

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SquirrelledAway · 01/09/2015 10:08

Just to add, during my time there were obviously very few maths or science students working at the Castle bar Wink

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halvedfees · 01/09/2015 19:38

ptumbi fresher's week starts on the 4th, just in case you miss it Grin

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