durham university

Applying to university: studying at Durham University

Before applying to Durham University, I didn’t know much about the city of Durham or about the University itself. The only thing I knew was that it ranked in the top 5 universities for Business and Management. And that it was part of the Russell Group. Today, I would be able give many more reasons as to why I love Durham and why it was such a great choice for university!

The collegiate system

After having accepted their offer, each student is allocated to a college. It is actually possible to make a separate application for a specific college if you have a preference, something I didn’t do. The colleges in Durham are spread throughout the city, so its always buzzing with students!

There are two prime locations for colleges, the Hill and the Bailey. The Hill is a hill in Durham with colleges located all the way up. This is quite close to the Science site, where lots of lectures take place. The Bailey colleges are further away from the Science site but much more central which is a great advantage as everything is five minutes away.

Every college is different. Being part of a college is like being part of a big family. You’ll meet people from day one, who you will continue to see during the entire length of your degree thanks to the many events centred around college life. You could even help organise these events by being on the executive board. These roles help you to make good friends and gain valuable experience. The thing I love about the collegiate system is that there is a place for everybody.

The city

The city itself isn’t that big and this was one thing I was concerned about coming from Brussels. However, the city’s small size is largely compensated for by its liveliness. There is a very wide variety of restaurants and shops to choose from. There are markets on the main square and music is often played in the streets.

Hundreds of societies organise events throughout the year; from balls and formal dinners, to sport club socials. My favourite is the Cheese & Wine evenings hosted by the French society! Lastly, the nightlife is Durham is great. There are 5 or 6 main nightclubs which are filled with students every night of the week. And there are many bars to choose from, too. If you are a true party animal, the train ride to Newcastle lasts 10 minutes and you can find some bigger venues to party in.


Lastly, I would recommend Durham University for its amazing sports facilities. This was a factor that affected my decision as I could continue fencing at university, a sport I have practised for many years. There are in fact two ‘levels’ of sport at Durham: college sport and university sport. Every college has its own sport teams which compete against all the other colleges.

The best sportsmen and sportswomen of the university compete for the university. Durham competes in the BUCS leagues, against all other universities in the UK. We usually come second after Loughbourough but we are first in many sports!

The sports facilities are very well equipped and modern. There is no need to be an athlete to use these facilities or to participate in any kind of sports – there are opportunities to try everything you want. Some friends of mine started archery, shooting, rowing and fencing!

Take a look on the University of Durham website for more articles on student experience.

Written by Alice J.

4 years ago

How to nail the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA)

You will be asked to take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) if you apply for: Land... Read more

3 years ago

Going to uni: our guide on prepping for university

You’ve gotten over the first hurdle – you’ve applied and are going to uni. B... Read more

3 years ago

Applying to university: studying at the University of Exeter

Choosing the right university seems like one of life’s hardest choices at the time. ... Read more