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Halifax college is home to around 25% of the fresher population, making it one of the university's biggest and most diverse colleges. With so many people around, there's never a dull moment. We also have a big cuddly lion as our mascot called Faxy, which clearly makes it the best.
The boring but important stuff
Standard room: 40 week let, £120 per week
Ensuite room: 40 week let, £127 per week
Ensuite room: 51 week let, £127 per week
Food: self-catered only
Nearest departments: Heslington East (Law and Management, TFTV and Computer Science) and Psychology
What made you choose your college in the first place?
To be perfectly honest, I didn't choose Halifax college. As York was my insurance choice, Halifax college chose me. Before I came to university, this made me slightly nervous as I had no idea what to expect. However, after looking back, Halifax would now be my first choice. This is because there's so many freshers around, and a great support network which tells you all the events that are happening - there's never a dull moment and you learn a lot about yourself!
What are the rooms like?
I spent my first year in St. Lawrence Court which is made up of thirteen houses, all of which hosting twenty students. I found that my room was the perfect size really; I had brought my entire wardrobe to university and still managed to find room in the cupboards and wardrobes!
St. Lawrence Court housing contains two kitchens; one smaller pantry and a much larger communal kitchen. Although there was plenty of cupboard space, having twenty students in there at one time was pretty impractical. Within weeks, many were faced with the situation where they had one fork, a mug and a mouldy plate to try and create an edible concoction with. That said, it's a great atmosphere when a few of you can get together and cook a big house meal. For me, those were some of the best nights in Halifax.
From visiting the other courts, you certainly do get better value the more you pay. Ainsty and Hickleton courts boast premium en-suite rooms and less students to a kitchen. Also, Ingram, Irwin, Lindley, Wood and Younger Courts contain 6-12 single study bedrooms. So if you prefer a tighter-knit, 'family' atmosphere, those are the courts to go for.
It's also worth mentioning that Halifax College is the only accommodation which offers an annual parking permit. For just £35 for the whole year, I found this incredibly useful considering the nearest supermarket is around a 20 minute walk away!
Are you happy with where it is on campus?
As a fresher you'll be asked frequently where Halifax college is. This is because to all other students Halifax College seems a barren "no mans land" far, far away from the university. This is obviously completely exaggerated. The college is situated around a 8-10 minute walk (depending how late you are for a lecture) to the the main campus and about a 15 minute walk to Heslington East. There are also free shuttle buses which run regularly to each of the campuses. To me, the location was perfect as it was nice to have a distance between all the university departments and your home. It means you can "switch off" and relax after a long day.
Halifax College is also just 5 minutes from Heslington Village, home to your closest cash point, a post office and two student-friendly pubs: Charles XII and The Deramore. Often the meals at the Charles are cheaper than those on campus (a bacon and cheese burger with chips for £3!), and it's worth getting one of their student cards. Heslington pubs definitely become some of the key chill-out spots for Halifax students.
The college is also a stones throw away from the University's 22 acre field and renowned for its success in inter-collegiate tournaments. The sports committee have a great networking system (I was often dragged into the odd rowing or rounders competition), involving everyone at any level.
With Halifax being situated a little way from the two campus lake it also has one distinct advantage. Unlike on-campus accommodation such as Vanburgh and James, being woken up at 6am after a night out by the universities mass squawking duck population does not happen. So go ahead and embrace the uninterrupted lie-ins.
Halifax also has an on-site launderette and computer room, which means you never have to venture too far to carry laundry or print off that last minute essay!
Is it good value for money?
I found the cost of living in St. Lawrence Court was fair considering the facilities given. However Halifax does have some of the most expensive long-let accommodation in at the University, which is a little unfair considering Heslington East's comparatively much better facilities.
To be perfectly honest, having the shortest let possible is a huge advantage. On the whole, a lot of students go back home over the holidays. Although it seems a long way down the line, by next summer it is likely you'll have private rented accommodation, so try to avoid paying for two lots of accommodation at the same time.
Are there any things you wish the prospectus told you before you picked?
The prospectus does glaze over the fact that Halifax college is the only college without a bar. I found this a little tedious at first as it detracts from the college atmosphere. Whilst V-bar (Vanburgh) boasts its weekly jazz nights and D-bar has its infamous 'D' club nights, Halifax doesn't have as many 'big nights' due to the lack of facilities. However, JJ's (the Halifax Junior Common Room), has been known to be a great overspill venue for house parties that have gotten a bit bigger than expected!
Any tips for new freshers?
When selecting the preferences for your rooms, be honest about yourself. If you're the sort of person who likes to get up at 6am and train with a sports team instead of spending all night in Willow (which I'm sure you'll become all too familiar with very soon), make sure you say this in your application. If you do this it is more likely you will be put with others similar to you.
Finally, Aldi will become your new best friend. Although the Nisa next to the college is close, its certainly not cheap. But then again, for those who are less apt in the kitchen, it is always stocked up with plenty of pot noodles and ready meals for those inevitable lazy nights in. It closes at seven so don't be left disappointed when you organise a last minute night out and need alcohol!
The opinions expressed in the college guide articles are those of the writers