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Perched on the south west side of the lake, James College combines a little bit of everything, making it one of the most in demand colleges to live in on campus. If you're looking for a good social scene, a packed events calendar, and a vibrant atmosphere, then James could be the college for you.
The boring but important stuff
Standard self-catered: 44 week let, £121 per week
Standard catered: 40 week let, £147 per week
Ensuite catered: 40 week let, £155 per week
Ensuite self-catered: 36 or 40 week let, £127 per week
Premium ensuite: 36 week let, £131 per week
Economy standard catered: 40 week let, £124 per week
Food: self-catered and catered options
Nearest departments: Psychology, Maths, Physics and Electronics
What made you choose your college in the first place?
I wanted a social college where there would be lots going on but I wouldn't be embarrassed about the living conditions when my parents visited (Derwent - the so called 'party college'). I felt that James had the perfect balance of what I wanted from halls. And I guessed right. It sounds bias, (and also a bit lame) but there isn't much I can fault about James, without people getting confused about whether I'm talking about a college or a male friend.
What are the rooms like?
There are 13 blocks of accommodation in James consisting of six different types of accommodation. I had a standard ensuite room, although whether you can call it ensuite is debatable; you could probably use the sink, toilet and shower at the same time it was so small. Saying that, people from other colleges were mostly impressed by how nice my room was. James is a modern college with great facilities. I was self-catered but friends tell me that catered food was pretty good. If it's carbohydrate laden meals you're after, than choose the catered option. Just be aware that it doesn't include lunch, or weekend meals and you might return home for the holidays a little heavier (luckily the gym is right next to James.)
Are you happy with where it is on campus?
Absolutely! From James it's very easy to access anywhere on campus, which means you can leave it until the last minute to get ready for lectures. The campus is fairly small anyway, so the furthest you'll have to walk is 15 minutes maximum. The free bus to Heslington East goes right outside the college and there is a cash machine which is handy for getting money out before heading on a night out. The Lounge bar is a great addition to the college. The 2-for-1 cocktails always go down well.
Would you say it's good value for money?
I don't think a member of any college is going to answer yes to this question. But for me, the money isn't important when you think about how many good friends you make in halls that you will choose to live with in second year, or keep in contact with. There really are activities for everyone in James, from cocktail making to Gay Pride night to trips to the seaside.
Are there any things you wish the prospectus told you before you picked?
1. Not to worry about being in the accommodation next to your departmental building. It honestly doesn't matter in the slightest. I was in James, whilst my department was in Vanbrugh, although my lectures were all over campus (literally all over, I don't think there's anywhere I haven't visited.)
2. Not to stick to the college stereotypes that pop up on The Student Room when choosing accomodation. Yes, James is meant to be the sporty college, but most people in my flat were too lazy to move, never mind showing an interest in sport, so don't let that put you off.
3. Point to note: N Block is probably the worst of the James accommodation. The block is catered, so you only need to make lunch and cook on weekends, but that doesn't make up for the fact there are 17 people sharing a kitchen. Not forgetting it's a bit of an eyesore. Conversely, it's probably the most social block of them all.
4. Choose the catered option if you're not the most confident cook. Most students have positive things to say about the food being served. You get breakfast and dinner Monday-Friday during term time and there are an abundance of hot and cold options. Being catered also provides a great way to sit and chat with people during the first few awkward days of freshers.
Any tips for new freshers?
Don't hold back in freshers' week. It really is the best way of making friends. Trying to act cool will result in you being the one with no friends. Also, use your STYCS as a source of knowledge as they've been members of James and have done it all before.
Don't feed the ducks from the kitchen windows. Ever. Doing so will result in a permanent pile of duck poo outside your block and ducks hovering around demanding food.
The opinions expressed in the college guide articles are those of the writers