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Fresher FAQs

All of the fresher reps (Freps) are here to ensure that your time at Collingwood starts in the best possible way and is as hassle free as possible. Our presence during Freshers’ week is purely for you so make the most of it by probing them with questions into what the Collingwood life is like and any other worries that you may have. Everyone one of us is excited to meet you and we hope you are just as excited to meet everything that Collingwood has to offer.

Is there a Freshers Facebook page?

Yes Link Here!

What are Fresher Parents?

Before you arrive at Collingwood, you will be given the contact details of a current student who will be individually assigned to you as your ‘Fresher Parent’. They will have been carefully chosen, usually by matching degree subject, and are there to guide you throughout your first year (and even following years) as a mentor and friend.  Hopefully you will receive a Facebook message from them over the summer( remember to check your message requests folder), and so can start getting to know them and asking all your questions before you arrive. In the first couple of weeks there will be a few things organised for you to meet your ‘parents’, such as games on the meadow in Fresher’s week and a ‘parent-child’ formal.  There is also an ‘adoption’ system for neglected kids! Often ‘parents’ become good friends with their ‘kids’, and continue to meet up and chat throughout the year, often as part of a ‘family’ – a group of parents who are friends or housemates, so can invite you to their house or on a night out. They are also good for advice and help from someone who has been through all the same work, or even a way of getting lecture notes for lectures you’ve slept through!

What is required at registration?

This depends on which subject you do. If you are studying a single honours degree you will go down to that department for possibly an introductory talk and then you will register for your compulsory modules – you do this by getting a member of staff from your department to sign an important piece of paper for you which you are issued in your rooms. You will then be able to choose two or three free electives – you have to make sure that none of your free electives clash with your compulsory modules (as hard as you try you cannot be in two lectures at once!) but you can pretty much sign up to anything.

If you are doing a joint honours or combined honours degree your registration can be a little more difficult and we advise that you read through any info you get from your department before arriving and have a good idea of which modules you want to do (there may still be some compulsory ones) from here you will visit each department individually to sign in.

With a fully completed form you can receive your Campus Card (student card) when you arrive at Durham.

It all sounds very complicated but if you are well prepared it’s not – and we will be have representatives from most subjects ready to answer questions in the dining hall at breakfast on the mornings of registration, so don’t worry about it!

Can I bring a car up to Durham with me?

Normally, no. There is no real need for having a car in Durham: everything is within walking distance and, more to the point, there is nowhere to park in town: nowhere to park for lectures, at the library or in town itself. If, however you do need to bring a car with you for medical reasons or other reasons, you have to get permission from college; get in touch with the college office to find out more.

Can I leave my things in my room at the end of term?

There are two types of rooms at Collingwood: standard and en-suite. Those who are allocated to a standard room may leave their things in their room throughout the entire year. Those who are allocated en-suite rooms must remove all their belongings for the Christmas and Easter holidays. In these rooms, there is underbed storage, for which you’ll need to provide your own padlocks, where you can store most of your things. Also check with your insurance provider as to whether anything you leave is covered – as the college’s insurance will not cover your own possessions, and your policy may not either.

What’s the workload like? How do I cope with it?

University can be extremely different from school as you won’t be spoon-fed. The most difficult part is motivating yourself to do your independent study (made harder when you and your friends don’t have the same deadline and they are going out and you know you should be staying in to finish that essay)

An easy piece of advice is to buy and diary (and use it!) this will help to keep your life in check and hopefully avoid the late night panic when you realise the deadline in tomorrow.

If you are struggling there are loads of people you can ask for help: the lecturers, tutors in your department, the senior tutors in college, your college parents and there is always the welfare system.

What does ‘matriculation’ mean?

Matriculation basically means registering; you have to matriculate with the University to be a bona fide Durham Student. You will matriculate in the Cathedral on the Wednesday morning of fresher’s week, where someone will sign on behalf of all of the Freshers. The service is pretty amazing and really makes you feel like a true Durham Student. At Collingwood we don’t wear gowns for Matriculation but you need to dress smart-sort of office wear so that is trousers, shirt and tie for the boys and skirts/trousers for the girls along with a smart top.

Should I buy all the books on my course?

No! If you did you will have spent the entirety of your student loan, overdraft and any savings in one go! Use your common sense basically: The University Library is good.

The 4-hour loan section is really useful – it is where all of the most popular and needed texts from each course sit. Photocopying costs money but is cheaper than buying every book when you won’t need every chapter anyway. You can buy cheaper second hand books online especially through Amazon marketplace. Also look out for the notice boards in your departments – students will be keen to get rid of their old books for the extra cash. Share the cost of books with friends on your course. Agree that one of you will buy certain books and the other person will but other different books and then share them. Get books off your fresher parents or friends in older years – just ask!

Where will I be living?

The majority of you will be in the ‘old blocks’ (it really isn’t that old though…) – single rooms in mixed floors of 10, sharing 2 toilets, 2 showers or a bath, and a kitchen area. There is also the en-suite new block which some of you may be lucky enough to allocated to. This wing also houses 16 twin rooms – and they’re really rather big. Those who are sharing however will be informed personally and given contact details of who they are sharing with.  Check out the page on college bedrooms for more information and pictures.

So, what’s this JCR thing all about?

College life is run by college management and the Junior Common Room (JCR).  College management is all the staff -senior tutors, porters, kitchens, cleaners, treasurers, reception, office, etc. They look after the business side of things. The JCR is the student body of College, run independently by students, for students. It’s in charge of everything you’ll get involved in at college – all the services, sports, entertainment, societies and welfare, from working out the funds and budgets to deciding a theme for the next formal.

The JCR as a body represents all Collingwood students and communicates between college management, the Durham Student Union (DSU) and the University. An Executive Committee of students (the Exec) is democratically elected to carry out the day-to-day running of the JCR; and then a range of other officers are also elected to take on specific roles, like the Shop manager, DUCK (charities) officer, and postmaster. Anyone can run for these positions, or be part of a committee, and this is what makes the JCR such an amazing body to be part of – giving everyone a say in what goes on in college. For example, join the Catering Committee to give feedback on the food you get, Arts Committee to choose the next musical to put on, or become a Sports Captain to promote and support college sports. Or just come along to the JCR meetings every three weeks to hear what’s happening and vote on any issues.

The JCR is also a place -which includes a shop, a coffee shop, the bar, and a gym. These are all managed by woodsmen and women. It’s all about students doing stuff for students, and having fun whilst doing so.

What do I need to have sent in and done before I arrive?

See the To-do list and check out: for the latest information.

When do we have to be there?

Arrival for EU/International Students is between the 28th of September and the 1st of October, although we recommend arriving sooner rather than later.

Those coming from all over the UK, arrivals day is Sunday 2nd October. There will be lots of signs and lots of freps ready to welcome you and unload your car- you won’t miss us! However, it gets particularly busy between 12 – 3, so we would recommend arriving before or after then.

What is going to happen in Freshers week?

Join our Facebook group – Collingwood Freshers 2016/17 – for all the latest info and the big reveal of our theme for Freshers’ Week 2016.

It is going to be an incredible week – at Collingwood, we don’t do things by halves.

When do I find out my room?

You won’t find out your room number until your arrival. Those who are sharing however will be informed personally and given contact details of who they are sharing with.

How can I contact others doing my subject before I arrive?

Join the Facebook group and see some of the posts and comments from about subjects. Alternatively you might have a fresher parent contact you who does your subject.

Who can I go to if I am really worried, feeling sick, feeling homesick or just need someone to talk to?

Collingwood Welfare are here for you. You’ll see us in freshers week, mainly at the info point or in the welfare office. Jacob, Meg and the rest of the committee are available for a chat or to discuss any worries and concerns. In addition, Collingwood has a College Student Support team, which can address any additional issues.

What clubs and societies can I join at Collingwood?

There is so much to choose from – come to Collingwood Fair and take your pick! Alternatively, check out the Sports and Societies section.

Any other questions: however big or small!

Have a browse of this website or check out for more information.

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