The role of Colleges in my Uni experience

by Dan Miller

Hi, I’m Dan. I study Criminology at Lancaster University. After completing my undergraduate degree in Criminology (BA), I am currently doing postgraduate study in Criminology and Social Research Methods (MSc). In this blog, I talk about the role of the colleges in my Uni experience, including what colleges are, what they do, and how you can make the most of your college.

What are colleges?

This is a question I am often asked by both prospective students and those who have accepted their offer to study. I’ll stick with the short answer! Lancaster is a collegiate university, one of only six in the United Kingdom. Colleges are often described as the heart of Lancaster University, a ‘community within a community’. We have nine colleges in total: Bowland, Cartmel, County, Furness, Fylde, Grizedale, Lonsdale, and Pendle, in addition to a Graduate College for postgraduate study. Everyone – students and staff – belong to a college. It’s basically budget Hogwarts…

What do colleges do?

When you arrive at Lancaster, the first place you’ll go to is your college, and the people in your college are likely to be the first people you meet! This is partly because, along with the Students’ Union (SU), colleges are responsible for organising Welcome Week (often referred to as ‘Freshers’ Week). Indeed, the Colleges and the SU put on loads of events for their students, from Winter Ball to our big end-of-year Extravaganza parties, also known as ‘Extravs’. You can check out the advert for Fylde College’s latest Extrav, with a prison escape theme. The colleges certainly have a social side. Each college also has its own bar, offering things such as food, drinks, and bar sports. It is also worth mentioning that there are loads of events that don’t involve drinking. For example, I once visited an exotic petting zoo with my college!

Furthermore, if you choose to live on campus, you’ll live in college accommodation. Each college has their own accommodation manager, so if you have any problems, you can always get in touch with them.

Each college also has a porter. Their role includes anything from giving you your Amazon parcels, to first aid – but just as importantly, they’re a friendly face to have a chat and a cup of tea with if you’re finding things difficult.

Indeed, for me, one of the most important things colleges do is support students. For example, every college has a college manager and a College Advisor Team. Uni isn’t always easy, and if you have any difficulties, from feeling homesick to money worries, you can drop them an email and they’ll help advise you and point you in the right direction.

Fylde College ad for 'Time To Talk'

How can you make the most of your college?

If you want to contribute more to your college, there are lots of ways to do this. If you want to try a sport, each college has sports teams, including football, netball, bar sports, and even dominoes (arguably not a sport). There are also intercollegiate competitions, including sports and quizzes. Indeed, there is a (friendly!) rivalry between colleges. Fylde College’s main rival is County College.

There are also voluntary roles available in the College. You can be elected to represent the College in the Junior Common Room Executive (also known as the JCR). They’re often described as the University equivalent of the school council – but it’s a lot more interesting than that. In various roles, including anything from President to Sports Officer, you can help to run the college, by organising social events, for example. I was a Welfare Officer in Fylde College for three years, creating and running events such as 'Brew and You'. You can see a video made by our student television station, LA1TV, on Facebook, LA1TV video.

My work in the College today...

Today, I continue to be involved in Fylde and work as an Assistant Dean – a role available to postgraduate students who want to help make their college a safe and happy place. For me, Colleges have been the most important part of my Uni experience. Make the most of them!

Digital Content Ambassador Dan on stage
Talking on stage about the Colleges


Dan is studying MSc Criminology and Social Research Methods at Lancaster University.

Lancaster University employs students to create authentic content from a student perspective. All views expressed in this article are those of the students, and do not necessarily reflect the views or position of Lancaster University.