Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Making friends through colleges, clubs and societies

Click here to find out what a 'collegiate' system is and how students can benefit from being in a college at University.
Goodricke college buildings, University of York
© University of York

Colleges, clubs and societies are great places to meet people and get to know your university.

The collegiate system

Not all universities have a collegiate system but in case you go to a university that does, we’ll introduce you to the system at York, which will help you understand the concept more broadly.

Students at the University of York become members of a college from the moment they start at the University and remain a member throughout their degree. All colleges provide the same services and opportunities but each has its own history and character. Your college is your foundation for getting involved in campus life and a gateway to exploring the wider university community.

Each college has a range of facilities including accommodation, bars, catering outlets and social spaces as well as a team of staff and volunteers who are dedicated to providing support to you. Your college is a fantastic place to make friends, take part in different activities and develop new skills. Your college team will be available to offer support and guidance to help you manage the transition to university life and make the most of all of the opportunities available to you. They can also step in and provide support if you face challenges and problems you are unable to overcome on your own.

You will be able to try out lots of new activities through your college, and take part in volunteering opportunities, quizzes, trips, wellbeing activities and intercollege sports competitions which are a great way to get active whatever your skill level.

Watch this video tour of the colleges at the University of York.

This is an additional video, hosted on YouTube.

Sports clubs and societies

Every university has a selection of entirely student-led activities you can participate in. These are typically called clubs (for competitive sports) and societies (for more general activities). Through these, you could continue or start a hobby; attend open lectures or debates; join a group focused on a shared interest; volunteer in the local community; write for the campus newspaper; host a show on the student radio station; worship alongside others; compete against other universities in your chosen sport – and more. Many groups hold regular socials which can range from movie nights or clubbing to a meal or glitzy end-of-term ball.

As well as participating in the activities, you can take it up a notch and help lead them by joining the committee. Some groups even have positions specifically for first-years so you can get stuck in straight away! There’s no pressure, though; many people just attend sessions to meet like-minded people who share a common interest outside of their course. Joining a group can help you balance your time and can give you a space to take a break from your studies, helping you to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

One last thing…

When asked what they regret most about their time or university, graduates often say they wish they’d engaged more with clubs and societies. Those who did participate often say it was the highlight of their time at university.

There will almost certainly be a society that fits your interests – and if there isn’t, support is ready and waiting to help you set it up yourself, and offer the activity to your fellow students!

What clubs and societies might you be interested in joining at university? Share your hopes in the Comments.

© University of York
This article is from the free online

Next Steps to University: From Choosing A Course to Your First Assessment

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now