Local and Commuting Students

Each year over 300 new undergraduate students choose to live off campus. Many of these students opt to continue living at 'home' with family, a partner, friends or alone. Some of these student live in York and others are spread across the region and beyond. There are many advantages of not living in 'student' accommodation, including saving money and being able to fulfil family commitments but there are also challenges that come with being a local or commuting student.

If you are a local or commuting student we hope the information in this section will help you adjust to university life; meet other local and commuting students and ensure you know where to go to access support if and when you need it. 

Choosing a college

Even if you won’t be living on campus you will still be part of a college community. There are eight undergraduate colleges at the University. Once you have enrolled through e:Vision you can select which college you would like to belong to.

All colleges provide social spaces as well as opportunities to meet other students, take part in sports and participate in well-being workshops and the inter-cultural competency programme. Most colleges also provide access to a microwave and kettle so you can warm food and drinks on campus. 

If you don't choose a college yourself by the end of August the University will allocate you one. This is to ensure you receive emails about college welcome events and other important information prior to the start of term. You can change your college further down the line if you feel this is necessary. 

Visit the different college webpages for more information about what each has to offer. If you wish to chose a college in order to take part in events and activites and meet other students, look at the events and activities the different colleges organise as these are largely student-led and vary between colleges. Alternatively, you may wish to choose a college so you have access to a kettle and light food preparation area. In order to find out where these, and other facilities, are situated on campus so you can choose a college based on this, use the links below:

  • Map showing the location of showers and light food preparation areas (which include microwaves) on the Heslington and Kings Manor Campuses. Please note some of these areas will be restricted access (i.e only to be used by PhD students/ students in that particular department) where this is the case it will be clearly indicated in the description which appears when you click on the marker. 
  • Information on the location of study spaces, including those with IT facilities.

Many off campus students opt to join a college close to their department. This can be handy, however, bear in mind that not all of your lectures and seminars are guaranteed to take place in your department.

Adjusting to University life

It will take you time to settle in and adapt to University life, don’t be too hard on yourself in the first term when you are dealing with so much change. You may need to find ways of balancing your new University commitments with the demands of running a home, working or raising a family. 

As a local or commuter student in some ways your transition to University life may be easier than it is for students who opt to live on campus, as your home life will change less significantly. You may also benefit from having an established network of support around you.

However, there can be some unique challenges associated with being a local or commuter student, including:

  • A lack of peer support – resident students often fall into friendship groups within their accommodation soon after they arrive. You will need to make more of an effort to get to know other students. Try to get involved in University life as much as possible in order to meet others with similar interests and attend any events organised for Local and Commuting students to meet others who understand some of the challenges you face.
  • Time spent travelling – if you are a commuter student travelling to and from University will be a major part of your university experience. Try to make your commute as enjoyable (!) and productive as possible by:
    • Making sure you know the quickest way to travel to University.
    • Ensuring you get the best deal on public transport costs.
    • Having public transport enquiry numbers (e.g. National Rail etc) in your mobile.
    • Making the most of your journey time, if using public transport, by using it for University reading, note taking etc.
  • Not feeling part of the University community – living away from campus will mean it is more difficult for you to make use of some of the university’s facilities (e.g. library, sports centre) and to get involved in university life (e.g. joining societies, engaging with your college).  However, there will be ways you can access facilities and get involved in life on campus that will work for you, so try to make the most of these opportunities as they will help you to feel part of the University community.

You may find these tips for commuting students on The Student Room website helpful. 

Student Buddying Scheme

All local and commuting students starting an undergraduate course in September 2018 have the opportunity to sign up for a Student Buddy. A Buddy is a second or third year student who will help you settle into university life and support you through your first year here. If you will be starting at the University in September 2018 and are interested in having a Student Buddy visit our Student Buddying Scheme page to find out more.

Meeting other students

You will meet many students from all walks of life through your course and any other extra-curricular groups or activities you get involved in.  We also organise some events particularly with local and commuting students in mind. 

Welcome Cafés for Mature, Local and Commuting Students

In Welcome Week we hold several Welcome Cafés specifically for mature, local and commuting students. These Welcome Cafés will give you the opportunity to chat to other local and commuting students. We'll also give you a voucher for a FREE HOT DRINK. Either during or after the Café our student helpers will be happy to show you where to confirm your attendance for your student loan, as well as any other parts of campus you'd like to see. There's no need to book for these Cafés, or to stay for the entire two hours, just pop along when you can. As well as a sign on the table advertising the Welcome Café there will be a few student helpers in bright green t-shirts and also some green ballons next to us! 


Coffee Drop-ins for Mature, Local and Commuting Students

Once a week during the academic year we will hold a Coffee Drop-in. You're welcome to pop along each week to enjoy a FREE hot drink while chatting to other like minded students and friendly staff. Again, there's no need to book for these Drop-ins, or to stay for the duration, just pop along when you can. As well as a sign on the table advertising the Coffee Drop-in there will be a few student helpers in bright green t-shirts and also some green ballons next to us! The details of the remaining Autumn Term Coffee Drop-ins are as follows (use the interactive campus map to find the location of the venue if required):

1-3pm Wednesday 21st November in the Piazza, Campus East

11am - 1pm Thursday 29th November in YourSpace, YUSU Student Centre, Campus West

Accessing support

Studying as a local or commuting student can be challenging. It is normal for there to be bad days as well as good days. However, if you feel like you would benefit from talking to someone, there are plenty of people you can approach for advice or a chat when you're at York. This includes your college team (non-resident students still belong to a college), your academic supervisorYUSU and colleagues in Student Services

Please note our Student Advisers, based in the Student Hub, offer online drop-in sessions where advisers are available via webchat, meaning you don't need to visit the Student Hub in person to access this service.  

If you are a current local or commuting student and have any suggestions as to any other information and/ or events which would be useful for you and other students in this group please get in touch with Nicola Browne, Student Support Co-ordinator by emailing: nicola.browne@york.ac.uk

Important information

In order for payment of your student loan to be triggered you need to confirm your attendance at the University. For resident students this will be done when they collect their room keys. Non-resident students need to confirm their attendance by going to the Student Hub in Market Square with their Student ID card.