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Lancaster is one of only six collegiate universities in Britain (the others are Cambridge, Durham, Kent, Oxford, and York). All members of the University, staff as well as students, are members of one or other of the nine colleges. All colleges are multi-disciplinary (that is to say, there isn't a "physical sciences college" or a "law and business college", all colleges have students and staff from across the whole spectrum of disciplines), and though it is true that recently many law students have gravitated somewhat to Lonsdale, Cartmel and County colleges in particular, law students and staff are represented in all nine colleges.
Lancaster students are members of a college throughout their time at the University whether or not they reside in college. College loyalties are very strong and very apparent at Lancaster with college clothes and scarves very much in evidence wherever you turn.
Eight of the colleges are principally undergraduate colleges, though they all do have postgraduate students amongst their membership, whilst one college, the imaginatively named Graduate College, is for postgraduate students only.
The colleges provide extensive accommodation, social facilities (bar, games room, snack services and so forth), facilities for members resident off-campus (e.g., a study room, showers and changing facilities, lockers), and pastoral care through the College Tutor system (every Lancaster student has two personal tutors - their Academic Adviser, based in their home department, who can advise on all academic matters as well as personal issues; and their College Advisor, who is a senior (i.e., staff) member of their college, but not usually in their academic department, whose role is purely pastoral).
Colleges run a huge range of social activities (apart from mere provision of bar and games facilities), such as trips to clubs, gigs and concerts and annual college dinners and balls. This is all done by students themselves through the college JCR (Junior Common Room) Committee, elected by and from amongst the junior (i.e., student) members of each college.
There is an extensive inter-collegiate sport set-up with colleges competing against one another in all the major sports.
Colleges differ somewhat from one another in terms of atmosphere, self-identity, facilities and accommodation (and cost of accommodation, too!). Follow the links below to see each college's own website - which will give you a flavour of the place - and this Colleges & Residences Office link, to get details of residential facilities and rental levels.
The colleges are:
Every attempt is made to fit students into the college of their choice, but if they want on-campus accommodation, this is not always possible (though the majority of students generally get their first choice).
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