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Durham University

PVC Colleges & Student Experience Office

How the College Allocations Process Works

We have updated our undergraduate College Allocation Process to offer applicants more flexibility in expressing preferences. Once an applicant receives an offer from Durham, they have seven days to submit college preferences using the online form. Once an applicant submits the online form, they will be entered into the college allocation process. If an applicant does not submit the online form within the seven day deadline, then they will be entered into the college allocation process using the preference they expressed within their UCAS application to Durham.

If you have applied to Durham but have not yet had an offer decision from us, you can still use the online form to rank your college preferences. If we later make you an offer to study, your ranked preferences will be used by the process. You will be able to submit and amend rankings up until the point when a college decision is made. This will normally be within seven days of a departmental offer being made.

The undergraduate college allocation process is automatic and detailed below for clarity. As soon as a departmental decision to make an offer is recorded, applicants become eligible for college allocation.

When the automatic process is set in motion the following steps are followed,

a) Applicants are sorted into two groups, those who originally expressed a preference (which will be recorded on the application record) and those who originally made an open (O) application.

b) The preference group is ordered randomly.

c) Starting with the first applicant record in the preference group, the process looks at the first college preference of that applicant and attempts to make an accept decision for that college. If sufficient offers are available for the academic department from where they hold an offer then this will succeed.

d) If the limit for the number of offers for a department in a specific college have been reached, the process will move to the second college preference (if it exists) and attempt to make an accept decision for that college. This repeats for each college preference until an accept decision is made.

NOTE - If the applicant has only submitted partial preference rankings then any remaining colleges will be ordered randomly.

e) This process repeats until all applicants in the preference group have been accepted.

f) The process then repeats steps B to E for the applicants who had made an Open application.

At the end of this process, all applicants with offers from a department will have been accepted at a college. The process will then run at regular intervals and allocate future applicants who receive later departmental offers accordingly.

The automatic process uses offer factors worked out by the Recruitment and Admissions Office for both Home and Overseas. These offer factors calculate the number of offers required, based on historical statistical evidence, to fill the place. This differs by department.