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Skyrim: How to join the College of Winterhold Mages Guild

One little aptitude test for a whole lot of benefits. It's a no brainer.

The Mages Guild in Skyrim takes the form of the College of Winterhold, and they've got one of the coolest faction bases in the land of Skyrim. The College is a massive castle-like structure up in the mountains. It looks super cool, as you can see.

Perhaps you're playing in VR, and want to immerse yourself in it, or you're appreciating it on the Switch's portable screen - if you're new to Skyrim, the College of Winterhold is definitely worth checking out.

Because their base is so obvious, the College is actually pretty easy to find and surprisingly joining it actually quite easy.

Many players will find themselves joining the College as part of the main quest in the game, but since this is optional it's still worth pointing out how to go about it for those who miss the story beat entirely.


How to join the College of Winterhold Mages Guild

  • Head to the college. The college can be found, unsurprisingly, at Winterhold - one of nine holds in Skyrim. It's in the Northeast corner of the map, amidst the snow-capped mountains. The town is pretty sleepy, but the guild itself is of course quite busy.
  • When you reach the college, the gatekeeper there will want to see a demonstration of some magic. She'll ask you to show off a spell. The spell she asks for will vary depending on your level - the game always makes it fair. Some spells must be cast directly at the emblem that's on the floor.
  • If the spell she asks for isn't actually available to you, the gatekeeper will sell it to you for a pretty low fee. Once you've done that, the gate will open and you can join the College.
  • It's possible to actually get around this test without casting a spell. If you've got a high persuasion skill you can bypass that way.
  • Be aware that if you kill a student you'll be expelled from the college.

About the Author

Alex Donaldson avatar

Alex Donaldson

Assistant Editor

Alex started out his career in the games media as an over-eager kid working on fan sites, and now has decades of experience. He's the resident expert on esoteric matters such as Pokemon Go, gaming hardware, and genres like RPGs, fighters, and strategy games. Outside of VG247 he's the co-founder of genre-dedicated website RPG Site. He also collects original arcade machines, Lego, and considers himself a whiskey buff.

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