First year uni accommodation - is en suite worth the extra cost?

(73 Posts)

Just wondering if I'm being mean suggesting my DD goes for shared facilities....

OddBoots Sat 26-Jan-13 12:54:19

How much extra is it?

Vicki0294 Sat 26-Jan-13 12:57:33

When I first went to uni, i was very worried about having shared facilities, but honestly it wasn't a problem at all. We had two toilets between ten of us and three showers, and I never once had to wait for an empty cubicle.
It was also a good way to meet people, i found. I would say that it is not worth the extra cost.
However, if your daughter is seriously squeamish, then she might be better off with an en suite, because although it is lovely and clean 99% of the time, there are sometimes 'accidents'

It's around £40 per week more, OddBoots. (Starts at £79 for shared and starts at £123 for en suite.)

Thanks, Vicki, that's what I was hoping to hear!

EduCated Sat 26-Jan-13 13:04:23

No. She'll only have a shared bathroom if she moves out of halls in second year anyway.

I shared, mixed flat of 6. It was grim, a lot of bleach was used, but no-one died. It also meant we had a decent sized bathroom, all the en-suite rooms I saw were essentially a shower in a cupboard and lots of friends had problems with them flooding, things in their room getting damp, not having enough room etc.

EduCated Sat 26-Jan-13 13:06:57

Also, agree with Vicki that it wasn't a problem in terms of queuing etc. In the whole year, there were only a handful of times I had to wait for the shower and then it was a case of just waiting 5 mins. Everyone will have different timetables and habits. At home I was in a house of 5 adults who all needed to be out the door by 8am. It was much, much easier at uni.

Thank you EduCated. I'm beginning to feel less mean already!

reddaisy Sat 26-Jan-13 13:11:02

I had an ensuite at uni and LOVED it. And some of the shared facilities were seriously disgusting and people showered wearing flip flops so they didn't have to touch the bath with their feet. But I paid for my own accommodation and £40 a week is a lot extra when it is a luxury.

CarpeJugulum Sat 26-Jan-13 13:13:21

Make sure you invest in a lovely dressing gown for her - lightweight towelling (for ease of washing & drying) and with good coverage of body was the order of the day when I was in halls.

While she may be in a "girls" section, there are guaranteed to be men floating about and it's much less embarrassing all round!

Also the towelling means that when you're slightly hungover and forget the towel, the robe will double up!

500internalerror Sat 26-Jan-13 13:16:51

Gosh, I'm torn - I was about to say there is no way on earth I wouldn't have en suite, but £40 a week is a lot. We shared for our first yr & it was DISGUSTING hmm, after that we rented a private bedsit (stand-alone, in the middle of nowhere too smile) & it was much nicer....

Bonsoir Sat 26-Jan-13 13:17:12

When I was in hall, there were two bath cubicles and three basin cubicles for 18 girls. It was gross! I used to scrub the bath out with Ajax before running it and there were often long queues.

I think that you need to know how many girls there will be to a bath/shower room. 2:1 and 18:2 are quite different ratios and worth different prices.

fraktion Sat 26-Jan-13 13:20:23

We were 5:1 and it was a bit grim. I would infinitely prefer ensuite!

wigglesrock Sat 26-Jan-13 13:20:25

I'm a cleaner and have worked in both ensuite and shared facilities Halls of Residence. If you can go for ensuite - do it.

TheFallenMadonna Sat 26-Jan-13 13:20:30

12 students (mixed) to one loo and one bathroom in my first year hall. It wasn't my ideal, but it was cheap. I also shared a room to save money and we had bunkbeds!!

jojane Sat 26-Jan-13 13:25:40

We had ensuite in first year and I loved it was a wet room so toilet and sink and shower without a cubicle but I had come from boarding school with 2 shower cubicles for about 20 of us and was a nightmare waiting for a shower to be free.

MirandaWest Sat 26-Jan-13 13:25:42

I had a sink in my room and then shared facilities. Can't remember any problems at all.

RugBugs Sat 26-Jan-13 13:26:17

My experience was fine, 3 boys and 2 girls in our flat with one shower/toilet and a seperate toilet.
The flats with en-suite rooms had more bedrooms, 7 or 8 and students were responsible for cleaning their bathrooms.

A friend of mine bless him was so worried about his privacy he put net curtain up!

QuickLookBusy Sat 26-Jan-13 13:35:59

Having looked at many unis with 2 DDs, we went for ensuites.

The shared facilities were on the whole very grim.

A pretty mixed bag of opinions! I will look at ratios, as that is obviously a factor. Thank you.

DD has ensuite and loves it. Her friend has shared facilities and it smells like swimming pool changing rooms despite the best efforts of the housekeeping team.

She'll be in a house next year and will be back to sharing a bathroom (and being responsible for her own cleaning) - should be smelly interesting after a week or two. grin

MariscallRoad Sat 26-Jan-13 14:31:25

MotherOfGirls a reasonably quiet environment to study undisrupted is the most important for a student. The bathroom is a not the most crucial and one uses it few times a day. I believe it will be regularly cleaned. It could be seen as a comfort but it is not guaranteed that will not block/flood at all and it is not certain it wont have the same problems as a shared one.

JoJoCK Sat 26-Jan-13 14:35:58

Definitely not worth the extra cost op, and I say this as someone who works for a privately owned uni accommodation provider (outs self!)

ggirl Sat 26-Jan-13 14:36:06

dd had ensuite in her 1st yr , they are seriously tiny, think aeroplane size , but she liked it
she's now in a shared house and misses her ensuite ...shared bathroom is totally gross but depends on your housemates and the house really. Dd's house is like out of the Young Ones if you remember that series.

fussychica Sat 26-Jan-13 17:31:42

DS had an ensuite at home at the time but opted for shared facilities at Uni (with sink in room)as he wanted the extra cash (£700 more pa). He figured he better get used to it as he knew it would be shared once he went into a flat in his 2nd year. He's never had a problem, both halls and flat mixed and shared bathroom between 4-6, perhaps he's been lucky or perhaps it's a girl thinggrin

webwiz Sat 26-Jan-13 17:43:32

Both DD's went for shared facilities and neither of them had a problem with it. They both lived in friendly blocks with people they went on to share houses with so that seemed more important than having your own shower.

BestIsWest Sat 26-Jan-13 21:01:38

DD was very worried about sharing facilities but had no choice in the end as all the ensuites at her of uni went to unconditionals. She was fine and is in a house where all facilities are shared now anyway. I'd save your money

senua Sat 26-Jan-13 22:30:38

Are you comparing like-for-like?
Or are you comparing 'in a nice area within walking distance of main campus. Oh and by the way it's got en suite' with 'in a sleazy area that is a bus ride away and they are old buildings so you have to share facilities'?

Comparing the cheapest en suite with the cheapest shared facilities, Senua. All first year 'halls' at Birmingham so all close to the campus.

senua Sat 26-Jan-13 22:50:57

OK, how about a different thought.
We purposely chose mid-range; not the most expensive, not the cheapest. The reasoning was that she would probably make friends from her Halls and we didn't want to be trying to keep up with the Jones nor have housemates who were no fun on a night out counting every penny - we just wanted 'Jo/Joe Aveage'.
Is there a compromise on slightly more expensive nicer Halls but with shared facilities?

Both of my girls had standard rooms.. neither had any problems.. in fact DD2 has a flat style halls with 6 girls sharing 2 bathrooms..same ratio as at homesmile

When they move out in 2nd year they will have to share anyway..might as well get used to it!

Ponders Sat 26-Jan-13 23:50:48

fwiw, when DS2 went (in 2011) he requested shared bathroom but was allocated en-suite - this was at Sheffield - they have very few shared bathroom facilities now. So of course he had to pay the extra £1000+ a year (the contract was for 42 weeks iirc hmm). His finance was c £5200 altogether, & his room cost c £4500, so he was left with very little to live on

DS1 went to Newcastle in 2009 & stayed in the wildly popular Ricky Road, with shared bathroom, at less than £80 pw - I forget exactly. Last I heard though Ricky Road was being re-developed, presumably into the same wildly expensive type of en-suite facilities DS2 was obliged to pay for.

I know universities are a bit strapped for cash but this makes me very angry

boomting Sun 27-Jan-13 00:11:08

Having lived in shared bathroom halls in first year (8:2 ratio) I seriously don't think it's worth paying more than about a tenner a week for en suite.

I never found anything nasty in the bathroom, a cleaner came in twice a week to clean the bathrooms (but not en suites) and kitchen and there were never any queues. Oh, and unlike en suites, we got free loo roll (very important!). It wasn't particularly acceptable because of the people I was living with - some of them were animals (or is that an insult to animals?) it was genuinely fine.

I lived in the cheapest halls going, and thinking back the privately educated were overrepresented compared to the university as a whole. I seem to remember someone on mumsnet not too long ago who was concerned about her offspring making connections, and she seemed to think that it was only possible to do so in the more expensive halls. Bollocks. I met some very well connected people. And we had more money to spend on things like going out because we weren't wasting spending all our money on an en suite!

For £40pw I could feed myself well and have two cheap / one big night out. £40 is an awful lot of money when you're a student!

hatgirl Sun 27-Jan-13 00:14:30

I shared 4 showers and 6 toilets with 52 people when I was at university (within the last 10 years!). She will be fine without en-suite.

notcitrus Sun 27-Jan-13 00:16:42

I organise conferences in unis so have nosed round and stayed in a lot of cheap halls accommodation.

The podule wet room type en suites tend to break and smell mouldy easily, and you can't get away from them. And there's no bathtub, so no baths for the whole term. Shared facilities tend to be more solid and include bath rooms.
I'd also look for flats with a communal area, usually in the kitchen. We stayed in one where the only place to sit was in your own room, and the rooms were all off the same side of a long dark corridor. Seriously depressing, and we were onlu there 4 days!

For £40/week I'd go shared and invest in a fab dressing gown and bath sheets.

hatgirl Sun 27-Jan-13 01:02:23

building on what boomtingsaid I can only concur. The shared bathrooms were cleaned weekly or more by the university cleaners, the ensuites are the students own responsibility.

I never remember having to queue for a shower or a loo and they provided a bit of a weird communal area as a few people would go for a shower together and have a chat from the cubicles (male and female we were fortunately all very liberal and ignored the male/female signs and just went to whichever bathroom was closest to our rooms/ had a cubical free) which became just another part of getting ready to go out. My room cell cost me £42 a week.

There was a mix of the absolutely broke (me) and the very well off children of rich parents, a lot who had been boarding schooled and sharing facilities was just normal.

It also created some fantastic talking points e.g. the phantom logger (massive, humongous impossible poos, always in the same toilet) who we never worked out who it was. It sounds gross, but its all part of the camaraderie that makes living in halls special. I hated living in halls at the time but look back on it very fondly now.

CocoNutter Sun 27-Jan-13 09:28:27

We shared 5 toilets and 5 showers between 26 of us, and each room had its own sink. It was fine - clean, always working, never had to wait (because we all got up at different times!). People with ensuites had much smaller rooms and got to know far fewer people as the rooms were in smaller groups. It sounds awful but I loved how sociable it was!

EduCated Sun 27-Jan-13 12:35:15

Have PMd you OP smile

GinandJag Sun 27-Jan-13 12:44:23

DS1 had shared facilities and he was happy with that. In his 2nd and 3rd year flats, he obviously had shared facilities and is surviving.

DS2 has en suite because that is all they have on his campus. His hall fees are a lot more than DS1 paid.

If the difference is £40 a week, i'd go shared.

There are undoubtably other factors, such as proximity to classes that also need to be considered.

DazR Sun 27-Jan-13 12:47:18

Both my DDs have had ensuites. DD1 was in a female flat and one girl had OCD cleaning issues so flat was immaculate (and I'm sure a shared bathroom would have been too!). DD2 is in a mixed flat and seeing the state her kitchen gets in I would dread to think what a shared bathroom would look like!!! Is your daughter in a mixed flat????

fraktion Sun 27-Jan-13 12:55:32

Ooooh I was at Bham, in the old bit of Twnnis Courts which has since been redone so the bathrooms may well be nicer!

Elgar Court is lovely but often full of quite well off students, Tennis Courts is a great party hall, Maple Bank is like Tennis Courts in terms of accommodation but last I saw they could have done with redecoration (that may have been done). Shackleton is noisy. Pritchatts tends to be more international students but their laundrette is better. The new Mason looks lovely.

I don't think there are any traditional halls (long corridors of rooms left) so they're mostly flats with 5:2.

There are a couple of rather far flung ones but they have a good community vibe.

Are you sure she'll be 100% based at the Edgbaston campus? Some courses have slightly odd locations and then you toss up whether being on the Vale is important if you have to trek down to the Selly Oak bit for lectures. PM if you want more specifics but don't want to put yourself.

I'm so jealous. She's going to have a really fab time!

LeeCoakley Sun 27-Jan-13 13:15:48

I'm being incredibly nosy but has your dd had an unconditional offer then? <jealous>
Dd2 has Birmingham as first choice but obviously we won't know until August if she has a place. If she has, then we are going for an en-suite on the Vale somewhere.
Dd1 had an en-suite for her first year at Exeter (and cleaner) and loved it. Some of her friends with shared said the state of the shared toilet was vomit-inducing and used hers regularly!
Judging by all the new-build accommodation we have visited this year the square footage of an en-suite room and non en-suite room appears to be the same in a lot of cases so the massive loading (up to £50 per week) for an en-suite room seems way out of proportion.

teacherwith2kids Sun 27-Jan-13 13:22:43

(Looks back fondly-but-coldly to the walk across a C15th courtyard to the communal toilets / showers. I used to sleep in joggers and a sweatshirt, and early morning tourists used to look rather bemused at the procession of students in dressing gowns wandering across the lawn....)

Thanks, fraction. Good to hear you had a good time and thanks for the tips.

LeeCoakley - no, not unconditional but we are hopeful she'll make the grades they have offered, as it is likely to be her first choice. Waiting to hear from a couple of other places but I don't think she'll change from wanting to go to Birmingham.

omletta Sun 27-Jan-13 14:46:56

Will her room have a sink?

That, for me, would be important. But teeth brushing is one of my priorities.

noddyholder Sun 27-Jan-13 14:48:17

If ds gets in I will be suggesting en suite to save the others from him!

EduCated Sun 27-Jan-13 14:48:28

Very, very few have a sink. I presume you'll go to the viewing day in April? I'd highly recommend it smile

GreenShadow Sun 27-Jan-13 14:55:08

Another one here who was at Birmingham, but in the days when the Tennis Courts were.... well, tennis courts.

I will say that we had a friend start there last year and despite it being is first choice uni and getting the grades he needed to get in, was still allocated one of the privately owned flats out at Five Ways. Sadly, there are no where near enough rooms in the Vale for everyone.

LeeCoakley Sun 27-Jan-13 15:02:57

Really GreenShadow? shock

alemci Sun 27-Jan-13 15:07:35

DD's room has a sink. She shares a flat with boys and girls. Girls tend to use one bathroom and boys the other. It wasn't particularly pristine but I doubt if she would keep her own ensuite clean.

We don't have on ensuite here so I think it is a bit unecessary especially if your finances are tight

EduCated Sun 27-Jan-13 15:11:29

Lee, tis true, though I think they still guarantee to find you somewhere if you firm and apply before a given deadline. Get the application in ASAP! You should be able to amend the application after the viewing day.

GreenShadow Sun 27-Jan-13 15:14:46

LeeCoakley - Yeah, they were a bit surprised, but it was fine - just a short train ride away. And it was still full of B'ham students. Really no different from being on the Vale, apart from distance to travel, but again, everyone was doing the same journey.

fraktion Sun 27-Jan-13 15:17:53

Oh definitely apply early!!!! It's well worth being precise about which hall she wants if she has a particular preference.

Everyone I knew out at Five Ways or along Bristol Road was insurance or late getting their form in. I was also around the year they screwed up majorly and had to put people in an Etap hotel. That was a big headache for the support staff but they didn't leave rolls stranded and put a lot if effort into ensuring students got accommodation. Extreme but the result of a problem with one of the older halls as newer ones are going to be less prone to that kind of disaster as well as nice to live in.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the freshers events are organised by the RAs. Some have bigger budgets and better support than others so if that's important to her it's something to consider too.

<proceeds to out self totally>

LeeCoakley Sun 27-Jan-13 15:30:53

So what she should do is make Birmingham her firm now instead of waiting until nearer the deadline and then can we apply for accommodation early? I don't know why we are waiting really, she's had all five offers and interviews.

Can I ask an unrelated question? Her tutor has said that if we want to go through clearing then not to put an insurance. Is this how it works? And if she doesn't make the grade for her Birmingham course how likely is that course going to be available through clearing? Thanks.

EduCated Sun 27-Jan-13 15:35:18

<hard stare at Frak>

fraktion Sun 27-Jan-13 15:38:52


BestIsWest Sun 27-Jan-13 18:39:20

Ooh I wanted to go to Birmingham. It was so lovely. Twice. Didn't get the grades the first time and then got a PGCE offer from there which I couldn't take up. <sorry, nothing to do with thread.>

boomting Mon 28-Jan-13 02:42:22

Lee her tutor is talking nonsense. If she misses her grades on results day and then decides that she doesn't want to go to her insurance choice then she can ring up her insurance choice and ask to be released into Clearing (I did this... blush). But choosing an insurance choice keeps her options open in case there's nothing suitable in Clearing.

snowy91 Mon 28-Jan-13 13:20:42

I have just finished uni (well back in june!)....i had shared bathrooms in my 1st year in halls.
was fine smile we had a weird halls lay out which meant we could just walk along the whole corridor into other blocks.....for some reason some blocks had baths others had block only had baths (1:4) so used next doors showers....i think we had 7 blocks of 8 and i think had about 4 maybe 5 showers (they've sorted it out now and all blocks now have showers!)...i think in a year i had to wait once for a shower and we had cleaners daily who cleaned all communal areas including showers and baths so never an issue with dirt etc.....had the occasional pile of cereal and bottle of beer but that's part of the randomness of halls!

:-) i'd say for 40 a week just go for shared she'll be fine

TalkinPeace2 Mon 28-Jan-13 14:14:36

40 rooms per floor basin in each room
Girls toilets, boys toilets : 4 toilets, three showers, three baths in each. We lived.

MrsHoarder Mon 28-Jan-13 14:27:20

Shared is fine. If she's picky send her with a pack of bathroom wipes to swipe the shower and throw in the bin before use. And she could do what I did and time a bath for the days I was in halls just after the cleaner came around.

pooka Mon 28-Jan-13 14:32:01

We had flat of 10 people with 2 baths, 2 showers and 4 loos. Modern student village (glasgow).

Was fine. Actually, was way better than in later years and flat sharing with 5 of us and one bathroom, no separate loo. Had washing machines and tumble dryers in the basement too. Brill!

En-suite really not necessary IMO.

sicutlilium Mon 28-Jan-13 19:22:44

teacherwith2kids aahh, those were the days: one bathroom for the whole of Cloisters, not to mention the Bath House cubicles with no doors. Kids of today don't know they're born etc.

LeeCoakley Mon 28-Jan-13 19:26:32

Thanks boomting!

herbydumpling Mon 28-Jan-13 23:06:07

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsBrrrr Mon 28-Jan-13 23:14:19

Shared is fine. En suite is an expensive luxury, IMO.

DandyDan Tue 29-Jan-13 10:35:36

I think it's worth going for "en suite". Second and third years you're likely to be living in a shared house with people you know and have arranged to share with - living in a house with a bathroom is very different to the dozens of people you will have to share with in your first year. In your first year you have no idea who will be on your corridor, and tramping across to a shared bathroom is perhaps the last thing you want to be doing. In that first year a bit of privacy for showering/washing/etc might be worth the extra money.

My son's shared bathroom in his first year was filthy and cramped and horrible to use. My daughter's first year at uni was on a corridor with lads who never cleaned anything, and made life a general misery: the thought of her having to share a bathroom as well would have been very depressing to cope with.

Of course people can manage. I lived in uni halls for three years back in the 1980's, and shared bathrooms, but I would have leapt at having an en-suite.

Scrazy Tue 29-Jan-13 11:39:14

I don't think it's worth the extra money. Mine paid just a small amount more for a larger room, it great with plenty of space. There are 4 of them sharing the flat with 2 toilets and 2 separate shower rooms. 2 boys, 2 girls and although she hasn't shared before except with me, she hasn't had any problems at all. She also has a wash basin in her room.

The communal areas get cleaned whereas with en-suite they have to clean their own bathroom.

Ponders Tue 29-Jan-13 12:37:46

it definitely isn't worth the extra that the universities are charging - especially for the many weeks when the student isn't even there hmm

DD1 went for a sink, but not ensuite - she'd viewed the accommodation on open day though, and knew that in those halls, she'd be sharing a shower with a max of 4 other people. Plus she figured that the money sh'ed be saving would fund her shopping habit wink.

mumblechum1 Tue 29-Jan-13 16:33:36

DS has asked for:
1. room with sink
2. room without sink
3. room with ensuite.

This is on the basis that there are no more than 6 people to each flat, and two shared bathrooms between those 6. I agree with the poster upthread that if there are 12 people sharing a bathroom it would be a different matter wink

socharlottet Tue 05-Feb-13 12:08:12

It depends entirely on the person I think.Look at the poster last week who was horrified that a workman had used her private bathroom! some are more squeamish than others

Keenoonvino Wed 06-Feb-13 18:15:05

I would say definitely not, purely for the social aspect (I know that sounds weird). In our halls (6 years ago!) all the bottom floor had ensuites. It was dead down there. On my floor, everyone's doors were open, in and out of bathrooms, popping into others' rooms. My best friends at uni I me like that. 2 of my good friends now had ensuites in my hall and they said they really missed the social aspect.

Keenoonvino Wed 06-Feb-13 18:15:32

** I met like that

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