Catered / self catering Halls at Universities

(81 Posts)
BackforGood Fri 20-Sep-13 21:58:14

Been on my first University open day to day (to take ds, not thinking of going myself wink) and was stunned that to stay in the catered halls they showed us (there were a range of different ones, but just looking at the ones they showed us) cost £5,400 per year, but to stay in the self catered ones only "saved" you £900 at £4500 for the year.

Is this common ? We (and ds) had assumed he would be able to pay considerable less for self-catering, but I can't see the £900 'saving' covering his food for the 39 weeks they said they catered for (which I though odd in itself, as no Universities do as many weeks as schools, but that's another thought altogether).

Anyone mind sharing what they/their dcs are paying, and what they get for that (to be fair, these were en-suite rooms, but not in London or the SE)

BCBG Fri 20-Sep-13 22:07:21

Can't tell you off the top of my head, but having a bit of experience with DC 1 and now having DCs 2 and 3 going off, I would always always opt for catered in the first year otherwise the little buggers will drink their food money grin

Numberlock Fri 20-Sep-13 22:10:49

My son is off to bath tomorrow, got into his fourth choice of hall and paying £6200 a year which includes £55 per week of meals.

Don't get me started...

Tabby1963 Fri 20-Sep-13 22:12:46

I guess if it is catered for, they won't have kitchen/living room facilities, just a bedroom.

I would recommend self-catering, it is much more flexible for the students and they can relax in halls together while cooking and eating.

Candlefire Fri 20-Sep-13 22:16:10

The differential for DS between catered/non catered worked out at £20 per week. Unsurprisingly the food was awful and so he supplimented which cost us even more! That's the argument against catered.....they don't always eat it! I'm sure it varies between different universities, though.

IrisWildthyme Fri 20-Sep-13 22:22:54

guessing as I don't know what Uni bt I would expect a difference like that to be due to something like: catered accommodation is in halls of residence where there are no kitchens or common areas so the cleaning bills are massively lower. The self catering rooms may be saving the cost of the food but are also paying for extra floor space (a one-eighth share of a kitchen and dining area) plus a daily cleaning service, which is gobbling up a significant proportion of the saved food costs.

I'd go for the catered option - that way whatever happens he still gets to eat.

BackforGood Fri 20-Sep-13 22:26:04

Yes, well, apart from the nice socialising side of things - which I agree is a bonus - I can't see ds ever getting up in time for a "breakfast slot" in a canteen - he'll be sliding in to the first lectures as the lecturer starts speaking, but then by nighttime, he's starving, and has another meal then ~ I can't see that he could do this with a catered hall, which, in truth was most of the reasoning behind thinking self catering.
I am also concerned how they can feed growing teens sufficiently on what is effectively £23 per week, when obviously this isn't just for ingredients, but all associated costs (staff, fuel,etc) in running a canteen.
It's also then effectively throwing away what you've paid for, if you go out for someone's birthday, or are off campus for some reason, I presume. I was surprised in this day and age that they had to go to their own 'hall canteen' too, and didn't have some kind of pre-paid swipecard system that just allowed them to eat at any of the catering places on campus.

I've got a lot to learn I can see grin

BackforGood Fri 20-Sep-13 22:27:05

That's a good point about the kitchen space, Iris - I'd not thought of that.

OldRoan Fri 20-Sep-13 22:32:22

Lots of people on my course lived in a far-away halls that was catered. They missed dinner 3 times a week because of lectures, so ended up paying for that anyway.

BackforGood Fri 20-Sep-13 22:40:02

See, that's the sort of thing I mean OldRoan - it ties you to a particular time to eat, which doesn't really work with ds's "time blindness" wink
Just shock that there's not a bigger saving (ie, the money 'left' for him to buy his own food in).

Stravy Fri 20-Sep-13 22:42:59

At my Uni in the dark ages people missed loads of meals due to lectures or by just being out, but had nowhere to cook either.

DD1 was in catered, en-suite accommodation last year at a cost of £5k+ for a 30 week contract.

For this she got breakfast & dinner Mon-Fri and brunch & dinner at the weekend. She managed breakfast/brunch most days and was home for dinner pretty much every night. The flat she was in had decent kitchen facilities - fridge-freezer, oven, hob and microwave so she could cook on the very odd occasion that she didn't like the meal offered in the dining room. She was responsible for cleaning her own room and shower room but the communal areas were cleaned by the housekeeping staff. She was also provided with clean bedding every fortnight.

As a contrast she will be moving into a shared house next week. Rent is a third of the cost of halls. She'll miss her en-suite though grin

goinggetstough Fri 20-Sep-13 23:08:06

I can understand that catered halls don't suit everyone. However, my DCs enjoyed being in a catered Hall because:
- they have found it great to socialise in the dining hall when they eat. There are a greater variety of people and it is not restricted to your own flat.
- If you know you are going to miss a meal then you can order a packed meal.

I believe some universities although they say they are catered, it is a modern version where the student ID card is topped up with money and it can be used in a number of places across camp. So it is more flexible. I believe there is a Hall at Bath like this.

Even in catered halls there are kitchens but they are of course not fully kitted out as in a self catering flat. Finally I think there is only a small differentiation between catered and self catered rooms because the rooms are now all of a high standard as the universities rent them out in the vacations. The students therefore pay a contribution for these high standards IMO.

BackforGood Sat 21-Sep-13 08:23:37

Thanks for all opinions and experiences, ladies - please keep them coming. I never realised how many different options there were! smile

Jins Sat 21-Sep-13 09:26:03

DS1 is in his second week of self catered accommodation. Catered was never going to be an option as he's a pretty competent cook and with an aldi 10 minutes away he can do very well for far less than the £50 difference in hall fees.

I was in catered halls and missed more meals than I ate. With uni the price it is now we can't afford any waste anywhere along the line.

As a guideline he's spending between 15 and 20 a week to self cater and that includes a contribution to the communal Sunday lunch that they've decided to cook grin

BackforGood I went to my first open day last week at Nottingham. DS has been to several on his own or with college.
They have a mixture of catered or S/C and they do use a swipe card for some meals. We didn't bother to look at the accommodation though as he doesn't think it's in his top 3.
His plan is to check out accommodation options once he has offers.
He did look round when he went to Warwick and they only do S/C. The cost options revolve around whether you have en suite or shared bathroom. En-suite seems to cost about £30 a week more!! He thinks having his own w.c is more important than eating.hmm.
The contracts are for 30 or 39 weeks. If you get the shorter one you have to vacate your room in between terms.

BackforGood Sat 21-Sep-13 13:50:49

Thanks. Jins - see, that was what I was assuming, that the difference would be £50 a week, as per your example, and I know he could cook for himself for a LOT less that that each week. I now live in hope that what we saw wasn't typical.

Secret - Interesting about the en-suite. We took a friend of his from 6th form with us, and she felt that wherever she went, she wanted an en-suite. She'd grown up with one and was quite shuddery at the idea of sharing with perhaps 4,5, or 6 people horrified her. ds, OTOH, was quite happy, but he's spent a LOT of his life camping with Scouts, etc., and has no problems with the idea of bathroom sharing. If they knew him then I guess no-one else would want to share a bathroom with him though wink

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 21-Sep-13 13:59:16

I think course plays a factor to. Some very full on courses eg. Vet medicine and medicine lectures every day 9 to 5.30 apart from Wednesday being in catered halls is useful as you don't have to shop or use time cooking.
I know some Unis also had halls that were catered Mon to Fri and then self catering at weekends and some unis are fully catered (3meals a day), but can be taken in a variety of locations.

creamteas Sat 21-Sep-13 15:25:46

DS1 opted for SC halls and this worked out well. His friends in catered, seemed to spend as much on food as he did, despite paying for catering.

He also went for 39 week let, which although more expensive was really useful. Being able to stay at uni during the Easter vacation to revise for summer exams was important, as many of the books he needed were in the short-loan collection.

Also not having to lug all his possessions to and from uni each term (they couldn't leave anything in their rooms) was a bonus grin

summerswims Sat 21-Sep-13 15:38:18

useful thread. I worry that the self- catered kitchens will be thilthy and they won't want to prepare food there so will eat ready meals etc. Did ask a student on open day who had had a good experience of kitchens/cooking.

exoticfruits Sat 21-Sep-13 15:55:58

My DS had catered and lost a lot of weight! The food wasn't very good e.g. rice was 'one lump or two' and it never seemed to occur to him to fill up afterwards.

Tabby1963 Sat 21-Sep-13 20:41:03

My daughter was in halls last year, seven girls sharing self catering flat. Two bathrooms and a large kitchen/diner/sitting area. They kept it lovely and tidy, had a cleaning rota. The boys flat below them was another matter entirely. They went to a party there once... a midden lol!

Where they stayed were a number of cheap supermarkets plus I did an online shop for her once a term (delivered to the door).

BackforGood Sun 22-Sep-13 14:45:13

Thank you all for all your thoughts and experiences - lots to think about if he gets any offers.

OldRoan Sun 22-Sep-13 15:24:35

We had our self-catering flats inspected once or twice a term - not often enough to be a pain, but sufficiently frequent that the kitchen couldn't become too squalid.

In my experience the microwave was always the most disgusting piece of kitchen equipment because it was used by the students who were too busy/unthinking to cook properly and it never seemed to occur to them to clean it after use. Big incentive to cook properly!

fussychica Sun 22-Sep-13 15:57:28

DS was in self catered in 1st year in a mixed flat. It worked fine and he liked the flexibility. I was amazed he actually did cleaning and was one of the more fussy ones re cleanlinessshock
Despite having an en-suite at home he didn't want to spend the extra on one at Uni as he knew he wouldn't have one in a private rental in the second year and he was right it was the usual grotty student house. He has decided to go back into halls when he returns from his year abroad as it's just easier though probably more expensive.

the 39 weeks they said they catered for (which I though odd in itself, as no Universities do as many weeks as schools, but that's another thought altogether).

DS2 is at Sheffield & their accommodation year is even longer - his room contract was for 42 weeks at about £107pw (en-suite but not catered)

He was home for 4 weeks at Christmas & 3 at Easter, & finished early in June when the contract ran until early July, so they made at least £1000 - esp from the last 4 weeks, when the room was empty & they could use it for visiting overseas students.

I was v v v angry about that (but what can you do?)

(NB he didn't choose en suite but there's not a lot of the other kind available now - which also makes me angry

Anyway he's in a house now - £260 a month!)

BackforGood Sun 22-Sep-13 16:14:10

Yes, I@m learning lots this weekend....

SlowlorisIncognito Sun 22-Sep-13 16:17:52

Does catered cover all meals? I know not all do, some don't give you lunch, for example. Plus you will probably provide your own snacks, tea, coffee and other drinks in catered. Do the catered halls offer somewhere to store this?

Are the self catered and catered halls comparable? Most universities charge more for newer halls, especially if they are ensuite. Do self catered students have more space in the flat to socialise etc?

Self catered is much more flexible, and students won't be wasting money if they decide to have a meal out or a takeaway. Students often eat at odd times when they are studying, and the times of catered meals don't suit this.

Sheffield term dates - 30 weeks plus Fresher's week

Sheffield rents - 42 weeks

£4,848.06 for en suite
£4,021.92 - £4,324.74 for shared bathroom - but there are only 517 of those rooms vs nearly 4000 of the en suites

licence to print money, innit

Freshers' blush grin

creamteas Sun 22-Sep-13 16:44:43

My uni has recently upgraded its accommodation to be nearly all en-suite.

They did so because in endless surveys, this is what the (existing) students said they wanted. At the time, many of us pointed out that the extra costs that providing upgraded facilities would be problematic, but they didn't take any notice. (It costs more in maintenance, but also cuts down the amount of rooms you can let within the floor space.

Even though they are seem expensive (100-140pw), our halls don't actually make much of a profit. This is because of the costs of all the welfare support that our halls have. The residence tutor system costs more than most people think.

Naoko Sun 22-Sep-13 17:05:17

When I was an undergrad (which is a few years ago now but I'm still here as a PhD student) I was in self catered. You couldn't have paid me to go catered, the food was bloody awful and I don't imagine it's improved much since. The catered students did have cooking facilities though so they could make their own if they missed a meal, but of course then you're paying extra.

I didn't have an ensuite which I was worried about (I applied for self catered, ensuite, with internet connection which wasn't available in every hall at the time, got sc with internet but shared bathroom) but it was fine. The bathrooms were cleaned professionally and in my halls not shared by that many; my friend's hall was awful - 3 showers, 3 toilets and 3 sinks between 20, but that building has now been knocked down as it was not fit for purpose and I imagine most universities have similarly upgraded their accomodation. Kitchens were also cleaned professionally once a week and yeah, they do get into a bit of a state depending on what your flatmates are like, some are worse than others. I'm a good cook but ended up living off microwave meals for the last term, not because the state of the kitchen was so awful (although it wasn't great) but because I despised the entire miserable lot of them and didn't want to see them for any longer than I absolutely had to.

I would never go catered. It's inflexible with times, you end up wasting food you've paid for, and you can't guarantee it'll be something you actually want to eat. Even my friend in catered halls who couldn't cook to save her life wished she'd gone self catered.

In Edinburgh you are not allowed to stay in the catered halls during the holidays so you are paying for fewer weeks. Have you checked if this is the case?

Naoko Sun 22-Sep-13 17:10:57

Oh, as for the term dates - I was on a 42 week contract which meant I didn't have to clear out over Christmas and Easter, and could stay a little past the end of term in June. Some friends weren't. The contracts were cheaper, but it meant you had to clear all your stuff out at Christmas and Easter, which for me would have been impossible (I was traveling home, but home was abroad and I couldn't exactly stuff it all into a Ryanair luggage alloance) and it is an enormous pain in the arse to effectively move house once every 12 weeks. I used my contract fully as well and didn't drop everything and leave the day after my last exam, I hung around and socialised and only moved out a few days before the contract ended. From second year onwards I negotiated with my landlord to be on ordinary 12 month rentals, not the traditional student 9 month ones; I love my parents very much but I'm an adult and I considered that once I'd moved out, I'd moved out. Never left my student town over summer again other than to visit.

Professional cleaners once a week would go some way towards justifying the high rents. There was no cleaning in DS2's flat, by professional cleaners or anybody else...he & his flatmates were very scuzzy. They did a mad scrub for inspections & that was it for the whole year. (although I did do a white tornado in his bathroom whenever I picked him up)

true that the 42-week contract avoids having to bring everything home, but afaik that generally only applies in the more historic universities where the rooms are used by visitors during vacations? & I'm pretty sure that eg Oxford colleges have storage rooms so you can leave bulky stuff behind.

It wouldn't feel as exploitative if they only charged a 50% retainer for the weeks you weren't there. DS2 stayed on for a week or so after the year-end (he has a part-time job) but the place was deserted.

goinggetstough Sun 22-Sep-13 19:30:23

It does seem unfair to have to pay for the extra weeks but do remember the following year they will be paying rent for 52 weeks! ( a pp poster said they had student tenancies but definitely where my DCs were, the rental period was one year)
Last year a friend's DC had to start his tenancy of a university self catering hall a week BEFORE freshers started!

BlackMogul Sun 22-Sep-13 19:30:28

You may be comparing apples and pears regarding the quality of accommodation in that the price difference is not just food. I think catered is best, particularly if it is within the hall itself as it leads to better integration with others in the whole hall, not just his bit. There are usually social events built around the dining experience too. Also catered halls usually have a kitchen with facilities for coffee, tea, cereals, toast etc within his block so even if they miss breakfast it is not a disaster, as long as they have planned in advance. Also catering is probably not offered for 7 days a week and breakfast may not be a cooked one anyway. Most students supplement hall food at lunchtime if they are choosy.

Jins Sun 22-Sep-13 20:07:36

Thankfully there are no catered halls at DSs uni or we'd have been looking for a private flat share.

I hated catered halls back in the day and couldn't really recommend it to DS.

Rascalls3 Sun 22-Sep-13 20:55:04

My dd loved her catered halls. Chosen as she saw it as the most sociable option. Her corridor went to breakfast and dinner enmasse. They had a small kitchenette with a kettle,microwave etc for lunches. They went onto rent a 7 bed flat in year 2 and took turns to cook the evening meal as they were all used to sitting round the table together. Well worth thre additional cost I think ( around your £5,400 figure)

greyvix Sun 22-Sep-13 21:52:17

3 of my 4 DCs have gone for the catered option, as it is more sociable. Having said that, 2 DDs were really fussy, and didn't each much of the food, but generally there is a small shared kitchen and fridge in the room. Having dropped DS off today- he was too late applying for the ensuite option- I would say think carefully about ensuite. It is a lot more expensive and the rooms are often smaller to accommodate the bathroom. DS will be sharing nice big showers and toilets and it is about £1000 cheaper.
The real advantage with self catering is you don't have to lug all your stuff home at the end of term. Some self catered flats can be really good- if you get on with your flatmates.
On balance, my DCs have been happy with catered accommodation, particularly if lunch is included and you can be flexible where you take it, eg a card system.

self catering/not lugging stuff home are not mutually exclusive grin

& yes, en suite is very much not worth the extra money but these days you often don't have the choice

DS2 is my 4th child at uni

DC1 had shared bathroom (all girls)
DC2 had en suite (because a pre-uni partner was being considered)
DC3 had shared bathroom (mixed)
& DC4 asked for shared/mixed but got en suite/single sex

tbf, room sizes were really not that different

basically, these days, you should ask for what you would prefer, but don't expect to get it confused

UptheChimney Sun 22-Sep-13 23:22:39

*My uni has recently upgraded its accommodation to be nearly all en-suite.

They did so because in endless surveys, this is what the (existing) students said they wanted*

And their parents, I might add. Many universities have upgraded accommodation because of complaints and feedback from students and their parents. Indeed, I hear first hand from a friend at another university who oversees the student accommodation office, just how vociferous parental complaints have been over the years.

So current costs are a direct result of listening to students and their parents, I'm afraid.

BackforGood Mon 23-Sep-13 00:31:55

Clearly parents with bigger budgets than us then UptheChimney - a little bit of roughing it was part of the whole college experience, when I were a lad wink

I'm really glad I started this. He probably won't end up at the University we looked at yesterday, but it was just my first experience of rooms, prices, and options, so it's good to hear what other parents, and other students think. smile

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 04:31:24

Jesus, that's depressing if it's true about the parents complaining. They're students! Let them rough it for a bit, what's with all the en-suites etc? We don't have those at home!!!!

creamteas Mon 23-Sep-13 09:14:55

They're students! Let them rough it for a bit

No university can let this happen anymore, because if they did, they would be slated in surveys and then move down the league tables which many MN parents are so keen on

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 09:17:48

Tragic isn't it. Helicopter parenting at it's very worst.

SatinSandals Mon 23-Sep-13 09:53:51

You wonder at what point the parents are actually going to let go.

Numberlock Mon 23-Sep-13 09:55:53


My son has a much better room than he had at home! And for £6000+ a year.


Shootingatpigeons Mon 23-Sep-13 10:54:44

DDs friends who were in catered halls, across the universities (including Bristol, Nottingham, Reading, Exeter), all regretted it. The food was allegedly poor and stodgy (no idea if the accusation is valid, they hated school dinners as well, which actually weren't bad and there were always plenty of healthy choices) and they ended up missing most meals and catering for themselves with whatever limited facilities were provided. The only exception were some of the more gormless clueless and insatiably hungry boys. Interestingly her friends at Cambridge where you would expect the social benefits of communal dining to be greatest had a much more flexible system than other universities, and paid a relatively small fixed charge for kitchen facilities and then paid for individual meals, either in the formal dining hall, where you can take guests, or in a more informal buttery where there was more of a cafe type choice.

DD was in a self catered flat in a large hall of self catered flats and had a great time. It was very social and the fact that they were catering for themselves was a factor in that, flat parties, come dine with me, around the world etc., cooking together can forge as many bonds as dining together. It was one of the cheaper self catered halls, older, not en suite. There were some (privately owned) self catered halls that were exorbitantly expensive but that was down to location and swishness, not factors this helicopter parent was going to fork out for, she has shred a flat with the people from her flat and two others ever since.

Actually having an en suite in first year is very poor preparation for the student squalor that awaits in student houses. I have discovered I no longer have the stomach for going anywhere near the loos in her student houses, and I have lived in a part of the world that has some of the worst loos known to man......

UptheChimney Mon 23-Sep-13 11:28:52

I'd love it if students were actually students: roughed it, read books, went to the theatre, went to art galleries, talked till midnight about life art & death ... but as creamteas says

No university can let this happen anymore, because if they did, they would be slated in surveys and then move down the league tables which many MN parents are so keen on

I've seen such fussiness even here in this bit of MN, where people are usually pretty sensible -- I recall a thread about a student being given a ground floor room (who knew that was a potential problem?) and other threads where parents have said (even in this thread!) that their children want/need an en suite. Who needs an ensuite??? If there's a diagnosed medical problem where someone genuinely needs quick & private access to a lavatory, then university accommodation offices do give those students priority, but otherwise?

In private, my colleague tries to laugh off the hysterical & crying parents who are referred to his office, and he is brilliant at solving "their" problems when he deals with them, but I know he finds it wearing and dispiriting to think that this is how some students have been parented.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 23-Sep-13 11:51:01

Actually up the chimney the ground floor of the women's block in my halls of residence in the 70s was a bit of a magnet for peeping toms and weirdos, including the man who was found with 9 pairs of knickers on his head coming out of their laundry room......

UptheChimney Mon 23-Sep-13 11:56:21

Yes, I can see that problem, but nowadays most university accommodation offices are aware of those issues of personal safety. Indeed, from stories I hear, the biggest threat to students' safety is themselves or other students doing stupid things. And a resurgence in laddish misogyny in the male student body.

Now there's something for parents to "helicopter" about: insisting that their sons understand that women are actually human beings.

Shootingatpigeons Mon 23-Sep-13 12:16:41

Up the chimmney I couldn't agree more, although sadly it isn't just laddish misogyny, with the girls hapless victims. There was a significant minority at DDs very academic Indy who were only too happy to exploit their bodies and sexuality to get attention. I can sort of understand, though not agree with, parents of boys giving in to the influence of their peers but I certainly couldn't have tolerated my intelligent daughters deciding bimbo was the way to go.

UptheChimney Mon 23-Sep-13 12:27:45

It's a debate for another thread, but I find it harder to condemn the young women for who were only too happy to exploit their bodies and sexuality to get attention in the way I can condemn the young men. I think it's deeply sad that young women learn to use themselves in this way, but there's still such a power imbalance in our culture generally, and they're responding to that.

But I hope that with three years of being exposed to high flying academic women (their peers & their tutors) who don't use external things such as looks/bodies to succeed, these young women will start to see alternatives: university as a dose of good old 1970s consciousness raising ever the optimist

Shootingatpigeons Mon 23-Sep-13 12:45:37

upthechimney Agree an interesting debate for another thread, and my master's diss was all about women finding sources of power in a very patriarchal society. My DDs have certainly been exposed to academic women who don't use external things such as looks/bodies to succeed sigh of relief that no profile pic on Mumsnet grin

Jins Mon 23-Sep-13 14:14:18

DD was in a self catered flat in a large hall of self catered flats and had a great time. It was very social and the fact that they were catering for themselves was a factor in that, flat parties, come dine with me, around the world etc., cooking together can forge as many bonds as dining together.

I absolutely agree with this.

UptheChimney Mon 23-Sep-13 14:14:29


And my DS is grown up and travelling the world, so I'm through the worst, I hope!

BlackMogul Mon 23-Sep-13 23:05:03

At my DDs university, the accommodation without ensuite bathrooms was taken up, cheerily, by students largely from boarding schools.They are used to sharing bathrooms. The rooms and bathrooms were not remotely modernised! They also are also used to institutionalised food so choose catered for the social events. Having said that,I gather the food was significantly inferior to school food. I think the parents just let them get on with it. Some students are capable of living in less than luxurious accommodation and are not fussy eaters either.

sashh Tue 24-Sep-13 10:53:48


£23 a week is for two meals a day not three (at the unis I've been to - 5 in all - long story)

So if your son is missing breakfast that is £3 and a night for an evening meal, which is often served about 6.30, so by 9pm people are phoning for pizzas.

The 39 weeks is to cover Easter and Xmas, not everyone goes home then.

WhitesandsofLuskentyre Wed 25-Sep-13 14:09:51

DD1 had a hissy fit when she didn't get into any of the (en-suite) halls she wanted, until we patiently explained that the amount she was saving in rent would probably feed her for the year. Since she is a big fan of Aldi, it seems she has also managed to budget for alcohol in her weekly shop smile.

Ok, they aren't the plushest halls ever, and the stairwell up to her flat smelt like a municipal car park grin, but the rooms themselves, whilst looking a tad like prison cells, are warm, clean, repainted, and a decent size, with fast internet access.

And she seems to be with some really nice flat mates, so I don't think sharing a bathroom is going to be the drama she imagined (especially given that she's managed to share with her very messy younger sister for years).

I'm surprised to hear the catering is so bad in so many catered halls. When I was at uni in the mid-late 80s our food was fantastic, so loads of us opted for half board. And no lecture ever over-ran tea-time, so you never went hungry.

Too many kids these days are just too entitled/spoiled, that's my view.

Shootingatpigeons Wed 25-Sep-13 14:43:30

We were at an open day yesterday and had to smile when DD did say she wanted en suite (and she coped with a week in DD's student flat this summer and the really shocking communal toilet). However we had a chat about the economics, and how it worked for her older sister and any such illusions of entitlement were cheerfully abandoned.

However I did get the vibe that the uni were making a big thing about providing en suites and making sure all new flats had en suite. Perhaps it is partly parents and students responding to that. Marketing raises expectations. A bit like nuclear proliferation....

I had the privilege in my first year halls back in the 70s of a shared sink, it stopped being a privilege after the umpteenth time of finding the neighbours boyfriends pissing in it, and eventually she too mastered the art............... Now all rooms seem to have a sink.

goinggetstough Wed 25-Sep-13 14:45:10

Food at Bristol was mentioned in a list above as being poor. My DD who is possibly one of the fussiest eaters found it absolutely fine. She found that although the meal times in the evening were early 5.30/630 it did mean she could eat and then go off and train or whatever. She would then probably have a snack later, but wouldn't be ordering out for pizzas! IMO no different to having a snack after lectures and before dinner if the times were later.

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 18:04:55

The fact that parents of students have so many opinions on this matter says it all doesn't it.

BackforGood Wed 25-Sep-13 18:09:13

Well, Numberlock - on a parenting website, it's quite likely to be parents having opinions, isn't it ?
However, I'm only reflecting conversations with ds, but he doesn't come on here.
He'd FAR rather share a bathroom, cater for himself and have far more money on his pocket.

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 18:24:30

You've twisted what I've said. Why do parents worry so much about en-suite/catered/meal wasn't filling bla bla bla.

These are minimum 18 year old offspring! They're at the university of Bath/Bristol/York etc etc not living in the trenches...

BackforGood Wed 25-Sep-13 18:28:08

Parents worry, because, in so many cases, it is they that are expected to find the extra money the "posher" accommodation costs. Fine if there's a choice, but, from this thread, it seems that more and more, there isn't a choice - it's "expensive" or "expensive"

Shootingatpigeons Wed 25-Sep-13 18:41:49

Well hopefully, being "parents" we are guiding and advising our progeny as they make these decisions, their own decisions certainly but it is always useful to have the benefit of all sorts of sources of info and advice when doing so, and it is nice to have the benefit of the experiences of other parents DCs when doing that. I don't propose to give up on this responsible parenting lark just yet.....

Quite apart from the fact that these days unless you get the full gamut of burseries and maintenance grants on top of loans etc chances are we parents are paying for at least some of our progeny's living expenses and some of us are not prepared to pay for unnecessary luxury, whilst others clearly feel it indispensable for their darlings and have a bit of a shock coming when they have to move into the real world....

MirandaWest Wed 25-Sep-13 19:05:03

Surely the amount of en suites is connected with the use of university accommodation for conferences when students aren't there?

Weegiemum Wed 25-Sep-13 19:10:04

I did 4 years at uni (Scotland) of which 2 were in self-catering halls.

I was very popular with my catered for peers!

numberlock, when I went on to higher ed my parents had no input at all & nor did anybody else's that I knew of

BUT we all got grants - not loans - which were sufficient to live on - rent, food, transport. It was up to us how we managed that money (although I did once have to ask for a sub, when Easter was very late & there was too much term for my grant)(which was £120 for the whole term. tell that to the kids today...)

why does some smug bugger always have to come on threads like this & tell us all off for having an opinion hmm

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 20:57:43

Perhaps I'm a similar age to you (I'm 46) and we went to uni in a similar era?

That makes me a smug bugger how?

The fact that parents of students have so many opinions on this matter says it all doesn't it

what does it say?

the implication is that we shouldn't have any opinions? if that isn't what you meant, what did you mean?

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 21:04:34

Oh Jesus Christ, get over yourselves for fretting so much! They've left home!

from which I infer that your children have left home & you have not fretted

which makes you a smug bugger in my book

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 21:11:05

My eldest two have just gone to their freshers week, in the last few days. At two separate unis.

I've not fretted no, should I have? Why? Cos the bog roll wasn't cushioned?

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 21:11:57

And thankfully your book means nowt to me, but thanks anyway, you've given me a good laugh.

glad to have been of service

Numberlock Wed 25-Sep-13 21:16:52


summerswims Fri 27-Sep-13 17:30:15

I for one am glad that this thread has been here. Caring about the first few months at home from home seems a good thing for mumsnet folk to consider.

I was all for catered (my experience) for social reasons but am thinking self-catering may not be all bad - have to do some of thinking through for my DC as we have the experience and leaving home is not always plain sailing. It's called empathetic parenting in my world!! grin

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