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

(73 Posts)
MotherOfGirls Sat 26-Jan-13 12:53:30

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

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'?

MotherOfGirls Sat 26-Jan-13 22:38:08

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....)

MotherOfGirls Sun 27-Jan-13 14:41:08

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.

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