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UCL accommodations

(68 Posts)
Janjanmama Fri 29-Jan-16 00:22:41

Most likely dd will firm UCL. We heard about some terrible stories happened last year in UCL's halls and houses. Should we stick to halls? Students have no right to choose which hall they want. Any suggestions please. London is so expensive.

EssentialHummus Fri 29-Jan-16 00:28:07

I was in goldsmid house in 2008/9 and really rate it - new building, good rooms. The downside is location (near Victoria, miles from campus).

HocusCrocus Fri 29-Jan-16 03:52:00

You can choose one of the UCL accommodation options if you firm reasonably early ) I think by end May (but check on website) and choose which one you would rather be in. If your DC would be OK with catered halls I would certainly pick Ramsay Hall - v v short walk from the main UCL buildings and in a decent area.

I have heard no general horror stories about UCL accommodation.

Janjanmama Fri 29-Jan-16 04:49:00

Hocus, you can state a preference of catered or self-catered, but you cannot choose a particular hall or student house.

And about the horror news, here's the link for your reference:
www.theguardian.com/education/2015/nov/30/university-college-london-awards-students-300000-rat-infested-housing

Seems they have poor management on accommodation but they are charging the highest among all other London unis.

PetrovaFossil1 Fri 29-Jan-16 05:17:54

I think she will really feel like she's missing out socially if she isn't in one of the halls. Most of the socialising happens around them and people tend to be in friendship groups based on their halls.
Not saying that isn't possible if she is in a house, but it will be harder

SquirmOfEels Fri 29-Jan-16 07:23:06

The possibility of noisy building work is omnipresent, not just UCL, not just London. Because residents like the work to be done during the day so there are quiet evenings. Students and those who work from home and SAHPs with small children have to learn to live with it, or go out a lot. At least students will have libraries and other university buildings they can use for daytime study.

The rats sound horrible, but recourse though an UCL panel sounds preferable to having to go to the counci, or to court (as you might with a private landlord who was failing to meet obligations).

bojorojo Fri 29-Jan-16 13:55:15

London, is, of course, fabulous for students. However, it is expensive. My DD2 did self catered first year in London but DD1 did catered at her university. DD1 had the better first year and made more friends. DD2 didn't have the choice of catered but being in a catered hall in the first year is useful as the student grapples with the reuirements of university. Many students at UCL have to live further away from the university in subsequent years to keep the costs down: or get a job of course! Meeting others in the halls is a good way to socialise. Also, you cannot always make friends with people on your course so having friends in the hall is a necessity in my view, especially when looking for a shared house in year 2. In London, a lot of students live at home too and commute.

My sister had a room in a UCL house in year 1 and, as she is not particularly sociable, it suited her. My DD's would have been aghast at this idea! Horses for courses. In London, the most expensive student accommodation is often targetted by overseas students where expense is of no concern. Take a look at the accommodation before you choose would be my advice. Ask any students who are around what they think of the hall.

Janjanmama Fri 29-Jan-16 17:08:51

bojorojo we have no choice. UCL do not allow students to choose. And they tend to send overseas students, especially those from Asia, to the hall in Camden Town, which is a bit far and not a decent area.

PetrovaFossil1 Sat 30-Jan-16 00:31:27

Camden Town is fine, and the halls really aren't that far - a short bus or medium walk. I am perhaps biased as I was in them (albeit in 2002), but it was a great community.

HocusCrocus Sat 30-Jan-16 01:08:27

Jan, London is expensive, full stop. Seriously Camden (as an area) is fine . I can understand you being nervous if she is applying from overseas, but honestly , in London student terms, Camden is a decent hand to have been dealt. It is the next postcode to the main UCL site.
What's your alternative - private rental or not going to UCL - both would be overkill IMHO.

Janjanmama Sat 30-Jan-16 01:24:16

Hocus, a single room in halls ranged from £172 - 210. Would private be more reasonable?

Lonecatwithkitten Sat 30-Jan-16 09:02:21

Camden Town to UCL is a dead easy walk did every day when I was a student, but in reverse. I was in ULU hall is Bloomsbury ( all knocked down now) and at the RVC in Royal College Street, Camden. Mornington Crescent was close the entire time I was at college so there was no workable tube option. We walked to college through Summers town in the height of the summers towns riots. Camden is a whole smarter and more middle class now. I would have no issue at all about my DD living in Camden and walking to UCL.

bojorojo Sat 30-Jan-16 22:48:17

My DDs hall was £8500 for 50 weeks. The most expensive available was £10,500 and that was 2 years ago. None were within walking distance of her university. London is the most expensive city to be a student and UCL is in a very expensive area. Camden is fine and very many students live there because they cannot afford Bloomsbury.

I am amazed the university allocates overseas students to one hall! Most universities spread students out around their properties. London has quite a few private rented halls. You could try them, but they are expensive too. Possibly worse! I suspect a room in a private flat would be a similar price. You won't get much for £200 a week if you don't share - probably nothing! What is actually wrong with the accommodation she has been offered? You quote a range of prices, so how much is the accommodation in Camden? Top end or low end?

HocusCrocus Sat 30-Jan-16 23:22:35

Which hall is it?

Personally, for 1st year, I would always go for a hall over private rental if cost is anything of an object (and even if it isn't, halls will be more sociable )

I think you are worrying too much.

BoboChic Sat 30-Jan-16 23:29:09

DSS2 is in Campbell House West. He has just heard that he will receive a rent rebate worth £800 or more to compensate him for noisy building works next door.

His room is large and the house is fine. It is bang next to the university. It is, nevertheless, grotesquely expensive.

LessStress Sun 31-Jan-16 09:32:45

Useful thread.
It looks like DD1 may be heading to UCL in September. She is very keen on London and is looking for a bustling metropolis and busy, diverse social life (in contrast to our quiet, non-diverse, rural area far from London). We didn't try to interfere with any of her UCAS choices but the more I read about being a student in London the more I am concerned she is heading towards 6 years of abject poverty living with cockroaches or rats!
DD would prefer a catered hall for Yr 1. Are the UCL halls the same standard as the UoL intercollegiate halls? They seem to be a bit cheaper. Is it better to be with all UCL students socially? It's a shame that they can't even specify named halls in order of preference on their application forms (even if they don't get their 1st choice) - it seems a bit lazy on UCL's part.

DD is becoming a bit concerned that there may not be that many students to really click with as she's hearing there are large numbers of rich overseas students - she will be on a very limited budget- and at one of her London interviews pretty much everyone else in her group already lived in London, were planning to live at home for Uni and were from asian families so many of the girls possibly less likely to be into clubbing etc ?? (apologies if this isn't the case, but is the impression we have)- or is this completely wrong? Are there still plenty of UK state schooled non-Londoner students at UCL? Where do they live?
Will £10500 per year be enough for everything (not including tuition fees)?
(Sorry to go off topic a bit)

BoboChic Sun 31-Jan-16 09:54:15

DSS2's student house is full of DC like your DD. Not a rich foreigner in sight!

blob24 Sun 31-Jan-16 11:55:37

DS is in second year at UCL. Last year he applied for non-catered halls and a single room. He was put in Max Rayne in Camden and was given a shared room. He was furious, as there were students who wanted a shared room and were given a single one. Clearly nobody considered the preferences. For the shared room he was paying £100 a week, but the room was cramped, there was no privacy and he couldn't work, although his room mate was really nice. The kitchen appliances were beyond repair and very often there was no hot water - he didn't mind any of this, he just wanted a room for himself, however small.
At Christmas he was given the chance to move halls when a room for £190 a week on Pentonville Rd became available and he decided to take it. The students on his corridor were from overseas, very quiet and often away. What made him really angry, though, is that he had to sign a contract for six months until the end of June. Soon after, his department published the lessons and exams schedule: lessons would finish at the end of March and then he would only have three exams, the last one on the 15th of May. He went to ask if he could leave the room on that day but the Accommodation office couldn't care less, so he had to pay the next 6 weeks out of his loan and summer job (here at home) for nothing. He could only have left the room to another UCL student.
This year, he moved in with friends. After a few months, the landlord decided to sell the flat and wanted them out mid-february at the latest. They negociated to leave earlier, before the start of term (got some money from the landlord) and left in early January.
DS's lessons are three days a week and will finish on March 24. He will have no exams, just three long assignments to be handed in by the end of April. And that will be the end of his second year. He has now moved back home and is commuting (2h door to door). He really likes his course and is doing well but is generally disappointed and feels students are being screwd up from all sides...

Needmoresleep Sun 31-Jan-16 22:39:06

Less stress my daughter's impression was that many home medics will have chosen London because they can continue to live at home. However one big advantage of London is the big pool of overseas students. They are certainly not all rich and though some groups may be cliquey, for example the large group of French students have a reputation for sticking together, this is not true of all. DS'S friendship group is predominantly east Asian. They don't go clubbing but spend a lot of time cooking together or eating out in China Town. They also work very hard which suits DS. As a result I suspect he is doing far better that he would have done at a University with a larger ratio of UK students plus he is probably enjoying it more.

whifflesqueak Sun 31-Jan-16 22:47:59

I was at Ifor Evans Hall (actually Denys Holland Lodge but same thing) which is Camden and it was an easy walk to uni. also the bus (29 I think) goes practically door to door.

I had a single occupancy room. it was all perfectly fine.

if walking distance from Camden to Bloomsbury is an issue than I wonder what she intends to do next year? she will only be eligible for halls in her first year and finding anything even vaguely affordable for a student in those post codes is only getting harder.

I dropped out in my second year and went to Ruskin College as a mature student as I couldn't afford my rent/travel.

PolovesTubbyCustard Sun 31-Jan-16 22:57:00

This is an interesting thread.

I going to the open day with DS this week.

The accommodation situation sounds awful compared to the other unis he is considering.

Has offers for four - of course Ucl is theost expensive.

He is going to have to get a job wink

HocusCrocus Sun 31-Jan-16 23:07:17

Just looked up Campbell House - great location. Construction noise comes with the territory if you live in central London (or indeed bus noise etc etc ) Friends of mine were at Ifor Evans smile - nostalgic - but then I went to university when an en suite was not even heard of grin. Big towels and belting down the corridor. And I shared in first year. I do think that these days more UK students (within striking distance) choose to live at home if they go to a London College, but not all, and - the student accommodation, whilst it might not be the Malmaison, seems perfectly OK.

bojorojo Sun 31-Jan-16 23:16:18

I have never heard of any student being able to dictate terms of rental. Normally halls are for the standard university terms plus a week or two. This may mean until the end of June. It may be 50 weeks! It is up to the student to check what the terms are. I frankly do not see this as being screwed if a student does not want to be around. It is bad luck that a landlord wants to sell. Also, lots of students cannot commute from home and value being away from home. Many students live in the flats and get work experience in London. After all, they have paid for the accommodation so make use of it.

I think London is far more of a gamble than it used to be regarding the mix of students. Lots live at home for obvious reasons. Lots of overseas students do not want to be anywhere else. The very rich ones have their own houses anyway. My DD likes the work ethic of the Asian students when she works with them but won't be life long friends with them and does not socialise with them.

To get somewhere good, I do think you need to allow £175-200 per week. If you don't go anywhere or do anything in London because you cannot afford it, then I cannot see much advantage in being in the huge metropolis. If your friends are going out, but you can't, then it is not much fun. I think a total budget of just over £10,000 for London is on the low side. No doubt others will disagree but it depends on the quality of the accommodation and how important that is.

BaconAndAvocado Mon 01-Feb-16 22:33:13

Reading this thread with, er, dread!

DS1 has just received an offer from UCL and it's his top choice. If he goes to a London Uni he has the option of living with his Dad. Having read this thread I'd say it's now more of a necessity than an option!

His Dad lives in SW20. Do any Londoners out there know how long the commute would be? (Sorry to hijack)

Needmoresleep Tue 02-Feb-16 07:13:13

TFLs journey planner should give you an accurate indication.

The UCL halls I knew when I was a student were nice. (My brother was there.) The problem seems to be that standards have changed. Back in the day lack of ensuites or shared rooms did not worry us. If your child can cope without an ensuite you should apply anyway to places like Ramsey or to one of the inter collegiate halls, see what you get and then decide. There is a real advantage living in the centre and you save on fares.

Yes there will be a lot of overseas students, but surely that is one of the advantages of going to a world ranked University.

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