Uni accommodation dilemma

(38 Posts)
dottygamekeeper Wed 20-Apr-16 21:50:12

Apologies in advance, this is a long post. DS (19) has accepted his Uni offer, since he already has his A2s, and is currently doing an Art Foundation course, he will be definitely going in September. However, he has applied for accommodation and although some students have not received their uni offers, so cannot even apply yet, already there are no single rooms left on or off campus in uni accommodation. He had intended to apply for a single room, ( and we were given the impression that there were far more single than shared rooms). As there were none left, he had to apply for a shared room, and his second choice had to be, again in a shared room, at other accommodation 12 miles away from where he will be studying.

The uni in question is apparently taking a lot more students this year and so has converted a lot of its single occupation bedrooms to shared bunk or twin rooms. We did not know this when he decided to firm this choice (he had offers from all 5 unis he applied to).

DS is anxious about going away to uni anyway, and is doubly anxious at the thought of having to share a room that was only intended originally for one person, as he thinks it will be short on space and is worried about sharing with someone he has never met before. He is naturally shy and is already stressing that he will have nowhere private to escape to if everything gets a bit much. He is now saying he wishes he had firmed one of his other offers.

My dilemma is - does he accept the sharing offer (I hope he at least gets a shared room on campus), it may all work out for the best?

My feeling is that at least he will get to see what living in halls is like, hopefully make friends and, his room mate could turn out to be a great friend, or at least someone to go with to all the Freshers events. We have been told, that sometimes after the first term, people drop out or find other accommodation, so you can end up in single occupancy of a shared room anway.

My worry, however, is that if he gets allocated a shared room, he will end up miserable if there are issues with his room mate, or if he just finds the lack of privacy overwhelming, leading to problems with his work or worst case, he might drop out.

The alternative might be to look for a house share, so that he could have his own room. Of course, being a new first year, he will not know anyone to team up with to find a house, or might end up sharing with 2nd/3rd years which might not be so good for making new friends in his year. Also, , it will not be on campus, so again may be not so well place for all the socialising.

Added to this we are 7 hours drive away from uni, so it will not be easy to go and look at places. (I was hoping we wouldn't have to jump this hurdle until next year, by which time I had thought he would have got to know the area, found a group of friends to share with etc)

Any advice from mumsnetters whose DC have found themselves in this situation would be very welcome, just to help me get some perspective on this.

OP’s posts: |
Coconutty Wed 20-Apr-16 21:59:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dottygamekeeper Wed 20-Apr-16 22:01:20

I am persuading him to phone them and at least ask to be put on a waiting list for a single room, but I am not sure if we are being a bit precious about this (though I have to say, I would be feeling anxious about going off to share with someone I had never met, a long way from home at the same time as coping with a new uni course).

I don't really want to say which uni it is as it might out me.

OP’s posts: |
sablepoot Wed 20-Apr-16 22:18:09

Your poor ds. I think many UK DC would be uncomfortable with this, though in the USA and some other countries it's normal, so presumably many shy DC do survive it. As the university have effectively misled him I can see why he would want to change options, but not sure that would be possible at this stage?

Quook Wed 20-Apr-16 22:22:02

Are there any privately student halls in the area? The seems crazy that there are no single rooms available. Is it a really small Uni?

Leeds2 Wed 20-Apr-16 22:23:52

No advice, but I wouldn't be happy either!

afromom Wed 20-Apr-16 22:36:38

When I went to Uni (17 years ago-so things could have changed), I was told that there were no rooms left in halls and I had to find a shared house. They suggested coming to the Uni (Plymouth) to speak with their accommodation team and they could give a list of pre-checked landlords that would be taking on new first year students. We went one day, as soon as we could and when we arrived they told me that someone had dropped out and a room in halls had become available.
I would definitely go on a waiting list for a single room, it is very early for all rooms to be taken and I would have thought the chances of one coming free would be fairly high. The sooner your ds gets onto a waiting list the higher he will be and the better chance he will have of getting a room. In terms of other accommodation, a friend of mine who didn't get into halls lived in a very large house, with 16 rooms (it was several terrace houses converted to one property) and her place still had the general feel of halls as there were so many of them living there.
Good luck with your search, going to uni is such a big step as it is, it is so unlucky to end up with these extra type of set backs!


dottygamekeeper Wed 20-Apr-16 22:51:33

Thanks all, glad to know you don't think I'm being over-protective. I will try and persuade him to phone them tomorrow - I know he is worrying about making the phone call.

It is a relatively small Uni, specialising in arts subjects, but with good reputation - we just had not realised that accommodation would be an issue

OP’s posts: |
eatyourveg Wed 20-Apr-16 22:51:45

Another UK uni did the same thing about 4 years ago (possibly be the same one doing it again?) and even though they reduced the rents - there were lots of unhappy students and the University has sunk further and further down in the student satisfaction tables ever since. Ds asked to be released (not on accommodation grounds) and managed to trade up through clearing to a very well reputed uni instead.

PirateSmile Wed 20-Apr-16 22:54:02

Where are we talking about here? Lots of us live in in or near to universities and may be able to give some advice.

dottygamekeeper Wed 20-Apr-16 22:59:11

Eatyourveg, would you mind saying which uni that was? I feel so naive that we didn't even consider this possibility.

I am also worried that by converting what were single rooms to shared rooms, the shared space in each flat, ie the kitchen, will also be overcrowded as what was intended to be for 8 people will now be for 10 or even 12, so not enough chairs, cupboard/fridge space etc.

I was so happy when he got his offer (it was the last offer to come in and the one he had really wanted) and now it all seems to be going wrong...

Can you ask to be released? - then what, is Clearing the only option, as presumably his other 4 offers have now gone, since he had firmed one.

OP’s posts: |
Emptynestx2 Wed 20-Apr-16 23:26:17

If the rooms are as small as the one my DS is currently in there is now way that two people could be comfortable! As most students won't get their offers confirmed until August I think it is worth calling the preferred choice and asking for a single room and if they can't guarantee then call the other four choices and discuss options. I'd do it as soon as you can though, you're in a strong position with confirmed grades.

Decorhate Thu 21-Apr-16 06:14:58

I believe it's very unusual to be in shared rooms nowadays in the UK. My dd does know of it at her uni but in that case it's people who got a last minute place onto a very desirable course after results day & they were so relieved they didn't care. And the room is large.

I would definitely be making a call to see what is going on. It's ridiculous that all the single rooms are gone (unless it's a place where most people apply with achieved grades?)

What about private halls? If it's in a city where there are other 3rd level establishments there may be private ones too?

eatyourveg Thu 21-Apr-16 07:48:49

You can ask to be released but can't apply again within the same cycle. ds had firmed and deferred and during the gap year changed his mind. Very glad he did as the place he is about to graduate from is a much better fit for his personality. If your ds really doesn't want to go there then having firmed, the only option would be to withdraw from this year's cycle.

MyLocal Thu 21-Apr-16 07:55:46

Which city/town is this?

Quook Thu 21-Apr-16 08:56:01

EatYourVeg I know what you are saying is technically correct but the OPs DS could get round it by either asking to be released into clearing on results day from his firm and his insurance or, possibly, by contacting UCAS and explaining the situation. I think there has to be good reasons but I think it might be possible. I'd have thought it was worth a few calls if nothing else.

Quook Thu 21-Apr-16 08:57:54

I meant that the OPs DS could contact UCAS sooner rather than later to be asked to be released into extra. Assuming he had found another course he liked. IYSWIM

(Sorry I haven't explained that very well)

Emptynestx2 Thu 21-Apr-16 09:33:24

I understand, clearing is quite stressful though and you can't apply for accommodating until the place is confirmed. If I was OP I would contact the accommodation depot at uni myself and explain the problem, they were very helpful when I spoke to them at DS's uni.

MackerelOfFact Thu 21-Apr-16 09:53:09

I've never heard of UK universities with more than a handful of shared rooms (and those are usually for students who are friends, couples or have a child). Two strangers sharing a single room would be unthinkable - there might be two beds (bunks, presumably?) but I doubt there would be enough wardrobe space, plug sockets, desk space etc for two students! They're usually pretty cosy even for one.

Is there any private student accommodation, Unite or the like? If the Students' Union has a Facebook page it might be worth posting to see if any other Freshers want to group together for a private house share.

Orac Thu 21-Apr-16 10:51:53

I think you are right to be concerned. I know it may seem trivial to some but I have one DC who was very anxious about going away to uni and the prospect of sharing a room would have tipped him over the edge. It's easy for us to say it will turn out fine, it probably would, but I would try very hard to get around this (while being careful not to say out loud what you think in case he ends up sharing).

SellFridges Thu 21-Apr-16 10:55:44

I shared a room at uni, in the late nineties. It was very common then both at my uni, Leicester, and at many others - Birmingham Lancaster, Nottingham to name a few.

There was definitely a waiting list for single rooms available even then though. So yes, at a minimum call and ask about that.

SellFridges Thu 21-Apr-16 10:56:47

Should also say that my room mate is still one of my best friends. I know of only one person who hated her room mate so much that she took up a transfer to a single room when one came up.

wavedancer68 Thu 21-Apr-16 11:32:14

Your DS will not be the only one currently applying for accommodation at the Uni who are also shocked by this new development. I would suggest either you or your DS contact the Accommodation Department at the Uni and request that he is allocated a shared room with a student who is of a similar nature to himself. Others must also be contacting them and, I would imagine, will have similar concerns to yourselves. Put his name on the waiting list for a single room.

dottygamekeeper Thu 21-Apr-16 13:30:01

Thanks for all the suggestions - ideally I want him to call but he has become very anxious just about saying the wrong thing, so I think I may have to step in and maybe set up a joint call.

My DD has also applied to uni this year, her uni has not opened its accommodation list yet, but I am just hoping we don't have such a stressful time with that too! (for her it will just be the stress of getting the desired grades).

When they were both babies, everyone said it will get easier - it did, but there are also different problems to deal with now....

OP’s posts: |
Emptynestx2 Thu 21-Apr-16 14:02:52

I honestly would just do it, I had to step in and help you son out with some calls last year, he did try but wasn't really getting the message over very well. He was relieved that I helped and nobody I spoke to seemed to think it was unusual to speak to me. Since he's been away he's grown up,a lot and sorts things out himself. Good luck

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