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Bristol university accommodations

(85 Posts)
happyhebe Sat 27-May-17 08:42:42

We're going to be applying for accommodation at the Uni of Bristol for DS next week, any tips please?

He's not sure whether to go for catered or self catered or even which hall to go for. He's sociable but also likes a quiet environment to work in.

TIA.

bojorojo Sat 27-May-17 10:49:50

The halls at Stoke Bishop are generally quieter. The new one neaerer the city centre attracts students who want the drinking opportunities nearer to home. Students who want to fall out of bed to lectures go for ones at Clifton!

Any hall at Stoke Bishop is fine but Wills is a traditional quad hall in part and although this section It is a bit ancient in terms of furniture, kitchenettes and bathrooms it has character. This means students get to know each other and it is very sociable. The newer section has more modern accommodation and probably fewer students from boarding schools! Catered means you don't have to worry about cooking in the first year. However all the self catered halls are fine at Stoke Bushop but be aware Goldney is very popular and usually over subscribed. I think Churchill is also catered and I know students have enjoyed that hall.

It is a popular choice at Bristol to work in the libraries. However plenty of people do work in their rooms but clearly halls have more 'traffic' and are not super quiet. A lot of this depends on your fellow students of course.

Stoke Bishop has transport for students into the university area and this means you separate home and university life to some extent. My DD liked this notion and it works for the ones who are not seeking the bright lights of Bristol all the time, so I would look at these halls first.

blueskyinmarch Sat 27-May-17 10:55:19

My DD2 is at Bristol and has spent her first year in Badock Hall. She says it is the best hall (but she would!). It is catered and slightly scruffy but she has made loads of friends and has had a fantastic time. They have a bar area and do regular ‘formal’ dinners which she has really enjoyed. She says Churchill and Wills both look better but are full of weird posh people (her view not mine). No-one wants to go to town centre ones-social death. Stoke Bishop is seen as the place to be and it is definitely not quiet (as far as i can see). There is a bus service form Stoke Bishop or they can walk into the uni. Goldney is lovely too and nearer the uni but again is seen as a bit posh. Hope this helps!

Peaceandl0ve Sat 27-May-17 11:25:31

Another one with a DD in Stoke Bishop, Hiatt Baker though. She has loved her year there, in a flat with a mix of people although mostly private a grammar school backgrounds, she come from a v ordinary comp and has had no issues mixing. She has passed no comment on any of the other halls accross Bristol except for the usual ones about Wills Hall.
DD is in self catering ensuite, the rooms are lovely and the kitchen well equiped. The gym on site is a bit small but ok, the buses into the city are ok but a bit busy at peak times.
Access to the Downs for letting off stram was most welcome but all students are warned anout the danger re bieing on the downs at night on their own at night.

bevelino Sat 27-May-17 14:08:13

Bristol has a good mix of accommodation priced for different budgets. However some of the catered halls are quite expensive.

Is this why some of the catered halls have high numbers of students from private schools?

happyhebe Sat 27-May-17 14:20:55

Ds is from a bog standard comprehensive and we're not well off at all so I think maybe he will be happier in accommodation with more state school pupils.

thesandwich Sat 27-May-17 15:17:41

Dd at Stoke bishop echos not wills- hyatt b has a reputation allegedly as being a bit druggy, Churchill possible? Durdham is known as deadham and quiet but many are v happy there.

Needmoresleep Sat 27-May-17 15:29:49

DD's Bristol offer last year came through very late when she was immersed in course work and revision, plus she had not been to an open day, so I did so desk research for her.

Interestingly posters in The Student Room seemed to prefer the newer, private City Centre accommodation on the basis it was closer to night life and more likely to offer en-suites, neither of which are important to DD. In the end she deferred her place, so has bee dong her own research.

She will want to be close to sports facilities, which I understand are in Stoke Bishop. In terms of social mix, there are private schools and private schools, in the same way that there are state and state. DD was in a City Centre co-ed and suspects she won't necessarily have have much in common with those coming out of single sex boarding schools. (There was a noticeable and rather flash London party circuit which seemed to have a heavy mix of London based boarders returning for the weekends. Not something either DC was interested in then and not a group they would want to pick up with at University) Her school also does not seem to have much of a tradition of sending pupils, especially scientists, to Bristol, and indeed she will be the first medic for over a decade. Wills is on her list of places to avoid.

Working a ski season has been a great way for her to branch out beyond her London social bubble, which ought to stand her in good stead at University. But actually I don't think either her or her brother's friends have based their University friendship groups on background. Perhaps this is more of a humanities thing. Instead friends seem to share course or interests, and include a good tranche of international students. DD will take people as she finds them, and I hope others do the same with her.

happyhebe Sat 27-May-17 16:09:18

He's now thinking of city centre Ines so he can walk to lectures, I'm surprised but it's his choices, thsnks for the info.

bojorojo Sat 27-May-17 16:32:42

It is interesting that young people go to university already seeking to avoid people they may not be comfortable with! Surely university is where you get to know all sorts of people from a variety of backgrounds and not go with prejudiced ideas. It is sad that anyone is avoiding halls or thinks some young people are weird! I would love to know if a Doctor would have such an aversion to people from a different background if they had to treat them! They will find they are on their course so there is a need to have a flexible attitude.

My DD was in Wills and is perfectly normal. In her group of rooms there was a medic from a comp whose father was in prison. No problems with everyone mixing at all. Just ordinary young people who wanted to make friends and enjoy their university experience with whoever they met from whatever background. Fortunately they were grown up enough to do just that!

Izzadoraduncancan Sat 27-May-17 17:13:14

I am a Bristol University graduate. I stayed in Wills Hall, both my first and third years and loved it. A great range of people, great friends and I loved the fact in my group of friends were ex Etonians, a prince and lots of people from very different backgrounds.

I was from an inner London comp, brought up in a council house with my fabulous single mum... can't say I let it hold me back wink

ElfrideSwancourt Sat 27-May-17 17:47:27

My daughter is just finishing her second year at Bristol uni. She was in Badock in 1st year; it was ok but a long way from uni (at least 45min walk) so makes social life difficult.

Also the vast majority of Bristol students are from private schools- we didn't know this before; not sure if it would have changed her plans.

She was at a good comprehensive- one other friend from her school is on her course too and both are at the top of their year on abc prestigious coursesmile(yes I'm very proud)

bojorojo Sat 27-May-17 18:31:25

No-one walks back to Stoke Bishop!!!! Students are advised against this at night for safety and there is no need to do this at all. The buses are plentiful and were costed into the price of the halls. Taxis are very reasonable if sharing after a night out.

The vast majority of students are not from private schools although Bristol has a higher percentage but why would anyone not go to a university because of that? Would you not go to a university because there were too many foreign students, or others not from your tribe? Why on earth can young people not mix? Why are they so tribal? Working life will be about getting on with people however bright you may be! You cannot pick and choose your tribe as work colleagues.

Ontopofthesunset Sat 27-May-17 18:39:17

My son's been in catered accommodation at Hiatt Baker this year. He says he wishes he'd been self-catering as he's missed so many weekday evening meals because of sports commitments and rehearsals - and if you're catered you only have a microwave and toaster in the kitchen, so a lot of Co-op 2 for 1 microwave meals late at night. Room very small and not enough showers really per student - but on the plus side he's very quick in the shower now!

The distance is an issue as the buses are often late and very crowded. He walks it a lot and has an Uber account for late night emergencies (but obviously can't afford to use this often).

He's made most of his friends through his course and activities rather than the halls, but I guess that works out differently for everyone.

Needmoresleep Sat 27-May-17 19:42:54

bojorojo, good to know public school cliques are not a problem at Bristol. DD has been hearing of problems elsewhere, to the extent that one of her best friends, at a University with a similar reputation, is very careful never to reveal where he went to school. He wants to be free to mix with whoever he wants without assumptions being made.

The reverse was true of my DN's. They had been at a naice girls-only boarding school in the home counties and had a lovely time at University. However they largely mixed with the sort of people they had known from London parties and indeed a good part of their third year social life seemed to be based on attending rather grand 21st birthday parties, their own was in a top London hotel. They have retained the same friends now they are back in London. My DC are not able to afford to keep up with this sort of group, but also would not want to. Both have taken, or will be taking very heavily loaded degrees, and so friends have come, or are likely to come, from their course or key interests.

Should my daughter not worry? Her friendship group at school was seriously international, but most have decided to stay in more-cosmopolitan London, with some going to Oxbridge or the US. She has been surprised at how small the percentage of international students is at Bristol.

Also, if most students study in the library, what time is it open to and what time do the buses run to. Is there no provision for quiet study in halls?

user1495911498 Sat 27-May-17 20:39:09

My son is just finishing his first year at Bristol. It's a great city and he loves his course. The only regret he has is the hall which he picked (Wills Hall). He chose it for the traditional aesthetic (looks like Hogwarts!) and the location of Stoke Bishop. I had some initial misgivings - we had read it had a reputation for attracting mostly privately educated students (son went to an average comp), but decided that it wouldn't be a problem - my son is very sociable and gets on with pretty much everyone.
The first few weeks were fine but as time went on he began to feel more and more of an 'odd one out' among the others in his block. All except him were from private schools. Unfortunately there is some truth to the concept of 'tribes' and the others seemed to form a clique based on background etc. I don't think there was any bullying involved, just that my son felt 'alien' if that makes sense?
He was the only one who took a part-time job - the others were just bankrolled by parents. (which is fine if you can afford to do that, but we can't) and they seemed to regard him as rather quaint / sad for doing so. This sort of smug complacency and sense of entitlement is apparently rife amongst the students at this hall - to the extent that other halls mock them for it!
I feel sad for him - this should have been a fabulous year, making lots of new friends from different backgrounds etc, but instead I think he's been quite lonely. He has made friends with people on his course, from different halls, but was pretty isolated during his time at Wills.
This isn't to say that others would have the same experience of course, but it might be worth bearing in mind when choosing a hall.

bojorojo Sat 27-May-17 21:37:19

I would say the large majority of students do not have part time jobs at Bristol though so in any hall he would have been a minority. It's just the way it is. There are lots of ordinary students in Wills but more privately educated in the old quad due to shared bathrooms and ancient furnishings. For a catered hall it is not expensive in that part of the hall. It is very odd to find you cannot make friends with anyone at all in a large hall. However, if you work, then maybe you miss hall events, are not around to mix and have isolated yourself from social events or even hanging around in the tv room. Even if students are privately educated it does not mean they are fabulously wealthy but a few are. It would be the same at Oxford or Cambridge.

Some students work happily in their rooms. My DD liked the library and it suited her course and study patterns. You could check opening hours and bus times but DD found it ok for her. She continued after university with two post grad courses and used libraries again rather than study at home. Obviously everyone is different and choices will depend on the amount of contact time, whether you need the library and what the course is. It wasn't full of vets, medics or engineers!

DD knew of a Chinese society for the Chinese students but she didn't notice high numbers of overseas students. DDs Nigerian friend went to Bristol to do Law.

Only a handful of DDs London based friends went to university in London. She did not keep going back for parties in term time. In fact she wasn't friendly with anyone who did this regularly but again it varies year on year. The Exeter crew came to Bristol to visit! DD visited friends in Edinburgh. I think it is easy to find people who do things differently if you look for them but you can make friends in hall, on the course or playing sport, music or being a member of the tidily winks club. It doesn't matter as long as you have mates for a second year house!

BasiliskStare Sat 27-May-17 22:16:07

I cannot speak about Bristol per se as my son did not go there , DH did some time ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

However from the general point of if you were at a state / private / public school ( or not) and would it be a problem , I would just like to say that I do not think it would be. My Ds has a great range of friends from all sorts of schools. 2nd Yr university , it has never seemed to be a problem with making friends . They get on very well all of them.

JanetBrown2015 Sun 28-May-17 15:45:38

My daughter went to Wills Hall and loved it. My twins will be applyying for Bristol accommodation - God knows when probably on the last day you can apply unless I can nudge them to do it next week. I think they want to be in separate halls. They go to a fee paying school but get on with all kinds of people. I would like one at least to apply to Wills as their sister had such a good time there and like the feel of the place and spent quite a bit of time there but it's entirely up to them.

I think they will go for catered and out in Stoke Bishop and they want en suite rooms if they can get them. May be one should go to Churchill and one Wills?

I will be following the thread with interest.

DulwichMumsy Sun 28-May-17 16:31:06

Following this thread too!

DD is from all girls private school in London but I don't think backgrounds should really be the basis for mixing anyway.
DD is very indecisive so we've gone backwards and forwards with decisions. She wants Stoke Bishop as everyone at Bristol that she has spoken to has said it's very sociable. She really likes the sound of Wills and Churchill - but problem with DD is that she's a very fussy eater. The food at her current school is amazing but she always complains - a girl at Bristol who was at her school said the catered food is worse than DD's current school food, so she advised against catered.

This leaves DD with Hiatt Baker self catered - which seems great because DD also wants an en suite. But it's incredibly oversubscribed. Durdham is an option because it is self catered and has ensuites but apparently very boring (no idea why).

So DD would rather catered because apparently it's easier to make friends (no idea how true that is as DS was self catered for first year at Warwick and loved it). But self-catered is a much better option, otheriwise she won't end up eating!!

JanetBrown2015 Sun 28-May-17 17:21:05

I think catered even if you don't eat any of the food is better. You can always buy a lot of your food to eat in the room but at least you're socialising with others at meals.

However my boys I doubt have even thought about it. At least your daughter has. I did send them a live to the pros and cons of Wills v Churchill earlier but that did not spark a response. To be fair they are very busy revising. One son did mention some rooms at newer places looking nice but I don't want them to choose based on quality of the decor. My daughter got some kind of conditional place at Wills and they said come on the day as usually some people drop out and that was indeed the case although I remember our concerns on the first day - where would she end up. The idea was you could start in emergency rooms - she must have got a back up place or something there. By the time we arrived 5 people had decided not to come or take a year off and there was a room for her.

thesandwich Sun 28-May-17 17:29:20

The catered halls have very limited food storage and preparation facilities, and fridges are not allowed in rooms.

DulwichMumsy Sun 28-May-17 17:53:08

I agree JanetBrown - I suggested that to her. But we discovered that catered halls only have a small fridge and microwave, so not much chance of DD making a full meal at times when she doesn't like food on offer. Knowing her if she was in catered she would just end up snacking all the time and blame it on lack of proper kitchen facilities.

The ideal would be catered residence with a full kitchen, sadly can't get the best of both worlds.

DD has been revising so much recently that she hasn't really thought about it, but fortunately she did some accommodation research way before the revision period started so that she wouldn't have to think about it now. However, her research months ago clearly wasn't that helpful as she is still clueless.

Rosieposy4 Sun 28-May-17 17:56:23

All of mine have self catered at varoius unis and made plenty of freinds. The self catered flats have at three diffferent unis all been in big groups, and then other flats immediately around.
One child was at Bristol at Manor and had an excellent first year there.

thesandwich Sun 28-May-17 18:57:44

Dulwich mummy- I believe you can get a meal plan for catered meals at another hall if self catered at Stoke bishop? Check it out with the accommodation department.

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