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accommodation at insurance university - not guaranteed at Exeter?

(30 Posts)
Thatdidntlastlong Wed 19-Sep-18 10:40:31

Perhaps a slightly micro question,! I know some univs do guarantee accommodation to all 1st years (subject to exceptions like it not being your first degree etc ...) - including the students who made it their insurance university.

Others do not...... including Exeter I think? In practice is this a problem for students who go to their insurance?

And even more micro, some universities start allocating the accommodation well before a level results - so even if you do have a guarantee as an insurance student, are you left with the less desired places after the results are out? - and in practice is this a problem?

Any info from those who have experience of this with older dc v gratefully received!

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Thatdidntlastlong Wed 19-Sep-18 11:32:24

And, on idly browsing, I have come across a thread from 2017 on this very issue! Plus ca change....

It obviously varies from university to university as to how much of an issue it is - just wondering, has anyone had any more recent experience of looking for accommodation as an insurance student?

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BubblesBuddy Wed 19-Sep-18 16:07:42

It varies from year to year. There isn’t a definitive answer. If there is a dip in applications, more will get accommodation if a university usually struggles with insurance/clearing students. Exeter do have a page on their accommodation site telling students what to do after 1 August. It doesn’t give the student any choice other then catered/self catered, room type and something else. In reality you will get accommodation that’s available and popular halls may well be full.

My DD was insurance years ago and got a shared room in a hall at her university. She would have chosen that hall. Better than sharing a private house rental with people you are paired off with on “accommodation weekend”. The Hall was in her preferred location, so she took it. It was stressful when she didn’t get allocated anything in the first place though. It was the last year of the lower fees though so lots of students. More accommodation has been built since.

Some of the very popular universities have tended to have accommodation problems but I don’t think anyone can be certain about what accommodation will be offered for insurance/clearing students. It’s a risk and some should consider reapplying if accommodation is a major concern.

Malbecfan Wed 19-Sep-18 17:25:13

Judging by the amount of building work in the centre of Exeter, I would think that nearly every student who was willing to pay the prices charged by these providers would be able to get a place. These are not owned or managed by the university but the private providers.

Decorhate Wed 19-Sep-18 18:11:22

From what I've read, more and more unis are only guaranteeing accommodation for first years who firm them. But of course that might just be a ploy! And allegedly the number of applicants is dropping.

Dd''s insurance (which she went to) did guarantee accommodation a few years ago - there was a bit of a delay getting a place allocated but it worked out really well.

BubblesBuddy Wed 19-Sep-18 23:18:19

The private providers tend to be more expensive because they are new blocks with mod cons. Often they feel remote from university life. If nearly everyone else is on campus, and you aren’t, it can be a bit isolating.

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 08:13:31

thanks all - I'm beginning to understand why some advise deferring (or even reapplying) for accommodation reasons if you miss the firm place! though seems drastic in a way - and on the earlier thread a few pp pointed out that even with their firm places they ended up with accom that wasn't on their list of choices and not what they wanted!

I suppose at Exeter all the students at the private provider halls would at least be at the same university ie Exeter! (unlike maybe in say London where they'll be at a variety of institutions?) so perhaps they are less isolated in that case. Although of course off campus which is not ideal if you have chosen it because you want a campus university.

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NameChangedAgain18 Thu 20-Sep-18 08:23:44

My DD was insurance years ago and got a shared room in a hall at her university.

If a university offers a shared room, ask them if they have a policy of gender self-ID and whether they allocate shared bedrooms according to that. I imagine that not many girls would be happy to find themselves sharing a bedroom with a male-bodied person, and to be treated like a bigot if they object to it. This might sound unlikely to happen, but self-ID is a policy at many universities now (it is in the one I work at) and this kind of thing will be a result.

cathyandclare Thu 20-Sep-18 09:09:09

DD2's boyfriend ended up taking a gap year because of the accommodation problem at Exeter (something he absolutely doesn't regret) and we have a friend who has had to find private accommodation in Leeds. It's tricky and stressful.

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 09:15:23

Thanks so much CandC - what would ddbf have got as accom at Exeter if he hadn't taken the gap year?

Has the private accommodation in Leeds been ok or is it too early to know? I guess it partly depends if it is 'student' accommodation - but also, in private halls are there bars, common rooms, shared kitchens, pool tables etc or do they tend just to be bedrooms?

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Decorhate Thu 20-Sep-18 10:25:42

I think one of the issues with private accommodation in Leeds has been the distance from the campus & the lack of public transport after a certain time in the evening. Not sure if this has been resolved. Plus there are several other universities & HE institutes in Leeds so it could be a mix of students.

By contrast, we looked at the new private accommodation in Birmingham last weekend. It is much neater campus than the university owned accommodation & in the area where students usually rent after first year so would be our preference. No difference pricewise to similar university accommodation

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 10:33:25

Thanks dechorate, that's very interesting - is the Birmingham university accommodation not on the campus then (if the private is nearer to the campus)? (If not in what sense is Birmingham a campus.....)

It sounds as though certain universities may have particular problems with insurance accommodation, whereas others there's still no 'accommodation guarantee' for insurance students but in reality it's not such a practical problem.

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BubblesBuddy Thu 20-Sep-18 10:36:19

For example: the private halls in Bristol are in the city centre and not very near the university area. The university halls are mostly in Stoke Bishop 2 miles from the university. Seeing and socialising with friends in Stoke Bishop would be difficult. DD had no friends in the city centre halls at all. Some people love them as they are modern and nearer the clubs. Living there wasn’t DDs idea of her life at university. Nor was it sharing a private house (rental to be paid for a year) with people who also couldn’t get accommodation. You would never be included in anything that happened at a hall. You would be stuck with a handful of people. Halls give way more choice. She didn’t want to defer as it was a 4 year course but you do have to consider wellbeing.

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 10:43:47

"You would never be included in anything that happened at a hall."

Exactly a concern, especially for those students who are quite shy and retiring in new situations. I wonder if the private halls organise events? - if so that would alleviate the problem a bit (though not in a house share I agree.)

Sounding as though it may be best not to assume the insurance option is better than a gap year. I did know of a student who by the time the A level results came out was adamant would not go to insurance because of the accommodation implications - in that case the student got into firm, so who knows whether would have changed mind if not? Some are really really keen to leave home by that stage and these days university may be the easiest (although also most expensive) way of doing it.

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BubblesBuddy Thu 20-Sep-18 10:44:01

Op: you just cannot call it year on year. You have to take what comes, results, insurance, clearing, accommodation and agree to it or reject it and ask to defer. Each student is different. Many universities don’t guarantee what you ask for even if you meet the deadline. Durham being one. Others, such as Bristol, have very popular oversubscribed halls and others less so. Plenty can be disappointed.

Private halls can cost more, have a mix of students from different universities and are not on campus. They really are not the same as halls on a campus where you can easily go to another hall to see a friend. They tend to be very self contained but suit students who want higher quality bathrooms and maybe don’t socialise that much. Many in London are popular with overseas students. You do have to think about what would suit your DC.

Needmoresleep Thu 20-Sep-18 10:52:49

I think everyone's experience is different. Bubbles DD was having a brillliant time in one Hall whilst DD really struggled in the adjascent one. A flat of 12. No effective supervision, and it was a rare night when you were not woken at 4.00am.

As with anything it all depends...

DDs course was heavily weighted with a lot of 9.00am starts, some far outside the University City. So she could not join the others in turning nocternal, and simply watching lectures on catchup.

In retrospect she should have been in a city centre hall, which have a reputation for being quieter, and where fellow students would have been less affluent. Equally she is very happy now in a flat with others who are considerate and wash up.

She got her first choice hall, but would rather drop out than repeat that year.

So much depends on fellow students and their lifestyle.

BubblesBuddy Thu 20-Sep-18 15:26:04

It does! However some private halls are very expensive. I walked by ones in Vauxhall the other day and their swimming pool was being advertised! £195 a week minimum rent. Up to £295. They have spaces but are truly after the affluent!

My DD had the cheapest room as she shared! It was catered and cost exactly her minimum loan. There was a mixture of young people but her block of 6 bedrooms had no sitting room. One manky bathroom and a “kitchen” with no cooking facilities except a microwave! The only people who were taking the rooms were ex boarding school or the poorest! It was basic! Dd kept her shoes in the fireplace.

Needmoresleep Thu 20-Sep-18 15:41:52

All Universities have expensive accommodation, and private new build in Central London with swimming pool and close .to the US embassy will be aimed firmly at the overseas student market. A good proportion of students there will be at smaller obscure colleges and London campuses of US Universities. Not relevant to Exeter or indeed for most London students.

More relevant perhaps is the fact that different halls will appeal to different groups. So though a hall may look great if you are not, say, ex boarding school, you may find yourself quite isolated wondering why everyone seems to already know each other and why they appear to be so well off.

Again, it is about luck and individual preferences. DD would have preferred to have been in a flat where people could not afford a year of big nights out multiple times a week. But then, from what Bubbles says, her DD would find mine very dull indeed. Perhaps they will meet this year smile

titchy Thu 20-Sep-18 16:39:58

There was lots of spare accommodation at Exeter last year!

Decorhate Thu 20-Sep-18 17:18:11

Thatdidntlastlong Most of the university accommodation seems to be in The Vale. I'm not sure if all the land between the main university buildings & that accommodation area is owned by the university. It possibly is so the accommodation is technically on campus but 20-30 minutes walk away.

The private halls we looked at are literally just outside the southern boundary on the Selly Oaks side (and so on the side where ds's subject area have lectures). I don't think you even had to cross a main road.

Alwa Thu 20-Sep-18 19:40:58

Two years ago the accommodation in Exeter was highly oversubscribed. No idea what it was like this year.

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 19:44:08

thanks so much all - it is so useful to get the inside info. Titchy, was the spare accommodation at Exeter actual university accommodation or private halls?

As pp are saying it does obviously vary from year to year. I think the important message for students is to be prepared to review the situation after the A level results, depending what the options are - and not assume that going to the insurance is necessarily the best thing. Flexibility is all!

I've heard of the Vale decorhate - from what i've heard it's popular, though 30 mins would be quite a walk! Is it cycling-friendly?

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titchy Thu 20-Sep-18 19:49:47

Actual university owned halls. On campus. Obviously no guarantees year on year though.

Thatdidntlastlong Thu 20-Sep-18 20:12:39

thanks titchy - no, and in fact i cross posted with alwa! Maybe they've built some more which has come on stream since then....

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jeanne16 Thu 20-Sep-18 20:55:00

I don’t believe any of the unis will guarantee accommodation for 1st years if it is your insurance. They are now in a ‘bums on seats’ game.

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