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Please help- bristol accommodation options!

(103 Posts)
questioner123 Thu 02-May-19 15:29:28

Hi everyone,

Me again, I'm after some advice regarding Bristol accommodation choices.

DD finally decide after my last post to go with self-catered accommodation. She is both an introvert and extrovert- likes to be social, spend time with friends but isn't massively outgoing, loud, confident etc., doesn't do drugs and isn't a massive drinker, so she is a bit worried about choosing a hall say Hiatt Baker in Stoke Bishop which has a reputation for being druggy and full of people who want to party and get drunk.

Having said this, she does like to make friends, go out maybe once or twice a week, and do nice things- she prefers company rather than being on her own! This is all coming from her by the way, she wanted to see whether any of you have any experience with Bristol.

En-suite has always been a top priority, but she really likes the look of Goldney Hall, but has very few en-suites... so not sure what to do.

Can any of you help with some advice regarding city centre halls/Goldney hall/Stoke bishop halls please??

Many thanks smile

KnitterOfSocks Thu 02-May-19 15:38:42

Hiatt Baker was knows as the Shite Bunker when I was at Bristol, so unless it's massively changed I would avoid! Up at Stoke Bishop, Durdham is lovely with s/c and en suites. I don't know the Clifton halls well I'm afraid, sorry.

Needmoresleep Thu 02-May-19 15:59:34

Knitter, when was that. DD was in Hiatt Baker self catering in her first year (she is second year now). It seemed practically brand new.

ladybee28 Thu 02-May-19 16:04:51

I was at Goldney, and loved it - gorgeous grounds, close to the city centre, and much less party-dickhead-land than all the Stoke Bishop lot.

En-suite... that will absolutely not be a big deal once she's there. Goldney is split into apartments with a shared bathroom, so it's not like you're choosing between sharing gym cubicles with a whole corridor vs having your own private bathroom. It's only 4 other people she'd share with – and she'll be sharing a bathroom with housemates as soon as she leaves halls, anyway, so Goldney is exactly the same.

She sounds a lot like me –and Stoke Bishop would have driven me BATS.

BubblesBuddy Thu 02-May-19 18:13:50

Hiatt Baker has been renovated. You really cannot pre determine where DC will choose that are not your cup of tea. I notice the catered halls still have wardens and this might have been a better idea. If she won’t share a bathroom, I guess options will be more limited. My DD had tons of friends there and none took drugs. You have to seek out people like you and actually you meet many more at the formals in the catered halls. However I think you just have to choose the accommodation she likes because you cannot choose the other students!

BubblesBuddy Thu 02-May-19 18:26:21

DD loved Stoke Bishop. The clubs and bars are not on the doorstep like they are in the city centre. Avoid private halls. The Riverside is very well placed for clubs and bars! If you are in SB, all the halls are ok and you are near sports facilities. The vast majority of students at Bristol are perfectly normal, despite a few horror stories.

Hollowvictory Thu 02-May-19 18:27:27

Godney is known as being v posh.

UCOinanOCG Thu 02-May-19 18:34:06

My DD2 was in Badock but that is catered. To me it looked tired and wrecked but she loved it and made loads of very good friends. It had a reputation for being full of stoners but she said there were stoners/posh people/heavy drinkers etc in all the halls. She found loads of fairly ordinary people just like her. She also made friends with loads of people in other halls. She is very sad to be graduating this year and leaving Bristol behind.

Veterinari Thu 02-May-19 18:37:28

There are some weird comments on this thread!

Do grown adults really think a university accommodation office analyses students for their ‘druggy’ potential and groups them all together in one hall hmm
Seriously think about what you’re actually typing! It’s ludicrous.

MarchingFrogs Thu 02-May-19 18:58:48

Do grown adults really think a university accommodation office analyses students for their ‘druggy’ potential and groups them all together in one hall

No, of course they don't -and in theory, each year brings a completely new set of residents with their own set of recreational activities of choice. However, once a hall has got a certain reputation, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy; especially, one might surmise, where the system is that certain halls can only be placed as first preference etc (rather than any one ranked wherever the applicant wants to rank it). Once it becomes 'received wisdom' that Hall X is where lots of people enjoy certain activities, e.g. smoking illegal substances, then more people who already enjoy doing that (or would like to get into that sort of thing once free of parental sanction) will put that hall as first preference and fewer people who really don't want to be associated with drugs will. All the university can really do is remind people that smoking is not allowed and that being found using drugs may / will get them kicked out. And most people work on the assumption that they won't be caught by anyone in a position of authority and / or that their flat / hallmates won't actually rat on them, so...

Needmoresleep Thu 02-May-19 19:12:05

My understanding was that the accommodation offices (changed now as they have been centralised) used to work quite hard to put like minded students together. There were no humanities or MFL students in DDs flat. They also use the profiles and preferences given, though this does not allow for the kid who goes wild away from the constraints of home. There are lots of swaps in the first term, but it seems pretty evenly balanced between those wanting out of a party flat and those finding their flat too quiet. Some of the flats are 12 undomesticated strangers who are expected to live together and get on.

BubblesBuddy Thu 02-May-19 19:57:52

That’s the same in any university non catered halls! That’s why catered can be better. No cooking required! No clearing up required. No parties in flats. Lots of advantages!

I don’t believe accommodation options have any reputation at all. How do 6th formers know? How does accommodation know? Most people choose what they can afford and whether they want formal catering or not. Wills is old fashioned. Worn around the edges really doesn’t describe it! DD really just needs to choose what appeals.

Veterinari Thu 02-May-19 19:58:43

Once it becomes 'received wisdom' that Hall X is where lots of people enjoy certain activities, e.g. smoking illegal substances, then more people who already enjoy doing that (or would like to get into that sort of thing once free of parental sanction) will put that hall as first preference and fewer people who really don't want to be associated with drugs will

If you want to take drugs, you can do it anywhere. It’s pretty illogical to think that the 748 students that end up in Hiatt baker have done so because drug-taking opportunities were their primary consideration in applying.

Also as it’s ‘received wisdom’ don’t You think the university wardens, security services etc would cotton on to any excessive issues?

My understanding was that the accommodation offices (changed now as they have been centralised) used to work quite hard to put like minded students together.

I’m sure they do. I just question whether ‘desire to take illegal drugs’ is one of their criteria confused

questioner123 Thu 02-May-19 21:02:19

Thank you everyone for your replies.

DD is unsure of going city centre or Stoke Bishop- is Hiatt Baker really as ‘druggy’ as it’s reputation/is durdham as quiet as it’s reputation? DD is looking for somewhere in between.

Dollywilde Thu 02-May-19 21:07:22

Back in my day (HB resident 2007!) Durham was druggier. That said my experience is out of date by 12 years.

SB halls in my experience have a better sense of community, socialising revolves around the bars rather than town.

Would agree that en-suite is a red herring - after a week it’s like a flat not a hotel.

Would advise your daughter to think about opportunities to bond rather than having her own shower, definitely. Goldney is gorgeous but I’d really advise against thinking HB is druggy - it’s big enough to find your own crowd.

Dollywilde Thu 02-May-19 21:08:10

Sorry just realised I meant Badock rather than Durdham! Been too long...

Dollywilde Thu 02-May-19 21:10:00

Has she considered Manor?

MarchingFrogs Thu 02-May-19 23:17:18

I don’t believe accommodation options have any reputation at all. How do 6th formers know?

For a start, one of the most common threads on any university forum on TSR - 'Which is the most 'sociable' accommodation'...? Responses not usually confined to which halls wherever it is consistently win the prize for the refinement of its tea partiesgrin.

Muchtootall Fri 03-May-19 09:11:16

My DD is in Wills and seems to love it. As Bubbles says it’s a bit worn around the edges but sociable and she has made lovely friends there. I do agree with Marching that certain halls seem to attract a type of student. Certainly when my DD was applying, she had heard via social media that halls like Baddock and Hiatt Baker had a very strong party vibe (and by inference drugs). She was worried about ending up in one of these halls if she didn’t get her first choice. So she didn’t try for Goldney as it is so oversubscribed and applied for Wills as a hall with a decent reputation where she felt she had more chance of getting in. However, if you end up in a hall you hate you can apply to move and there does seem to be some shuffling around in the first term. HTH.

BubblesBuddy Fri 03-May-19 10:33:45

So perhaps the best advice is to ignore the halls with the most responses on social
Media that say they are “sociable”. DD never looked at all this stuff. She was allocated Wills as Bristol was insurance and would have taken anywhere as they initially asked her to meet with other “homeless”
Students in September and look at private rented houses. All this angst makes me laugh really!

OP. Just choose a middle of the road hall. SB has activities on site and isn’t near the social activities of central Bristol. The ones who want constant drinking will be at Riverside or similar city centre locations. There are very many (thousands) of decent students at Bristol. When you see horror stories, they are outliers. They are not the experience of the vast majority. However you should bear in mind that the self catered units are more likely to have parties. They have space in the flats. The catered accommodation doesn’t. Therefore she had to decide what she values most. The risk of parties or catering for herself.

Needmoresleep Fri 03-May-19 10:43:20

That’s the same in any university non catered halls!

Bubbles though I appreciate your depth of knowledge, it would be useful if you could back up this statement. I had a long conversation about this with a friend who manages accommodation for a different University, who use a different design, allocation and security approach. She was not surprised Bristol have problems.

Xenia Fri 03-May-19 10:55:49

My son last year was at Wills Hall and his twin in Churchill Hall - both Stoke Bishop - both loved it; both in catered halls (not en suite but bathroom very near by).

Each hall will have lots of different personalities. My sons who don't smoke were surprised how many people smoke by the way (in all halls). We just don't know anyone who smokes these days so I am not sure why there are all these silly young people into cigarettes. I have never smoked either. Thankfully my sons don't smoke although they do drink if going out with friends.

They and their older siblings picked catered halls to avoid the need to cook in year 1 and because it felt a bit more sociable but I was put in self catered at university (not my choice) and managed fine. It will be fine either way. One of my sons was saying he has friends from his course (that course is on a field trip in Spain this week for example) and friends from his house and then just friend he has made through other people at university (never mind having his twin reasonably close by - sone of their friends over lap). So although I think in year 1 you tend to make most friends with those in your hall there are lots of other ways to make friends.

Also on MN we have some people who are very happy with their chidlren's university, Bristol etc (me and plenty of others) and others who have not had such a good time so do read views of many people before forming a view.

questioner123 Fri 03-May-19 16:03:46

Thank you all for your very helpful replies. I can always count on MN to have great advice!

Which halls would you suggest would be middle ground then, and ones maybe for DD to avoid- those of you who have had experience with Bristol accommodation? DD is stressing a lot about this as she wants to get it as right as she can.

Needmoresleep Fri 03-May-19 16:49:00

As bubbles says “When you see horror stories, they are outliers. They are not the experience of the vast majority. ” and on other threads the implication has been that it is the fault of the student if they find things difficult.

DD was one of those outliers. She found her first year very difficult. If she had her time again she would:

1. Ask for a move at the first sign of problems.
2. Avoid Stoke Bishop and aim for one of the Clifton Halls.

A third piece of advice might be not to agree to share a very big house in your second year. Decisions are made in your first term, and those that landed on their feet socially in their first year, rapidly making masses of friends who then formed big groups to rent second year houses, seem, almost without exception, to have since had massive fallings out. DD instead found three other outliers, who based their social lives round student societies rather than Clubbing, and has had a really good second year, and is looking forward to her third.

nicenewdusters Fri 03-May-19 17:00:07

I was in Churchill halls in Stoke Bishop many years ago. Loved it. In the new block, where I was, it was one bathroom between two, but the downside was a much smaller bedroom.

One of my tutors was the head of Wills Hall. That also had a good reputation, but he used to laugh about the fact that it was seen as an oxbridge type hall, due to it's looks.

Badock always seemed like party central but I had friends who liked it there for that reason.

The downside to Stoke Bishop is that you have to cross the downs to get there. Beautiful walk during the day, not so nice at night. Also you're "out" of things a bit, but then Bristol isn't a campus, you're just further away from the lecture buildings, SU etc.

Halls give you immediate access to a group of potential friends, safety, adults you can turn to, on site entertainment.

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