Mixed or single sex halls?

(38 Posts)
user1497207191 Sat 21-Sep-19 14:20:13

When we started looking at Unis, we just assumed mixed halls were best for our DS.

We've been talking to some friends and neighbours and some of the mixed sex uni accommodation experiences sound pretty horrific. Lots of "pressure" to go clubbing/partying, bullying, etc. A couple of them have said their children had wished they'd done single sex instead. One said his lad came home at Christmas in year 1 and wouldn't go back because there were only a couple of other lads in his "flat" and they were both heavy drinkers/partygoers and they had nothing in common.

It's got us thinking. DS isn't particularly sporty, doesn't go partying, generally very quiet just sitting at home playing computer games, etc. His school friends tend to be likewise, quiet more "geeky" types and he doesn't really go around with the sporty/popular lads.

I'm wondering if single sex halls would be more likely to have like-minded "quiet" boys that he may be more comfortable around? It looks like it's the "noisy", outgoing, popular, sporty lads who go into the mixed halls.

Anyone got any experience of the reality of mixed versus single sex dorms?

OP’s posts: |
MillicentMartha Sat 21-Sep-19 15:25:36

Are there any single sex halls? Even in my day, 35 years ago, I hadn’t heard of any. Single sex corridors within a hall maybe? I’ve just done the open day season again with DS3 and none of his 6 or any of DS1’s 4 different visits had single sex halls that we came across.

Scabetty Sat 21-Sep-19 15:29:31

Dd is off this week to uni and no sngle sex halls were offered. She visited about 6.

Scabetty Sat 21-Sep-19 15:47:34

Dd says you can request ‘quiet’ rooms where she is going but can’t see how single sex halls would be less ‘party’. I see her point.

ListeningQuietly Sat 21-Sep-19 15:55:50

Are there single sex halls?

MandMand Sat 21-Sep-19 16:05:51

Some universities may offer a couple of single sex or "quiet" flats or blocks within their halls, but it's worth being aware that these will mostly be chosen by students from religious backgrounds where drinking and mixing with members of the opposite sex are not allowed, or by overseas students from similar cultures. Your son could risk feeling rather isolated if he ends up in a flat where no one wants to go out and socialise or get involved in student life.

smemorata Sat 21-Sep-19 16:09:16

I was in a single sex hall but that was more than 20 years ago and it is no longer single sex! Loved it though.


BubblesBuddy Sat 21-Sep-19 16:10:41

I think the best bet is to see if there are quiet rooms or corridors. Single sex is usually zoned and not an entire hall. Boys only might even be more of a drinking hall though! Also ask to move if the hall doesn’t suit. However the vast majority of students find friends and not all student go clubbing. However just sitting around for 3 years playing computer games seems a very limited experience when at university and there is so much else to do. I would encourage a bit more engagement with other students and activities or he could be lonely.

MrsPellegrinoPetrichor Sat 21-Sep-19 16:12:38

Why would single sex make a difference?confused

Ds filled out a form to say who he's be happy sharing with.

Cohle Sat 21-Sep-19 16:15:00

What does your DS think about it?

Personally I think mixing with different people with a diverse range of interests and personalities is part of the university experience. I don't think approaching the experience with a negative, fearful attitude is necessarily helpful.

Xenia Sat 21-Sep-19 16:49:10

There aren't many. The ones that there are might be religious ones. Eg when I went there was a Catholic girls hall of residence with nuns on site - I used to visit a friend there. It seems very nice

My sons went to a boys only school and plenty parents picked that because their culture s do not allow girl/boy mixing or sex before marriage.

My son's year 1 hall at Bristol was mixed but they put him in a section with about 2 rooms on each of 3 floors which wa sall floors as it was a bit like a house so they made them single sex and he liked that but it is not a way to ensure quiet - quite the opposite with groups of boys. In fact his twin has liked being with girls for the first time (other than his sisters) in a mixed hall. He requested and was given a "quiet" corridor at those halls and then decided not to be a quiet boy any more when he started so I am not sure how that worked out for the people near him.

BubblesBuddy Sat 21-Sep-19 17:52:00

I too have seen meek and mild DC go mad at university! Let off the lead so to speak. One so much that at Cambridge she had to do resits. She discovered boys were fun!

pikapikachu Sat 21-Sep-19 18:03:20

No single sex halls at my son's uni. His uni is 60% female/40% Male so he's expecting more girls than boys when he arrives tomorrow. He gets along with boys and girls so wouldn't pick a single sex hall anyway.

seasidequayside Sat 21-Sep-19 19:57:58

A friend's daughter was in catered accommodation and she said she found it too quiet as the partying types tended to opt for self-catered - maybe the shared kitchen/eating area lends itself more to drinking and partying?

Different universities take different factors into account when allocating accommodation, so be sure to ask at open days whether there's an option for quiet people to ask to be housed together. Some unis have certain halls that are well known for parties, sportiness, etc, so ask about that at open days too.

seasidequayside Sat 21-Sep-19 20:09:30

I just did a quick google search and found that Bath, Bangor, Cardiff, Swansea and Loughborough all give the option of asking for quiet accommodation, and York doesn't. I'm sure it would be easy to find out about others with a big more digging (or just email the accommodation office and ask).

BackforGood Mon 23-Sep-19 23:57:55

Another who hasn't come across the option of single sex halls, in looking over 9 years, for 3 different dc.

However, mixed or single sex wouldn't determine the 'party vibe' of the flat.
Some Universities do offer quieter blocks.
However, if your dc doesn't want to go clubbing, then he doesn't have to. There isn't 'pressure' there are invitations.
All that said, just because he doesn't go to clubs at home, doesn't mean he might not want to visit with new found friends a lot of university life involves trying new things.

MarchingFrogs Tue 24-Sep-19 10:13:40

I'm wondering if single sex halls would be more likely to have like-minded "quiet" boys that he may be more comfortable around?

Have you (he? What does he actually want?) actually found any universities offering single-sex halls specifically for male students, then? As others have said, single-sex halls are very rare and then usually for female students who want / whose parents want on their behalf segregation on religious grounds. Outside of a Roman Catholic seminary, I can't think that anywhere would be likely to provide a whole accommodation block exclusively for males. Some universities do offer the possibility of single-sex flats or corridors, but again these, in practice, would usually be female only, also not necessarily guaranteed- the university is unliely to keep a room unlet whilst turning down a last applicant who happens to be the 'wrong variety', so to speak.

University students come in all shapes, sizes and interests and it is unlikely that your DS won't find others like him. Especially with the the number of posts one gets on internet forums about how worried parents are that their Not Like That offspring will be forced to go out and do things that others enjoy but they don't. Going along to clubs and societies that interest him would be a good way of finding people who, well, are interested on doing the same sort of things as him. And no need to give up playing computer games online with his old friends , either; DS1 certainly carried on doing this after they all moved on to different places geographically.

ifonly4 Tue 24-Sep-19 11:02:36

Personally, I don' think single sex halls will solve the problem. Male or female, you're going to get DCs that like partying, drinking, late nights and others that are quieter and might join more socieities and enjoy a chat over a meal. Also, on application DD would have applied for a quieter flat if given the choice, she's turned 18 since applying and although not interested in drinking, is enjoying socialising.

She had doubts about going catered (ie the cost and just walking into the dining hall on her own) but she said she's relaxed about it and is in with a large group so someone else is often there. If not, a quick meal and off to a society, so I wonder if catered is better as they can at least get away from a smaller flat.

VanCleefArpels Thu 26-Sep-19 13:11:35

some of the mixed sex uni accommodation experiences sound pretty horrific. Lots of "pressure" to go clubbing/partying, bullying, etc.

This is nothing to do with the gender mix of the Hall, but with the people in them. Any Hall, single sex (which actually do not exist!) or otherwise houses a random mix of people who all happen to want to study at the same university. There is no way of predicting any particular predilictions of a group in a flat.

For what it's worth if any student finds it uncomfortable to be in a particular flat in Halls then the university will do all they can to move them. And in my experience quieter kids are generally left to their devices if they don't want to join in.

GCAcademic Thu 26-Sep-19 13:23:01

Some universities do have single-sex accommodation, Oxford Brookes, for example.

The university I work at had single-sex accommodation, but changed it to single-gender a couple of years ago. They should have scrapped it altogether, because now there are women from conservative religious backgrounds who are signing up for these flats thinking they are single-sex when they’re not.

ArtieFufkinPolymerRecords Thu 26-Sep-19 19:36:21

Which halls are single sex at Brookes - it doesn't say any of them are on the website.

AuntieStella Thu 26-Sep-19 19:50:33

Halls with shared bathrooms usually zone by sex (probably gender, though)

Quiet zone (so you retreat to calm, go out to party) can be a good arrangement. But not all halls offer these.

First year flatmates can be ..... interesting. It's not sex, it's weird habits, smellly sports kit, chanting, primal screaming, whale music v thrash metal, Marxist sociology student with aristocratic agric (and any other stereotypes you care to chuck in)

GCAcademic Thu 26-Sep-19 21:50:49

It's single-sex flats, not entire halls, I think, that are available at Oxford Brookes:


ArtieFufkinPolymerRecords Thu 26-Sep-19 22:36:45

Oh I think it's quite common to ask if they are happy to live in mixed flats or not.

VanCleefArpels Fri 27-Sep-19 13:03:12

@ArtieFufkinPolymerRecords not in my experience (2 kids and their friends gone through this) - yes there is sometimes the possibility of quiet flats / Halls but sex and/or gender has never been mentioned on any of the universities I have either researched myself or where friends' kids have gone.

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