Friday, 10 May 2013

Top Tips for First Year Undergaduate Accommodation

Pascoe lived in a UEA ziggurat
Cost.  Your budget is the main factor, but below are some of the other criteria you should be juggling.

Where is everybody?  Make sure you are on a site with loads of others – even if it’s a bit further out.  Where most of the people are will be the best place to find a social life.

Location, location, location.  Not too far from your faculty – a block that’s convenient for the humanities faculty may be a long trek from sciences.  This is significant if you are in a subject with 9am lectures.

Transport.  A popular bus route or a flat run for a bicycle may make something a bit further out seem practical after all.

Who’s washing up is this?  How many people are you sharing a flat with?  Are the facilities adequate?  Having said that, Pascoe at UEA shared a self-catering flat  with thirteen others, served by a four-ring hob and a couple of microwaves and there seemed to be very little difficulty in gaining access – the single sink caused more problems.

Party block?  Some blocks seem to have more of a noisy, boozy reputation than others – current undergraduates can warn/recommend.

Would you mind breathing more quietly?  In an environment where some freshers are turning nocturnal while others have to put in a standard day at the labs, ask previous occupants how good sound-proofing between rooms is.  Student Union websites are sometimes prepared to forward queries.

En suite.  A real red herring.  You pay more for these but the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. If you share a bathroom with others it is usual for a cleaner to attend to it.  Not so with your en suite.  It can also make your room somewhat damp and smelly.  You’ll probably be in a house with a shared bathroom next year anyway, so just get used to it.

Wash basin.  A wash basin in your room is a real boon.

Storage.  You can fit so much more junk into a well-designed room with fitted cupboards, drawers under the bed, overhead lockers etc.  On the other hand, that’s more to remove at the end of the term.

Occupation during the holidays.  Some accommodation is used for conferences during the academic holidays.  This may save you money in that you don’t have to pay rent on those weeks but can also be hugely inconvenient as you have to move some or all of your clobber home each holiday (ask if a lockable cupboard is provided).  It also means there is less flexibility about living on the premises to catch up with study before or after term.


“She’s been gone ten years – vanished. But now she’s reappeared and I can’t believe her story.”

Drolls and Weirds, a historical romance set in Cornwall, available soon via this website.