Choosing and applying for accommodation

Our Offer Holder Visit Days are almost over for another year, with the final one for 2019 being held tomorrow (Wednesday 27 March). We have really enjoyed meeting you and your families, and helping to answer your many and varied questions!

With just 2 weeks to go until our Accommodation Applications open, we thought it might be useful if this week’s blog addressed some of your frequently asked questions from prospective undergraduate students about choosing and applying for accommodation.

What is more popular – catered or self-catered?
This is really difficult to answer! Statistically, 23% of our undergraduate bedspaces are in catered accommodation, and 77% are in self-catered accommodation. Incredibly, last year, 23% of applicants wanted catered accommodation and 77% wanted self-catered! So you could argue that self-catered is more popular, but then we also have more self-catered beds to be able to meet that demand. My advice would be to go with what suits your own needs. Some students like to know that their food is already budgeted for and don’t want to have to plan meals and cook for themselves; other students want the complete flexibility that comes with self-catering.

Is all the accommodation on campus?
No. All of our catered halls are on campus but we have self-catered residences at various locations across Streatham campus, the city centre and close to St Luke’s campus. About 55% of self-catered bedspaces are on campus but it is worth bearing in mind that Exeter is a small city – you can walk from our city centre residences to the centre of Streatham within 15-20 minutes. Take a look at our Walking Distance map to find out more.

How many residences do I choose on my application?
We ask you to express 4 preferences when you apply. You then rank these preferences in order of, well, preference! You’ll note that we describe these as “preferences” rather than “choices” because we can’t guarantee that you will definitely be offered one of these four. We have over 5000 beds available to new undergraduates, and a further 900 for postgraduates and other students; if everyone selected the same 4 residences then I would be a genius if I could find a way to allocate you all to exactly where you wanted to be!

So how likely is it that I will get one of my preferences?
Sadly, being able to see into the future is not one of my skills. But looking at last year’s applicants, 66% got their first preference of residence, 76% got one of their top three preferences and 79% got one of their top four preferences. So there is a pretty good chance that you will be offered one of your preferences, but we just can’t predict what each year’s applications will be. If demand for particular residences means that we are unable to match you to one of your four preferred residences, then we will look at what you selected and try and place you in the next best option. So if, for example, you picked four on-campus, en-suite residences, then we would look to another on-campus, en-suite residence. If these were full then we would look to the next best off-campus, en-suite residence, and so on. Our webpage can give you more detail on our Room Allocation Procedure.

What are the most popular residences?
Generally speaking, it is the on-campus residences, and in particular those which have been shown on Open Days and Offer Holder Visit Days, as these are the residences that students remember seeing! For self-catered: Lafrowda, Rowe & St German’s, Birks Grange Village and Exeter One were last year’s most popular choices, all seeing two applications for every bedspace. For catered: Holland Hall, Mardon and Pennsylvania Court were the top three. But who knows what 2019 applicants will be choosing?! I would warn you not to try and second guess the popularity of a residence; just go with what you would be happy being offered and see what happens.

When do applications open?
For those of you holding a firm academic offer with us which starts in September 2019, applications for accommodation open from 10am on Monday 8 April and as long as you apply by 31 July then you may fall within our accommodation guarantee. Applications for undergraduates are not processed on a first-come, first-served basis so please do not rush to apply at 10am on 8 April!! If you are deferred applicant then we advise you to submit your application by mid-May: as your results are already confirmed we will be able to process your application sooner. If you are planning to defer your place for another year, then you will not need to apply until the April of your year of entry. Take a look at our When to Apply page to find out more.

A final note about building works
If you have been able to visit us over the past year then you will probably be aware that some of our on-campus self-catered residences are undergoing a programme of repairs and improvements. Our dedicated Essential Repairs and Improvements webpage has recently been updated to tell you everything you need to know about these works including the blocks which will be affected, and answers lots of frequently asked questions. If you are considering living in Lafrowda, Birks Grange Village or Duryard then it is well worth reading this information before you make your application for accommodation.

Next week’s blog will look at what you need to do to get ready to apply for accommodation, creating your accommodation account, how to apply and what happens if Exeter is your insurance choice.

Accommodation Meridith

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