Don’t worry…

…about a thing, cos every little thing’s gonna be alright!  Who doesn’t love a bit of Bob Marley on a Wednesday, I ask you?

Now, applications have been open for just over a week, and we’re starting to hear from new students worrying about what to apply for, and who they might be living with in September. Allow me to give you a little insight into applications and allocations. This is going to be quite a long post, sorry…

First, applications. Some of you’ve seen residences you like at an Open Day, or on the website, have looked for more details and opinions from other students online, and now aren’t sure whether to apply for them because you haven’t found unanimously good reviews.

Point 1: If you’ve found a residence that meets all of your needs, that you liked visiting at an Open Day or that you like the look of online, apply for it. Remember, what you’re looking for from your accommodation may be very different to what someone else is or was looking for when they applied.

Point 2: Different people live in our accommodation each year, so the social environment of each residence will change each year, too. Keep this in mind when you’re looking at previous residents’ opinions of their accommodation – you’re probably not going to be living with the same people as them!

Point 3: It’s rarely the room that you live in that makes or breaks your uni experience. Instead, it’s the people you live and socialise with, and the effort you put in to getting to know them that makes a difference. We honestly work really hard to match up people with similar interests in our flats (more on this below), in the hope that you will each have something in common to get chatting about when you move in.

Which bring me on to allocations. My previous post tells you when we start to allocate, so here I’ll tell you how we allocate. Every allocation is done by hand – we don’t just set a computer up to offer random rooms:

When you apply for accommodation, you give us your top three preferred residences, your hobbies and interests, the age range and gender of your ideal flatmates, whether you’d prefer to be with slightly quieter people, which floor you’d ideally like to be on, whether you have any accessibility needs… Loads and loads of information. We don’t ask for these details and then just ignore them!

First, we look to see if you have any specific requirements (room type, location, specialist equipment within your room). Requests for this kind of thing should be backed up by a GP’s letter and support from the university’s AccessAbility team so that we can make sure you’re offered the most suitable room.

Then, we look at your preferred residence. If for any reason we can’t offer you a room in your top choice, we move on to your second, then your third. If we can’t offer you any of your preferences (it does happen, particularly if all of your preferences are for small halls), we look at the information you have given us in your application and find you the next closest match. So, if you’ve said that location is your top priority, we’ll try to offer you a room as close to your original three preferences as possible.

Once we’ve found a residence for you, we look at the other information you’ve given us about your ideal flatmates and your interests – every last detail, from the type of music you like to the sports you play – we read every note you’ve written! We find a flat/house/cluster that matches what you’ve asked for as closely as possible, and ta-da! You’re allocated!

Putting in this much effort to finding you all a nice room is time-consuming, but totally worth it. I know it sounds cheesy, but honestly, the happier you are in your accommodation, the happier we are!

You can help us by putting in as much detail as possible to your application form, and really thinking about what you tell us.  Are you really a quiet, studious, dubstep-loving raver? (I’m not saying you can’t be, and the odd silent-disco-type rave could be awesome, but probably not in your accommodation…). Is your most important thing to live with people with the same shoe size as you? (A genuine previous request which, unfortunately, we can’t meet. Yet.)

Anyway, hopefully this post gives you a bit more of an idea about how we work! Any questions, let me know, and here’s a drawing of a cat to reward you for reading through the whole post:

Accommodation Cathy

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