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, so you can see that we will be accommodating far more students in self-catered residences than in the catered residences. Demand for the two types of accommodation, in terms of number of applications for each, pretty much matches the number of bedspaces.  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 preferences or 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, in the St David’s area (great for accessing the mainline trains), the city centre and close to St Luke’s campus. For September 2020 about 74% of self-catered bedspaces will be 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 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 nearly 5400 beds available to new undergraduates, and a further 760 for postgraduates and other students, but if all 6000 applicants selected the same 4 residences then it would be impossible to allocate everyone exactly where they wanted to be – but we do try!

So how likely is it that I will get one of my preferences?
Based on last year’s applicants, 62% got their first preference of residence, and 75% got one of their 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 (particularly those which have been shown on Open Days and Offer Holder Visit Days), that are most popular as these are the residences that students remember seeing! For self-catered: in 2019/20 Rowe & St German’s and Lafrowda ensuite had over 2 applications per bedspace, followed by standard Lafrowda (1.7 applications per bedspace) and Birks Grange Village ensuite (1.4 applications per bedspace). For catered: Holland Hall, Pennsylvania Court and Mardon were the top three, with 1.5 to 1.6 applications per bedspace. But we don’t yet know what the addition of our two new on-campus residences, Moberly and East Park, will do to these stats. My advice to anyone is 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 for a course starting in September 2020, applications for accommodation open from 9:00am on Monday 6 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 9:00am on 6 April!! If you are a 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 will soon be updated for 2020/21 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. The development work for the second phase of East Park will also be continuing through the 2020/21 academic year. If you are considering living in LafrowdaBirks Grange Village or East Park then it is well worth reading our information on developments on campus 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