(Original post by pkr)
MY VIEWS ON CHOOSING ACCOMMODATION.
Congratulations to everyone that has an offer, the hard bit is done, just have to keep the work up and get those A's so best of luck with that.
If you didn't get in then do not give up. Go for those A's like you know you can get and take a gap year, do something amazing and come back and make them realise they made a mistake rejecting you. So many people get offers after a gap year and personally you will never get the chance again so have some fun before you have to devote your life to medicine.
I am a current student at Nottingham and thought I would give you my own personal opinions on accommodation - (I must stress 'personal', just because i think it doesn't mean you should.)
There are 2 options with Nottingham so i will give you the options one by one:
1) Catered Halls of Residence - There are 14 halls over 3 campuses I believe (whatever you do don't apply for Sutton Bonington its miles away!). As the main campus is very large some of the halls such as Florence Boot are actually further away from the Hospital (where you will have all your lectures) than the Halls on Jubilee Campus (Newark and Southwell) so don't think you can't apply for those halls.
No matter what your friends say about catered not being a real University experience don't listen to them, everyone wishes they are catered by the end of the first term when they are sick of cooking. This is not true for everyone and if you really hate the idea of catered living then look at option 2. The advantage of not having to cook or shop means you have more time to enjoy university life and have fun with your friends (also more time to cram for exams but you never read this). Meal times allow you to have a chat with all your mates you live with and forces people to make friends, you don't want to sit alone at dinner. They are a really good time for you to catch up with your mates at the end of the day and talk about your your day with your friends on different courses. However the meals times are not hugely flexible. Breakfast = 7.00 till 9.30 and Dinner/Tea = 5.00 till 7.00. If you want a lie in you don't get to eat unfortunately and if you play sports/music or other societies that clash with meals then you can end up missing your food. The university tries to minimise this but it still happens. Lunch/Dinner (the meal in the middle of the day) is simply £5.10 credit preloaded to your university card that you can use in any university food outlet (they are everywhere and range from cafes in the hospital to Chinese restaurants on main campus). You can easily get a meal for this, normally with some spare. Money not spent is wiped and it refreshes the money every weekday. Its nice to always know you will have something to eat during the day and most 1st year medics are in halls so it makes it easy to eat with your mates at dinner/lunch time.
Halls do feel homely but never as much as a flat. However in halls you can go to your room and have time to yourself if you just need a break. Can get a bit noisy at night but excessive noise is not tolerated and you will get security on you so hopefully you will never have a sleepless night. Its also easy to just tell the person next door to be quiet. Calling security on them can generally ruin friendships.
Furthermore, you can have ensuite rooms in halls. No beating the rush for the bathroom in the morning but it does come at a slightly higher price. And your rooms are cleaned once a fortnight.
The final note on halls is the contract length. Hall contracts only cover term time. You do not pay for holidays in the basic price so you have to move all your things out every holiday. This can be a bit of a pain to do but it does mean you are saving money as you probably won't be living there in the holidays anyway. There are options to keep your room in the holidays at a pay per day rate. You can also just store your things over the holidays at a reduced rate so if you can afford it then it does save the hassle of repacking everything at Christmas/Easter.
2) Shared Flat - There are 2 main sites for shared flats that are linked to the University. Raleigh Park and Broadgate Park. Broadgate Park is at the other side of the main campus to the hospital so its a bit of a walk, but no further than the furthest halls (Florence Boot - as I mentioned earlier). Raleigh Park is next to Jubilee campus so is 15 minutes from the hospital and also within 30 minutes walk of the city. Only £6 in a taxi for nights out
Flats are the real deal. You get to cook, clean, food shop and basically do everything by yourself. You save a lot of money as your not paying for cleaning services/cooking but it does take a lot of effort to cook. If you love the idea of eating what you want whenever you want then this is the option for you. Sharing meals with your flat mates also saves you even more money. However, not having a meal card means many of your medic friends will want to eat in the cafes at lunch/dinner so you can be tempted to buy from the cafe. This is fairly expensive if you do it too much but there is nothing stopping you bringing a packed lunch to eat with your friends. As you have no fixed meal times it can be easier to fit extra curricular activities into your schedule but don't think that catered stops you doing things. Also when you have a night out you will actually have money to buy a take away afterwards unlike those in halls who will be very short of money (catered living takes in toll on the weight of your wallet). I don't mean you will have no money just that if you budget correctly and you live in self catered accommodation you generally have more of your loan left for other things. However, its much more difficult to budget if you live in a flat and it you get it wrong (it takes time to get good at it) you will probably end up asking parents very nicely for a small favour.
Flats are also a bit different when it come to making friends. Unlike halls your placed with 5 other people who are in the same boat as you. As you now live with these people you are forced to make friends (or at least talk to each other). This has the added bonus that you will all become close friends very quickly and will most probably become so close you buy a house together the next year. The same relationships do form in halls of residence, but not to the same level as people can isolate themselves if they want to. Unfortunately, not everyone will be as easy to talk to as you future medics. Some of my friends live in flats with people who they barely see. You may end up in a flat with someone who never leaves their room or is never in or just doesn't get on with everyone as easily. Don't let this put you off as you will still have 4 other wonderful friends who you live with and these isolated people do exist in halls as well - they are just easier to ignore/avoid. As you will live with your friends and you all bring your course friends over, your flat's 'family' will grow and the parties will begin. And when the flat above you is making a noise and you want to sleep you and all your friends can go up there and tell them to shut it. In flats there is no shame calling security, unlike halls, no friendships will be broken this way.
I wrote about toilets earlier so I will do it again. Most flats have 6 people in. 6 bedrooms, 1 kitchen/living room and 2 bathrooms. Although this sounds like morning will be crazy its not. Sorry to say this to you all but as a medic you will have a lecture 9am pretty much everyday. And those days you start placement you will leave even earlier. This means as your flatmates snooze you will have the bathrooms to yourself so no queueing for showers for you!
Finally, Self-catered accommodation are 44-54week contracts. You do not have to move your things out during the holidays and some even allow you to keep your things in your room over summer. As you pack you essentials to go away for Christmas and leave at your leisure you can casually chuckle to yourself as you thing of your friends who live in Halls of Residence and have to move all their stuff out by 10am on a Saturday morning.
I hope that I have given you a good summery of accommodation at Nottingham. If you have any more questions feel free to message me or leave a post here and quote me. I am always happy to help.
Good luck in your exams. And if you already have your grades and have an unconditional I will see you in September!
NB: I did not mention anything about private/non-university owned accommodation. This is not because I do not like it, on the contrary, I think it is a really good choice. However, I think you should try for the 2 mentioned above first as private sector accommodation tends to have lots of post-grads/PHD/Trent Students and not first years so it can taint your first year at university a little.
And non-university owned does not mean it isn't university approved. Saint Peter's Court and Riverside are perfectly good accommodation options that are very close to the University and are both suggested by the university accommodation services as good places to live.