PART 1: OFFICIAL UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH ACCOMMODATION THREAD
Please do not post room numbers in this thread. It is visible to anyone, whether they are a member or not.
Applications are open and you should apply ASAP, even if Edinburgh is only your insurance. http://www.appform.accom.ed.ac.uk/mo...plication.aspx
If you are a new or current student looking for private accommodation in Edinburgh, please see post #2. For links to other threads discussing accommodation in Edinburgh see post #3.
Before posting questions in this thread please read through post #1, post #2 and post #3 to ensure your query has not already been answered! There is also a ‘Search This Thread’ tool at the top of the thread which may well help find your answer.
There are official Facebook groups for every university residence for the academic year 2012/13. Go here to find yours.
The University of Edinburgh owns a vast array of accommodation throughout the city. All properties are managed by Accommodation Services. They are based in the Reception Centre at Pollock Halls, and can be visited in person as well as contacted in a number of ways. See here for contact details.
You can view various maps to see where this official accommodation is located throughout the city here.
You can download the university’s official accommodation guides for September 2012/January 2013 entry here. No guide has yet been published for September 2013, although it’s fair to assume that little will change. Prices should all relate to the academic year 2012/13, but be sure to double check.
Is accommodation guaranteed?
The current policy in place is that you will be guaranteed an offer of university accommodation if you meet the follow conditions:
Your online accommodation application must be submitted by August 16th (n.b. this maybe subject to change, although the date has held fast for several years now).
You must hold an unconditional firm offer on UCAS by August 30th.
You must ordinarily reside outside the City of Edinburgh boundaries.
You must be studying at the university for the full academic year.
The university does NOT guarantee to provide you with the precise type of accommodation that you want, and if you reject an initial offer of accommodation it is highly unlikely they will make you another one. Couples and families are NOT guaranteed accommodation.
Generally, if you are coming to Edinburgh on an exchange from abroad, you will also be guaranteed accommodation. If you are arriving on exchange from within the EU, you must be on an official institutional exchange.
If you come from the City of Edinburgh you are not guaranteed accommodation. However, many applicants apply despite this and are made offers. Anecdotally, the majority of Edinburgh-based applicants are allocated accommodation in Pollock Halls. This was previously policy but it no longer officially stipulated.
I’m a Postgraduate - is my accommodation guaranteed?
Postgraduates from outside the EU
If you are a new single postgraduate from outside the EU, you are guaranteed an offer of University accommodation if you meet the following conditions:
Your accommodation application is received by 31 July in the year of entry to University
Your place of study at the University is be confirmed to us as being unconditional (UF) by 31 July in the year of entry to University
You are studying at the University of Edinburgh for the whole academic year, starting in September.
We guarantee only to provide an offer of accommodation to all new single postgraduate students from outside the EU.
We do not guarantee to provide you with precisely the type of accommodation you would prefer.
Postgraduates from within the EU
In general, we give no absolute guarantee of an offer of University accommodation to any postgraduates from within the EU.
However, we are committed to trying to offer University accommodation to new single postgraduates from within the EU, on a first come, first served basis.
If you are a postgraduate from within the EU wishing to apply for University accommodation, you must make sure:
Your accommodation application is received by 31 July in the year of entry to University
Your place of study at the University must be confirmed to us as being unconditional (UF) by 31 July in the year of entry to University
You will be studying at the University of Edinburgh for the whole academic year starting in September.
All applications will be dealt with on a first come, first served basis, based on the date on which the accommodation application is received by us.
It is therefore in your interest to apply as soon as possible after 15 February in the year of entry to University.
In the event that we are able to make an accommodation offer, we do not guarantee to provide you with precisely the type of accommodation you would prefer.
However, it will be centrally located University accommodation with other new postgraduate students.
This is extremely unlikely. Postgraduate housing stock is very limited and it is advisable to find alternative accommodation if you are an EU applicant.
So does the guarantee work?
The accommodation guarantee has caused some issues during for entry in 2008, 2009 and 2011 due to the vast popularity of the university amongst applicants. Some measures have been taken to address this, including but not limited to the increase in entry requirements to the university. In the past instances accommodation was vastly oversubscribed and the university struggled to arrange housing for everybody. The good news is that Accommodation Services appear never to have compromised on their promise: they have ensured that an offer of accommodation is made to every applicant who is eligible even in oversubscribed years. However, offers to attend the university were significantly lower in the last cycle (September 2010 entry) and consequently there was far less pandemonium than in previous years. The consensus is that it will never be that oversubscribed again but you should be aware! Details of what happened in ’08 and ’09 are below, for your perusal.
In 2008, Accommodation Services was forced to lease Portsburgh Court from the private student accommodation provider Unite, and a number of freshers spent their first few weeks in Edinburgh in hostels and hotels arranged for them by Accommodation Services. There were also reports of some rooms in Chancellor’s Court, Pollock being turned into twin rooms.
In 2009, oversubscription was an even more serious issue. The leasing of Unite accommodation was once necessary. Students were also allocated what would ordinarily be postgraduate accommodation. Accommodation Services also leased some 50 rooms at Jewel and Esk college, 4 miles from the university. A majority of rooms in Chancellor’s Court, Pollock were converted to twin rooms.
In 2011 a number of additional buildings were leased including accommodation at QMU. Masson House in Pollock Halls was reopened. There was also substantial twinning of rooms in Chancellor’s Court in Pollock Halls.
What does this mean in practical terms if you are applying for entry in 2012? You are guaranteed a room if you meet the eligibility criteria, but it may well not be the room you want. If you are an insurance applicant you may well be considered a lower priority when allocation is taking place (although unlike other universities, you should still be guaranteed something). Likewise, allocation is liable to take longer if there are more students who need to be accommodated. And you will only be made ONE offer. If you turn down your offer you will not receive another. UPDATE: Accommodation Services has increased the number of residences available for 2012/13 via the private market. This may well abate the issues of previous years.
How do I apply?
Applications for official accommodation take place online. Applications are currently not being accepted. For entry in September 2011, applications were accepted from February 22nd - it’s reasonable to assume that the date will be about the same in 2012. Once applications open, you may apply whenever you want. Applications are now open. Apply here: http://www.appform.accom.ed.ac.uk/mo...plication.aspx
Accommodation Services do NOT operate a first come, first served system - so you are at no advantage if you apply early. The deadline has been August 16th for several years - but be aware this may change! Ensure that you apply for accommodation before this date, as applications will not be accepted late in any circumstances. Applications for postgraduate students close on July 31st. Non EU postgraduates should be aware that it is necessary to pay a £250 deposit when applying - this is refundable if you do not move into university accommodation. If Edinburgh is only your insurance offer you should still apply as soon as you can.
Offers are made via MyEd and you will be notified of updates by email. Therefore, ensure you apply for accommodation using an email address which you will have access to at all times throughout August and September. Do NOT use an email address from school, college, work or anywhere else where you will not be able to access your inbox during August.
Accepting an offer of accommodation
Offers of accommodation will not be made until the summer. The very first offers for September 2012 started to go out in the first week of June. In order to be eligible for an offer, you must hold a firm, unconditional offer from the university. This means that if you have applied using predicted grades, your offer from the university will not become conditional until your exam results are confirmed (in the case of Highers/Advanced Highers in early August, and in the case of A Levels in mid August). You must accept the offer of accommodation through the Accommodation Services channel on MyEd. Acceptance of the offer will include agreeing to your tenancy agreement and payment of a £250 deposit. The deposit is paid by card. You should pay using a card that you are likely to still have a year later, as the deposit is refunded to the original payment card. The card processing site is known to struggle with international cards, so if it won’t accept your payment there’s no need to worry. It is possible to pay the deposit by card or cash upon arrival in Edinburgh. You should confirm with Accommodation Services if this is what you intend to do.
Bear in mind that once you receive an offer of accommodation, you only have seven days to accept or decline. After that time has elapsed, the offer will be withdrawn. You do not have to accept, but if you decline, another offer will not be made.
What if I don’t like the accommodation offered to me?
If you have a medical reason that requires a certain type of accommodation then you should provide evidence when applying. If you are offered inappropriate accommodation contact Accommodation Services as soon as possible to notify them. They will make you another offer. In other cases, it is worth pointing out that in recent years there has been a tendency for Accommodation Services to occasionally reconsider. In cases where they have made particularly strange offers (e.g. mature student placed in standard freshers’ accommodation) they have made a second offer. They have also facilitated “swaps” - where one student has been offered one kind of accommodation but has found someone else they want to swap with. This is all anecdotal however, and is certainly not official policy.
There are a lot of questions about the room sizing and whether one should apply for a small, medium or large room. The general consensus of students past and present is that you should always apply for the SMALL room size wherever possible: the difference in size between different classes of room is often marginal, and significant savings in rent can be made if your room is classed as “small”.
The choice of room sizes is something that was only introduced in 2007. It is commonly viewed amongst students as a ruse by Accommodation Services to squeeze more money out of their tenants. The general rule of thumb in most cases is that paying an extra £10 a week for a “large” room might gain you an extra 30cm width. The larger rooms do not represent good value for money.
Internet and Phone
As of 2009, all data connectivity and telephony in university owned accommodation is provided by Keycom
. The standard internet speed is 12Mbps and is included in your rent. If you wish to upgrade this to a premium service you may pay £50 directly to Keycom (this cost may be subject to change). This upgrade is alleged to increase the speed to 20Mbps, however, there have been numerous complaints from those who have paid for the premium service that there is little noticeable difference. Over the years of KeyCom, the “free” service has improved dramatically although the standard network can suffer from being somewhat slow and overloaded at peak times. Keycom have provided wifi in most public areas in self-catered accommodation and all public areas in catered accommodation, but this is considered a supplementary service and will generally not work in bedrooms. To see exactly what is available where, see this page
Telephony is also provided by Keycom, through their Keytalk service. You are provided with a VOIP phone in your room which has a direct dial Edinburgh (0131) number. Calls to all other rooms within Accommodation Services are free. Outgoing calls are all charged through topping up your prepaid phone account. Keycom pricing for phone calls (as of September 2010) can be seen here
There is a 24 hours university computer lab in Pollock Halls.
Mobile phone reception in Edinburgh is generally good on all networks outdoors, although reception can sometimes be intermittent inside university accommodation.
Residence Life is now being taken very seriously by the University of Edinburgh and has evolved substantially in the past 5 years. The current aim is to bring the ratio of residents to Resident Assistants (RAs) down to 1 to 40.
For residents in Pollock Halls they have a Warden (a university employee who lives in the building and oversees RAs, events, discipline etc) and several RAs who are all current students at the university with experience of living in university accommodation who live with you. They are responsible for running events, offering advice etc.
If you live in a self-catered residence then you will also have a team of RAs living on site. However, instead of a Warden there will be an accommodation manager who will also manage the building, with reception hours most days of the week as well as being in email contact. They should be your first port of call if you have queries about payments, require a reference or need to report issues with your flat.
Leaving at the end of your tenancy
Accommodation Services should provide you with a letter towards the end of your tenancy remind you when the final move out day is. You will be expected to return all keys to the relevant member of Accommodation Services staff by the morning of the last day. You may move out before this date but will not receive a refund for unused rent. If moving out early, you are encouraged to return your own keys rather than entrusting them to flatmates or friends. Along with the reminder letter you should also receive a set of instruction regarding the cleaning of your room or flat. Ensure that you follow these closely, as the penalty for not complying will be charged at exorbitant rates and deducted from your deposit. Consequently it is important to complete your inventory when you move in.
Catered or Self-Catered?
It is important to dispel the initial myth surrounding this choice. Neither is the better option socially - you will not miss out by choosing one over the other. It is really a fairly straightforward choice. Do you want to live in a flat or on a corridor? Do you want a kitchen or a pantry? Do you want a living area or a common room? Do you want to choose what you cook and when you eat, or be secure in the knowledge that there will always be food available at a set time? In recent years rent costs for both have swelled rapidly, but there is a huge premium for those living in catered accommodation. Do bear in mind that if you live in catered accommodation, you will still have to make or buy your lunch. You pay for breakfast and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner at the weekend. Pollock Halls is on the other hand, the largest single community of students in the city and there are advantages such as the onsite shop selling all the essentials you may need as well as a cash machine. If you live in a self-catered flat you’ll be much more a part of a smaller a potentially close knit community in the wider Edinburgh cityscape. It all boils down to what you prefer as a person - but there are no solid advantages of the one form of accommodation over the other.
Twin Rooms in Pollock Halls
Essentially twin rooms are a matter of luck. Most of them are simply normal sized rooms with a bunk bed in. These are miserably cramped, with only a couple of square metres of floor space after the bed and desk. However, if you are lucky you may get one of the twin rooms on the fourth floor of Chancellor's Court or in John Burnett House. These rooms are two or three times as large as a standard room, and perhaps the largest in Pollock. They have two single beds, and in most cases have large balconies. Best of all they cost no more than the other twin rooms.
Food at Pollock Halls (Thanks to fwapper for this)
The JMCC is where you will be eating for the year if you stay in Pollock Halls. The food it serves is marginally better than your average school dinner, but the illusion of variety disappears after a month or so as by then you will have eaten every meal they make at least once.
If you don't mind endless soggy, bland shades of beige then all is well, but if you have any appreciation of food whatsoever then it becomes a chore to go. I know about a dozen people who are moving to self catered accommodation after the first semester simply to escape the JMCC. Although it has to be noted that these people are almost exclusively mainland European with high standards for food - one Italian only lasted three weeks before he moved out.
On the rare occasion they produce something appealing (like jam doughnuts) there is such a scramble for them that they are gone in seconds. The place is also horribly disorganised, understaffed and overcrowded, with bottlenecks forming everywhere as dozens of people stand waiting for food/cutlery/condiments... you get the idea.
To sum up: if you go to the JMMC hungry the smell when entering will put you off, and at the end you leave full, but never satisfied. But you can have as many helpings as you like.
Prices for all catered accommodation available for entry 2012 can be viewed here
. These may be subject to change in 2013.
Prices for all self-catered accommodation available for entry 2012 can be viewed here
. These may be subject to change in 2013.
You can pay rent to Accommodation Services in a number of different ways. You can pay in full by card online. You can also pay in full or instalments in person at Pollock Halls reception centre. You can pay by recurring payment by credit card. Accommodation Services can also issue an invoice and send it to a third party sponsor, if your accommodation is being funded by another institution for example. The most common means of payment is by direct debit, which can be arranged on a monthly or semesterly basis. Full details can be seen here
Basic insurance cover is included the cost of your rent. Insurance is provided by Cover 4 Students, a specialist student insurer. The cover insures personal possessions on a new for old basis against theft, fire, flood, burst pipes, storm, vandalism, explosion and lightening. The insurance policy does not cover your possessions outside of your room. It is possible to purchase extensions to your policy to cover items such as computers, musical instruments and mobile phones when out of your room - the premiums are generally the market average although do check their competitors to see if you can get it cheaper. See full details of the University of Edinburgh insurance policy here
. Anecdotal evidence on TSR in past suggests that they are reasonably reliable as insurers and will generally pay out on genuine claims without too much fuss.
Car parking is available at the following properties: Blackett Avenue, Darroch Court, Kincaid’s Court, Blackwood Crescent/ Causewayside, Sciennes 1, Sciennes 2, East Newington Place, Hermit’s Croft, Robertson’s Close, Roxburgh Place, Warrender Park Crescent, Warrender Park Road. Availability is strictly limited and you MUST purchase a parking permit in order to park in the car parks. The charge for the 2008/09 academic session was £97.20. Parking at Pollock Halls is very limited and currently the official policy is that parking permits will not be issued for use in Pollock. See Accommodation Services' parking page here
What does the accommodation look like?
The Accommodation Services website now allows you to take a virtual tour of several of its properties. You can do this here
We also have a library of photos that various members have taken. You can view it on photobucket, here
. The location of each photo is detailed in its title.
Accommodation Services annually informs the City of Edinburgh council that all their tenants are students and therefore are exempt from payment of council tax.
University accommodation after first year
It is possible to remain in official university accommodation after first year. The only residence available for those looking to continue self-catered in a single room is at Blackfriars Street. There are otherwise small 1 and 2 person flats available (although most of these are on a full 1 year lease), as well as larger flats around the city suitable for between 3 and 5 people. Accommodation Services will hold an accommodation fair for continuing students during the early spring, and applications are made in person at Pollock Halls reception centre. Allocations take place on a strictly first come, first served basis. If you want to remain in Pollocks Halls or standard self-catered flats then you can apply to become a House Assistant or a Resident’s Assistant. You will live with other assistants and be the first point of contact for a large number of freshers in your building. You will however, receive a discount on your rent.
See post #2 for details on private accommodation in Edinburgh. See post #3 for handy links to other threads about accommodation in Edinburgh.
This post does not represent the views of the University of Edinburgh or Accommodation Services in any capacity whatsoever. The thread is intended to offer information and advice in an informal and personal capacity. Any advice given in this thread by me (or any other poster) is not given in any official capacity as a representative of the University or Accommodation Services. If anything is ever in doubt it is always recommended that you check with Accommodation Services.