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Catered vs Self Catered

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    Hey I am finding it hard to decide which is the best option between catered and self catered.
    Catered is a little more expensive but there is no hassle of cooking for yourself or others.
    Self Catered is cheaper and there is more variety in your eating habits.

    Can anyone in both catered and self catered provide me with pros and cons of each, and explain to me which you chose and why you prefer it to the alternative?
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    If there's no difference in the actual room itself, go for self catered every time, without a doubt. If you get a catered room you'll be paying more than you would to cook for yourself, you also have little choice in what you eat, and no choice in when you eat. Get in late from lectures/gym? Tough, no dinner for you. Not able to make it to lunch? Tough.

    It's far more hassle to have to pay the extra, and (this is the key point) structure your day around when you can eat, instead of having the freedom of choosing/
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    (Original post by Dan1909)
    If there's no difference in the actual room itself, go for self catered every time, without a doubt. If you get a catered room you'll be paying more than you would to cook for yourself, you also have little choice in what you eat, and no choice in when you eat. Get in late from lectures/gym? Tough, no dinner for you. Not able to make it to lunch? Tough.

    It's far more hassle to have to pay the extra, and (this is the key point) structure your day around when you can eat, instead of having the freedom of choosing/
    If that is the case then why would anyone go catered ever, there is bound to be times when you are late coming back from lectures or other places and for the canteen to be closed would result in a very hungry student.

    Surely the canteen must run open all day so you can get your meals whenever possible, obviously after a certain time they would stop serving the first meal and begin to prepare and serve the next. However if not, that is quite annoying
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    I'm definitely opting for self-catered;
    - you choose what you eat
    - you choose when you eat (you get set times which yes can sometimes result in a very hungry student)
    - you can learn how to cook
    - ultimately you save money (by buying in bulk etc)
    - also you can bond with you flat better by being in self catered rather than in catered
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    I was catered for a few weeks at the start of term and then I was moved into a self-catered studio so I have experience of both.

    Personally, although I enjoy cooking, I don't have enough money to do anything fancy so I find what I do cook is a bit repetitive. Plus now it's getting towards exam time and there's even more work to do than usual, getting back to my room and knowing that I have to cook something rather than just go to the cafe and have it cooked for me is a bit disheartening!

    That said, if you are a fussy eater or have certain allegies etc then I'd go self-catered. There are usually 2 or 3 choices at dinner but I know a lot of people who decide they don't like any of them so go order pizza or something.

    Catered is more expensive but I'd go for it, personally. Most of the time it's not catered at weekends so you can have a go at cooking for yourself then. And of course, when you move out of halls in your 2nd and 3rd years, you're going to have all the joy of cooking for yourself then!
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    (Original post by Realnito)
    If that is the case then why would anyone go catered ever, there is bound to be times when you are late coming back from lectures or other places and for the canteen to be closed would result in a very hungry student.

    Surely the canteen must run open all day so you can get your meals whenever possible, obviously after a certain time they would stop serving the first meal and begin to prepare and serve the next. However if not, that is quite annoying
    From my experience there's a 1.5 hour time slot in which you can have your dinner in halls. The cafe in my halls opens at exactly the same time as the latest lecture ends (at 5.45) so you'd have to dawdle an awful lot to miss it! Also it tends to be the case in catered halls that you can have breakfast and then either lunch or dinner, and it doesn't have to be in your halls of residence - it can be anywhere on campus and the opening times for those restaurants/cafes tend to be longer than in halls. So I don't think it's that much of an inconvenience at all.
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    (Original post by Rascacielos)
    From my experience there's a 1.5 hour time slot in which you can have your dinner in halls. The cafe in my halls opens at exactly the same time as the latest lecture ends (at 5.45) so you'd have to dawdle an awful lot to miss it! Also it tends to be the case in catered halls that you can have breakfast and then either lunch or dinner, and it doesn't have to be in your halls of residence - it can be anywhere on campus and the opening times for those restaurants/cafes tend to be longer than in halls. So I don't think it's that much of an inconvenience at all.
    Ah that time period should be plenty even if you are running a tad late.
    As someone mentioned in the thread, did you socialise more with your flat mates in catered or self catered? Or was there no difference?
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    I don't see the point in catered halls. If you get a house for 2nd/3rd year you will have to cook for yourself anyway, so why not get into the habit from the start?
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    (Original post by Realnito)
    Ah that time period should be plenty even if you are running a tad late.
    As someone mentioned in the thread, did you socialise more with your flat mates in catered or self catered? Or was there no difference?
    Well, I'm in a unique situation is that I'm the only self-catered flat (it's a flat to myself, not like a flat with 8 or so people) in catered halls (long story!). From what I understand the general difference is that self-catered halls are ordered into flats of something like 8 people whereas catered halls are arranged in corridors, with anywhere between 5 and 20 people on one corridor. So it's not like you don't get a chance to socialise at all - it's just that people don't tend to hang around in the kitchen because, although there are usually kitchens in catered halls, they tend to be pretty small because they're only used for light snacks and weekend meals. But plenty of people just hang out in the corridor or just go visit each other in their rooms. Socialising isn't a problem in my experience.
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    (Original post by sr90)
    I don't see the point in catered halls. If you get a house for 2nd/3rd year you will have to cook for yourself anyway, so why not get into the habit from the start?
    Why not get into the habit of cooking for yourself from when you're 5 years old, instead of letting your parents do it for you? :holmes:

    Personally I think catered halls are a good way to settle into your first year because the intensity in work load can be a pretty big change and it's nice to know you have a meal waiting for you. In the second year, you've grown up a bit and hopefully have got the gist of university and can organise your work better. Catered meals are also a nice thing if you're feeling homesick. A little bit of home away from home.
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    (Original post by Rascacielos)
    Well, I'm in a unique situation is that I'm the only self-catered flat (it's a flat to myself, not like a flat with 8 or so people) in catered halls (long story!). From what I understand the general difference is that self-catered halls are ordered into flats of something like 8 people whereas catered halls are arranged in corridors, with anywhere between 5 and 20 people on one corridor. So it's not like you don't get a chance to socialise at all - it's just that people don't tend to hang around in the kitchen because, although there are usually kitchens in catered halls, they tend to be pretty small because they're only used for light snacks and weekend meals. But plenty of people just hang out in the corridor or just go visit each other in their rooms. Socialising isn't a problem in my experience.
    Hanging out in a corridor doesn't sound very appealing haha Is there no central common room type area on each floor with a small tv and seats to relax and socialise? As a corridor of bedrooms paints me a picture of a hotel, with rooms either side but no central area. Is your place like that?
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    (Original post by Realnito)
    Hanging out in a corridor doesn't sound very appealing haha Is there no central common room type area on each floor with a small tv and seats to relax and socialise? As a corridor of bedrooms paints me a picture of a hotel, with rooms either side but no central area. Is your place like that?
    Well, it really depends on the halls and the university. We have a JCR with TV/pool table/sofas/tables/chairs and we have a bar which opens at 7pm till whenever. There's also the quad outside which should be nice in the summer. But my halls are tiny so it's not like we need a lot of space - one JCR is enough. Bigger halls might have more rooms on each floor. But I can't vouch for other halls at other universities.

    Yes it's a bit like the layout of a hotel, just with a kitchen and communal bathroom on each floor (unless you happen to be on a corridor where all rooms are ensuite).
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    (Original post by Rascacielos)
    Why not get into the habit of cooking for yourself from when you're 5 years old, instead of letting your parents do it for you? :holmes:
    Touché. You've got me there.

    I can see the positives, there have definitely been a few nights where i'm too lazy or in no mood to cook.

    (Original post by Realnito)
    Hanging out in a corridor doesn't sound very appealing haha Is there no central common room type area on each floor with a small tv and seats to relax and socialise? As a corridor of bedrooms paints me a picture of a hotel, with rooms either side but no central area. Is your place like that?
    A corridor is infinitely better than a flat for socialising, trust me. I was really scared about living on a corridor before uni but now? I love it and i wouldn't have it any other way. I know so many people in my hall and its great just being able to go and knock on someones door/kitchen instead of having to go through the hassle of being let into their flat. Would i be friends with all of these people if we were divided away into flats? Not a chance. I've spoken to people in other halls who barely know anyone outside of their flat!

    You will still have a kitchen area for 8-10 people and almost certainly a hall bar/common room too
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    Hmm I more than likely will apply for catered accommodation then
    and an en suite would be nice, especially if everyone on the floor has been drinking and wants to be sick at the same time :rolleyes:
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    I would definitely say self catered- I would hate to have to eat at a set time, and have to be up for breakfast every morning or loose out. My uni has a cafe serving breakfast and dinner if you can't be bothered to make it yourself one night as well as numerous ones doing lunch t, plus there is always the takeaway option, and even as someone who doesn't like to cook I've never found it a problem- there are so many things you can just put in the oven, and I'm not just talking ready meals.
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    (Original post by Rascacielos)
    Why not get into the habit of cooking for yourself from when you're 5 years old, instead of letting your parents do it for you? :holmes:
    Erm, maybe because learning to cook and fry at five years old is unsafe.
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    (Original post by Tsunami2011)
    Erm, maybe because learning to cook and fry at five years old is unsafe.
    Matilda managed
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    (Original post by Rascacielos)
    Matilda managed
    I guess so Yay for Law students Is it really as hard as people say?:confused:
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    Before you sign up for catered halls, find out how many meals are actually catered - here, it's 5 breakfasts and 5 dinners per week, for which people are charged an extra ~£30. If they miss breakfast (as they often do - it finishes at 9.30) then tough luck. The kitchen that catered people get for cooking other meals is substandard, and I often hear complaints about the quality of the food.

    You're going to have to learn to cook in second year, when you move out. IMHO, it's best to learn in first year when there are people around with the time to help, and your grades don't count towards your final degree grade.

    PS the Beyond Baked Beans series of student cookbooks pretty much taught me all I know about cooking.

    PPS if you don't like pasta (who doesn't?) then you're going to have to learn to like it. I eat it about 5 times a week, minimum, as do most other people here.
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    (Original post by sr90)
    A corridor is infinitely better than a flat for socialising, trust me. I was really scared about living on a corridor before uni but now? I love it and i wouldn't have it any other way. I know so many people in my hall and its great just being able to go and knock on someones door/kitchen instead of having to go through the hassle of being let into their flat. Would i be friends with all of these people if we were divided away into flats? Not a chance. I've spoken to people in other halls who barely know anyone outside of their flat!
    Agreed. A lot of my friends from home are in self-catered halls (in fact, I think I'm the only one who is still theoretically in a catered hall) and a couple of them don't get on with their flatmates at all and they feel isolated, I expect because they would feel a bit rude barging into someone else's flat. At least with corridors, if you don't get on with the people next door to you, you can go find someone else without feeling like an intruder.

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