The debate: Catered halls or self catered? Watch

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emma_
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As choosing a university draws closer... so does the decision on what accommodation to choose: catered halls or self catered?

I'm now about 98% i'm going to choose Leeds, and to make myself even more certain about my choice i've started to look at the available accommodation so I can see if I can picture myself there. I'm definitely going for on-campus accommodation, but I'm in two minds about the food situation.

At first I was certain I would choose catered halls... lots of people to socialise with at meal times, proper meals, save time/effort cooking etc etc etc

But then I started thinking that will I really be bothered to wake up at the crack of dawn to have breakfast? Will I over eat because it's 'free' food (as I do at lunch at school just because it's there). I could eat when I wanted to, and what I want to etc.

What is everyone here planning to choose and why?

And if you are already at university, it would be really useful to here what you chose, and if you think it was the best choice.
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munchie_rox
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im going for self catered i think, because im very picky over food!
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Juwel
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Self-catered, it probably works out cheaper since you get your food when you want it.
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Matt the cat
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i am catered, and recomed it too
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emma_
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(Original post by Matt the cat)
i am catered, and recomed it too
How come? Isn't it annoying to have such restricted times?
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Kalypso
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my accomodation isn't specifically catered or self-catered - we have small kitchens, or we can buy meals very cheaply in hall. So far, apart from a few formals I have not been to hall once. Cooking for yourself (and maybe a few friends) is relatively easy, and is good, especially if you are fussy like me! I also find that in the mornings it is easier to grab some cereal or toast in my room rather than trekking over to hall, and I don't have to structure my day around certain meal times, which I think i would find quite restrictive. When I was looking around unis, the other point that I didn't like about catered halls was that since food is included in the accomodation price, any meal that you decide to miss in hall, say if you want to go for food out once, you have paid for anyway, meaning that money spent on food elsewhere is in addition to, rather than instead of.
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emma_
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(Original post by grey faerie)
my accomodation isn't specifically catered or self-catered - we have small kitchens, or we can buy meals very cheaply in hall. So far, apart from a few formals I have not been to hall once. Cooking for yourself (and maybe a few friends) is relatively easy, and is good, especially if you are fussy like me! I also find that in the mornings it is easier to grab some cereal or toast in my room rather than trekking over to hall, and I don't have to structure my day around certain meal times, which I think i would find quite restrictive. When I was looking around unis, the other point that I didn't like about catered halls was that since food is included in the accomodation price, any meal that you decide to miss in hall, say if you want to go for food out once, you have paid for anyway, meaning that money spent on food elsewhere is in addition to, rather than instead of.
Yea, I totally agree with your last point.

The idea of grabbing some cereal or toast in the morning and then maybe a cheap meal at the union for lunch and then making some pasta in the evening sounds quite a bit more welcoming now than something so stuctured and restricting.

I know this sounds stupid but how does the fridge thing work... doesn't everyone steal each otheres food or something?
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emom100
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i'm catered and i'm so so glad i am because
1) its more social
2) you don't have to worry about cooking
3) it's cheaper
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jammyd
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Self catered is the way to be. I just love cooking.
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Kalypso
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(Original post by emma_)
I know this sounds stupid but how does the fridge thing work... doesn't everyone steal each otheres food or something?
I have a mini fridge in my room (all rooms in college have them - check accomodation details; probably if there is no fridge in the room you would be able to take your own) which is totally big enough for the food i need to store - I go shopping quite often for fresh food, but never buy it in great quantities. There is also a big fridge in the kitchen which everyone on the corridor can use, but I have never needed to. People do use the big fridge, and generally just keep to their own stuff. I've never seen labels on anything, but i guess some people do mark their stuff. I haven't heard any slanging matches down the corridor about food going missing either, so maybe they're just a trustworthy bunch we have no proper freezer, which is a pain in the a**, and very little cupboard space, but the kitchen isn't really designed with full scale self catering in mind. from what I remember of uni open days that i went on, most halls that are properly self catering have a fridge or two, a freezer and cupboards (sometimes lockable so everyone is assigned their own) aplenty.
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What's Chico Time Precious?
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i'm going catered, more expensive but its one less thing to worry about, food is there hopefully edible so no problems
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edufly
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(Original post by Absolution)
i'm going catered, more expensive but its one less thing to worry about, food is there hopefully edible so no problems
Is it true that catered accomodation means that you just get discounted meals whilst self catered accomodation still allows you to get the meals from the canteen but not at the discounted price.
If so, self catering seems more attractive as its more flexible and allows a bit of both.

Also when do we actually have to make the choice as to if we want catered/self catered accomodation. Is it when we accept offers?

And how many offers can we accept - is it just 2 - 1 firm choice the other insurance choice.
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Petrozzi
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I'm going self-catered primarily so I can learn to hunt/gather for myself.
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jammyd
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(Original post by Absolution)
i'm going catered, more expensive but its one less thing to worry about, food is there hopefully edible so no problems
Absolution, you were asking me about Keele last week. Have you made up your mind yet?
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What's Chico Time Precious?
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(Original post by jammyd)
Absolution, you were asking me about Keele last week. Have you made up your mind yet?
yes i think so, Liverpool is definitely my 1st choice and Keele is 95% certain to be my insurance, i'm visiting keele in march on a ucas open day so will definetly know then.
and thanks for your information jammyd, especially about accomodation ie which halls
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emma_
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It's soooo hard to choose. Maybe I should flip a coin....
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emom100
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see if your uni halls has any cool quirks. Eg my hall has a 3 course foramal meal every friday and we get waiter service and lots of booze. Its a great way to start the weekend
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Tednol
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In my opinion, self-catering is better. I am self-catered, in a flat with 7 other people. I get to eat what I want, when I want. I am not limited by having to eat when the 'meal times' are. Often, the first person will start thinking about supper at 5 pm, and the last person may be as late as 10 pm. Were we self-catered we wouldn't have that flexibility.

If we ever feel like going for a curry, or getting a takeaway, we can do so in the knowledge that we have not paid for a meal in the canteen which we are not eating. Often the food provided is off a pretty poor standard, we eat better than those catered without any doubt.

Cooking is fun! Once you have a few basic meals you can make, it's interested to branch out a bit. It's always very sociable cooking for yourselves. We sometimes make supper as a flat for the flat next door where we have a lot of mates, and vice versa.

I struggle to see the draw of being catered. Cooking is not hard, it takes 15 minutes to do a 'Sizzle and Stir' and most of that time is spent chatting to my mates in the openplan kitchen/living room anyway.
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Matt the cat
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(Original post by emma_)
How come? Isn't it annoying to have such restricted times?
Hello,

I know alot of people who abuse the catered accomodation arrangement, by this i mean that they miss out meals, and just live by buying pizzas, and fast food, despite paying for food and only actually using the 'service' when it is convenient. But, to these people it doesn't really matter because they can afford it, and its just another convenience that they have.

Personaly, i find that catered is more of a benefit to me. I am motivated each morning to wake up early (7:45) to get my breakfast, where as i know that if i was self catered i would not have the daily obligation and so if i had a 11:00am start then i wouldnt wake up till 10:00 and i would have lost that extra time.

Also i think that if i was selfcatered i would suffer from binge eating, where i would save all week and then think that i deserved a to have a break for being good and so i would buy my self alot more. I would also suggest that by being catered you are stopped from doing this and have more of a routine... i do not find it at all hard to get to my halls in time for dinner/breakfast time, in fact i really look forward to it... i do not eat much at all outside my provided meals. Also this means that i actually save on alot of money, because unlike those people who are self catered i'm not prepared to go and buy food on a whim, which i see alot of the time.

It is also a really good social opportunity

Although i realise that this cant last for ever (just one year) its definitly worth it... you have the rest of your life to make yourself food.
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viviki
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see if you can get sopies of sample menus. Thats how I made my decision, also in some unis the selfcatered halls can get vouchers to eat in catered if they feel like it. I've always gone self catered myself and think its the best option but it does depend on your uni. I'm veggie and have always found veggie catered menus very limited.
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