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Do most people get their first choice for accommodation?? (my first choice is Rootes)
tl;dr: In short, probably not. It might be somewhere around 50% of people who apply get first preference, but that guess might be totally wrong. It really depends if you applied on time and you actual preferences below Rootes.
Digression: 'First thing you should note is that you are asked to make 'preferences' and not a 'choice'. The difficulty here is how happy you are with each preference. For some people it might be that they are nearly indifferent to their first and third preference, whereas others are simply set on their first preference. However it is impossible to measure this on a form.
So how to tackle this problem? This brings us to utility and social choice theory - is it better that two people get their second preference compared to one getting first preference and the other third preference? Or should they might try and maximise the number of people who get first preference and just say tough luck to those who end up with 4th/5th preferences? I'd say that the first option is better and not as harsh as the second option and the university uses something like that to allocate accommodation.'
Anyway, to allocate accommodation some software called KxStudent is used - ultimately compromises are made to ensure as many people as possible has a hall they don't mind going to. What exactly the compromises are depends on how the software is designed.
So, you originally might be thinking "JM and AV are oversubscribed while Rootes with 924 rooms in undersubscribed", however not everyone who puts Rootes first preference will get it. A common preference is to put JM/Rootes/Tocil - lots of people are interested about their good location and the close price range of only £300-400 across the year. But since JM is oversubscribed, lots of people will not get JM and instead have Rootes/Tocil as their next two preferences. It might be better that someone who puts Rootes/Westwood/Whitefields to be given Westwood and free up space in Rootes for the JM/AV/Benefactors rejects. It can depend on individual preferences - some people think that Westwood is a 'magnet' and putting it high up in your preferences will result it in you being given it. That sort of thing.
Additionally, you need to take into account the other rules when it comes to allocating accommodation. Most notably the application deadline and the requirements to be in a specific accommodation 'group'. The following method is applied: The order of priority for first year undergraduates will be:
- Students who require campus accommodation for supported medical / disability reasons (please see: Medical and Disabilities for further information)
- Students who meet the criteria for all of the following: who place the University of Warwick as their firm choice, who applied for accommodation by the 31st July 2011, who received their course offer before the 31st July 2011 and who meet the terms of this offer by the 31st August 2011
- Students who meet the criteria for all of the following: who place the University of Warwick as their insurance choice, who applied for accommodation by the 31st July 2011, who received their course offer before the 31st July 2011 and who meet the terms of this offer by the 31st August 2011.
- Any other first year undergraduate student e.g. late accommodation applicants, students who meet the conditions of their offer after the 31st August 2011, students changing their course offer after the 31st July 2011 or students joining the university through clearing.
If room capacity is reached within the second or third category, students in that category will be selected by a random ballot to decide if they will be allocated a room on campus. If room capacity is reached within the fourth category as far as possible allocations will be made on a first come first served basis for that category.
People who apply late/miss their offer but still get in have a substantially lesser chance of getting their first preference (let alone a room on campus), particularly for the oversubscribed halls like JM/AV where I would say it is practically zero. It is common for these people to end up in Westwood, Westwood Sharing* or off campus in Liberty Park or Paradise Place (both off campus facilities which are similar to halls of residence) or simply in a rented house possibly with other students, be it with Warwick Accommodation or a private agent.
What is Westwood Sharing?
Westwood Sharing is a temporary measure for the first few weeks of term 1. Westwood has some of the largest rooms on campus so they just stick another bed in there and you share with someone of the same gender. Those sharing act as a 'buffer' and will be offered an empty room caused by people not showing up/dropping out. Any remaining after then will have to find off campus accommodation. This helps the university to maximise occupancy of campus. If they didn't have Westwood sharing then if anyone drops out after a week they can't find a replacement for the room as everyone else is in off campus 40+ week contracts. The university is then losing money (it isn't University of Warwick Ltd for nothing!). In 2010-11 there was a massive intake of students and not enough space on campus - they even shared in some rooms of Rootes.