such a good place to go if u want to meet people, i promise u will make soooo many friends, and everyone wants to be popular right! i didn't really like the catering although it was more social, the food was a bit nasty at times. only bad thing is that when the cold really hits (and i am a southern boy so not used to it) it is not a nice walk to lectures, but a nice big jacket and a wolly hat will sort you out a treat.
I am a third year student at Edinburgh Univeristy and have stayed in three different University accomodation flats. The first one was 39 South Clerk Street. This is a first year flat and has about 120 people in it. It consists of four person flats and six person flats, I stayed in the one of the bigger six person flats. the facilities are quite good, there is a laundrette, a bike shed (two actually) and a lift. Since the flat is on a main road there is no car parking. The flat itself wan't bad but it could have been a bit bigger. The kitchen and lounge are one big room but the space is not well used and it feels cramped when several people are trying to use the kitchen. The four person flats are more spacious for four people, the kitchen units are simply in a line down one side of the lounge. In the six person flats there are three bigger bedroom and three smaller ones. Since I was one of the last people into the flat I was left with one of the smaller rooms. It didn't bother me too much, it was a perfectly adequate size. There are two toilets, each with a shower cubicle. Unfortunately the showers run off the how water tank which meant that we were always running out of hot water. This may have changed however, it was over two years ago I stayed there. All the windows are double glazed and do an ok job of keeping the noise out. They do an excellent job at keeping the heat in, most of the time we kept the heaters in the lounge off as it was always warm. When I stayed in this building there were no locks on the individual doors which I didn't like, hopefully this is something that has been changed. Overall not a bad flat but nothing special. In second year I stayed at Sciennes 1. Sciennes (pronounced Sheens) is at the edge of the meadows and is a back road, and is therefore much quieter then the main road. Again I stayed ina six person flat, although this time the kitchen lounge was much bigger. The doors also h ad individual locks which I was pleased to see. The showers were electri which was much better than in first year, I could have a hot shower anytime I wanted. The layout of this flat was quite strange, it was spread over four floors. At the bottom there were two bedrooms and a cupboard. On the second floor there was the front door, a bathroom and the kitchen/lounge. The third floor then had another two bedrooms and then the top floor had two bedrooms and another toilet. Out of the six bedroom, three are smaller and three are bigger. Since the rooms were individually assigned in order, I was allocated bedroom 6, since I came last. This was the biggest one which I was lucky to get. The smaller bedrooms are too small, my flatmates who stayed in them didn't like them very much. The flat isn't double glazed which meant that unless the heaters were kept high the flat lost its heat quickly. The phone in the flat is not a UNiversity one, just a BT one. I preferref having the Uni phone, no line rental and no problems sorting out calls. I ended up taking responsibiliy for the phone and I have regretted it ever since. Getting everyone to pay up wasn't easy. The facilities available at the flat are reasonably good, there is a car park, a good bike shed and a laundrette. There is no lifts however, which I sorely missed when moving in and out. Although this flat is University run it is privately owned which meant the rent was high, which is why I only stayed here for a year. Overall I liked this flat, although it didn't look very special. As with other University flats it had woodchip walls and unappealing hardwearing carpets. The kitchen had been refurbished and looked a lot better than the rest of the flat. This year I am staying at 5 Nicolson Street. There are a variety of flats but I am staying in a two person flat, I decided I wanted a quieter flat after two years in rather hectic 6 person flats. So far I really like the flat , it is much better furnished than the previous years flats. the furniture isn't cheap stuff that looks about ten years old, the only problem I have with it is that there is too much of it! The kitchen has been recently refurbished so all the units look good. There is a fridge and a freezer as well as a cooker but no microwave. The carpet is also a proper carpet, not a cheap hard wearing one which makes the flat look much better. The windows have secondary glazing, the main windows are the old sliding type. These keep the noise out surprisingly well but unfortunately you can't clean as with modern windows. The windows also do an excellent job of keeping the heat in, the flat is always warm. The bedrooms aren't huge but are a perfectly acceptable size. There is no lift or car parking but there is a laundrette and a bike shed. The bike shed is a big disappointment. For starters it is difficult to get to, down a floor of stairs, down a few more and then you are finally there. This is fine for walking but annoying for hauling a bike up and down. The bike shed is small and difficult to get a bike into. I had my first bike stolen during freshers weeks, the lock has been changed on the bike shed and so far there have been no more thefts. If you cycle a lot it may be worth looking elsewhere. I have to admit I can put up with it, it's just a shame when the rest of the flat is so good. The flat is supposed to have 'resnet' this is a system where you are supposed to get University network access in your room. I bought a compuer for this but unfortunately it hasn't been installed and doesn't look like it will in the near future. The rent is very reasonable (it includes £90 for resnet) as this is a good flat. I am very pleased with it and will hopefully stick with it next year. A final note on Edinburgh University Accomodation services, their accounts department is appalling. They owe me £90 and despite me trying to get it back for the last six 8 months I still don't have it. If it wasn't for the fact that I want to stay in Uni accomodation I would go private as the accounts department is useless
I was in Pollock halls in my 1st year and if you can you should definitely try and get into halls rather than University accommodation. There are some good accommodation places like Scheens and Hermits Croft, but the main disadvantage is that you don’t to choose who you get stuck with, and you meet far less people than in halls. I met people in the 2nd year that literally only knew 2-3 people because they were in University accommodation. It doesnt matter which house you go into in Pollock they are all the same, except Masson which has double beds for what I have no idea.
Pollock is the name for the Halls of Residence, and apart from the v.v.v.odd one here or there it is pretty much only 1st year students who live here. I graduated from Edinburgh a year ago, so my Pollock days were a good 5 years ago and I'm sure it will have changed a great deal (for the better). Pollock consists of a number of houses (10 or so), grouped together with a big building in the middle which has the dining room, shop (newsagent-type) and bar for all to use. It houses 2000 or so (about half of the 1st year students). It's a healthy walk from Pollock to uni', so if you could seriously reject a place to live based on one place being 2 minutes closer walk (which can be quite a long time when it hits below 0 temperature!), then there's flats nearer to the university. My only real advice is, if you have an en-suite room you'll be living extremely well, because all the en-suite rooms are in the newly renovated houses. When I was there Masson and Holland house were the only refurbished houses (re-carpeted, good plumbing and heating -new and clean-looking. Needless to say I lived in neither one!). Masson house had a double bed in each room with an en-suite bathroom (so this would be 'top' choice for anyone). Holland had single bed rooms with en-suite shower rooms (no room for complaint!). All of the other houses were pretty horrid. The buildings inside, looked very much like hospitals inside...totally bland, dark, nothing particularly great. The rooms were tiny (but you make do) and the beds...no joke, were about one half of a single bed in size (so the Holland house single beds felt like double beds compared to this!)...and of course, one or 2 showers (maybe a bath too)along the corridor for everyone to share. Pollock is the easiest way to meet people. When 2000 of you are put together and everyone eats at the dining room together etc... meeting and getting to know people quickly is automatic. On the other hand, it is not homely at all. It's very much like a bed-sit and that's all your space. Although there's 'some' facilities, like a mini-kitchen etc...you don't really have anywhere to relax like you would at home -in front of the TV and slouch around (apart from the huge communal room which was pretty much an empty room with rickety chairs and an old TV in the room). So...if you really have no qualms about the lifestyle, Pollock is perfectly good. The alternative type of accommodation (aside from those who live in Edinburgh or already have private accommodation organised) is to live in university flats... there's different blocks of apartments dotted around Edinburgh. Here there may be 4 or 5 of you living together and you don't get to pick who you live with... on your application you give some details about yourself and then it's pot-luck. (Although 1 or 2 people always manage to change if they are utterly miserable...but it's hard to do and rare for it to happen, so don't count on it!). Also, it's highly unlikely you'll be put in with friends from school etc... This is how it worked out for me: Pollock was great for the 1st term...you're meeting everyone, you're out all the time, despite the food not being brilliant you don't starve 'cos you get fed etc... so you're literally using your room to sleep and that's it! By the end of the 1st term most people have developed groups of friends etc so that 'necessity' to meet and greet everyone starts to die down (that's not to say there's less amounts of partying). It's the 2nd term in Scotland...the cold begins to kick in quite hard, and generally you start to feel like you'd quite like some more homely comforts around you... you get a bout of flu or something and it would be kind of nice to have a flat-mate around who you know is going to come by and maybe pick something up for you on the way home... rather than being in a poky room waiting for a good mate to come by etc. I'll be honest... there's always a good mate, but there's also 1st year...which as everyone know is about packing in as much fun, going mental, mad, getting as drunk as possible etc, so as a result the attitude is kind of selfish and no-one really looks out for anyone too much. Despite some of my personal complaints (all of which are probably irrelevant now as most houses have been refurbished), I actually don't know if I'd have had a better time in a flat than in Pollock or not. If go to Pollock, take this advice: 1) If it costs more, pay it, but 'please' go to a refurbished house and not an old pokey one (it is definitely worth it (Apply early!). 2) I wouldn't recommend the self-catering houses for 1st year students. There's only one or 2, and for some reason they are the least social of all the houses because the dining room is one of the major meeting places. Also, it tends to be occupied by few non-1st year students in Pollock (mature students etc...).
The University only guarantees accommodation for first year students. The accommodation service is responsible for housing (http://www.accom.ed.ac.uk) and they will either be put into self-catering University flats or into the Halls of Residence known as Pollock. Pollock is continually undergoing improvements and around one quarter of the rooms are now en-suite, your rent includes breakfast and dinner on weekdays, with lunch thrown in at weekends. If you stay in Pollock, you will probably have to totally vacate your rooms during the holiday periods when they are rented to visitors. After first year, most students will branch off into privately owned accommodation. There is a wide variety available with rents ranging from £150 pcm to £300pcm. Expect on average to pay around £230pcm. There are several parts of town that have proved popular with students: New Town with its Georgian architecture, Marchmont, Morningside and Newington. Where you live may be determined by where you’ll be studying. Arts and Science at Edinburgh are on different campuses; the trek from New Town to King’s Buildings (Science) can be lengthy. Utilities will set you back around another £20-40 per month, (heating can be expensive – Edinburgh gets cold). As students, you are entitled to exemption on council tax, but be warned, should a resident of the property become employed the whole flat becomes liable for tax (rates vary according to numbers in work). A few students buy their properties outright, though numbers have dropped recently as mortgage rates have risen. Edinburgh has plenty of student accommodation, most agencies and landlords will be looking to rent from June/July; others prefer to rent their properties out during the festival (see fringe guide) so a lease from September for nine months is to be expected. Good Luck.