I really do not recommend staying in Fraser Court. I stayed in my 1st year there, I'm now in my 2nd year. It is £500 per month (yeah they don't tell you that they compress the rent payments) for mice (plural) in every single block which they did nothing about. My younger sister lives there now and her friend found a dead mouse on the floor. There are some unhelpful residents and it is generally a bit grotty. Also, it is the only accommodation offered by the uni to charge you £50 for losing something so simple as a key. (my friend had this misfortune). Yet, in Pollock it's a tenner at most.
Good luck finding a place, there are some really good places, if you want catered, Pollock is good and is not full of yahs as everyone makes it out to be. In the way of self-catered, I'd recommend any apart from fraser court and south clerk street. They are all generally really good. Or even, better value to get a flat? There are some really good websites that can set you up for a good valued flat in Marchmont/ Bruntsfield areas and meet other 1st years to move in with, i know it's hard for art students? this is a really good idea, something i wish i did.
Best of luck, Edinburgh's a great place to live. :)
I liven in Pollock 2 years ago. The heating was free (a blessing in Edinburgh), the people were nice, and the showers were 1/2 way decent.I would do it again. The food leaves something to be desired, but the memories I have of meeting my friends every day for a meal I will never forget, and there were plenty of options -even for a veggie like me.The rooms are spacious, the cleaning staff are ok, the common rooms are nice and you could never beat the view or the grounds.Don't only hang out with the person in the corridor opposite you. And do as many fresher things and society things as possible, don't wait till year 2 to realize all you've been missing. Good luck : )
My experience of Pollock Halls is that of an exchange student so a bit different to what has already been written, but perhaps useful to someone.
I was in my last year of Uni back in the USA when I came to study in Edinburgh. We were given the choice of the halls, or a flat. I'd spent 2 years in the dorms at my own university, and a futher year in a sorority house. I was ready for the flat experience, but on this occasion chose to stay in the halls. My reasons? More people to meet, my food provided, a decent location. Cost wasn't really an issue as it was part of my overseas package, so I'm not much help on that one but for what it's worth there was a good variety of students from all backgrounds and countries in my hall....
My view was stunning, I had a corner room and a decent neighbour so noise wasn't a problem. The common room showed weekly movies, and we enjoyed getting together after dinner for Neighbours (sad, I know). I could do my washing downstairs, the food was decent (but best of all I didn't have to cook it) and I had internet access a few minutes away at the computer lab.
My friend was in a flat, had to fend for herself with cooking, had flatmates who smoked in the house and that she had nothing in common with, and spent a lot of time cleaning the place and coming over to mine!
My advice? Live in the halls for a year, make some friends, then get a place with them in your second year.
I stayed in Pollock Halls during my first year - in Lee House to be exact - and found the whole experience to be positive in the main.
The location of the halls was a slight concern to me when I first looked at it on a map - it seemed awfully far to get to the university buildings from the halls. Let me assure you that the maps are deceptive. At the most, the walk from Pollock Halls to George Square takes about 10-15 minutes - if you walk incredibly slowly, perhaps a little longer. The best thing about the location is that it is so close to Arthur's Seat, a large dormant volcano that forms a picturesque setting in the centre of the city, and Holyrood Park, the green area surrounding Arthur's Seat that makes for beautiful, head-clearing walks when the studying gets a little too much.
The rooms are what you might expect of student halls of residence. My room had a bed, a sink, a desk, a telephone and an internet connection point. There was plenty of room for all of my stuff and there was a large cork notice-board in the room so that I could keep important pieces of paper to hand. The internet connection at Pollock Halls is marketed as "Resnet". It is a high speed connection that is fairly reliable and it is all included in the price that you pay for living there. Each corridor has two shower rooms and a bathroom between about 8-9 people. Because everyone's classes tend to start at various times throughout the day, there is never usually a problem with having to wait to use the shower on a morning etc.
A cleaner comes on a daily basis to empty the waste paper bins in the rooms and once a week, they will give your room a quick clean and tidy, provided you have not left books and paper all over the place.
The price can be a sticking point with Pollock Halls. It is rather expensive but it does include the room, food from the attached catering building, a cleaner, the internet connection etc. There is at least one warden in each building; they tend to be older students that have agreed to stay in halls to ensure that any problems are handled quickly and effectively.
The food from the JMC (the catering building) is okay. It is not gourmet dining by any stretch of the imagination but nor is it chips and beans every day. There is a choice every day and there is always a salad bar for those who do not want to choose anything from the hot food counter. The food works on a points system so that everyone is allowed a fair amount of food and it stops people being selfish and cuts down on waste.
The major benefit of Pollock Halls is the ability to mix with students in the same position as you - living away from home for the first time and probably in a city far away from their family. It is a good way to make a lot of friends very quickly and there are organised nights out in the first few weeks which allow people to mix together and get to know one another/ break the ice. It is true that there are "yahs" - public-schooled people with rather loud voices and a lot of self-confidence - but then there are also a lot of non-yahs; they just tend to be a little quieter.
If I were going back to do my degree again, I would definitely choose to stay in Pollock Halls again. I enjoyed my time there and, although I did not necessarily get along with everyone on my corridor, there were enough people with the same sense of humour and interests as me that I did not feel lonely and I made friends fairly quickly. The university tries to put people on the same corridor who show similar interests etc to make such a big upheaval a little less daunting. I am glad I chose Pollock Halls over self-catering halls and have no reservations with recommending the same course of action to others.
There's a lot about Pollock Halls on here, but not much about the self-catered residences offered by the University of Edinburgh. These include places such as Warrender Park Crescent, Nicolson Street, Kincaids Court, Darroch Court, Hermit's Croft, and so on. As someone who's done the freshers thing twice (I took an interruption of study, didn't complete my first freshers year, and am doing it again) - I've stayed in two different self-catered residences, and feel I know them enough now to review them.
The first I stayed in was 5 Nicolson Street. This was originally post-grad accommodation, until the uni ran out of places to put their ever-increasing numbers of first years. Nicolson Street is a little grotty on the inside - the stairwells, mainly - but otherwise, fairly good. Don't expect a pretty building - but do expect it to be 5 minutes away from lectures, shops, and 10/15 minutes from the Royal Mile and Princes St. It's very convenient for location.
The second year, Warrender Park Crescent. This is a little out of the centre - in the Marchmont area, by the meadows - and takes about 15 minutes to walk to George Square. It's not as convenient as other flats, BUT - it's incredibly pretty. The entire neighbourhood is quite quiet, pretty, and feels less hectic than the centre.
Self-catering is definitely a good idea - you can buy cheap food and eat what you want, when you want. You find a better mix of people in self-catered than in Pollock (i.e. it's not all rich people in s-c!) Laundry - £1.60 for a wash, generally... Don't use the tumble dryers, invest in a clothes horse to hang your clothes up.
As for the person who said "If you think you'll be getting a mixed, international flavor, think again: they generally group people, racially, into the flats - Chinese, American, Other." - Wrong. In my current flat, we have an English girl, a Scot, and two Americans from opposite ends of the country. I know other flats with Europeans and Brits in the same flat, etc.
Yes, Pollock halls is quite expensive - that I can't deny, but if you are aware of the price and want a halls that is in a stunning and picturesque setting, where the food is absolutely fine (and im no food slob who only eats chips and beans) - they've even recently won awards for their healthy food - and resnet (free fast unlimited internet in most of the halls) then Pollock is for you.
I'm not really sure why the presence of ras is always either greatly exaggerated or made out to be the worst thing in the whole world ever. If you don't like 'ras 'sloanes' whatever - you don't have to hang out with them! It's not like every other person is some horrible snob girl thing! I personally haven't seen that many, the ones I have met have been fine, and I don't go out everynight, I am not on any of the sports teams and I am definately no jack wills, definately not super rich but I am still very much making friends with interesting, genuine and warm people. The worst experience I've had with noise disruption was when I was hanging out in the pantry late one night and security came in and told us to keep it down - which was fine and fair enough. Remember - most people if they've had a good experience don't feel the need to write about it, but if they've had a bad one, they want to shout and tell the world - I couldn't believe most of the other reviews when I first read them (apart from the money comments which are fair). As usual the reality is somewhere in between all the cliched stereotypes. With Pollock Halls you get out what you put in, if you can afford it, go!
DONT CHOOSE POLLOCK HALLS--- is the key advice i was given and should be given to any student looking at places to stay for their first year. Pollock Halls are outrageously expensive, the food provided is terrible and the whole place is populated by boring, loud, obnoxious yahs.
Instead i suggest looking into self catering flats provided by the university. I stayed in Fraser Court in my first year and it was a good lesson in living with flat mates and indeed away from home. It was a brilliant way of meeting people and had a lovely community atmosphere. I shared with three other girls in small, but cosy flat. There was a good garden area out the back, perfect for bbqs and lying around in the summer.
The only downside is that is slightly further out than most flats, but worth the walk for the location, in front of arthurs seat. It is by Pollock which is useful if any friends live there or you need to go to the halls offices. It is also located across from a good pub (always a must in freshers year! ) and next to a gym and swimming pool.
I loved my time there and it was a good place to start my uni life.
I stayed in Pollok halls in first year. Here was my dilema: I wanted to meet people, the way I saw it, the more people you meet the more chance you have of meeting people you have stuff in common with, right??
Pollok halls is suited to those who:
-are very rich and probably never had a job in their lives
-are very bitchy, very beautiful, very concerned with appearance
-play hockey/rugby/lacrosse/polo and wear a team hoodie constantly
-like shit food
-want to get drunk every night with all their Ra mates and go to clubs with stupid names like "poona-nah"
I'm afraid I fitted none of the above and therefore didn't fit in at all. I am fairly outgoing and confident but unfortunately the concept of indie music, art and design, student radio, independant media, going for a quiet coffee or second hand clothing just does not hold with these people. Seriously, if you don't fit into the above categories or wish you did DON'T do it. Think the really bitchy popular kids from high school. Then multiply by 10000.
on the other hand I have managed to make some reasonably good mates here and and I do hear occasional horror stories about people hating flatmates etc. But if you get a choice Don't go into Pollok. If you do, join lots of societies, then you get to mix with the NORMAL people from the part of the world that doesn't wear pashminas and talk like a knob.
ATTENTION UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH NEW STUDENTS!!!
(especially new Postgrad, Mature and INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS)
THINK TWICE DON'T BE RIPPED OFF! TURN BACK BE WARNED
before taking university housing through Accomodation Services!
The myth that Accomodation Services perpetrates to new and potential students is that there
is a lack of affordable housing in Edinburgh. THIS IS A LIE. Then they scare you and rush
you into signing a contract for overpriced, underdeveloped, inefficient housing.
1. The average A.S. rent is about £310 per month, bills inclusive. This is a RIPOFF, especially for what you get. You can easily (as in EASILY) find a share situation in a nice flat, decent neighborhood from £225, then you pay your bills.
2. Accomodation Services tries to scare students: Wordy legalease language about taking private flats... Carefully worded marketing copy that makes any alternative look bad. DON'T BELIEVE IT! A.S. is a PRIVATE COMPANY, which only cares about profit.
3. Accomodation Services is the most nasty, indifferent organization to students ONCE the contract
is signed. Before, they act like friendly, caring little Bambi careworkers.
4. They promise Resnet/Internet and a whole host of other services. They rarely work. Some guy had to have a tribunal last year cause internet was down for over a month. They limit your access to the internet. The phone cards are a ripoff - the rates are more expensive than those you can buy in the shops.
5. The halls are LOUD, NOISY, prisons. The "en suite" bathrooms are tiny little closets you cannot turn around in. NOISE complaints are not handled well, the focus is NOT on studying. Parties and drinking are the first order of business. BE WARNED: NOISE MEANS NOISE AND LOTS OF IT. Doors banging, music, all night yelling.The "wardens" (students paid to serve as wardnes) don't care - they hide behind their email.
6. If you think you'll be getting a mixed, international flavor, think again: they generally group people, racially, into the flats - Chinese, American, Other.
In general, the staff struggles to provide proper services (i.e. the house staff) , but they are as limited by A.S. as the students.
WHAT TO DO:
1. Research and email people from the web. Use the EUSA STUDENTS ASSOCIATION site for links to meet folk for potential flatmates.Societies and clubs are a good way as well. This is NOT New York or Cambodia - folk are generally friendly and decent.
2. Just show up. Take a B&B for a week. Walk up & down Nicolson Street and check Potterrow - NOTICE BOARDS ARE EVERWHERE - FILLED WITH FLAT OFFERS AND SHARES. You will find something, and with the money you save you'll easily cover the B&B and moving.
3. Ask your course convenor for referrals when you get the acceptance letter. USE YOUR ACADEMIC OFFICES!!! They are set up to help students.There is also an INTERNATIONAL OFFICE where applicable. Keep in mind this IS a University - none of these offices communicate - so, dig, dig. dig!
SO consider yourself WARNED! If you do take Uni housing, good luck. I put this wee page up because Accomodation Services are anything BUT accomodating or service oriented. For the money me and my flatmates are paying we could have an ENTIRE HOUSE overlooking the water. THINK ABOUT IT.
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!!!
Pollock halls is THE place to stay for a 1st year student. You'll meet more people than you would following other options, and isn't that what its all about? I had a great time there (Turner House 513). My single most favouritest thing about it is the location at the foot of Aurthurs seat. Its well beautiful; good for playing footy too. OK, so there are Yas aplenty, but then is that not Edinburgh Uni in general? Best moment: the hill-side was covered in snow so at breakfast a couple of hundred people stole food trays from the canteen and went sledging. It was chaos, esp. since the trays did not perform as expected. One more thing folks: its kinda hard to sleep two people in one of the beds. But then of course you don't have to sleep... OHHH YEAH HAPPY TIMES!
OK the accommodation in Edinburgh goes like this. If you are a ya or very wealthy person then you head to Pollock Halls. Nice place but, as mentioned full of yas. It is right next to the commonwealth pool which is handy if you want to get away from the bitchy girls discussing whos daddy earns the most money. Then there is kincairds court nicer place more relaxed and generally less of a ya population!!very handy as it is right next door to the cowgate one problem though the whole block of flats is subsiding!?! And then there is Sciennes which are quaint flats if not a little bit expensive but generally a good mix of people no yas at all which is quite good for Edinburgh uni!! Next year they are going to have a groovy thing called Resnet in all accommodation, which gives you free internet access and free phone calls to other university people which is quite good. But in this life nothing comes for free and an extra amount fo money is included in your rent for this facility!!