“ If your halls aren't included here please suggest them. „
If you are thinking about heading off to University, then I suggest getting a place on campus. It is a good experience that allows you to truly embrace in your new student way of life. Commuting to the University from home means you miss out on quite a lot of the great experiences that Uni life has to offer.
The University of Essex includes five types of campus accommodation, which are the Towers, the Houses, the South courts, Wolfson Court and the Quays. Each is quite different from another, and also ranges at different prices.
There are six towers on Essex University's campus. They are located on both the North and South side of the University campus, and are all close to University lecture rooms, shops and facilities, so the walking distance to the centre of campus will only take you around three minutes. This means you can literally get out of bed ten minutes before your lecture and you'll make it on time! Each Tower accommodates between 143 and 233 students, with each flat accommodating 13 to 16 students. Each Tower has between 12 and 16 floors, with plenty of lifts and stairs and emergency exits, so getting out in an event of a fire should not be a problem. The flats contain a kitchen area which is shared by the students in each flat. There are several shared showers and toilets per flat. Student's bedrooms are located on either side of the kitchen, with the toilets and shower rooms also found on either side. The bedrooms vary in size, but for the most part, they are a little on the small side. Each room is equipped with a desk, chest of drawers, wardrobe, desk lamp, curtains, desk chair, shelves and a bed. An internet connection is provided, with the student only needing to register their computer or laptop in order to obtain it in their bedroom. The Towers have been known (and rightly so) as the "Party Flats", as this is where most students gather for their get togethers. So if you prefer your peace and quiet, you may want to avoid getting a place here, as it is hardly ever quiet in one of these blocks, but otherwise, it provides a great, happy atmosphere, and also gives you 13 to 16 instant flatmates, who you will probably go on to develop friendships with. The Towers are also the cheapest accommodation available on the University campus, and even though prices of accommodation have increased quite significantly in recent years, you will have to pay £63.27 per week to rent out a room.
The Houses are on the North side of the campus, in a rather quiet greenery surrounded area. Walking to the centre of campus from the Houses will take you around 5 minutes. There are six houses with each containing three-storey residence which accommodates 42 to 46 students. The accommodation is arranged in flats of four, five or six students, with a shared kitchen area. There are two rooms in each of the four houses which have been adapted for wheelchair users, and alarm facilities have been fitted for students with hearing difficulties. Each bedroom contains a desk and chair, desk lamp, bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, curtains and shelves. Each room has its own en-suite shower and toilet facilities, so for those of you who do not like the thought of sharing a toilet and shower with other students, then this accommodation is ideal. The location of the Houses is very quite and tranquil, offering great views of the greenery that surrounds the campus buildings. It also provides a very quite accommodation, so those who do not fancy the party-lifestyle the Towers offer, then this is a great, peaceful place. Rent will set you back at £95.06 per week.
Wolfson Court is a rather small block of houses that is situated near the Houses, and in between two of the North towers. The lake is viewable from the back of the court. Walking to the centre of campus will take you about two or three minutes. There are eight flats inside this two storey building, and seven students can be accommodated in each. These flats contain a shared kitchen, but the shower and toilet facilities are en-suite. Bedrooms contain a desk, desk lamp, chair, bed, chest of drawers, wardrobe, basin, shelves and curtains. This is another rather peaceful accommodation, and is considerably cheaper than the Houses, setting you back at £70.63 per week to rent your room there.
The South Courts are found on the South side of campus, and is within 2 minutes of the University's sport centre. Walking distance to the centre of campus is no longer than 5 minutes. The South Courts are very similar to the Houses, but the rooms are a lot larger here. The flats contain four to six students, and a further four rooms are adapted for wheelchair users on the ground floor. Each flat has a shared kitchen, whilst the toilet and shower facilities are en-suite. Each bedroom contains a desk, desk lamp, chair, bed, chest of drawers, wardrobe, basin, shelves and curtains. The South Courts are probably the most peaceful and nice looking accommodation on campus, and is surrounded by greenery. Most rooms offer a lovely view of the campus; so again, if you are looking for a more relaxed room, have a look at the South Courts. Rent will set you back at £97.93 per week, making it the most expensive accommodations on campus.
This is the newest of the student accommodations offered by the University, and is based just off of the campus. Students are able to walk from campus through a rather pleasant walk through open meadows where the Quays are found overlooking them. Walking to the centre of campus from the Quays takes about 15 minutes, which is a lot more than the other accommodations, but it still isn't too far. The Quays offers peaceful views over a meadow, and very quiet accommodation. Kitchens are shared by each flat, and there are several storeys contained inside the buildings. Flats contain four to eight students in each. Each bedroom contains a desk, desk lamp, chair, bed, chest of drawers, wardrobe, shelves and curtains. Toilet and shower facilities are en-suite. Students don't have to worry about being away from the facilities that campus living offers you, as the Quays contains a laundrette on side, a Quayside Cafe and a shorter walking distance to the nearby supermarket, Tesco. Rent will set you back at £93.52 per week.
All of the University accommodations have regular cleaners that will clean the communal areas, such as the showers, toilets and kitchens. If you have opted for on-suite accommodation, the cleaners will clean your own private bathroom for you. Being an ex-student (I graduated from Essex University in July 2009), I highly recommend getting University accommodation rather than living at home. It is a great experience that will make you more independent. You will make friends easily, due to having housemates, and it will be easier to experience the University life, due to only having to retire back to your University room at the end of the hard day (or fun night), rather than commuting home to your parents. Accommodation may be a little pricy, but it is cleaned daily by the University cleaners, it is cosy and already stocked with essential furniture by the University. A phone line is included in the room, and the internet is already set up for your computer or laptop if you have one. My first year at University was an excellent experience which was only further heightened because of the amount of fun I had in my accommodation, so I truly recommend choosing one of the student halls of residence when you start!
If you wish to look at accommodation charges in more detail, a rather useful table is available here: http://www.essex.ac.uk/accommodation/residences/charges.shtm
University of Essex's website also offers a virtual tour of each accommodation if you wish to view it now before making any decisions. You can access them here: http://www.essex.ac.uk/vr/tour.aspx?tour=3
Whereever you choose to live, being a student at the University of Essex is a great experience!
There are four types of accommodation at the University of Essex - The Towers, The Courts, the Houses, and the Quays. I have lived in The Towers and "spent time", shall we say, in the Courts numerous times during my three years there, so I think I have quite a good grasp on what the living experiences are like.
The Towers - these are the cheapest halls on campus, and nicknamed the "suicide slums" because there used to be a spate of people diving from them, so the Uni had the windows triple-reinforced to prevent this. When I went there, the all-in rent was £56 a week, although this has been steadily rising every year.
Each tower has about 14 floors, and on each floor there are 16 rooms of decent but not huge size. There is a single bed in each room, a desk, a bin, and a pretty good chair given the price of the rooms. Each room also has an Ethernet port so you can plug in a computer, but beware that games consoles are sadly blocked by the University routers. However, there is a brilliant student-run DC++ hub, which allows you to tap into the Uni's high-speed Internet and download at about 1.4MB/sec. However, if you're bold enough (like I was) to download in the University's own labs, you can look forward to about 10MB/sec!
In my halls, I was matched with about 50/50 English students and International ones. The Uni has the highest quotient of foreign students in the country, and I found this very enriching in regard to expanding my cultural knowledge. Also it was fun to note cultural differences between us, and mostly their standard of English was very good, and even if not, they tried very hard. Gender-splits though, are quite different, and I believe the term "sausagefest" was banded around our flat more than once.
The kitchen area is spacious, although it does get a bit too crammed during dinner time, so I tended to time my meals differently to avoid this. Also, there is only one toilet and one shower on each side of the floor, meaning that you do have to sometimes wait, but to be honest I never found this a problem.
I've never lived in a big house, so I was fine with the fairly small, cosy atmosphere of the Towers, but can understand why others wouldn't want it. This is why they go for the Courts, which are a bit larger, and only have 4-5 people per floor, and you also get your own cleaner, although personally I would hate both of these things. It is also a LOT more expensive (about £120 a month more) for what I consider to be absolute luxuries.
The various types of accommodation cater very well for students of all tastes and budgets, and I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there.