At the moment there are many UCAS days happening at the university and I remember being really unsure whether to apply for self-catered or catered accommodation. I thought I would tell you a bit about both (as objectively as possible), particularly as it is this month in which applicants who put Leicester as their firm choice can apply for accommodation for September 2013
I will begin by discussing catered accommodation as overall there are slightly more catered rooms in the Oadby Village and I was catered in my first year also, so can give you my honest opinion on what the food is like.
Firstly, there are two meals a day. Breakfast is from 7:15-10am on weekdays (7:15am – 10am for Continental Breakfast and 7:30am – 9am for hot breakfast i.e. bacon and eggs). There are also nice coffee machines where you can get lattes/mochas/hot chocolate etc. On the weekends there is brunch served instead at 12pm-1pm, allowing students to have a sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays 🙂 The evening meal is from 5:30pm – 7pm during the week and at 5:30pm – 6:30pm on the weekend. However, if anyone has societies or are ill during these times, a friend can take their card and get their food for them.
Meals work out at approximately £6.50 a day, however these are huge portions and include dessert, drinks and salad. The food is on a three week rota and so it doesn’t get boring or monotonous and honestly, I thought the food was really nice (especially the banoffee pie, my favourite!), with a huge variety, including 2 meat dishes, 1 vegetarian option, as well as often a mixture of salad bowls.
The dining rooms also often puts on themed nights, such as a Mexican night, which students can dress up in sombrero’s and mustaches.
I enjoyed being catered, partially because I found it really sociable, but also because coming to uni can be a bit overwhelming, full of changes and it was just one less thing to think about. The one downside, however, is that catered rooms only have a 30 week contract which means students have to move all their stuff out their rooms at the end of each term, as they use these rooms during the Christmas and Easter holidays. This is not just specific to the University of Leicester but is quite common for other universities to also do this. Whilst this can be a bit of a pain, there are ways around it, such as putting stuff into storage or even asking a self-catered friend if you can store stuff in their room over the holidays.
Self-catered rooms have a 39 weeks contract and so people can leave their belongings in them for the whole year. For some prospective students, this may be really important. Self-catering is also good for those who are quite particular about what they eat, or simply those who enjoy cooking for themselves. There is a 24 hour Asda about 10 minutes away from Oadby Village, making it very easy and cheap to buy food. There is also a Sainsburys, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer nearby. One positive thing, is that self-catered students can buy a food voucher for £5, allowing them to eat at one of the dining rooms, if there is a night that they can’t be bothered, have no food or have no time to cook.
Both self-catered and catered accommodation have positives and negatives and both have the potential to be very social experiences. Whilst people may have a much greater preference for one over the other, the most important thing is who you live with and I am sure that you will be happy whatever the accommodation you are allocated. Remember to write on the applications if there are any specific requirements you may have. Also, feel free to write any questions on here if there is anything else you would like to know 🙂