Posted on Fri 08 Mar 2019 at 11:36 by Christopher Carter
When it comes to looking for University-managed student housing, one of the issues which postgraduate students have flagged repeatedly over the last few years is the difficulty of the application process – particularly when it comes to checking out properties which you may not be able to view in person, or finding out vital information about the area you’ll be living in if you get allocated a property off-campus.
I’ve been liaising with Warwick Accommodation over the last few months about this, and am pleased to say that we will hopefully soon be seeing some improvements in the following areas:
* Providing more quotes from the student perspective, particularly for off-campus properties or accommodation which is managed in partnership with external providers – this will be added wherever possible!
* Providing more detail about the larger PG-only properties which postgrads are likely to be allocated - photos of specific properties will be added on the PG off-campus supporting application page.
* Visual examples of the price banding will be included on the application form - i.e. photographic representations of houses costing up to £100, from £101-£120, etc.
* Provision of transport details on the area guide or partnership offer letter - bus service information will be included on both the off-campus and partnership pages so that students know which bus pass to buy!
* Improving the local area guide to show more detailed information about the area you’ll be living in – this will be updated once a focus group has been held to find out what sort of information students want specifically.
* Expectation management – while the Accommodation teamed sadly aren’t able to provide a “percentage-allocated” notice on campus halls for those who selected it as a first preference (mainly due to the constant fluctuation of numbers during the offer process), they will look at adding a section on all campus hall pages to try to better manage expectations.
* Improving communication - the team will aim to explain when students are likely to receive their offer through social media Q&As and by keeping in regular contact. They will also aim to establish an agreed response time to students who email them, and will look to carry out additional chats and webinars.
In addition, Warwick Accommodation will be passing on requests to the team who look after the off-campus system to investigate the possibility that students can meet their housemates before arrival – unfortunately it may not be possible to facilitate this, but it never hurts to ask so we’ll see what they come back with!
While obviously these changes don’t guarantee accommodation for all applicants, hopefully they will prove useful in helping to manage expectations and provide more information during the application process so that students don’t feel quite so in the dark. On the back of our meeting, Warwick Accommodation are also looking into organising a focus group for PG students living in accommodation they have allocated off campus – look out for more info hopefully coming soon!