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Saturday, 29 August 2015

FAQ: Postgraduates' frequently asked questions - noise, room allocation, age

Questions frequently asked by postgraduates

What is the average age of Connaught Hall residents?

The median age in Hall is usually 19 years. In 2014-15, we had 47 residents aged 21 or over; 29 residents were postgraduate students (out of 230).

I understand most residents are first-year undergraduates. Is it noisy? Will I be able to study?

Our Hall handbook has this to say about noise:

Noise disturbance generally creates the most dissatisfaction with Hall life. The Halls are large halls of residence of mostly first-year undergraduate students in a busy part of London. Nowhere in the Hall can be completely silent. Most staff and residents find that occasionally they need to wear earplugs at night, even if the only noise they can hear is traffic noise. Some people are particularly sensitive to even low levels of noise and we would advise that a mainly undergraduate hall of residence in central London may not be suitable accommodation in this case. It is not always reasonable to restrict others’ activities to meet the expectations of someone who is especially sensitive to noise.

There is a lot of traffic noise. There is a fire station, police station, ambulance station, and hospital all within less than a mile radius of the Hall (this is also true for College Hall and International Hall; I think Lillian Penson Hall and Nutford House may be slightly quieter in this regard). On the positive side, this must make us one of the safest places in the world!
It’s probably true to say that almost everyone experiences some noise from their neighbours occasionally. 

Of course, we do have effective procedures for dealing with this if it is serious or recurrent (

Is there a part of the Hall reserved for postgraduates?

We have 230 residents living on 6 floors. The ground and lower ground floors are quite small. From 1st to 4th, each floor has about 48 rooms arranged along a single, long corridor divided into three sections by fire doors. There are staircases at each end and in the middle of every floor. Each floor has a male and a female toilet/shower block (three toilet stalls and three shower cubicles in each). Most floors have three or four en suite rooms.

We are a predominantly first-year undergraduate hall. We do try to accommodate most of our postgraduates on the second floor – so you would almost certainly be allocated a room there, unless you have an en suite room (with only four en suite rooms on the second floor, there are sometimes more postgrads who want en suite than there are rooms available on the second floor). But this does not mean that the second floor is necessarily any quieter than anywhere else. We haven’t enough postgrads to fill a whole floor, so there are undergrads on the same corridor, and of course the rooms above and below are occupied by undergraduates.

Aside from putting postgrads together on the second floor, the accommodation office do not allow students to request specific rooms.

Are there separate study facilities?

We have two rooms for studying in: the Lang room, which is intended primarily for group study, and the Convocation Trust study room, which is for quiet, individual study. Both are on the lower ground floor; both are open 24 hours a day; and both can accommodate 6 to 8 students. It is very unusual for the study rooms to be full; on the contrary, they are often both empty, except around the spring/summer exam season!