The school spirit

New university students booking first year accommodation ‘worried about ghosts’ as competition for places heats up

“Is my room haunted?” “Is the building currently on fire?” and “Where is the closest graveyard?” are the three strangest questions asked of Unite Students staff.

Unite has recorded some of the less common questions, asked of its national contact centre. One female student wanted to be assured her room was not haunted. When asked to elaborate, she asked if the room “had ever been occupied by ghosts or spirits.”

A male student going to Huddersfield, West Yorks, was looking at student accommodation using Google Earth and spotted something he mistakenly believed was smoke coming from the property. He rang the contact centre and asked staff: “Before I go and view, can you reassure me it is not on fire?”

Unite Students Managing Director Richard Smith said: “We do all we can to make sure our properties are a home for success for our students. These are some of the more entertaining examples of the huge volume of requests we get, but I’m very glad that in each case we were able to set the student’s mind at rest.

“There’s a lot to be said for getting your questions in early, as competition for places means rooms get taken up early.”

Figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) show university applications are up by 4% on last year.

Last year 454,810 UK and EU students were accepted into British universities via UCAS.

Meanwhile, some 41% of the students who deal directly with Unite for their accommodation are from non-EU countries, including well over 5,000 from China.

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