Accommodation at Emma is provided for by the college for the entire period of your degree. It typically comprises of three 10 week blocks per academic year based around the 3 terms, but can be extended if necessary. There are a range of options available depending on your year. Every room is graded on the scale of 1-8, with one being the cheapest rooms. Grading obviously reflects size, but also encompasses facilities, views, location and potential noise (i.e. the bus station). Room rents correlate to the grading system, and information on the exact rents can be found at Rents and Charges.
All first years are given accommodation in college. The year group is usually mostly located in South Court, however 30 or so students will probably be in North Court. All rooms have access to shared bathroom and toilet facilities (New South Court room also have en-suites), as well as a gyp room, which has basic cooking facilities.
New South Court
Around 30 freshers are given accomodation in New South Court, which was built in 2013. It is the most modern accomodation and is more like halls at other universities (i.e. laid out in corridors and has access granted via swipe cards). All rooms are en-suite and the gyp rooms have electric hobs and microwaves. Location wise, New South Court is right next to Old South Court, so you are quite central in college and will be near most of the other freshers and also the college bar.
Modern, nice bathrooms and gyp rooms (only place first years will get electric hobs), convenient for the bar, .
More expensive rooms, not quite as sociable as Old South Court.
Old South Court
From the outside an ugly 60s building that looks slightly out of place. However inside the rooms are actually quite nice. Being a more modern building than North Court the rooms are heavily standardised, with effectively just 2 versions. One is the Grade 3 room which is a decent size, usually in a box shape. The other version is a Grade 4 room, which is nice and roomy. Gyp room and toilet facilities are all shared, but are kept clean. The bar is in South Court, which is an advantage for those who frequent it often and like the convenience, but can be noisy. Rooms are on staircases which everyone from college has access to, so it's perfect for socialising, however you can always lock yourself in your room if want to crack out that pesky essay.
Convenient for the bar, reliable rooms, easy to meet people, great location.
Sometimes noise from the bar, ugly architecture, rooms can feel a bit standardised and not as interesting, no en-suites.
North Court comprises of 7 individual staircases in older, more aesthetically pleasing buildings. Each staircase is quite unique and different, ranging from around 8 rooms to 35. Usually 2 or 3 staircases in North Court are for 1st years, with the others taken up by 2nd and 3rd years. Rooms here vary considerably more than South Court, with both the biggest and smallest 1st year rooms located here, ranging from huge grade 6's, to 'cosy' grade 1s. Gyp rooms also vary, and bathroom and toilet facilities are adequate, but a lot less modern than South Court. Location wise North Court is across the road from the main college buildings, connected via an underground subway. However it's worth stressing that although separated, it doesn't feel as isolated as this would perhaps imply, it's certainly only a minute away from the centre of college.
Architecturally pleasing, unique and interesting rooms, no bar noise, convenient for shops and chance to meet 2nd and 3rd years.
Some small rooms, bathrooms and toilets aren't great and isn't as sociable as South Court.
At the end of Lent term (Jan-March) in your 1st year, students select their accommodation for their second year. This is done via a ballot. You can ballot with up to 3 friends. Ballot groups are drawn randomly from the hat, so it's entirely down to luck where you end up. Those groups at the top get 1st choice of what's left after the 3rd years have chosen, as 3rd years have priority. The ballot system usually means you can choose who live with, where you live and what grade rent you want to pay, providing far more choice than in your 1st year. Although there's always someone disappointed, most people find somewhere they're happy with.
2nd year accommodation is in four main areas. Although as a prospective student you probably won't want to know the ins and outs of each, it's worth noting that 3 of the areas are outside college. Therefore some have separate self-catering and laundry facilities, while others are close enough to still use those in college.