Hobbit seeks hole
March 31, 2008 2:43 PM   Subscribe

Is it remotely realistic for me to expect to get university housing from UW - Seattle as an incoming grad student? Specifically, I want a studio or one-bedroom and I don't know if I can get it.

I was accepted to UW's iSchool a few weeks ago...yay! Now I'm looking at housing options and wondering if I'll actually be able to get on-campus housing or if I should just look for near-UW off-campus housing. I would really really love to live on campus, but it looks like incoming grad students are pretty low on the totem pole for most of the housing communities. What are my odds of being able to 1) get on-campus housing period and 2) get a one-bed or studio?

(I'd also consider a single in a dorm, though I'm less interested in moving every nine months, thanks. I don't deal terribly well with roommates, ergo ruling out the multi-student on-campus apartments.)

If my odds are nil or near it, what are the best neighborhoods near UW to find housing? Should I be looking for off-campus housing now or wait until closer to August? (I could theoretically move any time after June, but I live in LA and am very wary of renting an off-campus apt without seeing it first, which entails flying up, finding a place to stay, etc.)
posted by fuzzbean to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Look at bus routes and travel times to/from the UW -- there are some neighborhoods that aren't technically "near" UW but are actually a pretty quick commute via bus. (And you will want to commute to/from the UW via bus as parking is an expensive nightmare.)
posted by Jacqueline at 2:51 PM on March 31, 2008

Capitol Hill is a 15-minute bus ride from UW, but more expensive than the U-District. In the U-District, I would say something around the Ravenna area, or north of 50th. Wedgewood is close, so is Roosevelt neighborhood (which is near Whole Foods) also Wallingford, U-Village, Maple Leaf, Eastlake--all within biking/walking distance or a very short bus ride. Stay away from University Avenue and 17th (frat boy parties are VERY loud and annoying). Good Luck!

Craigslist.org is a great resource to find studios, etc. in those areas.
posted by nikksioux at 3:46 PM on March 31, 2008

Current UW student here. I would avoid on-campus (or really any HFS-related) housing like the plague. Really.

Campus housing is usually way overpriced, and not really that convenient. The campus apartment are not on campus at all (I'm not sure which ones you're looking at, but plug some of the addresses into Google maps and you'll see what I mean). This isn't that big of a deal -- there are plenty of good bus routes that, as Jacqueline and nikki point out, make the city much smaller. But, the point is, you can almost always do better on your own.

Great neighborhoods to check out: Greenlake, Roosevelt, Ravenna, Fremont, Ballard. If you want something much cheaper and considerably less hip, the area around North Seattle Community College in Northgate usually has lots of cheap housing, and I think it's pretty safe.

Also, ditto to Nikki's caution about 17th and the Ave. I lived in that area last year and it was none so hot.

Feel free to mefimail me if you want more specific information...
posted by rossination at 4:04 PM on March 31, 2008

I agree with rossination. I'm a current UW grad student and also did my undergrad there. Busing to campus from all of the above neighbors is really easy - I live in Greenlake now and its takes about 15 - 30 min to get to the U by bus. As for the timing, it doesn't really matter but you might want to give yourself some time to check things out. Apartments tend to go really fast around here. Best of luck!
posted by enaira at 4:44 PM on March 31, 2008

I don't think the Ave is necessarily THAT loud and annoying.

The frats are north of campus. There are a few of those old tallish 20's-esque buildings within a few blocks directly west of campus on the Ave or just past. There will be student night life but it's not like frat row. I knew several people who lived in studios or 1-bd in that area & it's not bad, especially if you desire to be a 5 minute walk from your office.

I like the style fwiw, I lived in a similar building on capitol hill.

Eastlake is a neat neighborhood that's really close the U. I used to bike there all the time to see friends, it's a quick 10 minute coast down from the university. Rents might be going up a bit now.

Have fun, I have a friend who went to the library school and she's seems happy with how that's worked out for her.

p.s. The Ave = University Way
posted by Wood at 4:52 PM on March 31, 2008

5 years ago, I was a UW grad student. My first semester, I was in on-campus housing: one apartment-style living setup, is 4 or 5 others; each had an individual bedroom, and there was a common space and kitchen area.

I didn't find it particularly congenial, but I wasn't there much, since, hey, it was the first semester of grad school, which is always a killer.

I then found a decent studio on Brooklyn Ave, which was about 5 blocks from Padelford Hall (which was where I spent most of my time). There were lots of ok apartments in walking distance of campus.
posted by leahwrenn at 5:03 PM on March 31, 2008

AFAIK UW doesn't have any grad student housing that is truly on campus (unless any grads live in Hansee?). Most of the residences are in the U-District, so the location is going to be the same as many private apartments.

As for neighborhoods:

U-District: Closest, kind of slummy due to undergrad churn, mid-range cheap.

Capitol Hill, Fremont, Ballard (near Market st): Fairly close, relatively expensive because they're trendy, but fun neighborhoods also.

Wallingford, Ravenna, Montlake, Wedgewood, northern Ballard: Quiet, family-ish neighborhoods. Relatively close. Apartments are sparser here, but they do exist. Less expensive than the trendy places, but also less awesome.

Greenlake, Eastlake: Mid-trendy, mid-expensive, mid-awesome.

Aurora: Sketchy but cheap.

Nthing the "look at a map first to make sure it's near a bus route" people.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:08 PM on March 31, 2008

If you want something much cheaper and considerably less hip, the area around North Seattle Community College in Northgate usually has lots of cheap housing, and I think it's pretty safe.

It's my neighborhood (Licton Springs), and I can vouch for the "pretty safe" part. Some of the Aurora traffic comes over every once in a while, and there's a small homeless population, but I think it's a little safer than Capitol Hill. Aurora can be dicey, but I find the U District far scarier now.

The important thing, though, is living near a bus line that will get you to UDub. If you live N of 85th and W of Greenwood, it'll be a loooooong commute to the U. Bus service up there is nightmarishly bad. If you live around Northgate P&R, the 67 and 68 come about every 10 minutes and they go right through campus. Pretty much every northbound bus on Capitol Hill goes to campus.

Don't get on-campus housing. It's not worth it. It's still cheaper to live off-campus. Keep in mind, though, that studios are running well over $700/month now, 2BRs over $1000/month.
posted by dw at 12:02 PM on April 2, 2008

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