Thursday, June 26, 2008

Bath Accommodation Applications: Nerdy Analysis

Two weeks ago, on Wednesday the 10th of June at precisely 10:00, the University of Bath opened the floodgates on its accommodation applications system.
If you're going to Bath, you'll have applied already (or should have!), and you'll know that getting a room in the most popular halls is competitive. Popular theory has it that those applying sooner will have a better chance of being allocated the place they want. I don't know if this has ever been confirmed. I intend to ask the staff all about the process when I get there. Regardless, everyone rushes like crazy to get their applications in as soon as it opens.

With the help of some posters on The Student Room, I have managed to plot the progress of these applications. The results are dramatic (if you're a nerd like me).

Around 2,500 applicants make Bath their first choice every year. Within 8 minutes of the form opening, 500 have applied for their halls. After half an hour, 1,000 have applied. By 8PM, the number of applications has reached 2,000. By the next evening, almost everyone has applied for their room.

I have (inexpertly) calculated the rate of applications based on the rough data gleaned from TSR. There is a huge spike, approaching 300 applications per minute, at T+7 minutes. This suggests to me that the form takes an average of 7 miutes to complete, and that by completing it in less, you will get a much better place in the queue.

It is notable that the first few minutes are relatively slow as everyone is filling out their forms. In the first two minutes, only 14 people had finished (one of them being me!). I suspect that most of these 14 had read all the information on the TSR Wiki and were very well prepared! I had a list of all the answers the form asked for, so I could just copy-paste them in.
In fact, I completed the form in about 1 minute, but I missed the opening time as my work computer's clock was wrong! Disappointing, I wanted to be first, (if just for bragging rights on TSR) :P

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