6 Tips for Finding Your Student Accommodation12/08/2016
You’ve got your place at university. Now it’s just a case of finding your accommodation. Luckily for you, those days of damp and grotty digs are fast receding, and students have much more choice when it comes to where they live and study.
Where you live during your first year will largely depend on your situation. If you got into your first choice university, you’ll likely be staying in the uni’s halls, which can be catered or non-catered. However, if you took your second choice, applied late or are going through clearing, you may need to look at other options, depending on your uni halls’ availability.
There’s no reason to panic though. Take a look at these six tips for finding your accommodation.
1. Know who to contact and get in touch
Your first point of call will be your uni’s accommodation office to see what, if any, rooms are available. Even if you’re headed to your first choice, there may be other reasons you’re not able to get a place in uni accommodation, such as your parents living within a certain radius, for example. (This is sometimes the case with London institutions).
Some universities will have partnerships with private hall providers, like Downing Students, and will be able to point you in the right direction. If not, ask to speak to their student housing service for help and advice.
2. Think about your living preferences
If not living in uni accommodation, you’ll likely want somewhere that’s close to campus, unless you don’t mind a walk or a bus ride. It’s also important to think about what type of living situation you’d be comfortable with – would you be happy sharing a bathroom, for instance, and with how many people?
If you don’t fancy squashing it up in a dorm or sharing a kitchen with several other people, then private halls can offer studios or shared flats where you can live alone or with 1-2 other people.
3. Ensure your student loan will be able to cover the rent
Your rent will depend on the type of accommodation you choose and the area of the country in which you are studying. London, unsurprisingly, has the most expensive rent, closely followed by the North East. As a brief guide, you can take a look at this list of the cheapest and most expensive places for students in the UK. However, this will vary year to year.
4. Check the length of the contract
Each accommodation provider might offer a different contract length – some will offer a 41 week contract whilst for others it will be 44-45 (usually private providers). The latter may cost a bit more, but is ideal for hanging back over the summer to spend time with friends once exams are done.
Most universities won’t allow you to stay in halls after first year, but with private halls you can stay as long as you want to.
5. Check what’s included in your rent
When totalling up the costs, have a look to see if there are any extras included in the rent. At Downing, you’ll get high speed internet, gym access, content insurance and onsite laundry room included in the rent. Our CCTV security and double beds are often a pull for many students, too!
6. Find your flatmates
You may be happy to wait until you arrive at your new digs to see who you’re living with. Some students however, prefer to find their own flatmates so they can be sure they’re living with people with similar interests.
You can use various tools such as uni Facebook groups or your college/uni accommodation forum to find other like-minded students and see if they’d be happy to share a flat together. Universities will sometimes give you access to an intranet where you can also get to know other people on your course.
Finding your own flatmates will put you at much greater ease when you move into your new accommodation and make you settle into your new surroundings much faster.