Accommodation at university
Applying for your university accommodation can be a very daunting experience, as there’s so much to think about! This page summarises the key information you need to make the process much clearer.
What types of accommodation are available?
There are several different types of accommodation available at university:
Halls of Residence:
Halls of Residence, or ‘Halls’ are accommodation buildings owned by the university and tend to be reserved for new first year students. If you choose this option, you’ll usually share communal facilities like a kitchen or bathroom and typically have your own bedroom. NCUK recommends living in Halls for your first year, as you’ll have better access to support if you need it and can be sure that you’re living in a safe and secure environment.
Find out more about Halls of Residence here.
Private Halls of Residence:
These are just like normal Halls of Residence, but are not owned by the university and are usually part of a UK-wide chain of purpose built accommodation. They often provide services for more than one university, so you might find yourself living with students from another institution.
Some students choose to privately rent a house or flat when they go to university, either by themselves or with a group of friends. This can be a great option if you want a little more independence, but it does mean that you will be responsible for managing all your own bills and rent payments. Your university will usually have a list of trusted landlords available for you to use, so make sure you ask for this before starting your search for a house!
What else should I consider?
Accommodation comes in a range of different shapes and sizes, meaning they can differ quite widely in price. For example, you’ll pay much more for a room with it’s own bathroom and kitchen area than you will if you share those facilities.
Before you start looking at rooms, you need to work out what you can realistically afford. Your contract will usually be for around 40 weeks (you don’t have to pay for your room during the summer break, but you will through Christmas and any other holidays). If you were to be paying £100 a week, that would mount up £4,000 a year – is this affordable for you?
This can be very important when thinking about where you want to live. Think about the following questions, and how the answers will affect your everyday life:
- How close will you be to campus/your lectures? Will you be able to walk, or will you need to take a bus or train?
- What are the transport links like? Will you be well connected to both the university and the town/city?
- What’s the area like surrounding your accommodation? Will you be in the city centre, or part of a student village?
Catered or Self-Catered accommodation: Most universities will give you the option of living in catered (where your main meals are prepared for you) or self-catered (where you buy and cook your own food) halls of residence. For more information on making your choice between the two, click here.
Bathrooms: Could you manage with sharing a bathroom, or would you prefer to have your own (this is called an en suite)?
Mixed or Single Sex: Are you happy with sharing your home with a mix of different people, or would you prefer to live with people of the same sex? Most universities do offer single sex flats/halls, but you’ll need to apply early as spaces can be limited.
What extras are included? Are the bills included in your rent, or are there one-off payments you’ll need to factor in? Is there a regular cleaner, or a reception desk?
You’ll be able to find the answer to the majority of these questions on the university’s own website, so make sure you do your research!
How and when should I apply?
As a rule, you can apply for accommodation as soon as your Conditional Firm (CF) and Conditional Insurance (CI) choices have been confirmed on UCAS.
You will only be able to make an accommodation application for your CF and CI universities. In fact, some universities will only accept applications from students that have chosen them as their CF, so make sure you check the university websites for confirmation.
You’ll need to make your application online – usually via the individual university website. You’ll need either your student ID (this should have been emailed to you by the university) or your UCAS Personal ID to register on the system.
Did you know?
By studying and successfully completing an NCUK qualification you get guaranteed access to NCUK Guaranteed Universities. Click the button below to find out more about these 16 universities and the cities that they are located in: