Most universities provide places for first-year students in their own halls of residence, that are safe, comfortable, and good value. They are:
- Usually furnished flats, with a shared kitchen, toilet, bathroom, possibly a lounge area and possibly en suites
- Catered, part-catered or self-catered
- Mixed or single sex
- Can house any number up to 800 students.
They are great places to make friends and be part of the social scene. They are also probably best for support, should you need it in those first few weeks and months away from family and friends. Nonetheless, they are often rowdy well into the beginning of the academic year!
- Many will guarantee you accommodation if you have firmly accepted their offer by a given date in the summer.
- This is not necessarily the case if you come through Clearing.
- You will generally be expected – and, most probably, will want – to move out to other accommodation at the end of your first year.
- There are exceptions however, particularly in the collegiate universities such as Oxford or Cambridge where it is quite common to live in your college for a further year or two.
Many students view en suite accommodation as essential before they arrive at university.
In reality, it can be an expensive luxury and sharing with others (most universities offer single sex flats if required) is a good way to make friends on the way to the bathroom or in the queue for the showers!
Whilst the largest number of first-year students live in Halls, some prefer smaller, self-catering properties owned or managed by the university.
This type offered a more independent lifestyle. You may find that you have to pay bills separately to the rent in this type of accommodation.
University properties are often in or near the campus itself and so travel costs to and from the university are minimal. As a general rule, the older universities tend to have much more housing stock, but the scene is constantly changing with high rise cranes a regular feature of the university skyline.
We do not recommend first year students choose private halls of residence if university halls are available unless there is a specific agreement on support, and other first years are likely to be there too.
Make sure to take full advantage of Open Days to see the accommodation for yourself!
Take someone to view the accommodation with you and do not rush to sign the dotted line for the first one you see. Remember to consider what transport to and from the uni would be at a busy time, and also the costs.
- UCAS publishes an annual guide to Open Days, Taster Courses and its own Education Conventions.
- Opting for university accommodation or the bigger private providers often gives the distinct advantage that it can be arranged at a distance, even on-line, whereas much of the private housing requires you to be on the spot to secure it.
- The university cannot sign a tenancy agreement on your behalf.
- The University Accommodation or Housing Office will have literature describing the facilities in detail and many have excellent websites containing invaluable information on student housing provided by both the university and the private sector.
All university owned accommodation, and many private sector halls are covered by one of three accreditation schemes.
These cover essential issues like how the hall is managed, health and safety and security. You can find information about the schemes and check your accommodation is a member by checking the UUK or ANUK/Unipol schemes websites.
Next page: Private Sector