Are you a first-year university looking for student accommodation? If so, then welcome! We’ve created a guide to help you find the right accommodation for your needs.
Applying as a First Year Student
If you’re a first-year student, then the first place to start your accommodation search is with the university’s accommodation team. Once you’ve been accepted by a university, they will be in contact with you about all aspects of getting started, which should include their student accommodation offerings.
Keep in mind that these rooms are not the cheapest available. While that’s true, university student housing is owned by the university. This means the accommodations will be in the best locations and very close to the university.
If you’ve chosen university accommodation, then be aware it can take time before your room is assigned. This is because the university receives many requests for accommodation. They must sort through applications and finalise who will be assigned a room. This process takes a while, so don’t be worried if you haven’t received notification that your application’s been accepted.
Second Year Students – Where to Apply
If you’re a second-year student, then it’s a good idea to begin searching online for student accommodation between November and March. You may even be able to book your accommodation early, so you have a place to move in right away the next year.
Second year students don’t receive as must assistance or guidance from the university about student housing. However, they do provide plenty of information on where to find student accommodations, and what to look for, as well as what to avoid.
So, for these reasons, it’s best to start your search online. Before you start, though, make a list of what you prefer and/or require in student accommodation. It’s also helpful to decide on the type of housing you prefer. As you create the list, remember to include price ranges, services, and the location preferences or requirements you have. Here’s a quick list to help you remember which points are the most important:
- Distance from university
- What’s included in the rent
Accommodations for International Students
Are you an international student? Then the process is still the same; however, it will be necessary to book your student accommodation before you arrive and receive your visa.
Many international students choose to go with purpose-built student accommodations. This is because these types of student housing may allow international students to stay for more than one year. Plus, this type of student accommodation has many perks and services that are included in the rent. One major perk is the accommodation manager, who ensures students are OK.
When searching for student accommodation, it’s important to talk with the university’s accommodation team. They can provide you with the right information and guidance on what to look for. In most cases, however, you’ll need to conduct the search from within your home country. This makes it more challenging, as you’re dependent on the information that’s provided online.
To keep from falling prey to bad student accommodations online, follow these tips:
- Request a video tour with the provider and make sure you can see all parts of the accommodation.
- Have a list of questions ready before the video tour.
- Be sure to look in every room and use 360-degree visuals to view everything. This can help ensure the provider isn’t hiding anything (though it’s still possible).
- Ask for a closer look at those areas that you’ll use most including the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom.
Tips on What to Look for in Student Accommodations
Here are a few tips to help you learn what to look for in student accommodation.
1). Research student accommodations: it’s tempting to just choose the first options that turn up at the top of a Google search. However, that’s not the best choice. You want to find more information on each prospective accommodation. Be sure to checkout their websites, social media accounts, and more.
2). Create a list of at least three: when researching possible student accommodations, don’t just choose the first result or two. Instead, create a list of at least three; five or more are better, though. The reason is if you visit a property and don’t like it and haven’t created a list, then you’ll have to start the search all over again.
On the other hand, if you have a list of 3-5 properties to start with, you’ll save time and effort. That’s because if the first student accommodation doesn’t work out, you can quickly arrange to see the next property on the list, and so on.
When you have a list, be sure to rank the properties from first—the one you really want, to the last, one you’d still be happy living in. This way, no matter what, you’ll have a great place to live.
3). Always see the property in person (if possible): visiting a property in person gives you a real feel for the student accommodation. You can see, smell, sense, and feel how a place looks. How does the place make you feel? Do you smell/see mould or mildew? Does it seem stuffy? Does the property look clean and in good repair? This is better done in person, rather than online.
Not only that, but you’ll have a chance to ask the agent or landlord any questions you may have. Be sure to ask questions about the accommodation (if you have any), their policies, procedures, and more.
A virtual viewing is also possible if seeing the property in person isn’t possible. This applies during the pandemic or for international students.
4). Ask About Tenancy Policies
Before you make a final decision on a student accommodation, be sure to ask about their tenancy policies. Check for these tenancy details:
- Type of tenancy (single or joint)
- Cancellation policy
- Rent & deposit requirements
- Repair times
- Your responsibilities as a tenant
Searching for student accommodations isn’t easy; however, by following this guide you’ll be able to find student housing that’s a great fit for you. You might even consider printing this article and using it as a checklist as you search for student accommodations.