Choosing Student Accommodation | Top Universities

Choosing Student Accommodation

By Piotr Łuczak

Updated March 5, 2016 Updated March 5, 2016

Finding the best student accommodation for you is not always an easy task, especially if you’re not familiar with the local region. Knowing which questions to ask is essential.

From excitement to disappointment, confusion to certainty and back again, applying to university can feel like a rollercoaster ride, especially if you’re planning to go abroad.

In the midst of all this, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about some of the most basic necessities – such as university accommodation.

Obviously you’re unlikely to just turn up without having considered this at all. And most universities will actually give you a nudge to get something sorted out.

What to ask

But, particularly if you’re unable to visit the location before you arrive, it can be difficult to know where to start, or even the type of questions you need to ask.

In some cases, it could be as simple as filling in a form to opt in to campus accommodation designed for students, though this will still require some degree of choice and forward-planning.

For example, do you mind sharing a room, or would you rather pay a little more to get your own space?

How close is the student accommodation to the university buildings you’ll be using most often? Do students eat together in the canteen, or will you need to do most of your own cooking?

Can you stay in your room outside of term-time, or are students required to move out during the holidays? What about laundry facilities, cleaning arrangements and communal activities?

Then there’s the possibility of finding your own student accommodation, which may be a matter of personal preference, or a necessity, if university housing is not available.

Some of the above questions will still apply – distance to university facilities, shared or independent, and so on. But you’ll also need to consider utility bills, whether the room or building is furnished, phone and internet connections, and – if you’re studying abroad – any legal issues relating to foreign residents renting property.

Regional differences

One thing to stress here is the importance of not making assumptions, especially if you’re travelling to a new country. In some regions, it’s usual for almost all first-year students to be given university accommodation; in others, university housing is virtually non-existent.

In some countries, having a room-mate is an integral part of student life, while elsewhere, having your own room is seen as a basic requirement.

It’s also important to be aware that there will probably be pros and cons to every option, and that you might have to make some compromises. For example, putting up with a busy, messy shared kitchen could be worth it, if you really enjoy the social opportunities of a large student hall.

But then again, if you do find a situation really isn’t working for you, chances are the university will be willing to help you try something different. After all, even if you’re studying abroad, it’s still important to feel ‘at home’ – in order to give yourself the best chance of academic success, but also because university should be enjoyable!

This article was originally published in October 2012 . It was last updated in March 2016

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