Choosing, applying, and obtaining student accommodation is a vital stage in any student’s application to study abroad. In the UK, there are several options that exist for students regarding choosing a place to live in, and the options available to a student greatly pivot on factors like the year of study being enrolled in.
Most universities provide two forms of student accommodation, which is either on-campus or with partners off-campus. These options are mainly available to first-year students, to whom most universities guarantee accommodation in the first year of study. This makes the process quite easy for freshers, who do not have to worry about finding third-party accommodation on their own. Normally, upon being offered an offer to study at the university, students can apply for accommodation as well, but this is not always the case.
However, the process does not stop there. Although the university guarantees accommodation, students still have to choose the type of accommodation they want, and this is greatly affected by the fee that the student is willing to pay, and the length of the contract that they are willing to sign. Let’s explore this further.
Most on-campus accommodation is usually catered; while off-campus, university partnered accommodation tends to be self-catered. Catered is when the university provides a minimum of two meals throughout the day, while self-catered is when you have to make your own meals. This will greatly decide the cost of living in your first year, so make sure that you survey all your options before making a commitment.
Secondly, the length of the contract also varies between providers. While the longest contracts tend to be 42 weeks usually, the shortest tend to be around 31 weeks. So, what is the difference? On a 38, 39 or 42-week contract, you will have access to your room during the Easter and Christmas vacations, while on a 31-week contract this is not so. So, if you are planning to stay in your halls during the vacations, it is wise to opt for a longer contract. Also, it should be noted that students have to empty their rooms before the start of the vacation when they are on 31-week contracts.
Even though universities provide accommodation for students, students can, if the university allows, take up their own accommodation. However, many universities require international students, or all students to reside in university-provided accommodation in the first year.
To make sure that you find a proper home away from home for yourself, make sure that you check the reviews of the University halls, and accordingly choose a hall. Universities allow students to choose which halls they want to stay in, but this is on a first-cum-first-serve basis, so many times the newer and more happening hall rooms tend to fill up quickly!