Congratulations! You’ve achieved the grades you needed to get into your favoured university – all those long hours spent toiling over books have finally paid off.
So what comes next? (After a celebratory shandy or two with your friends, of course.)
As a first year student at university, you need to think about sorting out where you are going to live. Ask yourself what you want and need from your domestic arrangements. If you are leaving home for the first time, perhaps living in communal accommodation might suit you better. Living on campus in uni digs makes it easier to meet new friends and make the transition from young adult to grown-up more smooth.
One of the biggest rules to remember, is act fast! As you would expect, the best accommodation always gets snapped up first.
If your parents went to university, they will probably regale you with horror stories about damp patches, dodgy landlords, vermin and long queues for the bathroom. However, if they were students today, they would be surprised at the home comforts available. In recent years universities have upped their game and now provide well designed and comfortable accommodation in modern blocks, often in fantastic locations. Take Lincoln University in the East Midlands as one example of an establishment that really knows how to house its students. For student accommodation Lincoln university offers city centre flats and studios set adjacent to a marina with plenty of restaurants and shopping facilities close by. If you want to live somewhere lively, modern and safe, for student accommodation Lincoln University has it covered.
If living on university premises is not your thing, there are other options to check out. After the first year, many students move into the private rental sector with friends into shared houses. Check with the university accommodation office about local options as they will hold lists and contact details for approved landlords and agencies dealing specifically with student housing.
As a hub for accommodation activity these offices are good hunting grounds for info on local places for rent, so make yourself known there and tell them your requirements. The uni housing and accommodation service can also be helpful for advice on contracts, tenancy agreements and other paperwork you may need a second opinion on.
Think about what you need – a large house with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate you and your friends is a popular option. A private room in a house where the landlord lives is another option worth a look. Often, when house hunting at the last minute, maybe having secured a place through clearing, students end up in this situation. It’s horses for courses, some people enjoy living with the householders (possibility of home cooked meals and more of a family vibe) others find such arrangements stifling. If you enjoy the partying and socialising side of uni life, perhaps not the best idea. Private rented flats are another sensible option if your bank account can take the strain. The closer to the university, the higher the rents – and do you really want to live alone? It might sound like a nice idea after the chaos of living in halls, but the reality is sometimes a bit too quiet.
What to avoid
Never hand over any money for accommodation without seeing it, unless of course it’s something the university is involved with. Something that looks brand new, fresh and modern on the internet, can look dilapidated, filthy and tired up close. As with life in general, if something seems too good to be true – ( ie. very cheap in fantastic location with brilliant facilities) it usually is.
When checking out private accommodations, make sure you ask a lot of questions and don’t feel rushed when you attend a viewing. It is usual for agents or landlords to say that the property has been looked at by lots of people and is very much in demand – they would say that, wouldn’t they? Be savvy and smart and don’t be embarrassed to do things such as test out the shower pressure in the bathroom, try out the cooker in the kitchen, try the beds/sofas out for comfort etc. Be alert for signs of previous water leaks or other maintenance issues which might foreshadow problems.
Heading off for your first year at uni is the beginning of an exciting new phase. Get the basics like accommodation in place before you arrive and you’ll be free to start enjoying student life straightaway…