If your son/daughter is moving away from home, they need to investigate the provision of student accommodation in the area. Some universities have accommodation on campus, some ‘halls of residence’ are a distance from the teaching campus and in a student village, and some are on their own. It is also important to note that not all student accommodation is run by universities – there are a number of private companies which run them now – and so their contracts and provision can vary greatly from place to place.
Halls of residence
Most first year students live in a hall of residence – one payment can take care of rent, utilities, internet and, sometimes, meals. This means the student can concentrate on acclimatising to living away from home without having to worry about numerous bills and providers. It is really important to visit halls to decide which is best for you: some provide individual rooms and large communal facilities, some are arranged in flats with a communal kitchen, some provide meals, some have quiet blocks, some have their own shop/bar/laundry and so on. Contracts may be for term time only or for 51 weeks. Some request payment termly and some require a deposit followed by two or three payments – this is why research into this aspect of student life is vital in order to ensure the student finds their optimum accommodation and know what to budget for financially. Accommodation is usually available to view on Open Days and possibly other specific days of term if there are empty rooms or the occupant gives permission for viewing.
Private accommodation in the form of a flat or a shared house is another option which students usually attempt at some point. Universities should have a list of landlords whose properties are checked for meeting safety regulations etc. It is a different way of living from a hall of residence but can be an exciting part of the university experience and can also promote independence even further. (NB in a hall or a private house, they will need their own licence if they have a TV or if they watch live streamed programmes.)
Applying for accommodation
Once your son/daughter has their firm course choice, they should decide on appropriate accommodation and investigate the procedures for applying – it may be that they need to complete a provisional application which they confirm immediately once they know they have a place.
Moving away from home is a big step forward and can be daunting but in most cases, it doesn’t take long for new students to get used to it and to make new friends – a packet of chocolate biscuits to share and a wedge to keep their door open when wanting to be sociable, and they will be on their way!