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How to Apply for Student Accommodation

Updated: 2 days ago

When and How to Apply for Student Accommodation

Are you preparing to move to university ?

If so, you might be wondering where you will stay when you move to a new city and what is the procedure to apply for accommodation. Finding the right student accommodation can make a big difference in your university life.

It’s not as intimidating as it might seem!

A student sitting on her bed next to a window

When is the best time to apply for university accommodation?

The first thing you should know is that you can only officially apply for accommodation after you have been accepted for a course by UCAS.

So take the time to do your research before your results are due, so that you have narrowed down your criteria, and will be ready to apply as soon as you receive your results.

Here are some steps you can follow to find your ideal place to live.

Step 1: How to start your search for student accommodation

  • Each university’s website will have a link to their accommodation information.

  • Start by researching some of the options available and how much they cost.

  • Then start gathering data on the types of rooms, flats or dorms, the price range, noting any special access needs you may have.

  • Note down the dates by which you need to apply.

The UCAS accommodation search tool Find UK Student Accommodation is an excellent place to start to see what kind of accommodation each university offers.

Simply enter the university you have applied to, and the year you are going into (first year, second year, etc.), then filter your search criteria.

This will include options such as:

  • Room Type – then select if you want a private bathroom or a studio/flat.

  • Accessibility – select whether you need an elevator or wheelchair access.

  • Bedroom features – select whether you want Wi-Fi, a desk, or a double bed (these optional requests must dictate the size of the room and additional cost for Wi-Fi).

  • Property features – here, you can select things that may be important to you such as security, parking, laundry, outdoor area, or communal study area.

  • Bills – select the options for bills to be all-inclusive (heating, electricity, wi-fi, water) and content insurance to be included in your rent. This helps substantially with creating your budget plan and will allow you to predict your monthly outgoing expenses.

Step 2: Determine what suits you best

You may not have an idea yet when it comes to student accommodation, and that is why researching your options is so important.

Some students love hustle and bustle of city life or the social part of campus, while others prefer a quieter environment.

When you apply for accommodation, you will be required to fill in a questionnaire that will help identify your preferences, as well as match you with like-minded students.

Step 3: See it for yourself

The best way to get a sense of what accommodation is like is to visit it in person by going on an open day tour at the university, or by looking up the University Virtual Tours | UCAS or on the accommodation page on your preferred university's website.

This will give you an idea of what the facilities and rooms look like and help you narrow down your search criteria.

Step 4: Plan your student accommodation budget

Student accommodation can be priced according to a number of factors, including:

  • Location (on or off campus, near or far from the centre)

  • Amenities included (equipment plus bills such as heating, electricity, Wi-Fi, etc.)

  • Ensuite or Shared bathroom (adjoining bathroom or sharing a communal bathroom on a floor with other flat mates)

Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to plan your accommodation budget:

  • Are you getting a student loan or scholarship/bursary – if so, will this cover your study fees, or rent (too)?

  • Is the accommodation in your preferred universities affordable for you?

  • Would a university closer to home / within commuting distance be a better fit for your budget?

  • Would it be cheaper to rent a room in a private home?

  • Will you need to get a job to pay towards your living costs while at university?

Step 5: Apply early for your accommodation

Most universities allocate accommodation on a first-come, first-served basis, so it is advisable to apply as soon as possible.

Following the instructions carefully and list your choices of accommodation in order of preference.

You will still have time to look around and think about the kind of place you would like. You will not be committing to any payments, until you have to confirm your acceptance of the accommodation the university offers you.

Finding the right student accommodation is not only about having a roof over your head, but also about having fun and making friends!


If you need more help or guidance on how to navigate the transition from high school to university, check out our website. There you will find useful blogs, resources, and tips on how to help your children survive and thrive on campus.

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