Once you know which university you will be going to, there will be lots of planning to do. When you’ve secured your place, one of the most important things you will need to organise is your student accommodation for the year (if you haven't already got it sorted).
For those who have to go through the UK's clearing process to secure their place and have less time, this can seem even more daunting. But it doesn’t need to be stressful. Here are seven questions that you can ask yourself when you are choosing your accommodation to help you find the best place for you to live while at university.
1. When do you need to start planning?
Your student accommodation is one of the most important things you’ll need to plan for when getting ready to go to university so don’t procrastinate. To prevent the stress of a last minute panic, start thinking about some of the options available to you early on.
2. What are the deadlines?
Find out whether there’s a cut-off point for applying to your student accommodation and mark it in your diary. These dates might differ depending on course and university so make sure you allow plenty of time to plan, decide on and apply for your chosen halls.
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3. What’s your budget?
Budget will have a big impact, of course. But whatever your budget, make sure you’re clear on how much you can afford before you start looking so you’re not searching out of your price range.
4. What’s included?
When working out your budget, make sure you’re clear on what’s included in the cost of your accommodation. Many private halls offer all-inclusive rent packages so you don’t need to worry about things like utility bills and paying for Wi-Fi. It’s always a good idea to check out whether there are hidden costs to avoid any nasty surprises.
5. What are the dates on your contract?
You’ll need to be clear on how long your contract is, as some will vary. Some university halls ask students to move out during the Christmas, Easter and summer holidays so if you don’t want to clear out all your stuff during the holidays, it’s best to avoid these options.
6. Where do you want to be?
Think about the location of your student accommodation. Are the halls close enough to your university (so you’ll be able to get to lectures easily) or the city centre? Remember, being more central will help save on lots of taxi fares even if the rent is slightly higher.
7. What are your non-negotiables?
You’re the one that’s going to have to live here so make sure you’ve thought carefully about your must-haves, as well as what you are happy to compromise on. Each person’s criteria will be different so have a think whether a fast broadband connection, central location or a private bathroom is all-important for you.
Dan Roberts is the managing director and founder of Mystudenthalls.com
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Make sure you're well prepared when finding your student accommodation with these helpful tips