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The basics
Study abroad : Student Accommodation

Top tips for getting the best accommodation

With so much to think about before you even get there, where you are going to live can feel like just another decision to make. We look at some top tips for getting the best student accommodation and make the process much easier.

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This article is not the most up-to-date one on this subject. For a more recent article please see our top tips for a student accommodation search. 


The place you will spend most of your time is where you live. While this may vary depending on several factors, the average person spends about 70 hours a week at home, and that’s not even including the time we spend sleeping. 


It’s safe to say that where we live matters and has a potentially big impact on the rest of our lives in either a good or bad way. Students are no exception as the accommodation you end up in can change your study experience. 


While it depends on the university you’re studying at, there are often several accommodation options to choose from, and it can be hard to know which one to select and how to get what's best for you. 


Here are our top tips for getting the best accommodation. 


1. Decide what you want 


Each option has its pros and cons, so you must decide what you want out of your new home before applying to live there. 

 Maybe you want to be on or near campus so that you don’t have to travel too far. Alternatively, you might want to be a bit closer to your nearest town so that you can easily get there in your free time. It all depends on the type of student lifestyle you want


Contacting your university or visiting the relevant sites to find out what each accommodation has to offer and choosing the one or two that fit your needs well is an important first step to take. 


Perhaps you realise that you want the security of family life and are considering a homestay. Either way, it’s important to figure this out before moving forward. 


Want to know what to pack? Find out more about student accommodation essentials


2. Look at student reviews 


Thanks to the internet, you have access to the experiences of many students. They have lived in the exact accommodation you are looking at, and their reviews can give you valuable insights. A university will let you know what their accommodation and facilities have to offer. However, they can’t give you an account of what it’s like to live in these places. 


Maybe the accommodation looks great, but you find out that the rooms are smaller than the photos suggest. Or perhaps you thought another place didn’t look so great but see that previous students loved the location. No matter what you find, you’re guaranteed to get a lot more information than you initially had and can therefore make a more informed decision. 


You probably wouldn’t buy something online without checking the reviews. Why sign up for somewhere to be your new home without doing the same? 


Like any personal account, you must take each review or comment understanding that they're not always objective. Everyone has different tastes, expectations or needs and therefore their experience of the accommodation they stayed in might not apply to you and how you will find it there. 


University is one of the best times to make life-long friendships, and your first week there can be the best time to meet them. 


3. Start early 


When you’re applying to university, everyone tells you to start everything as early as possible. This is due to the sheer number of students that apply. Applying early gives you the best chance of getting what you want. It's no different for accommodation, as applications can be competitive with limited spaces available for a much larger number of students. 


If you think about the number of new students that are starting at the same time as you, it’s easy to see why getting your foot in the door as early as possible is a good idea. It also allows you to relax a bit towards your start day as you get things ticked off your to-do list.  


Even if you can’t apply until a certain date, deciding which student accommodation you would prefer beforehand can give you a great head start on application day. 


Pick accommodation that you would love and another that you wouldn’t mind living in if your first choice falls through. This way, you can apply as soon as possible and don’t have to worry about figuring everything out there and then. 


If you’re like most students, living at university will be the first time you are living on your own. The right accommodation can make or break the experience. By figuring out what you want out of your new home, looking at what previous students have said, and starting as early as you can, you are in with the best chance at getting the best university accommodation.  


The first day of university can be both exciting and daunting. Find out more about what you should do once you arrive