Once the application process is complete and the decision is to be made, it is a good time to start researching the question of student accommodation so, when a student receives their answer, they already know their options and can deal with the issue shortly.
Living arrangements is one of the most important questions both for domestic and foreign students. One of the main advantages local students have is accommodation. Many already live not far from campus, others can easily find a place to stay by searching for some options in person. When it comes to international students, it is often harder to choose a place where you will be living for quite some time without actually checking the options. A foreign student can always wait until they come to the UK and look at the private housing offers in person, but it may be risky to wait till the last minute.
Most universities gladly offer help in finding affordable student accommodation if not by offering a place at campus then by helping in finding it elsewhere. Often, higher educational establishments work with private housing companies or agencies to offer students discounts of some kind. A university student support office is responsible for students and whether they find a good place to live.
The cost of living in the UK varies greatly for different students. Accommodation expenses depend on many details thus creating a significant gap between various offers.
In general, the approximate prices for London housing are as follows:
- University accommodation: £150-300 per week
- Private student accommodation: £160-500 per week
- Rented accommodation: £150-1000 per week
These are the approximate numbers that cover all kinds of housing offers, conditions, locations, and so on. The biggest range is shown in private rented houses and apartments. In fact, there is almost no upper limit on how much a flat may cost. The choice mostly depends on a student’s budget.
Usually, when applying for university housing such as student halls, there are set deadlines to follow. For most UK universities, an application should be submitted not later than 2 months before the start of the term. This application form should not be sent alongside the initial tuition application and can be done only after a student is accepted.
An application form can be always found both in the university office and the official website. In the form, students can specify the type of residence they apply for. It can be either a private room with en-suite facilities, a shared room, shared kitchen/bathroom, individual or catered meal in the common canteens.
Shared accommodation is often cheaper but it means bigger competition. In this case, the sooner a student submits an application, the better chances they have.
International student housing requires more efforts as people cannot simply visit a place to look at the options and so on. Thus, the preparations may take longer and the final result often differs from what a student has in mind.
One of the most useful tips is to consult your university while deciding what to do with accommodation. It will offer a few options and give general advice on the parts of the city and how to look for a private offer.
Also, an important issue is money. When setting a budget, a student has to include all needs and leave some money for emergencies. When living at university accommodation for students, extra needs are limited only to the essentials. Those living arrangements that come with catering save a lot of food expenses. However, when living alone and preparing food for yourself, it is important to find out the current prices in supermarkets for the basic products as the difference from the home country may be significant. Also, when renting an apartment in town, students face many additional bills for electricity, Internet, TV, heating, and so on. All of them result in quite an impressive sum. In addition, according to the renting contract, students have to leave a deposit of a month’s rent. Expenses for transportation should be added as well.
When choosing to live on campus, international students eliminate many issues that arise in private renting. In general, paying for the place is a lot easier and cheaper. In addition, you meet many people and get to know the country by living with local students.
However, there are certain details that should be considered as well. For example, when applying for a place, you can ask to be paired with a specific person, it may be useful to search social media for a possible roommate. The search for a good neighbor is essential not only for private student accommodation. Though, while a good roommate is important in dormitories, they are a crucial factor in how much money you spend during renting a flat.
Also, many university accommodation offers are in bad shape, so it would be better to search for the real photos of the place before applying.
There are some student-friendly hotels and private halls that offer affordable prices and better conditions than university halls. Some establishments cooperate with private companies and offer so-called hotels for students and private halls as a part of their accommodation program.
Among the possible options are separate rooms with private bathrooms or shared ones, though the facilities are usually better than at the old university buildings. A student hotel is a middle choice between halls and apartments that should suit most people. Do not hurry to take the first offer your university makes though, take your time to research all housing offers for students.
The last option is not as popular in the UK as in other countries but is still available. Living in a local family brings many advantages in terms of payments, adaptation to a new culture, and making new friends. It is affordable and gives you a new family at the same time.
So, how to apply for student accommodation with a family? There is a special category of host families at the StudyAbroadUK service where you can find a suitable family and request a stay there.