Advice, Tips, FAQ’s for Students Moving into Student Accommodation for the First Time
You may just be thinking about going to University or College and trying to decide if it’s for you, you may have already visited universities that you want to consider and are just waiting for exam results to see if you have secured your place. If any of these apply to you then we understand there is always excitement mixed with nerves when you are thinking about moving into student accommodation and being away from home for the first time to go to university or college.
Moving and living away from home for the first time is a challenge as you are not only learning to live and manage on your own, you are balancing meeting new people, having a new social life as well as taking on probably the hardest study time of your life. This article will tell you everything you need to know about the different types of accommodation you can consider, what you should think about when choosing your accommodation and what you should and shouldn’t take with you in your first year.
If it is your first time moving away from home and to a new City or area of the country then we understand it is a very daunting prospect so we hope that this article will ease your nerves and ensure you know more about the unknowns so you can be prepared and enjoy the build-up to your move.
What Types of Student Accommodation are there?
Halls of Residence Accommodation
Halls of Residence are normally owned by the University or College that you are going to and are generally for first-year students only. Halls of residence are a brilliant way of adjusting to life away from home and they enable you to quickly and easily make new friends who you will be studying with. There are normally a few accommodation options available but these depend on the university or college you are attending. They include; catered/self-catered and ensuite or shared bathroom rooms.
House or Flat Shared Accommodation
House or flat share is the most common type of private student accommodation for students in their second-year upwards. You can spend your first year in halls of residence getting used to university or college life and decide which friends you want and would be best to share with. Most cities with universities will have student accommodation estate agents who will advertise student lets which are flats or houses set up for multi-occupancy.
Rented Room in a Private House
Even some people in their second year decide to rent a room in a house where the landlord lives themselves and this might be because the landlord lives on their own and they have spare bedrooms that can give them extra income, or it might be a family who chooses to help students to live in a comfortable home with friendly and caring people around them, as well as earning additional income for them . Whilst this may not be the preferred option for most second plus year students, there are still some people that prefer not to live with the people on their course or they feel they still need more home comforts around them. If you have left it too late to look for a decent privately rented house or flat then it is probably preferable to moving into the leftover student houses that no one else wanted.
Privately Rented houses or Flats
Renting a house or flat privately and on your own is the most expensive accommodation option and there are benefits and disadvantages to it. If you have had a bad experience sharing with other students then it will probably feel more appealing, however, it will give you additional financial pressure to worry about whilst you are studying, as well as feeling quite lonely.
Private Sector Halls of Residence
Private Sector Halls of Residence are similar to University owned halls of residence, however, they are open to everyone in any year of their study. They are generally more expensive as they’re privately owned and the tenancy contracts tend to be 52 weeks of the year rather than term times only. Moving into Private Sector Halls of Residence you will be sharing with a diverse mix of people from a range of universities, colleges and academic years. This is great if you enjoy meeting lots of new people on different study courses and it still offers you the security of knowing you will be living with others, who are hopefully like-minded students.
The rooms in halls of residence, whether they are university, college or privately owned are generally a lot smaller than if you rent privately and some will have very minimal contents, like a bed and a desk and sometimes a wardrobe, be prepared that most of them are very basic and will have been well used and lived in.
Most halls of residence mean you will be sharing a bathroom and kitchen area with other students that you may not know so be prepared that others may not be as clean and tidy as you are.
When you are first visiting prospective universities or colleges you should ask to see their halls of residence and ask for any information they can give to you on the accommodation, including, what will be in each room, bed, mattress, desk, wardrobe, chest of drawers, carpet and curtains, how much it costs, do you need to get your own contents insurance and what security there is for each room and the whole residence. If you are sharing a kitchen with other students, how does kitchen storage space work and do you need to bring your own saucepans and kitchen equipment with you? Does your room include bedding, pillows, and hangers as this will save you a lot of space on moving day if they are?
When you are Packing and Moving into Student Accommodation
You should by now know which type of student accommodation you are moving into and we will focus on moving into university or privately owned halls of residence.
You should also know how big your room will be and if it has a bed mattress, desk, wardrobe, chest of drawers, carpet and curtains and if you need to buy any of these things to take with you.
If your room isn’t carpeted or the carpet isn’t in a very good state then you may want to think about buying yourself a large rug to take with you and one that you know is clean for you underfoot.
You will need to focus on the bare minimum that you will need, and small items, remembering you can always add to it if you have enough room when you next visit home.
There won’t be much space for storing unnecessary items so you will need to make some compromises when packing your belongings. If you are sharing a room then its great if you can get in touch with them before you move to agree if there are things you can share such as a TV, radio or speakers.
Do I need to get Contents Insurance?
Like any property, the owners, including the university do not normally have insurance to cover damage or loss of your belongings but this is something you should always check with them before you move in. You should shop around in plenty of time prior to your move to get the best home contents insurance and always make sure you advise your insurance company if you are in halls of residence or a shared student house. Some home insurance policies will cover your belongings being away from home so you can have insurance for your items on your parents home insurance. You should always check what they will cover, if at all and up to what value to make sure the insurance is comprehensive enough for you.
What Facilities will the Halls of Residence have?
Every hall of residence is different and when you have been allocated a room you should receive confirmation of the facilities you will have access to. These may include;
- Laundry facilities (ask if there is a charge for washing your clothes and how much)
- If there are a washing machine and dryer
- If there a communal iron and ironing board
- Communal kitchen (ask what items are included in the kitchen eg saucepans, frying pans, plates, bowls, knives, forks, spoons, colanders etc)
- If cleaning products provided or are the bathrooms and kitchen cleaned by the university or college
Other questions you can ask;
- Is there a bank on campus?
- Are the bathrooms communal?
- Is there a shop on campus?
- Can you cook your own meals at your halls of residence?
- Is there communal WiFi or do you have to pay and how much
Can I bring Electronics and Appliances?
You should always check with your Hall of Residence administration team to find out if you can bring a TV, kettle, hotplate or small fridge before you take them as there are often rules and regulations about these items. Some halls of residences have a limited amount of electrical output per room which will determine the type and amount of electronics and appliances you are allowed. Items such as; hotplates or microwaves can be considered a potential fire hazard and are therefore not permitted. Always ask for their list of allowed and not allowed items before you pack and move as this will save you a lot of time and storage space.
As you are preparing for your move start to make a list of the things you want to take with you as you think of them as this will save you a lot of time and stress when you are packing.
Other Questions to Ask Before your Moving Day
- Can I move any of my belongings into my room before my official moving in date?
- How do I get to the halls of residence?
- What do I need to do when I first get to my halls of residence?
- Is there anywhere to park whilst I unload my belongings?
- Will there be people there to help me?
- Do I need to label all of my belongings?
- How much time will I have to move in?
- What other activities and things will I need to do on moving day?
We have put together a helpful list of the things you may need to think about or take with you
- Mattress topper or cover
- Extra blankets
- Reading lamp
- uni or college stationary
- Laundry basket/bag
- Foldable ironing board
- Washing powder
- Fabric softener
- Clothes dryer
- Chest of Drawers
- Clothes hangers
- Clothes for all weathers and occasions (day and night)
- Shoes for all occasions
- Gym kit & swimming costume
- Bathroom essentials & toiletries
- Shower curtain, curtain liner and rod
- Flip flops for showering and dressing gown (if sharing a hallway bathroom with others)
- Bathroom cleaning supplies
- Contact lenses
- Toilet paper
- Sun cream
- A hairdryer and other hair styling tools
- Kitchen items (tin opener, sharp knives, chopping board, wooden spoon etc)
- Tinned foods
- Frying pan
- Oven mitt
- Plates and bowls
- Aluminium foil
- Cling film
- Washing up liquid
- Mini-fridge (if allowed)
- Extension lead (check these are allowed)
- Ink for printer
- HDMI cable and ethernet cable
- Router for internet
- Apple TV
- Curtain rods
- TV stand
- Desk chair
- Alarm clock or clock radio if not using a phone
- Brush and dustpan and brush
- Waste bin
- Coat hangers
- Sewing kit
- Under the bed storage boxes
- Vacuum sealed storage bags
- First-aid kit
- Prescription medicine
- Sleep mask
- Games and books
- Bike helmet
- Hand-held vacuum for cleaning
Prepare for your move in the weeks leading up to it and pack any non-essential items that you won’t need so they are ready to go. This just leaves your day to day items to pack on the day or the day before. Leave yourself plenty of time and plan what time you will leave to ensure you get to your halls of residence in the time slot they have given you.
For many students, a parent’s car or even a van won’t be big enough to transport all of the things they need to take. If this is the case and to save you having to make several journeys or use multiple cars SmartMove North East can help. We have a vast amount of experience in Student Moves and can quickly and efficiently transport all of your things to your halls of residence leaving you to enjoy your journey there with no stress of loading or unloading. We can quickly give you a quote for your student move and you will be surprised at the cost.
As a larger removal company we have a range of services and vehicles to suit your moving needs and budget, and you won’t be let down on the day which can be possible if you use a smaller company or man with a van which doesn’t have a back-up team if someone is unwell or their van or lorry breaks down.