Moving into student accommodation can be an exciting, nerve-wracking experience. For many people, it’s their first experience of living away from their family home and an opportunity to get in touch with new people and develop as a person.
Just like any other new experience, it’s inevitable that you’ll make a few mistakes while moving into student housing. Approach it the wrong way and these can be stressful — do it the right way and they’re great learning experiences.
To help make this process easier, we’ve shared six tips below to help you successfully move in and enjoy your university lifestyle while living in student accommodation.
Pick accommodation based on your needs and budget
If you haven’t yet decided where you’ll live while you study, it’s worth doing some quick research before you make a decision.
Start by checking the location of your university and the amenities that are located nearby. Many universities, such as the University of Winchester, have great campus facilities that make it best to live close to campus.
Other universities may offer fewer facilities, meaning you’ll need to pick a location closer to the shops, supermarkets, gym and other essentials.
Find out what’s provided with your accommodation
If you’re living in on-campus accommodation or off-campus accommodation provided by your university, it’s important to check what’s included with your accommodation.
While some campus accommodation will provide a full meal plan, other facilities might require that you purchase and cook your own food. Likewise, some buildings offer a private bathroom, while others might require you to use shared facilities.
Make sure to check everything, from whether or not your utilities are included to whether your unit comes supplied with everyday essentials like furniture, pots and pans and appliances.
Before you leave, pack the essentials
If you’re moving out of your family home to live in student accommodation, make sure that you arrive fully prepared. This means packing all of your essential items, from electronic equipment to blankets, towels, clothing for all seasons, identification, bank cards and more.
To make the packing process easier, prepare a list of essentials before you start packing your things for the big move.
Once you move in, check the condition of your room
As a tenant, you’re responsible for certain things about your student accommodation, including its general condition. This means that you may be held financially responsible for any damage that occurs during your stay.
To avoid being blamed (and billed) for things you didn’t do, spend a few minutes checking your room for damage before you start unpacking. Look for scratches, holes in the wall, small rips in carpeting and any other issues that may become problems later.
If you notice anything, report it to the building’s management. It’s also worth doing an inventory of the room to double-check that everything you’re supposed to have has been provided by the accommodation company.
Learn the rules of your building
Although student living can be great fun, it’s important that you follow the rules of your building to avoid upsetting your neighbours or the building’s management team.
To make this easier, make sure that you familiarise yourself with the rules of your building after you move in. Many university buildings will have an orientation process that will help you learn these rules shortly after you move your belongings into your room.
Understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
Finally, it’s important that you understand your rights as a tenant. Even if you live in university accommodation such as a residence hall, you and your fellow tenants have unique rights that your accommodation provider needs to respect.
You also have unique responsibilities. These include paying the rent when it’s due and making sure that you follow any other requirements written out in your tenancy agreement.
Understanding your rights and responsibilities can protect you in the event that anything goes wrong during your stay. This guide from Citizens Advice provides more information about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant and is a useful resource for any difficult situations.