What should you do if you don't get a place in student halls?
While lots of universities will have student accommodation available for first-year students, it's not always guaranteed that everyone will be allocated a place.
But don’t panic! Here are some tips from current students on how to find alternative accommodation...
Look on social media
It's likely there will be a Facebook housing group for your uni. This is where you'll find fellow freshers also looking for somewhere to live. You’ll also pick up good advice, find houses to rent and get landlord recommendations (and warnings), here. Don’t be afraid to reply to comments or posts, to get more information.
Get help from the university’s housing officeAs well as advising about on and off-campus accommodation, your university's housing office (or student services department or equivalent) can keep you posted about upcoming events to connect you with those in a similar position; these could be housing fairs or fun ‘speed dating’ evenings to match potential housemates together.
They can also recommend local letting agents and landlords that have been verified by other students and meet certain standards.
Organise viewingsDon't just take the first place you look at; you'll be there for a year, so find somewhere that is right for you. If you’re making the trip down to view places, try to line up as many as possible to make it worthwhile (and arrange doing this with your future housemates, if possible – if not, nominate one or two of you to take the lead).
Check where they are so you have time to get to your next viewing. If they’re all with the same agent, this is easier as they can give you a lift.
Once you've found accommodation you like, don't feel pressured to sign up to something you're not comfortable with. Many unis or students' unions offer a contract-checking service, to ensure you're not being ripped off or taken advantage of. Alternatively, you can ask your parents to take a look too.
Shop aroundOnce you’ve found 'the one', make sure you're going to be paying the right price for it. See similar properties and compare their rental price. If you’ve followed our advice above, you’ll start to get a good idea of how far your cash will go in the area and what you’ll get for it.
Don’t worry too much!You might initially be disappointed about not getting into halls, but this might turn out to be fate. There are plenty of other great accommodation options that may suit you better.