How can parents support students researching accommodation for 2022?

If you’re supporting a student who’s currently thinking about which universities to apply to, there’s also the question of where they’ll live during their course.

It isn’t too soon to look at accommodation options

While students might not be able to apply for their accommodation yet, it’s a good idea to see what’s available at the universities they’re applying to. They would normally apply for accommodation once they’ve finalised which course they’re applying to – though before results day. But if they’re looking for a particular kind of university lifestyle or community, they can take a look at the UCAS accommodation search to what’s available at different universities.

Here are some things to consider when researching different kinds of student accommodation, as well as a few tips to be aware of.

1. Go to university open days

You’ll probably hear this time and time again – the best way to see what a university will be like is to visit it, explore and speak to current students and staff. Taking your child to open days is an ideal way to see accommodation and facilities, and to get in-person answers to any questions you have.


2. Take a look at online tours

If you’d rather not go to the main open days because of Covid-19, you could arrange your own separate visit – or even take a look at virtual tours instead. These online tools let you explore the campus online, often including student accommodation options.


3. Consider different kinds of student accommodation

This very much comes down to what each student would like to get out of university. Student accommodation varies in a lot of ways, so it’s worth taking a look around to see what kind of uni lifestyle they could have.

Here are some of the ways student accommodation can differ:

  • Location – would they like to be in the city or in green space?
  • Campus – they could live on campus or somewhere a walk or bus ride away
  • Noise – do they mind being in a lively location or would they prefer quiet?
  • Bathroom – are they ok to share one or would they like an en-suite?
  • Community – would they rather live in a larger or smaller student area?
  • Facilities – some accommodation comes with gym, study, bar and refectory spaces
  • Support – would they prefer to have university support teams and security nearby?
  • Private lodgings – would they like to live in a shared student house with a garden?
  • Modern – some accommodation is recently built while others are older or characterful


4. Think about what university lifestyle they’d prefer

Ultimately, all students are in the same boat and can have as lively or quiet a university experience as they’d like. But if they’re looking forward to walks in the countryside and inspiring places to study, they probably don’t want to go for a new development in the hustle and bustle of a town centre.

Have a browse around the UCAS accommodation search to see what’s available – or take a look at university websites to find out more.


5. Look into student accommodation rights

Most students have no problems in accommodation, as long as they’re fairly responsible and don’t get into much trouble. Whether they’re in university or privately managed accommodation, they’ll have an accommodation team or a landlord responsible for maintaining the property.

They’ll probably have an individual tenancy contract which will outline the dos and don’ts of their new home – from noise to cleaning and tidying. Occasionally students are asked to move out of student accommodation if they break the rules, but only in serious cases.

So it could be worth letting your child know they’ll have to behave reasonably well(!) or they could end up having to source alternative accommodation – which won’t be fun in the middle of assignments, exams or work experience.


6. Are students covered by your TV licence?

Generally, no, students aren’t covered by their parents’ TV licence. It’s a common question, but the only exception is if a student only uses a device solely powered by its own internal batteries. But if it’s plugged into the mains or connected to an aerial when it receives TV, it won’t be covered.

Also, if they have a separate tenancy agreement to their housemates then they will need their own individual TV licence. This will almost certainly be the case in student halls of residence. And it may be the same in a privately-rented shared flat or house – unless there’s a joint tenancy agreement rather than separate ones.

Want to find out more?

Have a good look around university websites for accommodation information – or have a chat with students who are already at university. You could ask which criteria was most important to them when they were choosing where to live – or if they wish they’d chosen a different kind of accommodation.