Is student accommodation first come first serve?

Universities and colleges usually have a wide range of accommodation options. In most cases it’s worth applying for a place to live as soon as you can. There’s a lot on offer – and most students are able to live in one of their preferred kinds of accommodation.

How does student accommodation work?

You can usually apply for uni accommodation once you’ve accepted an offer to study. Accommodation isn't allocated on a first come, first serve basis, but it is worth applying as soon as you can.

You can use the UCAS accommodation search to look for places to live at uni or college. These show the different kinds of accommodation, as well as giving you links to further info and a clearer idea of when to apply and what’s still available.

If you’re not sure what kind of accommodation you’d like, take a look at virtual tours or chat to students already at uni to see what they recommend.

1. When do I apply?

While you’re usually able to apply after you’ve accepted an offer to study, some universities and colleges don’t accept accommodation applications until after a specific date.

Check their accommodation listings for details or how to get in touch with their accommodation team.

2. Are there any deadlines?

It’s worth checking this with your uni and college choices so you don’t miss out.

They’ll often say on their websites that you’ll be guaranteed a place to live if you apply by their accommodation deadline – which (as an example) could be sometime in summer for courses starting in September.

It’s definitely worth applying as soon as you can and before the deadline. Though if you’re late, get in touch with your uni or college – they may still have availability, or they can often recommend private accommodation as an alternative.

3. What if my offer is conditional on school results – will I be too late to get accommodation?

Don’t worry, you can still apply for accommodation once you’ve accepted your offer but before you get your results. A lot of post-16 applicants are waiting on their results, so you’ll all be in the same boat.

Universities and colleges have an idea of how many students join them each year, so they’ll know roughly how much accommodation they’ll need. There’s usually a lot available!

4. Keep in touch with your uni or college

They’ll be able to let you know what accommodation is left and which kind of accommodation they’re able to offer you. Feel free to contact them with any questions.

Even if you can’t get your first choice, all university and college accommodation has to meet minimum standards. So wherever you end up you’ll still have a great time, and you can live in a different kind of place the following year if you’d like to change it up!

What’s next?

Now that you know how applying for your accommodation works, look at the top things you need to know before you go to uni, and what’s included in student accommodation.

Or start your student accommodation search here