Finding accommodation as a postgrad can be tricky – especially if it’s going to be your first year in a brand new city. Unlike with undergraduate courses, you often won’t have the option of on-site living, and you may also find that you don’t know the area or a group of other students to live with. In situations like this, it’s easy to leave it until the last minute and then realise you’re a bit stuck. So if you think you’ve left finding postgrad accommodation too late, then read on.
Set your limits
Figure out exactly what you’re looking for, what compromises you’re willing to make on the ideal situation, and what you’re not willing to do. Decide on a price range – the rent you’d ideally like to pay, and then an absolute maximum of what you can afford. Do the same with location – pick the ideal area, and then areas you wouldn’t mind, and finally, areas you would like to avoid. This can be hard if you’re new to the city, but some quick internet research can give you a good idea of where is reasonable. Finally, think about the sort of living situations that you’d be happy with. Are you looking for a self-contained flat? Maybe you’re happy to simply rent a room from a family. Once you’ve got this list of limits, it’s time to start the actual search.
Check with the university
Often the university or the student union of the university that you’ll be attending will have a guide available. In this, they’ll often list what letting agents are reliable, which have a bad reputation, and particular tips on which areas are popular. They may even have a method of matching up other students also looking for housemates – something which may be worth looking into, especially if you’re on a budget.
Look into private student accommodation
Whilst you may not be able to live on-site, you can still have the student halls-style accommodation if you play your cards right. Look into companies like Fresh Student Living, who provide privately managed student accommodation. There’s a wide range of options available for a variety of budgets, from shared apartments to self-contained studios. In addition, they’ll often include bills and have on-site security to make you feel safer.
Renting a room
If you’re left it really late, then you may find a lot of the options of shared accommodation are unavailable to you. In this case, it may be worth looking into renting a single room. Often, these rooms are with families looking to make a little bit of extra income, and so the price will include bills. You may also find the option available with other students, or perhaps in a house of young professionals. With this sort of arrangement, you can sometimes get shorter contracts – six, or maybe even three, months. This means you can choose this as a temporary option whilst still looking for something else later in the year.
If you think you have the time, and you’ve got the experience, you may be able to find a job that also includes accommodation. These are most commonly nanny or housekeeper roles, but you can also find babysitter ones that offer a reduced rate of accommodation, rather than being totally inclusive. These are a lot of work, but often include a wage as well as the accommodation. If you’re good with children or cleaning, and think you can manage it, they are viable option – but make sure you’re really confident in your time-management skills before considering it.
Remember: whilst you might not be able to find the ideal living situation, you will be able to find something. It might take dedication, but get in touch with local letting agencies, keep an eye on the papers, and ask the student union for help and you’ll be sure to find somewhere.