Choosing somewhere great to live is a key part of your success for your postgraduate study.
You need the perfect combination of quiet and comfort to study, other people to keep you motivated and help you to relax, a place that makes you feel safe and secure, and with easy transportation links.
Privately owned student accommodation
Fresh – formerly know as Fresh Student Living – is a national provider of private halls of residence for students in the UK. All of their sites have great transportation links to the nearby campuses and you'll meet a combination of students from your university along with other students from other local institutions. As well as offering modern and comfortable student accommodation, Fresh organises social events to help you get to know your neighbours and to meet people if you are new in town. They have staff on site, who are responsible for the safety and security of the site, so if you have an issue there is someone to call on. You can tour the facilities online and arrange everything for your move in advance online. This makes them perfect if you can't get to visit your accommodation in person.
University Halls of Residence
If you want to be on-campus, then the halls of residence at your university is the best option. You may find that you are in a residence with other postgraduate students – just like at the University of Glasgow – who will all be in the same situation as you. Or you may find that you are with other undergraduate students instead, which may not be quite what you’re looking for, as they could well be a little louder than you prefer. But the benefit of having your meals catered for and being able to pop to the library nearby might outweigh this disadvantage. University halls of residence will have on-campus staff and wardens often living with the students for additional security.
Private accommodation providers like Fresh and universities offer shared accommodation in the form of flats and houses. These are all self-catering and you will often be sharing a kitchen with your fellow housemates. It can offer an affordable way to live while you study, but you need to pick your housemates carefully or choose a provider like Fresh who agree on the terms of behaviour with all of their residents. If you're unhappy with your housemates, then speak with your Students’ Union, as they will have lots of advice, for example like this from the University of the West of England.
Private Shared Accommodation
Many postgraduate students choose to rent privately in a shared house near to their university campus. This is a good option for those students who know the town well and can visit the house before they rent it. For postgraduate students who are travelling for their studies and are unable to visit in advance, such as international students, this may not be such a great option. You need to check all of the safety certificates and that the doors and windows are secure before you agree to rent a private house. Your university will have lots of advice on what you should check, for example this advice from the University of Bristol.
When to start your search
So when should you start looking for your student accommodation? Well, the simple answer is as soon as possible. If you know what you want and whereabouts you want to live – reserve your home straight away. And if you haven’t got any idea of what you’re looking for we strongly suggest you start your research as soon as you finish reading this blog! This table shows when students start looking for accommodation according to a recent survey.