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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.

Uni accommodation is often allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so if you're a late applicant through Clearing you could miss out.

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 get more information by replying to comments or posts.

There are not actually enough places in halls of residence for all first year students so it is likely that if Winchester is your insurance choice you will have to find private accommodation. Be active as soon as you are aware, join the Winchester Housing Facebook group and join up with others in the same area. Third Year English Student | University Of Winchester

Get help from the university’s housing office

As 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.
The university should have a housing office that will be able to give you advice. Don't be afraid to ask them! Most of the student housing includes all bills, but not all do so be sure to find out before paying a deposit. If you want to live away from home but not with other students, remember that it is always possible to rent a room in a house with a local family or homeowner, which will often mean better facilities than student housing. Third Year Language Studies Student | Leeds Metropolitan University

Organise viewings

Don'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.
If you have a good look around the property and meet the landlord in person then you should be able to tell whether it’s the right relationship for you to enter into or not. Second Year Criminology Student | Edge Hill University

Shop around

Once 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 - 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.
In my experience, viewing as many properties as possible in your price range is advisable as it gives you a clearer idea of what is good and what is bad. Fourth Year Biological Sciences Student | Glasgow Caledonian University

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. 
I didn't get into halls in my first year so I lived in private student accommodation: a house with 12 other first year students and I loved it! Especially considering all the rooms were en-suites and were SO much bigger than the rooms in halls! Plus it was in town so near to shops and living a bit away from the University gave me that extra independence. I might have missed out on all the buzz in halls but I still managed to make friends and enjoy myself! First Year Law Student | University Of Northampton

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