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University accommodation for your teenager

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Moving out of home to go to University is often to first step towards independence for many teens.  Leaving behind the familiarity of a home, town and friends can be a massive culture-shock for your teen.  Most Universities recognise this, and have established Halls of Residence.  The University accommodation for your teenager are owned and managed blocks to help bridge the gap between home and the real world, and can provide a welcome and secure base for teens at a time when their whole lives are changing.  Other types of accommodation are available too, and may suit more independent teens better.

What’s on Offer?

Most Universities now offer accommodation for all first year students in University Halls, and some have the capacity to extend this into subsequent years too.   Not all Universities are cash-rich, so many have achieved the necessary levels of accommodation by partnering with private sector organisations to finance the student complexes.  The benefit of this is that the accommodation tends to be of higher quality and with a wider range of options, but it can also be more expensive.

Standard University Halls will generally offer a small room, with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.  Newer buildings tend to offer more spacious rooms, and shared areas that are better equipped. Wifi may be provided in communal areas, or direct internet connectivity can be found in individual rooms.

More popular Universities, and those with Halls financed by private sector companies, may offer a higher degree of luxury.  Kitchens and bathrooms will be better equipped and with a lower student:space ratio. Some private Halls may also offer en-suite rooms, for a premium of course.  Other luxuries could include high speed internet, telephone and TV access in each room.

Most University and Private Halls are mixed, although a few of the more old-school establishments still operate single-sex accommodation blocks.  Halls can house hundreds of students, so they are a great place to meet people and make new friends.  Halls are often very lively places, and can be quite rowdy at first.  As term progresses and coursework demands kick-in, things tend to settle down.

If University or Private Halls are not available, or your teen prefers to be more independent, then private rented accommodation is the best option.  A lot of Universities own private rental units off-campus, and those which don’t will have a list of approved properties.  They will often be shared houses, with basic but decent facilities, and be situated relatively close to the University to keep travel costs to a minimum.  Bills will generally not be included, so your teen will need to manage this aspect of life along with their housemates.

Accreditation Schemes

All University Halls accommodation, and many Halls residences offered privately, are covered by one of three accreditation schemes that ensure the facilities are properly run.  Accreditation places obligations on the University or private company to ensure proper consideration is given to Health and Safety, and Security issues.  This can bring comfort to concerned parents.

University or Private Halls – Which to Choose?

Although University Halls may not offer the same quality and choice as private sector Halls, the benefits of being under the wing of the University more than compensates for that.  Student support is more easily accessible, and they proportion of first years will be significantly higher in University Halls than elsewhere.  Private Halls are better suited to students from their second year on, who are already used to being away from home and have settled into student life.

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Other Things You Need to Know

Most Universities will now guarantee a place in University Halls for all first year students once their offer of a place has been firmly accepted.  If your teen arrives at a University via the Clearing process, they will have to request Halls accommodation, and it may not always be available.  In this instance your teen’s options are private Halls (if available), or private rented accommodation.  All Universities have a Housing or Accommodation Office who will help students to find a base.

Many Universities offer Open Days where parents and students can visit the campus and see the accommodation options for themselves.  This can be a great way for your teen to decide which type of accommodation will suit them best.  The busy, communal nature of the Halls option is not for everyone, and for teens who are responsible and independent before leaving home, the private rental route may be the better choice, even in the first year.

For University and privates sector Halls, the tenancy agreements tend to extend over 40 weeks, including the Christmas and Easter vacations, but not the summer holidays.  Off-campus rentals can vary from 40-52 week contracts, so be aware of what you are signing in each case, and be sure to have alternative living arrangements in place for any weeks not covered by the tenancy agreement.

 

 

 

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, whatsapp plus,travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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