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6 blogs found for Accommodation
by admin Posted 7 June, 2022

 For most new undergraduate students in the UK university will be their first time living independently, away from home and family. It is important to consider what accommodation is available and to check websites for application details and deadlines.

Most first year students opt to stay in “halls of residence” – accommodation owned and run by the university where they are part of a community and easily able to get to know other ‘freshers’. Everything in halls is sorted upfront: the rent usually includes bills and some cleaning services and is paid for at the beginning of each term. Other advantages include pastoral care services, disability support and maintenance services being on hand.

The majority of UK universities guarantee accommodation for first year students (although it is worth checking the small print to see whether this guarantee only applies to those who have accepted the university as their firm, or first choice). For ‘campus’ universities, such as the Universities of Warwick and Exeter, halls of residence are likely to be on the same site as the teaching and research and leisure facilities. For ‘city’ universities, students may have to travel to lectures from their accommodation (LSE students have an average travel time of 20 minutes from their student halls). Collegiate universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, York and Lancaster offer accommodation within their colleges, with Oxford and Cambridge offering this for the whole of the undergraduate degree period.

Within ‘halls of residence’ there will be a range of choices available in terms of location, facilities and cost – although there is no guarantee that everyone will get exactly what they want. Facilities will vary, from a single study bedroom in a flat with a shared kitchen and bathroom, to en-suite accommodation with all meals provided. Other choices could be between single gender or mixed gender facilities, single or twin rooms and contracts that are term time only or throughout the whole year. All of these come with cost implications with rents varying from £3,000 to £7,000 a year. Applications for accommodation are made online and it is very important to check individual university websites as different institutions have different application dates and procedures.

After the first year, most students choose to move out of university accommodation into private rental accommodation (often sharing with a group of friends), or private, purpose-built student halls. Whichever choice you make your university housing office should have lists of approved landlords and student-friendly lettings agents and be able to provide.

by admin Posted 3 December, 2021

I hadn’t really considered the idea of a mentor before, or what having one would entail. To me, the idea of a mentor conjured up images of a stern, educational type – pointing fingers and telling me what I was doing wrong with my life (as someone who is terrified of authority, you can imagine how this immediately turned me off).

When I finished my undergrad degree, I was very lucky to land myself an internship at the same university, coordinating a student professional award as well as a mentoring scheme.

I got to see the process from beginning to end, match students with industry mentors in their field of interest, and seeing each professional relationship develop made me realise I’d been missing out on something huge.

When I made the transition back to student to do my MA, I didn’t want to miss the chance again so signed up straight away for the Universities mentoring program.

It has to be said, it was a strange experience coming into it from the student perspective, when I’d only ever known the scheme as the master manipulator behind the scenes. But I was quickly matched with a mentor named Ashleigh, a marketing communications specialist with a background in marketing, journalism and PR – a perfect match!


Our First Meeting

Queue instant anxiety, which is absolutely ridiculous considering I’d spent the entirety of my internship telling students NOT to be anxious about their first mentoring meetings.

Let’s not forget (I mean, how could we) that this all happened during a global pandemic. Meeting anyone for the first time is a daunting experience. Add into that the uncomfortable nature of virtual meetings and it’s safe to say – I was nervous. I needn’t have been.

My mentor, Ashleigh (who’s praises I will sing evermore) is plainly and simply a bloody wonderful human being. Our first meeting was also her first experience as a mentor, and she went into it as if she had been doing it her whole life.

We chatted about ourselves, our interests both personal and professional, and set out exactly what it was I wanted to get from the partnership. So, without further ado, let me tell you…

5 reasons why I wanted an industry mentor, and 5 reasons why you should get one too!

1 – It helps you to figure out where you want to be within your area of interest

I’ve had a vague idea since beginning my undergrad in marketing management that I wanted to be on the digital side of things. But that world is so vast these days, it was difficult to map out exactly where I wanted to be within that world. Social media manager, digital marketer, digital PR, copywriter?

It’s tempting to think when we’re in digital comms that we should be masters in every aspect of it. But having a mentor has helped me to realise that sometimes, that just isn’t realistic. Talking through the different aspects of the industry with Ashleigh and her experience with each helped me to pull my focus & has given me a much clearer path as to where I want to be.

2- If you’re a student it gives you a professional, real life perspective on your career, rather than just theoretical

Degrees are great, they really are. I know these days they aren’t a necessity, but the process of undertaking a degree gives you so much more than just knowledge and a certificate. But a degree doesn’t necessarily give you a true indication of what your career is really going to be like on a day to day basis.

Cue, industry mentor. Finding out what a day in the life of your future career really looks like can be a huge factor in deciding your next steps, not to mention allows you to prepare for what to expect from your chosen role.

3 – It gives you to opportunity to talk through your ideas with someone who’s actually interested in what you have to say

Whether you’re a student or already in an industry, it never hurts to have an ear of someone who shares your interests. From a student perspective, having a mentor has helped me to flesh out ideas for assignments, get feedback on work, talk through campaigns that interest us, deconstruct them and pull out useful ideas or concepts that I can put back into my own work.

Same goes for if you’re already in your chosen career – running your ideas through a mentor can help to flesh them out, gain an alternative perspective, vent your frustrations about something that’s gone wrong and talk about why it might have happened.

If you’re a freelancer, you might not get the opportunity very often to put ideas to your colleagues, a mentor might be just what you need to get those ideas onto paper.

4- It’s a brilliant networking opportunity

I mean, this one is pretty self-explanatory, but I don’t think the importance of networking can be overlooked. I’m a firm believer in that old saying “it’s not what you know…”. Obviously, knowledge and experience are essential, but that doesn’t always help to get your foot in the door.  

Having a mentor can open up opportunities you’d never even considered. They might have inside knowledge of company vacancies you weren’t aware of, they may invite you to an industry networking event you may not have otherwise had access too.

Even if/when your mentoring partnership ends, you’re on their radar, and you can be sure that if an opportunity comes knocking, they’ll be spreading your name like wildfire.

5 – You can get as much or as little out of the experience as you like

A mentorship really is one of those situations where you get back as much as you put into it. Both parties are volunteering their own time, and both parties stand to gain a lot from a successful partnership.  

But it may be that you aren’t in it for an intense, life changing experience. You may only want the occasional nudge in the right direction, a little boost here and there when you’re in a creative slump, and that’s okay!

Setting out your expectations early can help you both understand the level of commitment you want to bring to the table. But go into it with an open mind and allow the partnership to develop organically. If that ends up being something more than you expected, all the better.

With all of that in mind…

I’m very lucky that my mentoring partnership with the ever-enthusiastic Ashleigh is still ongoing and showing no signs of coming to a close any time soon.

It may sound cliché to say, but I really have learnt so much about myself from our little hour long chats every Friday, more so that I ever expected going into the partnership. We have so much more planned & seeing our partnership develop week by week is so exciting.

The personal and professional development that’s up for grabs with a mentorship is something that I feel is taken for granted, when there is so much to gain. The CIPR have recently introduced their own member mentoring scheme, you can check it out here.

Keep an eye out for another instalment of ‘A Conversation With…’ coming soon which may or may not (it absolutely does) focus on Ashleigh.

If you’re a student at the University of Sunderland, I can’t shout about the Professional Mentoring Scheme enough. Find out more and get signed up here.

Are you a professional & think you’d like to mentor a student? You can sign up to be a professional mentor through the University of Sunderland here. You don’t even have to be local to the area (the joys of the new Zoom way of life).

by admin Posted 28 January, 2021


by Posted 27 October, 2020

Deciding where to stay while studying in the UK can leave you feeling overwhelmed, but don’t fret, every year students face similar worries and fears. Whether you are considering a student hall or have your sights set on private accommodation, there are a few things to consider. 

 Student halls or halls of residence are provided by the universities. They are large buildings often divided into individual flats where you may have the option of taking a single room or sharing with another student. Student Halls are a safe, comfortable, and affordable option. Although basic, the rooms are usually furnished with a bed, desk, and chair. There is an option for a private ensuite room with a separate shower and toilet, but most often, the kitchen and bathroom are shared with other students. Other communal facilities include a common room, a tv room, a small shop, and a laundry. Sometimes men and women share the same hall, however, most universities will also have single-sex halls for those who prefer such arrangements. Student halls have a self-catering option or you may want to include catered meals as part of your overall accommodation cost, where you will be able to eat in a designated dining room or cafeteria. Access to all university facilities including after-hour programs like on-site tutoring, counsellors, or mentors. Travel costs are minimal as these buildings are often in or near the campus. Student halls offer security, along with basic maintenance and access to Wi-Fi.

 Private accommodation can be found in large buildings where students can rent rooms within shared flats. This means that you can rent a private room while sharing communal spaces such as a kitchen, bathroom, and lounge with your housemates. You will have the option to select the housemates that you are going to stay with – they are often like-minded local or international students that have the potential to become your life-long friends. Unlike student hall accommodation where the university includes additional costs as part of the rent, household costs such as water and electricity and even maintenance will need to be divided between all housemates within the home or apartment. Depending on your lifestyle and study needs, the location of your home is your choice. Some advantages of private accommodation include - signing a lease contract with a landlord means you do not have to leave the room during the holidays and you are not surrounded by hundreds of other rooms filled with potentially rowdy students, so it is usually a lot quieter. Although you will have a lot more freedom, along with a sense of independence, you will have to do your research and understand all that is involved with private rentals.

 When it comes to choosing where to stay, you will have to decide which aspects are most important to you, such as location, safety, finance, or social needs.

by Posted 24 June, 2020

Moving away from home and into student accommodation, is an exciting step, yet daunting step. It is easy to find accommodation in the UK as a postgrad student. The key is knowing where to start your search and then what do you need to do. Requirements for accommodation applications could involve filling in a form that may need to be submitted along with identity documents, course information, etc.

It is important to choose the accommodation that suits your personality and lifestyle. Most universities to which you’ve applied will provide various options. These might include:

Student Halls

Halls are large blocks of flats with many student bedrooms. This is a reliable option because it is close to the campus grounds and facilities like the library, as well as your lecturers. Bedrooms in student halls, most often have a bed, study desk, storage cupboards, and sometimes a private bathroom. A communal kitchen/living area is shared between 5 and 10 other students. It is best to start looking into this option as early as possible. 

Private accommodation

These are rented houses or large apartments built especially for university students. They are often shared with 5-7 students. The location can vary depending on the provider, but they are generally located close to transport links, allowing you to quickly gain access to the campus. 


To home stay means living with a local family, for a fee. This short term experience is an affordable option and gives students time to adjust to their new life within a warm family setting.

Take your time to decide. Every British University has its own detailed list of accommodation options. This makes the chosen university website a good place to start. 

Irrespective of what you decide, you need to meet application deadlines. Applications can be found online or are available by request via email. Be sure to check when the process for 2021 will start (possibly June/July 2020 depending on the university you have applied for. Bear in mind that with the current COVID19 pandemic, things might have changed). Remember to read the terms and conditions. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email outlining the necessary details within 6-8 weeks.

Whether this new phase of life means living as an independent student with a place of your own, or life in a university hall, you will have support if you reach out to someone. Remember happy homes mean happy students.