Choosing your student accommodation: what to consider
Moving into student accommodation can be a great experience whether your lectures are in person or not. Use this checklist to compare options and find a place to live that’s right for you.
Not just a place to stay while studying but also a thriving and supportive community
Being close to campus isn’t the only benefit of living in student accommodation. Staying away from home in a new city while being surrounded by a supportive community makes it worthwhile even if coronavirus means some online lectures are still saving you a trek to campus. Fresh and its student residents explain more about the benefits of living in student accommodation and let you in on the most important things to consider when picking your next base.
Fresh has over 60 locations across the UK and Ireland, all built with students in mind. Its friendly staff take care of everything so you’re free to live your best student life, whether you choose an en suite room in a shared apartment or your own self-contained studio. You can share a studio as a couple for no extra cost or book a communal flat as a group with your friends. As one student reviewer living at Glassyard Building in London says: ‘The staff are caring and very supportive. They are very responsive to my queries and worries. It’s been really good living here.’
Fresh is accepting bookings for September and is offering viewings both in person and virtually. Simply get in touch with the Residents’ Team at your chosen location and pick a day and time that suits you. Some of its locations also have 360-degree virtual video tours available to view online.
Living in student accommodation during Covid-19
The care that Fresh has for every resident’s experience is shown by its Covid promise, which commits to Covid-secure measures such as social distancing signage, Perspex screens, face coverings and enhanced cleaning of communal areas. One student reviewer, living at The West Wing in Cardiff, comments: ‘[Fresh] dealt well during the pandemic with extra cautious protocols.’
While essential, these measures form only one side of Fresh’s Covid promise. Fresh prides itself on being not just a place to stay while studying but also a thriving and supportive community, and it wasn’t going to let a pandemic get in the way. In fact, this became more of a priority than ever. Fresh’s new well-being and lifestyle programme ‘Be’ includes virtual and socially-distanced events to ensure that, even when in lockdown, residents feel connected to each other and have opportunities to learn new skills. Initiatives such as this are going a long way in helping Fresh to ensure that its residents are happy and settled: in 2020, Fresh received an overall satisfaction rating of 93%.
How to choose the right student accommodation for you
It’s always important to make sure you’ll feel at home wherever you choose to live, whether that’s for less than a year or for the duration of your degree. Here is a checklist of points to consider when viewing accommodation – or to ask about if anything is unclear.
- What type of accommodation would suit your lifestyle and budget? Fresh usually offers a choice of shared apartments or self-contained studios; some locations also offer one-bed apartments and duplexes.
- Where is it located? While accommodation that’s not owned by your university can sometimes be a little further outside the campus bubble, Fresh ensures that all of its properties are in prime locations within easy walking distance or with great transport links. It’s also worth checking the distance to other places such as the railway station, supermarkets, nightlife and GP surgery. ‘Location is amazing being so close to town and Lime Street station. I have loved living here for the past two years!’ says a student reviewer at Calico in Liverpool.
- What on-site facilities are there? Each Fresh location typically contains a range of communal spaces for everyone to enjoy, including a quiet study area, social space, cinema, laundry room, gym and sometimes even a swimming pool. ‘I really enjoyed the gym, which is open 24/7, the study area downstairs as well as the rooftop terrace,’ comments a student reviewer who lived at Brickworks in Dublin during their semester abroad.
- Are bills included? Water, electricity, central heating, wifi and even contents insurance are all provided at Fresh*, making it easier for you to budget; the exception is that you’ll need your own TV licence if you want to watch TV in your room.
- Are cleaning, repairs and security included? Fresh will thoroughly clean your room before you arrive, plus some tenancies include cleaning while you are living there too. Communal areas are regularly cleaned. Fresh will repair any issues with your accommodation as soon as possible after you log them through its student portal. All Fresh locations have 24-7 security with on-site staff or a security helpdesk service.
- Is there support for your well-being? As well as any support provided by your university, as a Fresh resident you can take advantage of ‘Be’, which aims to create a community that thrives and cares for one another. Fresh’s on-site general managers have undertaken mental health first aid training and offer an open-door policy for students needing support.
- Are there social events and activities for residents? With Fresh, you’ll be equipped with everything you need to settle in and make new friends. Fresh’s Residents’ Teams run a varied event programme that you can get involved in as little or often as you like – from quizzes and learning a new skill to workouts and meditation. Unlike living in university-owned accommodation, other Fresh residents won’t necessarily be from the same university as you, which provides a great opportunity to widen your social circle.
- How many flatmates will you have? If you’re renting a room in a shared apartment, it’s useful to know how many of you will be sharing the kitchen facilities and how many of each item (such as cookers, sinks and fridges) there’ll be between you. The same applies if there are shared toilets and showers. Speak to the Residents’ Team and they will be able to find you a room that fits your needs.
You can find out much more about Fresh’s accommodation, outstanding on-site facilities and supportive environment on its website, where you can also make a booking for the upcoming academic year.
*T&Cs apply; see website for details.