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What is student accommodation really like? | A Guide for Parents

What is student accommodation really like? | A Guide for Parents

by Judith Charlton

As a parent soon to be dropping your child off at university, you might be wondering what student accommodation is really like.

Student accommodation will be your child's home away from home; a place where they meet their first university friends, learn to do their own laundry, and experiment with cooking some of their own 'signature' dishes'. University accommodation and halls should be a safe, welcoming community where students can grow and transition into adult life.

But we know that moving away from home for the first time can be a scary experience (for both you and your child), and you might not know what to expect. Read on to find out what the student accommodation experience is really like and discover some top tips for finding the perfect residence.



Your child’s first friends

Student accommodation is where your child will make their first friends and university memories.

At Newcastle, we want our new students to feel at home as soon as possible, so when you arrive on campus, our friendly Accommodation Team will greet you and ensure your child has everything they need to settle in.

During your child’s first week here, Accommodation’s Residential Life (ResLife) team will make sure they're settling in well and making new friends through a wide range of events, informal seminars and drop-in sessions.


A safe place for students to live

One in six people in Newcastle is a student, and the city is renowned for being student-friendly - it's ranked 6th in the UK's top student cities (QS Best Student Cities 2023). At Newcastle University, we do all we can to make sure your child's new home from home is safe, secure, and worry-free. 

Most residences provide on-site support during office hours through our friendly reception desks. Entryphone systems and CCTV are installed at most accommodation sites, and our Safezone app means students can connect directly with University Security at any time, day or night. Our Security Team also patrols campus and the accommodation sites regularly for your child’s peace of mind.


We help them settle in and learn life skills

Before your child joins us, the Accommodation Team will be in touch with them to say hello and explain everything that is going to happen when they move in, including when and where to pick up keys, when they can arrive, and more.

All first-year students are guaranteed accommodation (based on a few conditions), and most of our residences come with shared social spaces where students can get to know each other. Some residences also come with additional facilities including study areas, game zones and more.

But student accommodation is about more than just which flat your child lives in. Our ResLife programme has been designed to support our students during their first year living away from home with a regular events programme, drop-in sessions, free interactive skills sessions - ResLife ‘Hacks’ -  and more.

Each student village has a dedicated ResLife Co-ordinator and Assistants to foster a sense of belonging, community, friendship, and independence. And our teams work closely with other University services, including Student Health and Wellbeing, Students’ Union (NUSU), Student Services and Careers Service.


Students are never far from campus

All our sites are in prime positions, within easy reach of campus - whether that's in the city centre, close to Newcastle's restaurants and shops, or the artsy Ouseburn area that's popular with students for its culture and live music.

Great public transport links mean they're never far from University facilities, too, with easy access to Newcastle’s Central Station and bus interchanges, making visiting home quick and fuss-free. The Metro system also stretches from multiple stations in the city centre to the beach, countryside, and Newcastle International Airport


How much does student accommodation cost?

How much accommodation costs depends on where your child wants to live.

Accommodation costs are typically broken down into weekly costs to make budgeting easier, and you can also see the overall cost for the whole year to help you compare this cost against your child's total loan amount. For your peace of mind, rent typically includes utility costs (such as water or electricity).

Before your child makes their application, you might find it useful to work out an overall budget for their first year at university by recording any loans they might be receiving and potential costs of student living on a spreadsheet. Once you agree on a budget, check this against our accommodation website to find accommodation that suits their style and budget.

Within University-owned student accommodation at Newcastle, we offer a range of flexible payment options, including monthly and termly payments. Our friendly Accommodation Finance Team is also on hand to speak to your child if they ever find themselves struggling financially. 


They could stay anywhere from traditional halls to a student village

At Newcastle University, we have student accommodation to suit varied needs and preferences. Whether your child is looking for traditional halls, an ultra-modern apartment or vibrant student village – there’s a residence that’s right for them.

Parents and soon-to-be students can explore campus during our on campus Open Days  and virtual events and view our accommodation sites. 




Catered or self-catered?

Your child can choose between self-catered and catered accommodation.

Most of our accommodation is self-catered, which gives students the freedom to choose when and where to eat. It’s an opportunity to learn how to budget for grocery shopping, and your child might even surprise you with a new culinary experience when they come home.

Our Castle Leazes accommodation offers a range of catered rooms, which means your child can focus on their studies without having to worry about buying and cooking meals on weekdays. You can also feel reassured knowing they are eating freshly prepared, nutritional meals rather than pizza every day! Find out more about our residential catering packages here.


University-owned, managed-partnership, or private accommodation?

So, what’s the difference between University-owned, managed-partnership, and private accommodation?

University-owned accommodation is owned and managed by the University. This means the staff who look after the maintenance of your child's accommodation, the friendly faces in reception, the supporting Allocations and Finance Teams, and the ResLife events are all managed by the University, too. These teams work together with various teams across campus, such as the Wellbeing Team, to make sure your child is well looked after.

Managed-partnership residences work together with the University to provide rooms for our students. Though your child will apply for these through the University accommodation application portal, they will be looked after by non-University staff who work for the company that owns the building.

Finally, your child might choose to live in private accommodation not affiliated with the University, such as a private purpose-built hall in the city centre or shared housing.

These providers don't work with the University, so if in doubt, always check our official student accommodation information for a full list of University-owned and managed partnership residences. 

(Managed partnership residences can change, so keep checking our website to make sure you have all the information you and your child need about our available accommodation.


How long are the contracts?

Our undergraduate University-owned and managed partnership accommodation contracts run between 39 and 40 weeks,

Whichever your child chooses, they will benefit from a continuous contract which means they can leave their belongings in their room if they go home for short vacations, such as at Christmas and Easter.

We hope this blog has answered some of your questions about what student accommodation is really like. More information about our Accommodation Service, including virtual tours of our residences, is avaible HERE