What To Expect In Student Halls – Pip Milburn

If you’re sending a child off to University, they might be feeling a bit nervous about living in student accommodation. Halls can be quite a culture shock, especially if you’re not a big family. Living with others and learning to look after yourself is a steep learning curve. Here’s what to expect from student halls so you can help your child get ready. 

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Student flats, whether it’s university owned halls or private student accommodation, are usually made up of bedrooms in apartments or corridors, with a communal bathroom, kitchen and living space. Most halls are located on or very near campus, which is very convenient for lectures. 

The bonus of halls is that it’s an easy step between home and living alone. Your child can get a taste of independence, but with the safety net of halls. Usually, accommodation fees are paired in a lump at the start of term, and then there are no further bills to worry about. They can also rely on the university to step in if there are any problems. 

Student halls bedrooms aren’t usually very big or all that luxurious, so they’ll need to learn to live comfortably in a small space. There are some things you can do to make a not so nice room feel more personal, such as adding some more storage for clothes and books, putting up pictures and bringing in soft furnishings like cushions, rugs and blankets. 

Before you start buying things for them to take, check what is already provided by the halls. Some accommodation will already have things like irons, kettles and toasters, so you can save some money and not buy those. Check that the halls have internet included in the price too. You will need to set them up with bedding and a set of kitchenware.If you give them a TV to take, remember that they will need their own TV licence, as this will usually not be covered by the halls.

Create a packing list before they go. They will need to take important documents like their student finance letters, accommodation letters, acceptance letters, passport, ID and National Insurance card. They’ll need a laptop for their work, headphones to work if halls are noisy, plenty of extension cables for their room and an external hard drive so they can back up important essays and dissertations.

They’ll probably need ethernet and HDMI cables too, to connect their laptop to the internet in their room. Set your child up with plenty of stationery, like sticky notes, highlighters, notebooks and pens. A printer for their room could be very useful too, to save them having to use the communal printers to print out their work. These printers can get long queues. 

The University will likely send a reading list, so get these books ordered in plenty of time. You can save some good money on textbooks by buying them secondhand. Check secondhand bookshops or charity shops in the university town, as students are likely to have donated their old books. This will be much cheaper than buying new. 

Your new student will also need a laundry hamper. Get one with handles so they can carry it back and forth easily to the laundry facilities. Get them a clothes horse too so they can dry clothes in their room. 

Getting to know other people in halls can be tricky, especially if your child is shy. Remind them that everyone will be in the same boat and will be just as nervous as them. A great way to make some friends quickly it to pack a doorstop. While they’re unpacking, your child can wedge their door open. As people are going past, they can put their heads in and say hello, meaning your child will meet everyone much faster, in a low pressure way. Encourage them to join in with lots of activities during Freshers Week so they can meet more people and start to make friends. 

Check the rules about decorating in the halls. Most halls won’t allow any permanent changes. Avoid hanging anything with nails, and don’t stick anything up with sellotape as it may pull off paint. Instead, gift your student with some funky pins for their noticeboard, bedding they love and some great posters to put up with blu-tack. 

Encourage your child to check the rules about overnight guests. Most accommodation will allow guests to say, but there’s usually a limit for how many nights in a row someone may stay. 

*this is a collaboration post

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