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When you’re choosing a university, one of the first decisions you’re met with is whether you want to move away from home. For me, that decision was an easy one - I’d always planned to move away from my parent’s house and to somewhere of my own the minute I became a student, however I wasn’t sure where to start looking.

The University of Chester made things easy. We were informed about when applications for University-owned accommodation would open, and so I chose to apply. You got to choose specific preferences that they would try to meet when assigning you your accommodation, like whether you’d prefer a quiet accommodation, or somewhere with an ensuite bathroom, and the whole process really took some of the pressure off from having to try to find somewhere all by yourself.

John Milton Hall

The first accommodation I was given was John Milton Hall - a University-owned accommodation with single rooms, ensuite bathrooms, and clustered kitchens to cook your own meals. The Accommodation team made moving in simple, making sure we knew where we had to go to collect our keys, and the directions to the accommodation from there (only a short walk, and an even shorter drive, from Exton Park). Even just moving in gave me the opportunity to start meeting new people in the corridors and kitchens - it was a lovely way to start making new friends, knowing that everybody else moving in that day was in the very same position as I was. Halls are also often pegged as the true ‘student experience’ however they don’t suit everybody - and, as it turned out, they didn’t suit me.

Changing my accommodation

Part way into first year, I ended up changing accommodation. I went from John Milton Hall to a room that had recently become free in Hollybank Court. Switching accommodation is almost always an available option - if the University has another room available for you to move to - and the process for doing so felt convenient, and far more stress free than I was anticipating. All I had to do was get in touch with the Accommodation team, who then gave me an ‘Application to Transfer Accommodation’ form that I had to fill out. Moving in was once again made easy, since the date that worked best for me was a weekend, my keys were left with the Porters for me to collect, and all I had to do was to return my previous ones once I was all moved out.

Going on from first year, lots of people start to look for student houses, rather than halls, so that they can move in with their friends. This can still be through the University, if you like, or you can choose to move into partnership accommodation, or accommodation from a private provider. In my second year, I went with a private accommodation provider, moving into a shared flat that was once again self-catered and with ensuite bathrooms. Since this was during Covid, my experience there was fairly unusual, however moving was made just as easy, with all of us having specific time slots for when we could move into our rooms. Even in private and partnership accommodation, the University is still there to support you where needed, and many times the other students there are still in the same position as you. For me, I lived with a varied group of people, from all years of the University, and it really helped me to stay social even during the pandemic.

Partnership accommodation 

In my final year, I’m now living in one of Fresh Student Living’s accommodation buildings, in a studio flat close to Exton Park again. I wanted somewhere quieter to complete my final year of university, so a studio seemed like the natural option for me and living alone has been different to living with others! There’s been less opportunity for me to meet other people in my building, so making friends here has been an entirely different experience, however since I’m in third year this wasn’t really a priority for me anyway. Fresh Student Living is also one of the University’s partnered accommodation providers, so you know that you’re getting a trustworthy and good experience in joining them.

Overall, my experience with moving away from home has been an incredibly enjoyable one. Whether it be in University-owned accommodation, or a private provider, you always have access to any support you need, and it really allows you to have the freedom and experience of being independent during your studies.

You can find out more about applying for student accommodation here

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