Applying for accommodation

Accommodation near Cambridge train station

Here’s a list of questions we’re often asked by students who’d like to live in university accommodation.

If you've got any other questions, please contact us.

Full-time first year students, and full-time students who are care leavers or have a medical requirement regardless of their year of study.

Most accommodation is for students aged 18 or over. There is limited availability for accommodation for under 18s.

There is no University managed accommodation for families. More information on accommodation for under 18s and families can be found here.

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Applications for September 2024 will open on 4 April 2024.

If you are an international student, you must book accommodation before you travel to the UK.

For returning students or students with a medical requirement, please see questions below.

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We allocate accommodation on a first come first served basis, so we recommend applying online as soon as you’ve firmly accepted a conditional or unconditional offer from us:

If you are an international student, you must book accommodation before you travel to the UK. If you are unable to secure accommodation you are strongly advised not to travel to the UK and should defer your offer of a place to study with us until the next intake in September 2024.

There are very limited private sector options. If you would like to chat through your options in the private sector, please call us on 01245 683110 for Chelmsford and 01223 698900 for Cambridge. We are available Monday–Friday 9.30–4.30.

If you will be commuting, you can find information about travelling to our campuses in Cambridge, ChelmsfordPeterborough and Writtle.

Have a look at the properties available in CambridgeChelmsford and Writtle, then when you apply online you can tell us where you'd like to live.

We don’t ask students to simply tell us their preferences. As long as you make any required payments within the given timescales, a room in that property will be yours.

In Cambridge we have a lot of accommodation options. Start to narrow down your search by thinking about whether you'd mind sharing a bathroom or would prefer an en suite shower room, and how far you're willing to walk to lectures. Then, once you’ve got a shortlist, look at the prices, photos and videos to help you choose. Still not sure? Get in touch with our Residential Service to talk it through.

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When applying online you can select which property you’d like to live in – and in some cases you can pick your exact room. If you’re able to pick an exact room, you’ll be able to see some basic information about the other people you’ll be living with, such as their interests, lifestyle, gender and age.

ARU is home to students from all over the UK and the world, so you’ll live with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. All our accommodation is interfaith, mixed gender and mostly single occupancy (a small number of twin and double rooms are available in certain halls). If single gender accommodation is required, we can help you look for accommodation options in the private sector.

If you require food preparation areas that are meat free or free from food allergens, consider booking a studio apartment so you can have your own kitchen. Alternatively, you could look to rent privately. We can help you with this.

If you know someone who’s going to be an ARU student and is eligible for accommodation, you may be able to book accommodation in the same property. In some properties you can pick your own bedroom, so you could even make sure you’d be neighbours.

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Most of our students only live in University accommodation for a maximum of one academic year. We make a small number of rooms available for students wishing to return, and we'll email you about this.

If you’re a care leaver or you have a medical condition or disability, you can apply to live in University accommodation for the full length of your degree course.

If you're thinking about moving out, we offer help with renting in the private sector.

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If you’re looking for a room, contact us to find out what we have available or check studentpad.

If we’ve got rooms available for continuing students for the next academic year, we’ll send an email to all eligible students in early January. We can also offer lots of help on renting in the private sector.

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There are a few different reasons:

  • our accommodation was already full at the time you applied
  • ARU is listed as your 'insurance choice' university
  • you accepted your offer less than 24 hours ago – wait until 24 hours has passed and try logging in again
  • you’re planning to study part-time
  • you’ve lived in our student accommodation before
  • you’re under the age of 18 on the date you start your course; please contact us to book a room
  • you're looking for family accommodation or a property that accepts pets, which we're unable to offer

You can read more details in our Allocations policy.

Allocations policy

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For most students, there are two easy steps once you’ve selected ARU as your first-choice university (not insurance choice), and firmly accept a conditional or unconditional offer to study a full-time course with us:

Full instructions about logging in and how to book a room are available on our online portal. During the booking you will be asked to confirm the terms of your tenancy agreement. You can start an application and log back in another time.

There are a few exceptions:

If you need any help, contact the Residential Service.

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Go to our private rented accommodation page for help with safely searching for a room, finding temporary accommodation and other useful information about private renting.

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If you'll be doing a placement as part of your course, we recommend asking your faculty where placements are likely to be. You can then apply for suitable accommodation.

If you’re going to be studying nursing, midwifery or operating department practice, you can live in University accommodation or you may also have the option to apply for NHS hospital accommodation. Often this will mean you’ll be living closer to placements and with students on similar courses. Hospitals can usually offer contracts that fit with your course dates.

If you choose accommodation where your tenancy dates are shorter than your course dates, contact us to find out about accommodation that's available during the summer.

We can’t accept cancellations or requests to vacate University accommodation if you decide you want to live closer to your placement.

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Subject to availability, some University accommodation is available over the summer. You may need to move rooms. NHS accommodation may also be available over the summer for students with hospital placements.

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