Posted Thursday 4 August 2016
Attempting to secure a university degree place through the Clearing process can sometimes feel like a daunting task to students, but it's often not the only big decision they face as they get set to throw themselves into campus life. Finding somewhere to live can be just as much of a challenge - especially when there is little time to waste.
No one knows this better than second year Kingston University student Lily Sears. She called the University's Clearing hotline two years ago, after realising she might not quite achieve the grades she needed for her initial subject choice. Before she knew it, she had secured a spot on its popular BSC(Hons) in Forensic Science and quickly applied to live in a hall of residence.
A nail-biting wait ensued before she discovered her application had been successful. "A couple of weeks later I received confirmation that I'd been allocated a room in a riverside flat with four other students," Lily recalled. "The relief was enormous as I knew hall places were often filled well before Clearing."
This year Kingston University guaranteed an offer of accommodation to all applicants who accepted a place during the first two days of Clearing. The opportunity was earmarked for students who had received a course offer and had added Kingston University as their Clearing choice on Thursday 18 or Friday 19 August.
Being assured of an offer of a place in halls would have been a huge advantage for students entering the Clearing process, Lily explained. "If, as I was, they're feeling at all anxious about trying to find accommodation and a supportive group of people to share with, this will definitely help reduce their stress levels," she added.
Living in halls had been an ideal way to make new friends and find her feet, Lily said. "Not only do you have your flatmates to bond with, you also have the wider group of people living on site," she added. "At my particular hall, a lot of socialising happened outside in an area used for barbecues and that's how my friendship group was formed."
The sense of community and the mix of students from many different backgrounds had also really helped her to settle in to university life. "I have to admit to not being the best of cooks so I really enjoyed the international food event organised in my hall when I was able to test the culinary delights of my fellow students," she said.
Lily had such a positive experience living in halls that in September, when she enters her final year, she is going to be playing a big role helping new students settle in to University accommodation by becoming a halls connector. "Halls connectors are current Kingston University students who have lived in halls and are tasked with helping make new arrivals feel at home by organising activities and trying to answer any queries they might have," she said. "I'm really looking forward to planning events and I want to be as friendly and approachable as the two halls connectors were on my site."
If they were lucky enough to secure a place in halls, students should find out who their halls connectors were and get involved in some of the entertaining activities organised, Lily advised. "You never know, you might meet people who become lifelong friends - I definitely did," she said.
Kingston University's Director of Admissions Dr Andy Homer said there were a number of options available for Clearing applicants looking to find somewhere to live in the borough."The University has several halls of residence, both on campus and nearby, offering a variety of room sizes and price bands, all boasting a range of modern facilities," he said. "As well as our guaranteed offer of accommodation to applicants accepting a place during the first two days of Clearing, expert help and advice is also available for all prospective students from the University's Accommodation Services team."