Saturday 20 December 2014

Finding a home away from home

Katherine Donnelly, Education Editor

Published 05/01/2014 | 20:53

GOING to college can involve a move away from home and students and their parents need to consider the options carefully.

It is a big, and perhaps daunting, step, so first years are advised either to move into a family home on a “digs” basis or, if available, opt for purposebuilt student accommodation, usually, on campus or very close by.

The “digs” arrangement has the benefit of keeping hidden costs to a minimum because there are no extras such as utilities, and meals may be provided. In some cases, it is possible to self-cater.

Those who prefer to use the transition to college as an opportunity to become more independent should explore the on-campus accommodation offered by all universities and some other colleges, where the advantages include convenience and security.

Some colleges, such as UCD and NUI Galway, provide an option of campus accommodation with meals included.

In some cases, students on a scholarship, or with a minimum number of points, will be guaranteed on-campus accommodation.

Booking and accommodation allocation arrangements vary, and in some cases, applications are, or soon will be accepted. Deposits may be sought and may, or may not be refundable.

It is advisable to check with individual colleges about oncampus accommodation, but here is a quick guide:

DCU

Applications can be made from March 4 and rooms, which are allocated by random selection, will be offered in April. Unsuccessful applicants are included in any further lotteries for any cancellations.

NUI Galway

Bookings are accepted from mid-February. Application forms, information and costs are available directly from each of its nine student residences.

NUI Maynooth

Accepting bookings now and will continue to do so until June 30, and accommodation is allocated on a first come, first served basis. A small number of rooms are reserved for a lottery, applications for which open on July 1.

TCD

New students are mainly accommodated at Trinity Hall, in Dartry, Dublin 6, a few miles from the city centre. Applications from Leaving Certificate students will be accepted once CAO offers have been made in the middle of August.

UCD

Accepts names for a priority waiting list, and accommodation is allocated, on a first-come, first served basis after the CAO offers in August. The experience is that even students with a ranking of over 3,000 on the list can get an offer of accommodation.

UCC

Will accept online applications from about the end of February, and rooms are allocated after CAO offers are made.

University of Limerick

Accepts applications from prospective first year students from February and those who apply before the end of May can be confident of a room.

Waterford IT

Accepts applications online and accommodation is allocated on a first come, first served basis.

Griffith College

Griffith College Halls of Residence, South Circular Road, Dublin, are open to students from other colleges and is convenient to the city centre.

Marino

Marino Institute of Education student residences are open to students from others colleges and are particularly convenient to St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and DCU.

St Angela’s

St Angela’s student residences are also open to students at IT Sligo.

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