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Finding a home from home

It’s not too early to think about where you will live while in college, if a move from home is on the cards.

The importance of finding the right accommodation should not be underestimated as comfortable and secure living conditions help with the settling in process.

First years are generally advised to take one of two options – live with a family, in what were traditionally known as digs, or go into on-campus accommodation.

Moving into a family home can represent the best value as costs such as heating are included. An all-in package will also cover an evening meal, although in some cases the arrangement is self-catering.

If more independence is required, purpose-built student accommodation, either on-campus or close by, is the alternative.

Any notion of moving into a private rented accommodation should be put off until second year at least. In some cases, students on a scholarship or with a minimum number of points will be guaranteed on-campus accommodation, with the remainder of places allocated either through a lottery or on first come first served basis Booking deposits may be sought, and returned in full or part, if a place is not taken up.

Costs are broadly similar and, as an example, at the University of Limerick, rents next year will be from €89 per week (own bedroom/shared bathroom) to €115 per week (ensuite).

All the universities and some other colleges have their own accommodation and some are accepting applications now.

A quick guide to arrangements in different colleges

- Dublin City University (DCU) - accepting applications from February 22 until up to midnight the day before CAO offers made and rooms allocated on a lottery basis.

- NUI Galway (NUIG) – each of 10 student residences near the campus accepting applications later this month and places awarded on a first come, first served basis, on payment of deposit.

- NUI Maynooth (NUIM) – already accepting online (only) applications and places allocated randomly, after CAO offers are made.

- Trinity College Dublin (TCD) – applications accepted only after CAO offers have been made, for Trinity Hall in Dartry, about three miles from the college.

- University College Cork (UCC) – online (only) booking starts end February/early March and places allocated on a first come, first served basis, once deposit is paid.

- University College Dublin (UCD) – Bookings accepted from June and places awarded on a first come first served basis, after CAO offers are made.

- University of Limerick(UL) – accepting applications this month with places allocated on a first come first served basis/

- WaterfordIT – accepting applications now and places allocated on payment of a deposit.

- Griffith College Dublin – on the South Circular Road, its halls of residences are also open to students in other colleges.

- St Angela’s, Sligo - student residences also available to students of IT Sligo.

Irish Independent