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University Life

The transition from high school to university signifies a major life change.

Some differences from school life are

  • You are now completely responsible for managing your study – no one will be there to make sure you get to class.
  • Depending on your personal timetable, university does not follow regular school hours. You will have scheduled lectures and tutorials which generally amount to 15-20 hours a week. You will need to do a considerable amount of study in your own time.   
  • University involves a lot of self-motivation. The amount of study you decide to do is entirely up to you.
  • Lecturers and tutors are there to share their knowledge with you, not discipline you. Most people at university take their education seriously.
  • University is not just about learning, it is also a great place to hang out and meet new people. There are a lot of social activities and entertainment on-campus that you can get involved in.

Living away from home

If you decide to move away to study at university, there are various options available to you:

Renting- Shared Houses

If you are living away from home there will be further expenses such as rent, food and other bills (electricity, gas, water, internet and telephone) that you will need to budget for.

When renting accommodation with other students, carefully consider whose name(s) will be put on the lease:

  • Having everyone’s names on the lease can make it difficult when someone decides to move out early.
  • If one person’s name is on the lease then they are fully responsible to the landlord. That person needs to ensure that the rent is paid on time even if the other tenants have not paid their part.
  • If your name is on the lease, you may be able to ‘sub-let’ to the other tenants. This means the other tenants will enter into a legal agreement with you. You will need to get written permission from your landlord to enter into this kind of arrangement. If permission is given, it puts you in the same position as the landlord towards your (sub)tenants. You will need to provide receipts for any rent paid and to make sure repairs are fixed.

If you are having problems with your landlord or other tenants visit our Lawstuff page on renting.

On-Campus Accommodation

All universities provide on-campus accommodation including residential colleges, or university operated houses or apartments.

There are usually various options available to meet your specific needs, including:

  • Catering: full, flexi or self catering
  • Individual or shared rooms/apartments, varying in size
  • A private ensuite or shared bathroom
  • Same gender colleges or apartments

These options vary in price, availability and services included in the fee, so it is best to visit a university website for more details. There are also specific terms and conditions that you need to be aware of i.e. breaking your lease, having guests stay and so on.

You will need to fill out an application form and may need to attend an interview. This process may be started prior to your acceptance at a university in order to increase the likelihood that you get a place in university accommodation.  

Organising financial support

If you are finding it difficult to manage your financial expenses, you can apply for government financial assistance during your studies.

To help with your living expenses, you can contact Centrelink: You may be eligible for one of the following government assistance schemes:

  • Youth Allowance
  • ABSTUDY (if you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent/identity)
  • Rent assistance

The contents of this page was last updated on 22nd September 2010