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Unlock the door to your future

Moving to a new city can be a little daunting. But we are here to support you through the process.

How to book accommodation for September 2024

The university allocates accommodation on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, we recommend that you apply online as soon as you have firmly accepted an offer to study with us.

If you are an international student on a visa, it is strongly advised that you book accommodation before travelling to the UK.  If no accommodation is available, you may consider deferring your offer of a place to study with us until the next available intake.

University accommodation options are on the ARU Accommodation website.
If you are interested in on-campus university accommodation, please request the credentials you need in order to access the student booking portal. Applications for September 2024 are open from 4th April 2024.

If you are under the age of 18 on the date you start your course, or if you are studying for one trimester only (Pre-Sessional English Courses and Pre-Master Courses), please email ARU Residential Services with the following details:

  1. Your full name
  2. Your 7-digit student ID number (eg. 2214356)
  3. The accommodation you would like to book

More information on Accommodation for Under 18s are available here.

Other accommodation options

Please note that private sector options are limited. If you would like to discuss your options in the private sector, please feel free to call ARU Residential Services at 01245 683110 for Chelmsford or 01223 698900 for Cambridge. Lines are open from Monday to Friday, 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM.  Alternatively, please email

Have a look at the accommodation private providers and letting agencies listed below, and if you book with them, please mention you are studying at ARU College.

 Cambridge student accommodation providers:

Staying with a local family is also a good option, particularly if you are under 18 years old. Host family accommodation can be booked directly with Home Stay Consultancy.

Chelmsford letting agencies that rent to students (subject to availability):

UK Guarantors

Some landlords will ask for a UK based guarantor.  If you don’t know anyone suitable, there are few companies (Rent Guarantor, and Housing Hand) who provide this for an additional fee – see How To Get A UK Guarantor For Student Accommodation (


Other considerations

You may also like to consider renting a large house sharing with other students.
If you are interested in this, email with permission to share your email address, and we can put you in touch with others who are interested in this option.

Consider other places out of the city centre accessible by bus
Bus routes:

  • Cambridge – Cherry Hinton, Great Shelford, Trumpington, Coton, Girton, Oakington, Histon, Impington, Orchard Park, Milton, Fen Ditton, etc.
  • Chelmsford – Great Baddow, Galleywood, Writtle, Melbourne, Broomfield, Beaulieu Park, Springfield, Chelmer Village, etc.

Consider other places out of Cambridge or Chelmsford accessible by train
Train routes:

  • Cambridge – Cambridge North, Waterbeach, Ely, Dullingham, Foxton, Shepreth, Meldreth, Royston, Ashwell & Morden, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Shelford, Whittlesford Parkway, Great Chesterford, Audley End, Newport, Downham, Stansted, etc.
  • Chelmsford – Hatfield Peverel, Witham, Kelvedon, Marks Tey, Colchester, Ingatestone, Shenfield, etc.


Accommodation FAQs

When can I apply for university accommodation?

The student accommodation portal usually opens in April for September bookings and opens again in October for January bookings. University accommodations are allocated on a first come first served basis, so we recommend that you apply online as soon as you have accepted an offer from us.

Why can't I apply for a room through ARU?

Some common reasons are: accommodation was already full at the time you applied, you accepted your offer less than 24 hours ago, you’re under the age of 18 on the date you start your course; please contact ARU Residential Team.

Do I have to pay a deposit?

For accommodation that ARU directly manages you’ll need to pay £300 advanced rent when you apply. If you book a room at any other accommodation, you may need to pay a deposit, application fee or other costs

What if I have a disability or medical condition

The university allocations policy allows all full-time students with a disability or medical condition to apply for University provided accommodation, regardless of their year of study. If you have any physical or mental health concerns or disabilities please let us know when you apply for accommodation and we’ll do our best to facilitate this.

Moving into accommodation

You can move into your room from the start date on your tenancy agreement. If you’re arriving before this date, you’ll need to arrange a place to stay. When you come to collect your keys, please bring a form of photo identification (ID) such as a passport or driving licence as the Residential Services can’t issue keys unless you have this. We know flight times sometimes mean international and EU students may arrive outside of office hours – don’t worry. If you’re living in accommodation managed by ARU please email the Residential Services with your full name and expected arrival time and date. If you’re living in partner accommodation or a separate private accommodation we advise you to inform the provider about your expected arrival time and date.

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