How to find student accommodation that's right for you

Photo:  Lisa Bellar House  residents cooking together in communal spaces

Finding the right student accommodation can set you up for a truly rewarding university experience. But with so many options available, it can be challenging to know the best fit for you. To help you decide, we’ve put together a guide to the range of accommodation available, from trusted options available through the University of Melbourne, to private rentals and home stays.

1. University of Melbourne student accommodation

University accommodation offers you a good mix of independent living and support.

At Melbourne, we offer modern apartment style living at Little Hall, Lisa Bellear Houseor the graduate only option, The Lofts.

These options provide a level of independence similar to a private rental, but with many of the benefits that come with living in residential colleges. The benefits of university accommodation include:

  • All accommodation close to our Parkville campus
  • Access to extensive academic and wellbeing programs aligned to UniMelb services
  • Available for University of Melbourne students only so it’s easy to make friends
  • A residential life program with lots of social, cultural, and sporting activities so you can get to know your fellow residents better
  • A wide range of room options from private studios to private bedrooms with shared facilities
  • 24/7 support and security
  • All utilities included in the cost such as energy and internet

Unlike other accommodation options, applying to university accommodation is a simple three step process that can be competed using our online form. No interviews or rental references are required to apply.

2. Residential colleges

Residential colleges offer a more supported and community focused experience, rather than independent living. When you live at a residential college, you share meals, make close friendships, and become part of a bigger college community.

International House and Medley Hall are owned and managed by the University while there are eight affiliated residential colleges with the University of Melbourne. The benefits of these include:

  • A furnished room and access to shared common spaces
  • No need to cook or wash up. All meals and utilities are included, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Plus, you can socialise easily over mealtimes
  • Access to in-house academic support and leadership opportunities
  • Broaden your interests with a wide range of cultural and sporting activities
  • 24/7 support and security
  • Located next to or near the Parkville campus.

Photo: Making friends is easy in communal Residential Colleges like Medley Hall

3. Private purpose-built student accommodation

Like our university accommodation options, there are privately owned student accommodation options available in Melbourne.  Some of the well-known providers include  Unilodge, Campus Living, Yugo, Scape, and Iglu.

These accommodation providers are not associated with the University, and do not provide high-level academic and comprehensive wellbeing support like University-owned and our accommodation partners. However, they do offer some benefits such as:

  • Located around campus or Melbourne CBD (Central Business District), with easy access to public transport
  • Specifically designed for student needs
  • A great way for international students to meet local students
  • Room options such as dormitories means that rent is cheaper.

University of Melbourne has partner arrangements with Unilodge Lincoln House who provide similar academic and wellbeing support that you will find in university-owned accommodation.

4. Private rentals and sharehouses

Private rentals and sharehouses are popular among local university students as they are often cheaper than other accommodation options. From room sizes to location, rentals vary so it’s best to wait until you are in Australia to find one, where you can inspect the properties and meet any potential housemates.  The benefits of this type of accommodation include:

  • Sharing with other people can reduce rent and bills and is a terrific way to make friends fast
  • Private rentals also offer flexibility for pets, furniture, parking, and location
  • Provides complete independence.

There are however some things you need to consider before choosing this type of accommodation, including:

  • You may need to provide references, proof of income and rental history as part of the rental application process
  • Utilities are paid separately from rent and in new private rentals need to be set up
  • Living with housemates can be difficult if you don’t have shared expectations
  • Furniture is not included in most rentals, you must supply your own bed etc.

Find out more about private rentals and sharehouses. or find other UniMelb flatmates using our Off-campus housing network.

5. Homestays

Homestays are a unique way to immerse yourself in Australian culture by living with a local, in their home as a guest. They are privately owned and not associated with the University, so we recommend you inspect the house and meet the people you will live with before signing a contract.


  • Benefit from your host’s experience who can share valuable local knowledge
  • Welcoming and supportive environment
  • Can offer full or partial catering depending on your needs
  • Gives you an opportunity to build on your English skills
  • Easy to meet people and adjust quickly to your new life
  • Fees include rent and all utilities.

After comparing all types of accommodation, it is recommended that you book a virtual tour or ask someone who is already in Melbourne to help you inspect the accommodation. Reading reviews or talking to current/ past residents in your preferred accommodation will also help you in your decision making. We have also created a moving guide for international students to assist your relocation to Melbourne.

If you’re still unsure which university accommodation is the right one for you, take the Find Your Fit surveyto find out. Or, if you have any questions about University student accommodation, don’t hesitate to contact the University accommodation team.

Photo:  University accommodation offers many independent living options with private rooms like this one at Little Hall

Learn more about University student accommodation.