How To Find Your Home, Sweet Home Away From Home At Grad School

November, 2010 · By Justin Bengry

Finding your “Home, Sweet Home” can be an ordeal when you go away to university.

And since most new grad students will need to move away to new universities, it’s an almost necessary part of the graduate school experience.

As a graduate student you will have a demanding schedule, erratic timelines, and loads of work and readings that you’ll most likely work on at home.

But hunting for housing is different for grad students. We have unique requirements, but also unique opportunities to secure a home.

We can all use online sites like Craigslist or Kijiji to find accommodation in new cities.

Similarly, newspapers, magazines, and other notices are available to anyone. But that’s precisely the problem.

As a graduate student you will have a demanding schedule, erratic timelines, and loads of work and readings that you’ll most likely work on at home. You need a home environment that allows this kind of focused and concentrated work.

If you are financially and emotionally capable of living on your own, it might be easier to find a studio or one bedroom apartment. But if you’ll need to live in shared accommodation, a bit more planning is required.

University residences

Don’t think that university residences are just for undergrads. Many universities that offer graduate programs also have residences devoted to graduate students.

Here you can be placed with more mature students, and those who are similarly motivated to succeed in grad school. Be sure to research deadlines for application, which will be separate from your general application to graduate school programs.


If looking for off-campus housing, you’re in a new position as a grad student to find opportunities. Many landlords look specifically for graduate students and young professionals to rent to. They appreciate the maturity and focus that such renters display. And even among potential roommates, many will want the stability, maturity, and calm that a grad house offers. Everyone likes to let loose on the weekend, but grads need to focus all week.

Where do you find these housing opportunities?

Graduate student societies’ housing lists

Most graduate student societies offer lists to their members searching for off-campus accommodation. You can advertise if you are looking for a roommate, and also search for housing. These ads differ very little from other ads, and there are no guarantees that you’ll find the ideal living situation. But the list is self-selected to include only graduate students, or grad-friendly accommodation. It’s also unavailable to most other apartment hunters, so your chances of finding something in the final crunch before school starts can increase by using this resource.

Departmental listservs

Once at grad school you’ll find yourself on all kinds of email lists. Some of these may seem a hassle or might not offer you much right away, but graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and visiting scholars will often post to these lists when looking for housing or roommates.

Make sure to get on your department’s email listservs as soon as possible so that you will be in the loop. Besides watching for housing opportunities to appear, you can also put a message out to your department if you find yourself in a jam without housing. You’d be surprised at the power that the collective connections of your department can offer when you need it most!

This post was originally published at TalentEgg on 25 November 2010.


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