When you’re a new student looking for accommodation, the options can get a little confusing. The term ‘college’ means different things to different people; for many, a college is somewhere that teaches courses, but it can also refer to student accommodation. In Melbourne, there are ten residential colleges linked to the University of Melbourne. Some of them also accommodate students studying at other nearby universities – such as RMIT, Australian Catholic University and Monash Pharmacy. So why go to a residential college in Melbourne? What are the benefits? Here are some of the benefits to choosing a Melbourne university residential college over other accommodation providers:
1) Strong support networks
Starting at University (particularly in a new city or country) can be intimidating to say the least. When you live in residential college accommodation, there are unprecedented support networks in place to help you adjust. This starts in your first week (known as Orientation week), when student leaders help you move into your room, meet other students and orientate yourself in Melbourne. Residential colleges also offer you extensive academic and well-being support. You can sit down weekly with tutors to revise course material and one on one consultations are also available when more tailored support is needed. One of our resident tutors will also be assigned as your mentor for your first year, providing you with another point of call for any advice or questions. Residential colleges also usually have a trained psychologist or mental health professional on site during office hours to assist you with any wellbeing concerns.
2) Alumni connections and professional events
Residential colleges have rich histories and a number of esteemed alumni who have walked the same halls over the years. There are numerous opportunities at college to meet and network with these alumni, as well as hearing them speak about their careers and offer advice on the transition into the working world. We also facilitate professional interactions with faculty members and academics from nearby universities, as well as internship opportunities, discussion sessions, a careers dinner and workshops around professional development.
3) Form friendships easily
One of the best ways to form friendships is to spend at least your first year of university at residential college accommodation. There are simply so many extra-curricular and introductory activities in residential colleges that it’s almost impossible not to meet people quickly and easily. Many people start not knowing anyone, but as many of our students can attest, it doesn’t take long for college to feel like home.
4) All-inclusive meals
It might sound silly, but if you’re not used to cooking for yourself, it can be a lot to take on. Planning, shopping and cooking your meals each week can take up a lot of valuable time, especially if you want to move beyond pot noodles and ensure you’re getting the balanced diet you need. At a residential college, all of your college meals are included in your fees, freeing up more time for studying and extra-curricular activities.
5) A sense of belonging
No matter which college you choose to live at, you’ll be welcomed warmly into the community from the start. You will, of course, bond with some more closely than others, but at the end of the day, there will always be someone around in the dining hall or in the common rooms and gardens to chat to after a hard day at university. Another bonus about living at a Melbourne university residential college is that everyone eats together in the dining hall. There are even two formal dinners a week where the whole college (including the Head of College and Deans) dines together and special announcements are made.
This support can mean a higher price tag than other student accommodation options, but you can’t argue it’s value for money. There are also scholarships on offer and jobs available on site to help students pay for college. Even if you just do it for the first year to orientate yourself, many would argue the benefits are priceless.