Congratulations if you’ve gained a place at university through Clearing or Adjustment - I bet you are excited and raring to go. There’s just one last thing to sort out - your accommodation.
Many universities guarantee accommodation for students who enter the university through Clearing, for example the University of Surrey guarantees places to those who have accepted a place by the 25th August, while Sheffield and Aberystwyth guarantee a place to those who have been accepted and applied for accommodation before the 31st August. So the key here is to act quickly and get your application in place - even if the university states no deadlines, getting the application in place is important as the university will offer accommodation via a first-come-first-serve basis, and will stop offering rooms when spaces run out.
Even if you do manage to get a university accommodation room, remember that going through Clearing means that there’ll be fewer choices, while all the best ones, the en-suite and snazzy new halls will have probably been snapped up. Don’t let this put you off, and remember the positives - you’ll have more money to go out and enjoy yourself.
If your university doesn’t have any places for you in their halls, they’ll have a university office which you can get in touch with. You may be able to be put on a waiting list for student accommodation, as there are always people who drop out, and the sooner you get on the list the better.
And if you fail to gain a place in university accommodation, don’t worry about making friends and enjoying university life, halls isn’t the only way to find people to socialise with - you’ve your course, and any clubs and societies you might care to join.
If your university is not able to house you in any way, you could ask them about whether they can put you in touch with other people in the same position as you so you can house share. They might also put up housing events and house-hunting gatherings for students in your position, so you can make friends and potentially live together. The accommodation office should also be able to recommend trusted landlords for you to contact and suitable areas for you to live.
If you’re university doesn’t have the resources to put you in touch with other students looking for houses you could also try forums such as The Student Room where you might find students in the same position at the same university.
Failing that, you could look for a vacant room via Spareroom, RoomBuddies, RightmoveStudents, or StuRents. The downside to looking for a private room is that you’ll have to pay a month’s rent and a deposit in advance, as well as estate agents fees of approximately £100-£200. As you are a student you’ll also be required to have a guarantor, which is someone who will agree to pay your rent if something falls through, for example you decide to leave university - this is usually one of your parents. You’ll have to sign a tenancy agreement for at least six months, so unlike university halls, you’ll have to pay the full amount up to this point if you drop out of university, while you also won’t be able to claim your student loan.
Furthermore, before you take either the room in the flat, or a flat with recently-made friends, you’ll have to view the flat and agree that you like it. This means that you’ll have to spend some time travelling to your new university town and sussing the housing situation out.
Another option is to look at renting a room in a private hall - many university cities have these nowadays, and they are a good alternative when university accommodation is full. They are a more expensive option than house sharing, however you’ll be able to rent a room in a flat with other freshers, either from your university or other universities in your city, giving you a ready group of people to socialise with, while you'll also have the option of en-suite, the ability to stay right by your campus, your utilities and broadband accounted for, and the ability to speak to someone if you've any accommodation issues.
See Eluceo's Accommodation section for more information.