Things to consider now about student life

In the past, ‘student life’ has had its own unique traditions, stereotypes and rights of passage. However, with the increase in the number of students attending university and the diversity of their backgrounds, there is now more choice than ever about the kind of ‘student life’ you might want to live. Given that you may have some particular preferences, it is important to consider life outside your studies when choosing which universities to apply to.

Today, around 80% of students move away from home to study at university, with 20% choosing to remain at their family home. Wherever you choose to live, your university is where you will study, and it is likely to be the centre of your social life too. For many, this is where you participate in arts, culture and sport; where you go for entertainment and nightlife; and where you do part-time work or volunteering.

To help you consider your options, here we are profiling two counties in the North West of England: Cumbria and Lancashire. These two counties are home to three universities:

  • University of Cumbria, based in Carlisle
  • University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), based in Preston
  • Lancaster University, based in Lancaster

Social Life

The University of Cumbria has an active social life that includes…

  • 10 sports teams competing in British Universities and Colleges Sport
  • A ranking of 134/153 universities nationally for competitive sport
  • 30 on-campus societies, you can see the full list here.

The city of Carlisle, home to Cumbria University, has…

  • 20 licensed clubs, ranking 17/20 nationally
  • 70 licensed restaurants, ranking 43/55 nationally

The University of Central Lancashire has an active social life that includes…

  • 37 sports teams, you can see the full list here.
  • A ranking of 69/153 universities nationally for competitive sport
  • 160 on-campus societies, you can see the full list here.

The city of Preston, home to the University of Central Lancashire, has…

  • 20 licensed clubs, ranking 17/20 nationally
  • 35 licensed restaurants, ranking 50/55 nationally

Lancaster University has an active social life that includes…

  • 41 sports teams, you can see the full list here.
  • A ranking of 45/153 universities nationally for competitive sport
  • 187 on-campus societies, you can see the full list here.

The city of Lancaster, home to Lancaster University, has…

  • 15 licensed clubs, ranking 18/20 nationally
  • 50 licensed restaurants, ranking 47/55 nationally


If you choose to live at university, you will probably live in student accommodation on campus in your first year, which will be arranged through the university. For further information about campus accommodation options, you should look at a university’s own website.

University of Cumbria: Accommodation

UCLAN: Accommodation

Lancaster University: Accommodation

In the following years you may be able to continue living on campus, but most people choose to live in private accommodation nearby. You can find out more through any local lettings agents, and there are websites that focus specifically on accommodation for university students:

Uni Lodgers

Sanctuary Students

Part-time jobs

Although your student loan will help to cover the costs of your accommodation and keep you fed, in order to make the most of student life you may need to work to earn some extra money while you are studying.

When looking for a part-time job, a good place to start is by getting in touch with your university’s student union. As well as advertising jobs on the university campus, they will also provide information about other opportunities in your local area:

University of Cumbria: part-time jobs

UCLAN: part-time jobs

Lancaster University: part-time jobs

Another popular choice among students is to look for part-time work in local bars, restaurants or shops nearby where you are living whilst away. There will be a lot of students who are interested in these jobs, so it is worth getting in touch with employers early.

More information

For more information about the three universities discussed, visit:

The Guardian Guide: university of Cumbria

The Guardian Guide: UCLAN

The Guardian Guide: Lancaster University

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