7 ways you can help your son or daughter’s transition to college life

Is your son or daughter thinking about going to college? Here are seven ways you can help their transition to college life:

Student Accommodation 1

  1. Know the difference between digs, house shares, and campus accommodation

If your son or daughter is moving out for college, learn the difference between ‘digs’, ‘house shares’ and ‘campus accommodation’:


A popular option for first years who want to ease the transition to independence, digs are when you rent a room in a family home, usually for either 5 or 7 nights a week. Sometimes they are self-catering, but in most digs you eat with the family at set times.


  • No need to worry about bills so it’s easier from a financial management perspective
  • Home-cooked meals
  • Access to home comforts such as a TV
  • Safety of a family home
  • Less worry for parents


  • Meals are at set times
  • Living under someone else’s roof with their rules
  • No bringing friends home
  • Lack of independence
  • If staying at weekends is an option, it may cost extra

Expect to pay per week:

Carlow, Waterford and Limerick: €60-€100
Greater Dublin region (e.g. Maynooth University): €120-€130
Galway and Cork: €130-€150
Dublin: €150 – €180 (it will not be in city centre, so the student will have to commute if they are going to Trinity).

House Share

A house share is when you rent a room in a private house and share the common areas (e.g. kitchen, living room) with other housemates who are also renting rooms. Most students go for this option eventually.

Student Accommodation 2


  • Complete freedom and independence
  • Have friends over any time
  • Meet and suss out other housemates before moving in


  • Bills have to be managed and paid
  • Groceries have to be budgeted for and bought
  • Extra responsibilities, e.g. sorting out problems with landlord when issues arise
  • May have to supply own TV and other bits and pieces, e.g. kettle

Expect to pay per week:

Carlow, Waterford, Galway and Limerick: €50-€90
Greater Dublin region (e.g. Maynooth University): €80-€135
Cork: €100-€150
North Dublin (e.g. DCU) and Cork: €90-€130
Dublin City (e.g. Trinity College) and South Dublin (e.g. UCD): €130-€200

Campus Accommodation

Campus accommodation involves renting a room in an apartment located onsite or very close to campus. In terms of rules, campus accommodation is usually more flexible than digs but much stricter than a house share.


  • Usually the closest options in terms of location
  • No need to worry about bills so it’s easier from a financial management perspective
  • Easiest way to make friends and integrate into college life
  • There’s a residential warden to deal with problems


  • Can be the most expensive option
  • Groceries have to be budgeted for and bought
  • There are rules about having friends over
  • You can’t meet and suss out your housemates in advance
  • Regular fire drills at random times!

Expect to pay per week:

Outside Dublin €85-€175
Dublin €175-€250

Student Accommodation 4

  1. Help them to find accommodation

Parents whose sons or daughters are moving out for college should identify the neighbourhoods that are nearest the college using GeoHive and click on “Make Your Map”. Now zoom into your area of interest using the + icon on the top right, hold down the shift key and select an area with your mouse. In the left hand menu…

Then head over to Daft.ie or Rent.ie to search available properties in those neighbourhoods.

For campus accommodation, click the links below to visit the college’s website:

Links to college accommodation:

All Hallows College Letterkenny Institute of Technology
American College Dublin Limerick Institute of Technology
Athlone Institute of Technology Marino Institute of Education
Ballyfermot College of Further Education Mary Immaculate College
Burren College of Art Mater Dei Institute of Education
Carlow College Maynooth University
Carlow Institute of Technology National College of Ireland
Cork Institute of Technology National Maritime College of Ireland
Dublin Institute of Technology NUI Galway
Dorset College Queens University Belfast
Dublin Business School Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland
Dublin City University Shannon College of Hotel Management
Dundalk Institute of Technology St Angela’s College
Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology St Patrick’s College Pontifical University Maynooth
Grafton College of Management Sciences St Mary’s College Belfast
Griffith College Dublin St Patrick’s College of Education
Independent College Dublin Trinity College Dublin
Institute of Technology Sligo Ulster University Belfast
Institute of Technology Tralee University College Cork
Institute of Technology Blanchardstown University College Dublin
King’s Inn University of Limerick
Law Society of Ireland Education Centre Dublin Waterford Institute of Technology

Student Accommodation 5

  1. Know what questions to ask the landlord

Help your son or daughter with their accommodation hunt by knowing what questions to ask the landlord. Find out: Is there WiFi? Are utilities included? How does the refuse collection work? Who cuts the grass? What furniture and appliances are included? What is the BER rating? How long is the lease? Is there a curfew? What are the rules on bringing friends home? Can you walk to a supermarket? Can you walk to public transport? How much is the deposit and how do you get the deposit back?

  1. Communicate your expectations

Now is the time to sit down and talk to your son and daughter about what you expect from them in terms of their grades, sticking to a budget, their behaviour around drinking and taking drugs, and using contraception. Discuss repercussions – what happens if they fail their exams or if they spend all their money in the off-license?

  1. Give encouragement and advice

Everyone finds it difficult to adjust to college life. For the first few months, students might suffer from homesickness, feel like they don’t fit in, struggle to get themselves out of bed to attend lectures, or find it difficult to be responsible for their own learning.

Student Accommodation 6

Talk to your son or daughter about the obstacles they may face and how they can overcome them. For example, if they are homesick, they can always call, but it’s better if they find ways not to dwell on homesickness such as joining a society or a sports team.

  1. Increase your college knowledge

When your son or daughter has a question about college life, help them by knowing the answers, or knowing where to find the answers. Where is the nearest doctor? What are the library opening hours? Is there a counselling service or support group if it all becomes too much? Is there a disability office that can facilitate those with learning difficulties or physical impairments? Is there a career guidance office? Check the college or website or give them a call to learn the answers.

  1. Find out about transport links

Help your son or daughter to navigate their way around their new town/city. Use GeoHive to identify public transport and plan out the following routes:

Route 1: The student’s parents’ home to the student’s college accommodation

Route 2: The student’s college accommodation to their college

Route 3: The student’s college accommodation to the nearest supermarkets

Sign up for our eNewsletter and Marketing emails and be sure to get more great posts

"*" indicates required fields

Select your areas of interest*