Accommodation at university

  • This is a very important issue which you need to resolve before finalising your move to Johannesburg. Do you plan on staying with family or relatives? In an on-campus residence? Or in off-campus accommodation?
  • Remember that the place you stay is likely to be the place you spend most of your time while not attending classes or on campus. It needs to be safe, comfortable and conducive to learning.

On-campus residence life (“Res”)

  • There are 29 residences and 7 day houses over 4 campuses at the University of Johannesburg.
  • The residences house over 6500 students. While some of the residences are on-campus, some of them are off-campus.
  • Make sure that you know the locations of the different residences before you apply to stay in residence.
For more information:

How can I find accommodation accredited by the university?

  • Apart from the residences, there are also private off-campus accommodations which have been accredited by UJ.
  • These are reputable properties which have met the minimum requirements of UJ accreditation and the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) urban development by-laws.
  • There are around 90 service providers that provide private UJ accredited off-campus student accommodation, around the four UJ campuses.
These residences aim to replicate on-campus UJ residence student life, academic excellence, compulsory study times and community outreach for students.

What will staying in residence be like?

  • Your residence will be your home away from home. You will have the freedom to do as you wish with your time and space. However, this can feel very overwhelming at first.
  • It will take self-discipline and self-awareness to manage this new-found freedom and sense of responsibility. In your residence, you are likely to share a room with another student – or you may end up staying in a mixed accommodation (males and females).
  • Staying in residence will be different from anything you’ve experienced before. You will need to negotiate with others, especially if you are sharing kitchens and bathrooms, or if you would like some quiet time to study.
  • If you learn to deal with practical issues and establish your own routine, you will be on your way to experiencing a positive residence experience.

How will I cope with being away from home?

  • If this will be your first time living away from home, then expect to need some time to adjust to the change. Moving away from home for the first time to stay in a University residence can be a disorienting and even traumatic experience for some first-year students.
  • Allow yourself this time to adjust. Take advantage of all the forms of institutional support aimed at making your transition from high school and home life to university easy.
  • You can make this process easier for yourself by taking part in residence activities through which you will learn to work in teams and bond with other students.
  • Parents and guardians can also help with this process by regularly visiting you and raising any areas of concern with the House Warden and, if need be, the University’s administration.
  • Once you have settled into your new environment you will start to feel better.

Remember the following tips:

  • With more freedom comes greater responsibility – you are going to have to take charge of your life.
  • Speak to your roommate or friends about how you feel – they probably feel the same.
  • Keep in touch with your family and friends back home – they want to hear about your new adventure at UJ.
  • Remember why you are at university and what you would like to achieve from your time here.

If you are not coping:

  • Speak to your Residence Academic Advisor (RAA), a senior student or a Peer Buddy
  • Visit the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) to ask for support.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I stay in a residence on campus, what will be expected of me?

  • You will be expected to abide by all UJ and residence rules and regulations. Violating these rules can result in disciplinary action being taken against you.
  • You will be expected to keep your room neat and tidy.
  • You will be expected to take part in the residences’ social, cultural, academic, sports and community engagement activities.
  • You will be expected to pay your accommodation and additional residence fees by the end of August in that year.

If I need help, who in my residence will I be able to speak to?

In your on-campus residence, there are several people to support you. You can speak to:

  • The House Father/Mother
  • The House Committee,
  • The Residence Academic Advisors (RAAs)
  • Senior students at the residence.
All of these people will also be able to refer you to the right support systems within the university at large (e.g. your Faculty/Department, Campus Health, PsyCaD, Academic Development and Innovation, etc.)

Will I have time to study at Res?

  • There is plenty of study time at your residence. Residence life is structured around a five-pillar model consisting of academics; sports; arts & culture; social; and community engagement. Of these, academics is the most important.  
  • Therefore, in all residences, there are a number of programmes aimed at ensuring academic excellence.  One of these is the Residence Academic Advisors (RAAs) programme, in which each first-year student is paired with a senior student, who is usually studying the same programme.
  • This senior student plays the role of a mentor to the first-year student and is the first-line of support academically, socially and also in terms of adjusting to university life.
  • There is a compulsory study period in all residences. This is from 7-10pm from Monday to Thursday. While in some residences there are common study areas, at others, first-years are expected to go to the library during this time.
  • Residences also organise study skills sessions, which are run by staff from the Academic Development Centre.
  • Staff from the Centre for Psychological Services and Career Development (PsyCaD) also come in to offer students support, for example, in the form of presentations and discussions on topics such as stress and anxiety management.
  • At the end of the year, residences are ranked in terms of academic performance; so all residences take academics very seriously.
Residences also look forward to former students succeeding academically and taking up positions of influence in society, thus enabling them to come and give back to their residences.

I have heard that students in university residences have to go through initiation. What is initiation and do I have to do it?

  • Initiation is any form of behaviour that humiliates or degrades the dignity of another person. It ranges from expectations that may be deemed minor (such as a first-year student being sent to the shops by a senior student against his will or at the expense of their academic commitments) to gross human rights violations (such as assault and sexual abuse). Initiation is strictly not allowed in residences.
First-years who are subjected to what they feel are forms of initiation are expected to report these immediately to their House Wardens or any member of the University administration. Perpetrators of initiation risk expulsion, not only from the residence, but also from the University.

What is staying in residence like?

  • Staying in res is like a home away from home, but a cooler home away from home. You get to meet different people, with different points of view and different behaviours. You also get to learn about different cultures.

What is the best part about staying in residence?

  • Being close to everything is the best part about being in res. On campus residences mean you are close to your lecture halls. Res is also a safe environment which is close to most of the university’s resources.

What is the most difficult thing about staying residence?

  • From my experience and from what I’ve seen, peer pressure seems to be a major issue, especially for first year students. They tend to be easily influenced and end up forgetting why they are at university. I’ve seen some people get involved in substance use all because they want to fit in and have a good time, instead of staying focused.

How can one cope with being away from home?

  • Many of the students in res tend to have photos of their family and loved ones in their room. It also helps to keep in contact with family and friends back home. If it gets really difficult then it helps to speak to someone you trust who can support you.

What advice would you give to students who would like to stay in residence?

  • Prioritise your academics and remember why you are at university.
  • Be careful of who you associate with – make sure that the friends you make have the same/similar goals as you (e.g. note how they are performing academically).
  • Don’t rush to do everything in your first year (e.g. partying, getting into a relationship etc.).
  • Respect other people and abide by the rules and regulations of the university.