Pick the Perfect University Accommodation
Picking accommodation for university can often be quite stressful. With so many options to choose from, it can get overwhelming! If you’re struggling to decide where to live this academic year, make sure to continue reading!
There are two main places students will stay in during university, either halls or private student housing. There is also the option to live at home and commute. Most university students who aren’t commuting will stay in halls during their first year and then get a house with the friends they’ve made for the rest of their education. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do the same! One option might be more suitable to you than the other and it’s important to explore all of them!
Living in halls
As mentioned, most first-years will live in halls before moving to a house with their friends for the second and third year (or fourth if you’re on a sandwich course!). However, you can stay in halls for the whole of your educational experience if that’s what you prefer. Here are a few ways to identify if halls are right for you:
- Most of the time halls are much closer to university buildings. Particularly if you’re in a campus university it will be convenient to be nearby!
- It’s a lot easier to make friends in halls. Particularly if you’re in the first year and don’t know anyone yet. They’re a lot more sociable as everyone is in the same position meaning everyone will be getting to know each other.
- There are even options at some universities to have catered halls. If you don’t like cooking (or you don’t want to learn!) this one is definitely for you!
- Some halls even have cleaners! No more having to tidy up after other people, but do be warned if they don’t have any, it could be just as messy as a regular house too.
- A lot of halls are in close proximity to other amenities, for example, gyms, study rooms or sociable hang out areas. This can include a free gym, study rooms or even a bar to spend time with your friends in. If you want to be close to the action, you might want to choose this option!
- It’s usually much more expensive to live in halls! If money is an issue you might want to consider other options. Halls can be very expensive and depending on where you go and how much money you get, your student loan might not even cover it, leaving you with a big bill!
- It’s noisy. Not just drunk students coming home at all hours, but it’s also likely someone will set the fire alarm off at least once a month from their questionable cooking skills!
- You might end up living with people you don’t like. You often won’t know who is in your halls till you get there and if you’re not keen on the people, it could feel like a very long year!
When choosing university halls it’s also important to consider private residences. Not all halls will be connected to your university. University accommodation is often cheaper than going to a private residence but you might find that not to be an option if everything is already booked up. If you want some extra luxury, you should check them out anyway!
Living in a student house
This is often the go-to option for second and third years as they’ll usually have found friends they want to live with. However, many people advertise spare rooms in their houses through Facebook pages and student accommodation websites. So, if you don’t have a set group of friends you want to move in with, you could take a chance on one of these. You never know, you could meet some new friends for life!
- You’ll be able to live with your chosen friends. Or meet those you’re living with before you decide. Either way, it’s a lot easier to be selective about who you’re living with when renting a student house!
- It’s a lot cheaper. Despite having to deal with bills, they usually still end up being miles cheaper than living in halls. This, of course, depends on the house and often it’s location.
- Fewer disruptions. Most houses are within residential neighborhoods and offer much quieter surroundings! It’s a good alternative for some peace and quiet. Depending on how quiet your friends are of course!
- It’s a bigger step in independence, no university guidance and definitely no catered options! So if you want to step up and start adulthood early, it’s probably a good option for you.
- Unlike in university accommodation, you have to deal with landlords. You may get lucky and get a nice one but they are well- known for being awkward, so that leaky kitchen tap might bother you for a while before it’s fixed!
- You’ll probably be much further from university. This means long walks or bus journeys which might not be for you – especially if you like a lay-in in the mornings!
- Quieter partying – if you follow the rules that is! Be mindful that your residential neighbours won’t want to hear loud music all night when they’ve got work in the morning.
- You’ll be sorting the bills. While it’s much cheaper, you need to have someone in your house to sort the finances – some mathematical skills will be helpful!
Despite whether you decide to stay in halls or a house there might also be a few other things on your mind. Is there anything specific you want out of your university accommodation? Here are a few things to think about when choosing where to stay:
- How good is WiFi? It might sound very millennial but it’s something a lot of people care about in this modern day. If you’ve got an assignment to upload, you don’t want to be struggling to submit it in time due to a lagging WiFi connection!
- Safety and security. This is probably quite obvious but make sure you’re comfortable with the area that you’re living in. If you don’t know much about it – make sure to check it out in advance, you don’t want any surprises!
- What is nearby? This can include shops or facilities. If you’re a fitness fanatic or even a Gin fanatic, you may want a local gym or bar close by.
If you’re happy at home or in the mood to save some money then commuting might be something you want to consider too! We’ve put together some Pros and Cons of what to consider:
- You tend to still get a similar maintenance loan while living at home as you would at university, so you may have some spare cash left over to play with! Of course, this will depend on your financial application.
- If you’re a bit of an introvert and don’t seek the typical ‘university lifestyle’ you may feel more comfortable staying at home.
- There’s no chance of getting homesick – which a lot of students do experience whilst living at uni! Also, if your friends from your hometown aren’t moving to uni either, you’ll get to spend more time with them.
- You won’t have to move all your stuff back and forth once a year when moving to a new place. Trust us, it’s a huge pain!
- It’s harder to make friends as many people tend to get close to the people they live with. You’ll be limited by only having direct contact with the people on your course, and of course they might not be what you’re looking for! You could join a society or two to branch out though, there are usually a large variety of options from cultural and cooking to even pole dancing too!
- You won’t get to experience being fully independent. If you’d rather get your washing done by mum then this won’t be an issue though!
- You will have to rely on travel – Parking in city centres is often quite expensive and trains and buses can sometimes be unreliable. Check out the options in advance and you might find one more suitable than the other!
These are the main options available when considering your university accommodation. It’s important to consider all positives and negatives to your options as you might find these change your mind. Hopefully, this has helped you make your choice and you can look forward to the year ahead!