Ah, student halls. A key part of university – in fact, where you live whilst studying can make or break your experience!
When it comes to uni accommodation everyone has their preferences, but since you probably haven’t been to university before, it can be pretty difficult to know where you stand on the issue.
If choosing your university accommodation is something you’re going to have to do in the near future, it’s good to get thinking about it. Especially as so much of it comes down to personal preference.
To help you out, we’ve come up with a helpful guide of things to consider when making your decision:
Some people might be lucky enough for money to be no object, but the vast majority of people have to be sensible when it comes to the cost of their university accommodation. Even if you have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad, sometimes the extortionate prices you pay for the most high-end, luxurious student halls are just not worth it. After all, you could be spending that money on the student staples of snacks, alcohol and Netflix!
It’s important to be realistic with your price range; and to weigh up the pros and cons of the different, variously-priced options. How much do you want to spend on accommodation – and what’s the minimum it needs for you to feel at home? You’ll be spending a lot of time in your room, so it’s important to ensure you’ll be happy there. Know your budget and definitely stick to it, but don’t be afraid to go to the higher end of your price range in order to ensure you don’t end up in the type of accommodation that is reminiscent of a high-security prison (i.e. sparse, concrete and cold).
En-suite or not?
Perhaps the biggest choice you will have to make with regards to uni accommodation is this; do you want an en-suite? Obviously, en-suite rooms tend to be more expensive, and sharing bathrooms is not only more cost-efficient but often a great way to get to know your new flatmates – there’s no better way to solidify a friendship than waiting in line for the loo together! Being forced to go outside your room for basic bodily functions can also mean such halls have a more community feel to them, because it becomes impossible for people to hide in their rooms.
That being said, en-suites allow for more privacy and mean you can use the shower at whatever time of day (or night) you fancy. If you’re a bit self-conscious about sharing facilities with complete strangers, you’d probably prefer an en-suite. Just remember to keep it clean!
It might not be your main focus, but it’s certainly worth considering – how many people live in each hall? This can vary between different accommodation options on the same university campus, and can range from as little six to as many as 12, or even 14 – most likely with just one kitchen between them. If it’s accommodation with shared bathrooms, there should be more facilities to cater for larger student flats, but that’s still quite a few people to fight for toilet.
That being said, while there’s never any guarantee that you’ll get on with anyone in your university accommodation, the chances of this are greatly increased if there’s a smaller number of people in the flat. For this reason, living in student halls with a large number in each flat can actually be better!
Location, location, location!
Whether you’re off to a city university, or a uni campus in the middle of nowhere, there are often loads of accommodation options both on and off the central campus. Make sure you know (if only roughly) where everything is in your future university so that you know how far away from the most important facilities each student accommodation option is. The last thing you want is an unexpected twenty minute walk to the nearest laundrette!
If it’s a campus university, there might be some accommodation options off campus in the nearest town. If you’d rather be in town, with a larger selection of shops and closer to the nightlife, that’s all well and good, but make sure you know how quick and easy it will be(or not!) to get to your lectures and the library. The same goes for city universities that might have buildings spread out all over the place.
Even on campus, there can be large distances to cover, probably on foot. If all your lectures are in the faculty building on the other side of campus to your accommodation, you might come to regret your choice on cold, rainy days – at least cities have buses from one end to another!