One main aspect of University Life (aside from the studying of course) is accommodation. And if you’re anything like me, checking out the student halls at every Open Day was top of my priority list. If this is your first time living away from home, the idea of finding and selecting student accommodation can seem daunting. You may not know what your criteria are, or what type of accommodation will suit your lifestyle the best. Here, we will walk through the different options available to students, to ensure you pick the right fit for you. Afterall, where you live is down to your personal preference and what you are comfortable with – it’s not one size fits all! Check out our handy list to learn more about the different types of accommodation on offer.
1. University Owned Student Halls
“Halls”, “Student Halls”, “Uni Halls” – whatever you call it, every university has one. Most Universities guarantee students accommodation in their First Year. There will be a variety of accommodation on offer, ranging from en-suite flats with shared kitchens, to communal bathrooms with catered meals available.
One of the main pros of University Owned Student Halls is their proximity to the University. They are usually very close to where you will be spending most of your days, and this convenience is something you will love for those 9am seminars! If you are ready to put your cooking skills to the test, I would recommend opting for a non-catered option. A shared kitchen allows you to spend time with your flatmates in a relaxed setting and may even lead to some joint-cooking adventures. At the very least you can pop back to yours for a cuppa with a few new course mates in between lectures!
2. Private Owned Student Halls
Private owned student halls are essentially the glamourous older sister of University owned student halls. They tend to be more expensive, however this price increase is warranted. Depending on the halls, some will have shared common rooms, cinema rooms, TV’s, and even Gyms! The quality of the accommodation also tends to be shown in the form of larger beds, larger rooms, and faster WiFi.
For a round-up of the 5 best Private Student Halls, follow the link here. One of the downsides to private owned student halls is the higher cost, and so this should be something you think about when considering all of your options.
3. Private House
A private house share is something you would need to set up with a group of friends. While this can be great fun, it can be a lot of work to organize for a first year student who is new to the area. The idea of sorting out gas, electric and broadband bills, while trying to make new friends and figure your way around your local Tesco Express may be too much to juggle in your first year. Most students opt for this option in their 2nd, 3rd and 4th years.
One benefit of waiting is that it allows you to figure out the best areas for students to live and allows you time to find the right people you want to live with. One of the main pros to this is that you get a lot of freedom and autonomy in where you live and who you live with.
4. Private Flat
This option is best for those who prefer to live alone and value their own privacy. Students who opt for this will have to sort out their own bills, contact landlords and estate-agents directly and will solely be responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the flat. If the idea of sharing a bathroom or living space with a stranger is your worst nightmare, this could be a worthy option to consider. This can come with a hefty price tag since you will not be splitting the bills with any others. While this may be a great option for some, there will be a lot for you to organize in terms of your housing alongside your degree, which may not make it the best option for a fresher.
Of course, if housing is something you have experience with, then it may be the perfect option for you. One of the main pros to this is the complete privacy and freedom you will have regarding your living space. You won’t have to nag anyone to clean their dishes or chase anyone for the WiFi bill. However, this privacy means you may have to make more of a conscious effort to meet new people.
Ultimately, there is something for everyone out there. It is important to research all the options available to you to ensure you can make the best decision for you. And don’t forget – it’s only for a year. If it’s not the right one for you, you can always try a different style next year!