You’ve chosen the university and now it’s time to think about your student accommodation. Choosing where to live is a big part of your university experience so it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons of the different types of student accommodation out there. Staying in university halls isn’t your only option as a fresher. You might also consider privately run halls. That’s why we’ve put together a quick overview for you to help make the next exciting decision of your university life just a little easier.
Convenient location – Most student halls are located on-campus which means you can walk to classes and won’t need to worry about driving or catching public transport. You will also be close to all the fun activities and events put on for freshers and students.
Social scene – When you stay in university halls, you will be surrounded by hundreds of other students and can make new friends easily.
All-inclusive – Most university halls are all-inclusive. This means all your utility bills (gas, electricity, water, internet, etc.) will be included in the cost of the rent. Many students find this more convenient, especially if they haven’t lived on their own or paid bills before.
Safety – Student halls are generally considered to be safer than private rented accommodation. You will also have the support of your university whenever you need it.
Random housemates – When you stay in university halls, you don’t usually have the option to choose your housemates and you most likely won’t meet them until you move in. This means there is a risk that you won’t get on.
Price Inclusive or not Inclusive? – Inclusive bills favour convenience over costs. The downside of all-inclusive accommodation is that it’s usually more expensive. You’re essentially paying more for the convenience of having all your utilities included in the rent.
No guarantees – There is no guarantee that you will get a place in your preferred room or student halls. Not all universities guarantee a place in halls for all first-year students, so it’s advisable to check this when you attend open days and make your applications.
Noise & mess – Student halls are packed full of hundreds of students, which means they can be messy and noisy places.
Independence – You will have more control over where you live and who you live with. You can choose to live with your friends and find properties in popular areas of the city that cater to students.
Price – Private housing is often cheaper than student halls and you should have lots of different housing options that suit your budget.
Budgeting – Budgeting your student loan is more difficult when you live in private housing as you will need to pay multiple utility bills throughout the year. Whereas university halls are often all-inclusive so you have one bill that covers all your living costs.
Safety – Student houses are often targeted by criminals and private houses have a higher risk of break-ins when compared to university halls. It is vital you and your housemates take all necessary measures to keep your university house safe from burglars.
Verdict: Which is best?
Choosing your university accommodation is not always easy. University halls are generally more suited to first-year students and offer convenience, safety, and a lively social scene. Whereas private housing can be more affordable and gives students greater flexibility over where they live and who they live with.
You need to weigh up the pros and cons of each option and choose the best student accommodation for you. Speak to previous students or your university’s student support team if you want advice when choosing your student accommodation. If you have applied to the university through an official partner or agent, you can ask them for suggestions. They may be able to help you to make a decision.