For students who are planning on heading off to University in September, one of the first big decisions that you will have to make after receiving your confirmation letter is where you are going to stay. There are 4 main choices for new students;
- University halls of residence,
- private student “villages”,
- privately rented accommodation
- or staying at home.
Each of these types of accommodation has its own pros and cons, and you will need to weigh up your own individual needs in order to find the best accommodation for your first year.
The majority of new students will choose University halls for their first year in University, and they tend to be a great choice for people who are moving away from home for the first time.
Universities will often accommodate “residential advisors” on site (traditionally 2nd or 3rd years) to offer help and support to people who are moving in. You will also be moving in at the same time as a large group of other people who are in similar situations. For some people, this is ideal, as it acts as a readymade social group to engage with; for others, this idea seems like a nightmare, as they would prefer to have more control over who they socialise with. Living with a large group of other students can also mean noise, mess and sleepless nights.
Whilst University accommodation can be less expensive than other options, do not take this for granted, and be prepared to explore other options if budget is your main concern.
Private Student Villages
Villages are similar to University run halls, however they are run by an organisation that is not linked to your University. Many of the pros and cons of this type of accommodation are similar to those in University halls, however they tend to be more luxurious. If you are signing up for this accommodation, check what is included in the price, and find out whether you will have to pay for any extras.
Private halls often enable students from more than one University to mingle with one another.
Privately Rented Accommodation
If you would prefer to live away from other students, you may want to move directly into private accommodation. This option gives you the highest degree of flexibility to choose where you live, and who you are living with, however it can be much harder to arrange. Dealing with a landlord or a letting agent can be difficult, especially if they want a large upfront deposit or if they want other admin fees.
It is ideal for mature students or students who are already in a committed relationship, and who want to live with their existing partner. When privately renting, you can choose to live in your own place, or you can flatshare with others.
Staying at home
As long as you live close enough to feasibly commute to University from your current home, this may be the least expensive option for you. Not only will you save money, but you can also save yourself from the hassle of packing up and unpacking your whole life again a few days later. Your mum and dad may even still cook for you, wash your clothes and clean your room, in some cases. However, you may have to find other ways to socialise with your new peers at University.
This option also offers less independence, if you are still living with your parents or legal guardian. If you are living in someone else’s home, you will have to abide by their rules, and they may not take kindly to you coming home late or drunk.