Student Accommodation Basics
University is one of the most exciting times of your life but it can also seem quite daunting. Not only are you in a new place and meeting new people, but you also have to find your own student accommodation. Although it might seem like a minor concern, deciding on the right student property can to some degree determine how successful and enjoyable your time at university will be. If you choose the right place then you will make student life a lot easier, but choosing the wrong place can a lot of stress and expense to university life.
So, what is the ‘right’ accommodation for a student? Whilst there isn’t a definitive answer to that, there are some things you need to consider before deciding where to live.
Halls of residenceIf you are a new student or ‘fresher’, the most likely course of action is to live on-campus in halls of residence. Halls of residence are the most typical form of student accommodation, where you live in a large dormitory building with other students. Rooms vary, but in general you have your own bed and desk area and often your own toilet facilities. Kitchen facilities are shared between small groups of between 8 and 20 students, and there are often other communal areas for recreation and socialising.
There are many advantages to living in halls of residence, and it is generally the best option for first year students. Firstly, there is always help at hand from older students who can show you around and get you settled in to university life. Also, halls are often cheaper than private rented properties, with weekly rents being between £30 and £90 with all bills included, depending on which part of the country you are in. The halls of residence are often conveniently situated as on-campus property, meaning you can get to lessons and lectures quickly and easily. This will save you money on transport and cut down on travelling times, giving you more of your day to study and relax.
Also, halls of residence are a great place to meet people and make friends. Whilst the noise and stress of living in close proximity with strangers can sometimes cause problems, most of the time students get on well with each other and the friends they make in halls of residence stay with them throughout their university life. In a new place it can be hard to get to know people, so living with others in the same situation will make things easier.
It may not be the most peaceful environment in the world, but if you want to really be part of university life then halls of residence should be your first choice for student accommodation in your first year.
Private rented accommodationIf you don’t fancy the idea of halls of residence or other on-campus accommodation, then perhaps private off-campus accommodation is the best answer. Many second and third year students decide to rent a place together, often after making friends in halls of residence in their first year. Private rented accommodation will give you greater access to the surrounding towns and cities, and also give you better facilities.
It also gives you the opportunity to make the place your own and live how you want to. This might mean more peace and quiet, or more late night house parties – the decision is yours.
However, there are downsides to living in private accommodation. Although you can find some great deals, especially for larger properties, the costs will be higher than living in halls. Not only will basic rent be more money, but you will have to pay for bills yourself as well. Items like electricity, gas and water can be hard to budget, and you might have to think about other items like phone bills and an Internet connection.
Also, if the people you choose to live with don’t turn out to be as great as you thought you could end up stuck in an expensive place with people you don’t like.
Private rented accommodation is probably not the best idea for inexperienced first year students, but providing you budget well is a great experience in your second and third years.
If you are looking for off-campus accommodation, then you should first consult your university, as they will likely know a number of agencies that specialise in off-campus accommodation for students. If you don’t find anything this way then adverts posted at your university or regular letting agencies will usually have something for you to look at.
Think about your needs and financial situation carefully before deciding between on-campus and off-campus property, and you will find the right student accommodation to help you enjoy university life.