Going to university is a big decision. It costs thousands of pounds a year and can often mean living miles away from home.
The latter is often forgotten about until the last minute, but there is perhaps more to consider than people realise.
It’s important to think about the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of accommodation before jumping in head first.
Halls of residence
Accommodation managed by the university, known as ‘halls’, are available for students to rent. They are a common choice if you’re in your first year as it’s an easy way to get to know people.
If you have moved a long way from home to go to university, halls can be a good way to get to grips with your independence. You will probably be based on campus, or nearby, so if you don’t know the area there’s little chance of getting lost.
When staying in halls, your bills are usually included in the weekly rent, so you won’t have to worry about bailiffs knocking on your door if you haven’t paid the electricity bill….something that many students will be grateful for!
However, the cost of university-managed halls can vary significantly depending on type of accommodation, the area and specific university. Unsurprisingly, London has the most expensive rent at £157.48 a week and Northern Ireland has the cheapest at £83.01.
It might sound like a no-brainer, but there are plenty of drawbacks as well. Firstly, halls usually offer shared living. You’ll get your own bedroom, but the lounge, kitchen and bathroom are likely to be shared with other students.
Sometimes this is positive as you can make friends quickly, but if you don’t get on, you could be in for a long term together.
It is worth noting that there is always the potential for complications when a group of 20-somethings are living together. If you don’t want to spend your weekends cleaning up after other people, you might want to go private.
Private rented accommodation
Halls of residence isn’t the only option available to first year students, or any other students for that matter. In fact, places are limited at university halls, so there’s a chance you might not get in, particularly if you’ve come through the clearing system.
If you’re considering the merits of private accommodation then you’re probably already thinking about a squalid flat with a toilet that doesn’t flush and a tap that drips all night.
Granted, that can happen, but with privately-owned and purpose-built student accommodation you couldn’t be further from the truth.
This type of property, particularly from companies with multiple developments, can be a fantastic option. It has certain benefits that halls of residence simply cannot offer – peace and quiet for starters.
You might like to partake in the occasional night out (what kind of student doesn’t?), but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to continue to hear the partying through the walls of your bedroom all night long.
With a private studio flat, you can also enjoy central accommodation, without worrying about who is asleep on your bathroom floor or why the sink is full of dishes from last week.
Student Caring Gust Blogger Bio: John Palmer is a student at Manchester MMU. He enjoys blogging about life as a student, particularly the subjects of accommodation and jobs. You read some of his posts on Vita Students Accommodation.
On behalf of the Student Caring International Community, THANK YOU JOHN! for your guest contribution: Making The Decision Between Halls And Private Rented Accommodation. Professors de Roulet and Pecoraro
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