Many students decide to move away from home when they go to university or college. That means choosing a type of student accommodation…and adjusting to life in a new place.
What types of student accommodation can I choose from?
Lots of people choose to stay at home during all or part of their studies. But if you’ll be moving out, you’ll usually have two main options to choose from:
Moving into ‘halls’ is a popular option, particularly among first year students. Generally it’s cheaper than private accommodation and it’s a great way to make friends from the start of your time as a student.
Halls of residence are usually located close to the campus and comprise several single rooms, with a kitchen and social area shared between a few students. Your chosen university or college will have information about the different halls available to you. Prices will vary depending on the standard of facilities in each. For example, you’ll pay more for a room with a private bathroom than you would if the toilet and shower facilities are shared.
You might also have the option to choose ‘catered halls’ where breakfast and an evening meal are provided for you. Of course, this will cost more than ‘self-catered halls’ where you’ll prepare your own meals.
Wherever you stay, the costs of electricity and heating will be included.
To get a room in halls, you’ll need to complete an application. Places are prioritised for first year, full-time students, particularly those who would be unable to travel easily from home.
Moving into a shared flat with 1 or more other students is an option that many people take. Usually though students do this after their first year of study, often after spending a year in halls. By this stage they’ll probably have made friends that they’d like to share a flat with.
Depending on the number of people you share with, private accommodation is likely to cost a little more than halls of residence because you’ll have to cover the price of bills such as electricity and heating. However, this option does give you a greater feeling of independence…and probably a bit more space and comfort.
Your college or university may be able to advise you on which local landlords are renting suitable accommodation. You’ll be able to search for flats yourself though, through websites like Rightmove and Gumtree. You can either rent from a private landlord or through a ‘letting agency’.
Bear in mind that most landlords will expect you to pay a deposit and you may have to pay a month’s rent in advance. Be careful as well to rent from registered landlords who will provide you with a ‘lease’ or agreement to confirm the amount you’ll need to pay each month, as well as any other details.
What’s it like to stay at home during my studies?
Many students decide to stay at home while they study, particularly in their first year. If you live quite near to your college or university this can be a good option. Obviously it cuts down your living costs significantly, although you will have to consider the cost and time involved in travel.
You’ll meet lots of people in first year who are staying at home – it doesn’t need to have a negative impact on your social life! Some people will tell you that staying in halls allowed them to immerse themselves in the student experience a bit more but you can always decide to move out of home in your later years.
Any advice on moving out?
Moving away from home is a pretty big deal. Ask just about anyone who moved away to university or college though and they’ll tell you it was a decision they’re glad they made.
Remember, if you move into student halls, you’ll be joining dozens of other first year students who are in exactly the same boat. Everyone will be a bit nervous and keen to make friends. Your college or university will run lots of activities in the first few weeks that’ll help you settle in and get to know everyone. You’ll probably have had the chance before you moved in to answer a few questions about your personality and interests too – that will have helped the administrators to ensure that you’re sharing a block with other like-minded people.
- Find out what the accommodation will be like before you start and consider the different options available. You’ll probably be able to get a tour of the facilities during an Open Day.
- When you move in, make an effort to chat to people. Remember that everyone’s in the same position as you.
- Try and be a good flatmate! You’ll win more friends if you wash up your dishes and don’t play Biffy Clyro loudly in your room at 3am...
To read more about the costs involved, take a look at our article on Student Finance.