Choosing a place to live can make or break your university experience. It’s worth taking some time to think about where you’re going to reside, who you’re going to share with and how to get the best place for your cash. Here are a few pointers to give you some ideas.
Halls of Residence
Halls of Residence are usually offered to 1st year students although sometimes there are options for 2nd years, 3rd years or post grads. Halls are fantastic for making new friends and normally have a great sense of community spirit. They also act as a kind of support network because they are secure, and there’s always someone around.
Another great thing about halls is the fact that they usually have a dedicated cleaner – i.e minimal chores!
Facilities range massively between halls – even if part of the same uni. If you’re lucky, you may get a wonderful double-bed and an en suite but you’re just as likely to end up in a rickety little single bed, dreading the cold winter walk to the communal showers. Either way, the positives of being immersed in the ultimate university social experience will likely outweigh the negatives.
The cost benefits of living in halls of residence are pretty great too. Compared to the cost of renting privately/house shares, uni halls of residence can be quite cheap as bills tend to be inclusive.
House shares usually work well for your 2nd and 3rd years, after you’ve fallen into a group of friends. You can make the space your own and get a little more time by yourself if you need to concentrate on studying.
Your own space also means that you’re possessions are better protected, and if your housemates all opt in for a student based home insurance policy, you’ve pretty much got it covered.
Students like to be part of a community so there are often lots of students houses bunched together in university towns. Make sure you start looking nice and early as there be a big spectrum of quality and the good houses will go straight away.
It’s also worth searching places that other students may not be trying. You could uncover a hidden gem that’s rented by a private landlord rather than letting agent online or in the local paper. Letting agents will usually have advertised in places where lots of students are likely to look. Talk to students in the year above you in case they’ve found a great place that they’ll be moving out of – you might be able to get first dibbs.
If you live with people that read the same subject, you automatically have a study group ready to roll if you need a bit of help. You can find people to live with on student community boards and online forums. Plus your uni should have a student housing office you can go to for some advice.
However, you find your housemates, make sure you get to know them really well before making the decision to live with them. House-sharing can turn into a nightmare so be tolerant and patient if there’s a problem and try to talk it through openly and honestly.