‘How to choose accommodation’ for First Years

It was Thursday 13th August, you were sat at your computer trying to log into the UCAS website, or perhaps you went straight into school or college.

By either opening that envelope with your results or viewing your online UCAS profile, you saw how your future was set for the next few years. Scary, no? But also incredibly exciting to think about what the future holds; what opportunities will be available to you, who will you meet, what will you be doing day to day? Particularly for those students who have lived with parents up til uni. 

But central to all of this (and essential for those who will be commuting from far away to their new place of study) is where to live. There’s always pitching a tent in a nearby field, but realistically, that won’t be so much fun after a few weeks of rain leaking in – and probably, the parents would raise some objections.

Of course, there is the option of university halls: often right next door to where you’ll be studying, security and campus surveillance is usually provided, often you’ll receive meals, and most of all, the person at the end of the phone is from your chosen establishment. And for some Freshers, this is ideal. Particularly those whose priority for accommodation is ease. However it’s fair to say that this is reflected in a pretty high weekly rent- to get all of the above, you’re looking at upwards of £120.

The alternative to this is privately rented housing, usually organised through a landlord directly or a local student letting agent near to your chosen establishment. The primary difference with privately rented accommodation is the level of independence you receive. In addition to this, private accommodation tends to have a wider variety of social areas such as a dining room, kitchen and garden.

Olivia Marshal a recent Royal Holloways Graduate says:

“I actually chose private housing over halls for my first year. After looking at both I found private more spacious. I also had the choice of being near more shops and bars instead of surrounded by students and the University atmosphere 24/7, it is nice to go home and have a break!”.

This is reiterated by Esme Tyler who recently graduated from Leeds:

“Whilst halls were initially fun, I much preferred private accommodation, mainly due to the space and double beds (which are rare in halls) but also due to the living space for socialising.”.

However exciting it is to move out, the most important thing is being comfortable. At the end of the day, regardless of where you stay, having somewhere that really feels like home is going to be hugely important to your whole university experience.

“I preferred living in private accommodation because the facilities are at a much greater standard which is especially important when you may feel homesick. In halls you may feel stuck in your room whereas in a house I always found myself in the communal area. The way I see it is, it’s the same price for a much higher standard of living.”

Says Georgia Dales, a current student at the University of Manchester

If you want to investigate beyond university halls, check out our properties or pop your head into the office and have a chat with our lovely Jenny.

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