When students are going off to university, one of the most daunting decisions they have to make is where to stay. Students can choose to live in halls, private student accommodation or at home, the place where they will spend their first year of University may have a huge impact on their social life, studies and the relationships they build during their time at University.
‘It can be a little scary leaving home and moving to a new place with new people.’ says Claire Henshaw, accommodation co-ordinator at the University of Northampton. Some people will opt to stay at home and commute to their University daily but this is logistically impossible for many people and that option is often a non-starter. For others, living at home decreases the amount of socialisation before and after classes, which can impact the relationships with their peers. Perhaps, this is why only 12% of all students reside at home whilst at University.
The most popular by far in terms of student accommodation is University Halls, in fact, 27% of all students live in University Halls and another 12% in private Halls. Most universities will provide student accommodation places for their first-year students in their own halls of residence. Halls represent good value, generally being fully furnished with a bed, storage space and often a study or office table, although students should generally expect to share a kitchen, lounge and bathroom. Students should be wary that with university halls they will not know who they are sharing with before they move in and risk living in halls where they do not share similar values to their new housemates.
Students with more free cash, or who may be more mature, could opt for finding their place independently, making their student accommodation much more comfortable and often they can save money by securing a longer term lease on the property. This option will allow them to be more in control of their space and they have the advantage of choosing who they will with (if anyone). The disadvantage for this is if the student decides they no longer want to attend courses at that University, they should then be stuck with the property until the break clause or end of the contract.
After the first year, students generally find private properties with their social groups, sharing a 3 or 4 bedroom house is usual as it becomes cheaper for all those involved, which makes it a clear favourite for students (44% of students opt for a student house). When deciding your housemates you should think carefully about who you want in your student accommodation to ensure your goals are aligned and there won’t be any friction. You will want to approach an Estate agent that specialises in student lettings, or find independent listings online. Some students do stay in halls after their first year but it is much more common for them to leave after the first year.