Where to live… after your choice of degree, this is the most important decision you’ll make this academic year.
Get it right, and you’ll have the perfect place for studying and partying, living alongside people you get along with. Get it wrong however and you could face conditions that are little more than a slum, with people who would make the Rolling Stones blush with their every night session antics. So here are some pros, cons and considerations for four of the options before you…
1. Halls – pokey but party central (possibly)
Let’s take the pros and cons of halls first. In your first year of uni, you’ll get the choice of cost-saving accommodation in halls. Great plus points about this option is that you’ll make mates, quickly. You’ll also be able to roll out of bed and right into class within a few minutes flat. That said, you may have to deal with a pretty pokey space and you may also find yourself smack bang in the middle of party central every night for the entire academic year. Awesome to start with, but a head-banging misery come exam week.
Our top tips: Speak to past freshers who’ve lived in halls – how did they find the experience? You should also check out halls during your uni’s open day and compare the cost to renting privately – that way you can understand just how much an upgrade to your own space would cost.
2. Private rental – house mates, landlords, bills, bills, bills
The private rental scene is undoubtedly a mixed bag and sadly the dire reputation that landlords have in this realm is not without reason. So, take your time to weigh up the market and scope out potential properties, as well as reaching out to plenty of potential roomies.
But remember – properties can look deceiving (rogue landlords are excellent at covering up serious issues such as mould, peeling paint, dysfunctional plumbing and dodgy security); you should also bear in mind that anything less than an excellent landlord and you could face lengthy delays in getting issues sorted.
Finally, you should think about how you’ll budget every single penny, not only meeting your rent on time, but also your bills (speaking of which, you’ll also need to deal with plenty of paperwork, urgh).
Our top tips: Look out for landlord associations that showcase the best in the industry; speak with your university as to whether they have lists of recommended or black-listed landlords and always – always! – view a property (ideally multiple times over) before agreeing to a tenancy.
3. Living at home – dull but with benefits
We know, we know – dull as dishwater, right? Half the uni experience is the freedom and the parties. While you may think this option super boring, you’ll save a packet that you’ll later be grateful for. It also means that you enjoy cooked meals and a cleaning service for just that little bit longer (as well as guaranteed peace and quiet for your studies when you need it).
Our top tips: Don’t dismiss living at home off the bat. Sit down and figure out the finances – how much would you save by living at home and what could that mean for repaying your student loan? You could also consider staying at home for some years (such as that all important third and final year), but live out for the less work-intensive years.
4. Fully managed, all-inclusive student renting
Think that fully managed student living in a privately owned, purpose-built student residence is completely out of the question? That luxuries such as a communal gym, cinema or games rooms would cost the earth? And what about high-speed broadband, always-on concierge and modern, luxury surroundings? Only for the elite few? You may need to think again.
Properties from Collegiate, for example, are far more affordable than you may imagine, such as accommodation in Dundee from £112 per week, Bristol from £150 per week and Southampton from £158 per week.
This article is in association with Collegiate, which offers luxury student accommodation in the UK and Continental Europe.
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