So you’re off to uni in September. By now, most of you should have sorted out your living arrangements, but if the choice is still lingering, here are some tips to help you make a better decision.
The most obvious advantage of having catered student accommodation is that you never have to worry about what to have for dinner. Life is simple and the choice is made for you. Also you will never starve even if you ever run out of money.
The problem, however, is that you have to adhere to set meal times and if you expect to have a wild student life, you will miss lots of dinners you paid for!
Returning to halls in the after-hours after lengthy drinking sessions will leave you with an empty stomach unless you opt for a kebab on the way home, in which case you are paying twice as much for food (since you already paid for your catered halls).
If you go private, you can find some brilliant accommodation away from the university campus and often, near a city centre.
Finding private providers is not difficult. For example if you are moving to London for your studies, simply do a Google search for “student accommodation in London”. You can also replace accommodation with flats or houses to help you refine your search to suit your needs.
Private providers have competitive rent rates but the choice is whether you want to be right on campus, or you prefer the buzz of a city where you can simply walk back to your flat after a night out.
Do note that some students prefer campus accommodation because they can sleep a bit longer, wake up later, and still make it on time for 9 o’clock lecturers. However you can still opt for private accommodation in the vicinity of your university.
The natural progression is that in your first year, you stay in halls. By the time you get to your third year, you will have found a house to share with friends. But houses aren’t always so great and the simplicity of halls can sometimes make student life less stressful.
For instance if something goes wrong with the plumbing, you have to get your landlord to get a plumber to fix the problem (sometimes they will charge you for it!) With halls, if anything goes wrong the response is usually quicker than with a landlord (the halls company usually covers the cost.)
Also, halls usually have extra security such as keycards and gates which a regular house won’t have (unless you rent a mansion with 20 friends). That said, a house is cheaper and you often have more freedom with what you can do in it (house parties anyone???)