For many students, one of the biggest changes they face when they start university is moving away from home. Finding the right halls of residence can make a big impact on your university experience, and once that year is over trying to find a house can be even more of a challenge. So whether you’re a fresher looking for the perfect halls of residence or trying to find a house for your later years, these are some things to remember when looking for student accommodation.
Location, location, location
In any university city there will be areas where students make up a lot of the population. These areas are usually close to shops, bars, and the university campus, however, you’ll still want to make the decision about what you’d rather be closer to – your lecture theatre or the local supermarket?
While you might think that living next door to a club is a great idea, you’ll be wondering what was going through your mind when you’re kept up till 4am and have exams to sit the next morning.
Most universities have plenty of different halls of residences to choose from each with their own character. The facilities available at these universities will vary wildly. Some halls will have their own bars, squash courts, gyms, cash-points and lots more besides. Others might be much more basic, but this will be reflected in the price.
The cost of living
If you’re going into halls then the price per week will be about as much as you need to pay as things like bills and internet are included – you will have to pay for a TV license if you want to watch live television however.
If you’re renting a house or apartment bear in mind that the cost of bills might not be included – gas, electricity, water, and internet all add up, so make sure you can afford to pay for these before you sign a contract. Remember that full-time students don’t have to pay council tax, wherever they live.
You’ll have to cross your fingers if you’re going into halls – you really won’t know what to expect, expect for a diverse mix of people. Some halls do cater to specific types of students – there are single sex halls and halls for mature and postgraduate students for example.
Those students not going to halls will want to make sure they’re living with people they can get on with – you’ll be seeing them every day, at their worst as well as their best, so don’t make any hasty decisions.
Will you want to live here next year?
Moving can be quite stressful, especially if you have a summer job or have to re-sit exams. That’s why if you can find somewhere that you’d be happy staying you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle, and you won’t have to worry about redirecting post and cancelling your television license. Many landlords are even willing to take half rent if you aren’t actually occupying the property during the summer, so don’t be afraid to ask if you can get a reduced rate if you plan to head back home.
This article was penned on behalf of OCVC.