Heading to uni to study for your degree and live outside of your family home for the first time is always an exciting experience. Your student accommodation for the first year is going to be the place where you settle in, get into a new routine and meet some of your first university friends. Depending on the university that you have chosen to attend, there may be a wide range of accommodation options to choose from. You can live in university-owned halls of residence, opt for private halls, or find a student house. If you’ve decided that you want to find a house to share with other students, here are some of the main factors to consider.
It’s a good idea to learn more about where everything is located so that you don’t end up living in a student house that’s quite far away from campus. Check out the area and view the house first so that you can get a rough idea of how long it’s going to take you to get to lectures in the morning and how you are going to get there. Can you walk, or will you have to drive or take public transport? You can use Student Cribs to find student properties based on location and narrow down your choices depending on where you need to be for a more convenient journey to campus. Student Cribs lists student houses in all the major university cities in the UK.
Another key factor to consider when looking for student accommodation is how much it is going to cost you. You should decide on a budget based on how you are going to be paying for your accommodation. Consider how much you are set to be getting from student finance as a maintenance loan and determine how much that works out to be each month for rent, bills and other living expenses. Some student properties have all the bills included with the rent while others will leave you free to decide which companies to go for in terms of energy, broadband and TV which can help you save money by shopping around.
Who are you going to be living with while at university? Most student homes are filled with strangers who quickly become friends – or perhaps not. It’s up to you whether you are happy to get the full university experience or whether you’d like to get a group together to find a place to live. If you are in university social media groups already, you might find people who are also looking for accommodation that you can group up with to find a house together, which can be less overwhelming because you already know the people you’re going to be living with when you move in.
Think about how much privacy you would like in your student home. Living with strangers for the first time is never going to be very easy for a new student, and having more of your own space to retreat to can make it easier for you to settle in and adjust to your new lifestyle. Some student properties offer en-suite bathrooms, for example, which might be a better choice for you if you would rather enjoy more privacy and aren’t sure how you feel about the idea of sharing a bathroom with several other people that you haven’t met before.
Consider how much stuff you’re planning on taking to uni and how much space you’re going to need for it. Many student rooms are quite small but you might be able to find one with a bed that has under-bed storage or a room with a large wardrobe that you can use to neatly keep your things stored and organised. Consider if you’ve got any of your own furniture to bring or electronics like a TV and decide on a room where it won’t feel cluttered.
Finally, consider how often you are going to return to your family home. Everybody’s situation is different and some students will go home for the entire summer, while others might visit for a week or perhaps even not go back at all. Bear in mind that most student home contracts begin in August or September, so if you’re not planning to go home for the summer, make sure that you get a contract for the entire year so that you’ve got somewhere to stay outside of term time. Since you are going to be staying for longer, you might even be able to find some student accommodation options that charge less monthly rent for students who live there all year around.
Accommodation is one of the biggest choices that you’re going to make as you head off to university. Keep these factors in mind to ensure that you find the best place to live.