Another year of uni is coming to a close, which means one thing for students – it’s time to start looking for next year’s housing! So what will you choose: uni halls or off-campus housing?
Most universities require that first-year students live in halls (and trust us, it’s the most fun too!). Student halls are a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the uni social scene, and come with built-in flatmates and floormates that usually become your close friends by the time the first term is over.
Once you’ve finished your first year though, things get a bit more complicated. You have the option of living off-campus in addition to the option of staying in halls for another year. (Although for some students, the end of the first year means you need to start looking for housing.)
For sure, the benefits of living in the city centre, as opposed to the campus centre, are notable – great nightlife and city amenities are right on your doorstep. So what should you consider when making this decision?
Location can make or break your uni experience. Usually halls can’t be beat for pure convenience. There’s nothing like rolling out of bed five minutes before a lecture and making it to class right on time. However, with halls comes proximity to other people. You might have an exam the next day and need an early night, but friends down the hall are partying into the early hours of the morning.
Location should certainly factor in to your housing search if you’re thinking about going off-campus. Halls are convenient for uni, but they might not be so convenient for the nightlife and shops of the city centre. A recent article from The Guardian notes, “There’s potentially more space [in off-campus housing] and you get the benefits of the city centre.”
Think about your schedule carefully, and be realistic – walking two miles to class might seem like a breeze in July, but you could be swearing all the way to your exam when you make that same trip in February. Houses further from campus are generally cheaper, but sometimes, those extra few pounds are worth it to be close to class and campus.
Living in halls on campus comes with the benefit of a built-in social circle. If you’re a fresher, or you’ve just transferred from another uni, halls could be the answer you’re looking for. However, don’t let that hold you back from looking at other options. Many privately-owned halls offer the same kind of social events that you’ll see in university halls, and between uni clubs, events, and sports teams, you’ll be certain to find a new group in no time. Looking for more advice on making friends? This article has great tips for how to make friends at uni.
If you’ve got an established social circle, living off campus in private accommodation seems like a natural option. However, be careful about who you decide to live with. A friend that’s great on a night out might not do their fair share of the dishes or pay the bills on time, so choose reliable over relatable where possible.
University-owned halls vary with fees, so be sure to do your research to make sure that you get the best deal possible. Hall fees will include utilities, so additional costs should be minimal, but usually on-campus housing is considered quite expensive compared to off-campus options.
Some private halls include utilities and free WiFi in their offering, but be sure to run the maths on this one and see how much they’re charging each month for utilities. However, there is something to be said for the convenience of not having to pay separately for utilities. If you decide to go with a private landlord, make sure that you know when the rent is due.
Though choosing between on-campus and off-campus housing can be difficult, the most important thing to remember is to choose what’s right for you. No matter what you decide, you’re set for another year of university fun!