What Type of Student Accommodation is Right For You?
Trying to figure out what types of student accommodation are on offer? Whether you’re a first-year looking for some advice or you’re a seasoned student looking for a change of scenery, there are several options open to you. We’ve outlined each type of accommodation below, along with the key considerations and the main pros and cons.
Uni-owned halls of residence
Lots of first-years choose to go straight into uni-owned halls because it’s arranged through your uni. These types of halls are usually on the cheaper end of the spectrum – but that’s often reflected in the condition of the building and amenities on offer.
Geographical convenience is also something that you really do need to consider, especially if you’re going into your first year. You might not think a 40-minute commute sounds too gruelling now, but wait until you get in the swing of things – getting up in the morning for lectures, meeting friends for coffee or drinks on weekends, getting to and from nights out in town. The last thing you need is an absolute mission each time you want to go somewhere. Location counts for a lot, so it’s worth checking where the uni owned residences are in relation to campus. Some tend to be further out, whilst others can be nearby campus.
Most likely, the setup will be that you’ll get a room within a shared flat. In other words, you’ll be sharing a kitchen, a living space, and a bathroom with other students (usually between four and six, including you).
The downside to uni-owned halls is that they tend to be no-frills in terms of their facilities and interiors. Some are nice and serviceable, but others are grotty and rundown. Even if the halls look nice on the internet photos, you should definitely go to view them in person before you sign up to live there – it’s crazy how much a bunch of carefully taken photos can differ from what you see in the flesh.
Private halls of residence, AKA private (purpose-built) student accommodation
Where uni-owned halls tend to offer the bare essentials, private halls go the whole hog - providing you with state-of-the-art facilities and more perks than you can imagine. And by perks, we don’t mean super-fast Wi-Fi and communal TVs – those should be givens in any decent student residence nowadays. Think gyms, games rooms, cinema rooms, stylish communal areas, comfy study areas, and free on-site social events (like pizza nights, themed parties!).
A good provider will put all the monthly costs into one lump sum for you so that you don’t have to juggle bills or go through the trouble of organising your own providers. Your rent, your utilities (including broadband), your maintenance, and your contents insurance will all be taken care of without you having to do anything. It’s kind of a no brainer!
As for your living quarters, there will be several options to choose from:
- An ensuite bedroom within a shared flat (which you’ll share with between three and five of your fellow students) – this is great for making new friends and you’ll never have to wait for a morning shower!
- A studio for just you (including a kitchen area and a bathroom) – this is perfect if you like your own space or you need peace and quiet for your uni work. But don’t forget you’ll probably have access to study rooms and pods within your private residence too.
- A dual-occupancy studio or flat (i.e. for couples to share) – this is a rarer option that you’ll only get with certain providers or in certain residences, but is great if it’s applicable to you. Check out our double rooms at The Curve London residence here.
Another big advantage to private halls is the quality and stylishness of the furnishings and the overall aesthetics of the interiors. That might sound a bit superficial, but it’s not: thoughtful interior design can make you happier and more productive, both of which are key to you enjoying your time at uni and achieving academic success.
As for location, this can vary depending on the provider, but the best student residences are within a short distance to everything you need like the uni campus, local supermarkets and bars and clubs.
Private flat-share (or on your own)
Uni-owned halls and private halls are some of the most popular types of student accommodation on offer, but they’re not the only options. You could opt instead to privately rent a regular apartment in which you could either share with other students or live by yourself.
This type of accommodation gives you independence and the freedom to live how you want to in your own space away from everybody else – if that’s what you want. But do bear in mind that private renting has its headaches and bureaucracies. You’ll have to sort everything out yourself: liaising with your landlord (or their letting agent), making sure all the paperwork is filled out, staying on top of your various monthly bills and payments, maintaining the flat and cleaning it to the landlord’s standards, and buying household items as and when you need them.
If you think you’ll have a good handle on all of this, great, but if you’ve never lived on your own before, you’re probably better off opting for a student specific residence – where you get your independence, but there’s less responsibility.
Many private student properties are old Victorian and Edwardian houses, and they can be cold and damp (an absolute nightmare in the winter), not to mention susceptible to general disrepair. So be extra-careful when you go to viewings.
Also consider the area. What’s that like? Student houses tend to be located in the rougher areas of their cities, which means that break-ins are a very real possibility. And this is one of the biggest downsides of private house-shares in comparison to halls. With the other options, you get certain levels of security, with most private student accommodation offering keycard access, and 24/7 security on site.
Now you know what types of student accommodation are available, you can evaluate what’s most important to you for your new home.
At the Student Housing Company we offer student accommodation that has everything you need during your studies. From comfortable bedrooms and kitted out apartments, to cinema rooms, games areas, gyms and more! Book your room today.