After you have found the course you want and where you would like to study, the next step is to make the decision on accommodation. This can be difficult and figuring out the pros and cons of all your options can be a great help. NUS can also be good in helping you through your options. There are several options including staying in the ‘traditional’ halls of residence, private student halls, private accommodation and of course many students will choose to stay at home with their parents.
Halls or university-managed accommodation can be a great option for first year students, especially if you have to travel a long distance from home. You will be placed on campus and will usually have to share with a number of other students. Universities can place people of the same sex together if requested. Students will have their own bedroom and shared facilities. If you decide on this option there are many other things for you to think about including whether you would like to have meals catered or non-catered, the size of your room and if you need specialist accommodation. This option is great for preparing you for private living and independence. It will encourage you to make formal decisions and learn how to budget and, as an added bonus, you needn't worry about bills and landlords as this is sorted out for you by the university, who will also support you with any issues you may have. If you love a party lifestyle and enjoy socialising then this is a good option to meet lots of new people and make close friends. Cons, however could be that you may dislike the people you are placed with, or that you have to deal with ‘noisy housemates’. There are no guarantees that you will get the exact accommodation you desire as there will be many students applying, so get your application in quickly!
Private student halls
If you would prefer a similar sort of set up to that of halls but not directly on-campus then this could be a good option for you. Private student halls are managed by a private landlord and usually in partnership with or approved by your university. You will have a room in a purpose-built complex, similar to that of university halls. Greater research is needed when considering this option as you need to think more about your bills and outgoings and also your location. This can be a great option for you if you would prefer to be situated near to but not directly within your university... handy for nights out! There could be more of a variety of options that you would not normally get in a university hall, for example packages like wi-fi or broadband. Other things to think about are the additional costs that you may have to take on board as studio rentals will be pricier. Like university halls, you will not be able to choose who you are living with, although you may get a preference of same sex or mixed. This may not be a problem for some but is something to think about.
If you would prefer to avoid halls altogether and choose your own accommodation then your university can help you out with this and guide you. Universities will usually have an approved list of landlords or privately rented accommodation. Alternatively you can find your own place of residence independently. Many students choose this option if they are late with their applications and miss out on university accommodation. Or, however if they just want to have their own space and live independently. Living in a privately rented property can help you gain your independence and will allow you to be in charge of where you would like to live and who with. You will have the flexibility of many different living options to suit you and can get help and advice through your chosen university. You will need to be aware that you will have to manage your own bills and take charge of budgeting. This can be difficult for first year students and choosing private accommodation could cost you that little bit more. You will also need to deal with your own admin, and directly with your landlord or letting agent. Some students like to be away from the university environment, but you need to consider the difficulties you may endure being further away from campus.
Living at home
A good option for any student living near to their chosen place of study is to stay at home. This the choice most mature students will take due to other responsibilities outside of university, like families or part-time work. This may be an option for you if you cannot get the accommodation you desire or just don’t want the stress of moving. If you choose to stay at home, this could work out a lot cheaper and hassle-free. You may find that your life will not change too much which is what some students desire. If, however, you feel as though you will be missing out on the student lifestyle, there are always ways to get involved like joining sports clubs and societies. A student union and events are a great place to start and you can get involved as little or as much as you want to help you to meet friends and find your way around.