A home away from home: a guide to student accommodation

Going to university often means leaving home for the first time and moving to a new place. Although this can be exciting, and the start of a new adventure, it’s normal to feel worried about striking out on your own.

There are also many options to choose from. Would you prefer to live in a private house, or have a room in halls of residence? Would you prefer to commute and stay at home? Here are a few of the possibilities available to you.

What are your options?

Halls of residence

These are managed by the university and are normally situated near the campus. You’ll have your own room but will probably have to share bathroom and kitchen facilities with other students. Amenities like heating, WiFi and electricity will be included in the cost of your rent. Uni halls fill up quickly so find out when your university opens registration for halls and get yourself on the list as soon as possible.

Private halls of residence

These halls are owned by a private company rather than a uni, but you’ll get all the services you’d expect with uni halls, along with potential extras like gyms and games rooms. As with uni halls, things like water, heating and WiFi will be included in your rent.

Shared house/flat

Halls aren’t for everyone, especially if you don’t like the idea of sharing a bathroom with ten other people. Renting a private house or flat might be a better option. Your uni can often help you find suitable properties, and there are plenty of websites like SpareRoom to help you find house or flatshares. Although as a student you don’t have to pay council tax, you’ll need to pay for amenities like water, heating, electricity and WiFi as well as your rent.


Many students opt to stay at home and commute to university. This is a good option if you are looking to keep your costs down, as you won’t be paying for accommodation. You will need to think about the cost of commuting, such as train tickets and petrol, and the time it will take you to make the journey, for example, you may have to wake up earlier than your classmates to get to lectures on time.

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