Choosing where to live during your university years can be a major decision. Many students weigh the benefits of living in university halls versus private halls. While both options offer their own advantages and disadvantages, there are key differences between the two that are important to consider.
How do I choose university accommodation?
This ultimately will be down to you and what you want from student accommodation. The choice will usually be up to you, but universities have been known to make the decisions for students in specific circumstances.
It is possible to find student accomodation for yourself via the UCAS website. UCAS has its own UCAS accommodation site search, which allows you to see what student living alternatives are available at the universities you are interested in as well.
What are tudent halls?
Student halls are uni accommodation that is owned by the university. These are sometimes referred to as halls of residence or student halls.
When living in student halls, you can ask to live in halls that are quieter, or halls that are better for mature students.
Student housing is usually given to students on a first-come-first-serve basis. If students have their applications in on time and are accepted by a university as soon as they receive their results on either A-Level results day or BTEC level results day, then those will likely get the best accommodation as the university has time to process their requests.
A common misconception is that all first-year students spend their first year in student halls. This is actually a variable that depends on the university. Some universities have enough space for students to be able to stay in halls, whereas others may have none, forcing you to find alternative accommodation. Students may spend their entire university life in student halls, while others may find that they never set foot in a student hall, it really depends on where you are studying.
What is private accommodation?
Private accommodation for students is accommodation that is not offered by your university. This can often mean living on your own or may mean that you end up having to share any accommodation with other students.
Although private accommodation is not offered by the university, they may still have a connection to it. Universities often have links within the local community and may be able to point you in the right direction for finding private accommodation.
This ultimately will be down to you and what you want from student accommodation.
Is it better to live in student halls or private accommodation?
This will depend on you and your preferences. Student halls have a more communal feel as you will be housed alongside other students, both working on your course and on others. It’s an excellent way to make new friends and to have some help if you feel things ar becoming overwhelming.
On the other hand, private accommodation tend to have better facilities. Not only this, but you will have more room to spread out and will likely not have to share with anyone, which can be useful if you are sensitive about your space.
How long can I stay?
This will ultimately depend on the university you are attending and their policies regarding accommodation. Not all universities will adopt the same policies.
Terms for how long you can stay will depend on whether the accommodation is private or not. Student halls tend to have the option of staying for around 40-or-so weeks, while private accommodation may require you to stay for the whole 52 weeks.
Where are they located?
This, again, depends on the university in question. Most non-private student halls tend to be closer to the university than private halls. For this reason, most students tend to prefer non-private student halls as they will be able to keep costs down for travel.
Private halls are usually in city centres and are often closer to specific campuses. This is especially true of large cities such as London, Leeds or Manchester, which all have multiple universities with multiple campuses spread across them. Though they may not be located close to the university, they do tend to have better social environments.
Private accommodation for students is accommodation that is not offered by your university.
What are the costs?
The costs will depend on where you are attending. Private halls are for-profit, whereas student halls tend to be cheaper. The cost is more reflective of what you will find though. Private halls tend to have better amenities, more modern facilities and will have private kitchens and bathrooms.
Student halls are cheap accommodation alternatives. However, the social aspect of being closer to friends and fellow students can often outweigh the lack of modern amenities.
Either way, you will have a myriad of different costs to consider. This means having to cover your own student utility bills, contents insurance, TV licenses and more.
The best thing to do is to speak to your university beforehand and see what their costs are. All universities will be upfront and straightforward about their prices and will allow you to see what you will potentially be paying.
Which is better for social life?
Both are excellent for social life and have the same appeal to them. When living in student halls, you can ask to live in halls that are quieter, or halls that are better for mature students.
Private accommodation will likely have the same options open to students. The difference, however, is that you will have better amenities to choose from.
Most non-private student halls tend to be closer to the university than private halls.
Which has better facilities?
It’s pretty common for private accommodation to have better amenities and services for students. That’s not to say that student halls offer nothing at all, it’s just that private accommodation has better facilities and is generally better maintained, owing to the higher fees.
In student halls, you can be upgraded. If you are willing to pay more money, you may be able to find better WiFi, en-suite bathrooms or bigger bedrooms.