6 Factors to Consider When Selecting Your Student Accommodation (U.K.)
Congratulations! You got into a university!
Unfortunately, the process doesn’t end there. Next, you’ll have to make decisions about where to live, which classes to take, which extracurricular activities to join...but! One thing at a time.
One of the decisions that might seem the most daunting is picking your student accommodation. But never fear - we’re here to help!
When picking the best student accommodation for you, here are the six questions you should ask yourself first.
1. What’s my budget?
Before you start looking for student accommodation, you should first determine how much you are able to spend on housing per month. In order to determine this amount, you first have to look at how much money you have saved up. Additionally, you will have to look at how much money you will be making.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself in order to determine these things:
- Will you have a job while you attend university?
- Do you have money saved up in a savings account?
- How much money do you have saved up?
- Are your parents helping you with rent?
- How much money are they giving you per month?
You will also have to examine the other expenses you will have aside from rent. If you have a car, roughly how much money do you spend on gas a month? If you are paying for all or part of your university tuition, how much money will you have to pay every month? Which other bills do you have to pay every month?
Once you determine which other monthly expenses you will have and how much you will have to spend on each one, you will have a better idea on how much money you can afford to spend on your student accommodation.
2. What am I paying for, exactly?
Make sure you understand exactly what is included in the price of the student accommodation you choose.
For example, if you are paying a higher price for the room, do you get your own bathroom? How many other people live there?
There are unfortunately a lot of landlords who will charge extra on a property they know is likely to be rented by students, because they think students won’t know how much their accommodation should cost. Of course, not every landlord does this, but it is important to keep an eye out for this so that you do not get ripped off. For example, if you are paying a higher price but you still have a million flatmates, you may be getting ripped off.
3. How close is it to campus?
Make sure you can easily get to class from where you decide to live. If you don’t have a car, it is probably in your best interest to pick student accommodation you can walk to from class (and back from). Living somewhere close to campus (such as university-affiliated student accommodation) will likely also increase your chances of being able to meet other students, because there will be other students living there as well.
Depending on your budget, it might be worth it to pay a little extra for student accommodation that is close to campus, especially if walking there would save you money on bus fare.
4. How close is it to places I’ll need to go frequently?
Your university campus is not the only place that you will need to commute to. You’ll also need to live somewhere that is not located too far from a grocery store, and other places you will need to go to frequently, like the gym or your place of work. If you live on campus, or in an apartment within walking distance to campus, a lot of other students will live there, and therefore there will likely be a grocery store nearby or somewhere else to get food.
Before you decide on somewhere to live, determine the places that you will need to go a lot, and make sure that most of them are relatively easy to get to from your house, whether you will be getting to them on foot, in your car or on the bus.
Remember, no matter which student accommodation you pick, you will be living there for at least a term. Being practical about your decision now will save you lots of time later.
5. Who are the flatmates? Can I imagine living with them for at least a school term?
Many student accommodation complexes offer private rooms, but many are also shared. If you are able to pick the flatmates in your accommodation, use online platforms such as Craigslist, Facebook or online flatmate finders to find them ahead of time.
Using Facebook or another social media platform is a great way to find flatmates because you can also check out their profile to get a better sense of the kind of person they are. From perusing their profile, you can verify that they seem relatively normal - or not. It’s a good way to be able to verify if they have friends, hobbies and/or a job, and generally seem like someone you could peacefully share a space with.
If possible, it’s also a good idea to meet up with your potential flatmates before you move in. Invite them to study with you or grab a cup of coffee. People sometimes seem different in person than they do online. Sharing a bathroom, kitchen, and even a room with a stranger can be hard, so if you have an opportunity to see if you get along before you’re stuck living together for at least one whole school term, you should definitely take it.
6. What’s the neighbourhood like? Is it a safe place to live?
If you decide to live in university-affiliated student housing, the neighbourhood will likely be safe. If you decide to live in housing that is not affiliated with the university, try to visit the neighbourhood before you sign a lease to make sure you can imagine yourself living there. Notice what is located nearby and take a few walks around. Does it seem like a safe neighbourhood? If you’ll have classes at night and you’ll be walking home, will you be comfortable walking around there at nighttime? These are all important factors to consider before you officially decide to live there.
Now that you know how to pick your student accommodation, the next step is to figure out which one. You can use Dorms.com to browse student accomodation in cities all over the world. Our student accommodation typically have both private and shared rooms available at a student-friendly price. Simply enter your city or university in the search bar on the homepage, along with the approximate dates you will be arriving and leaving. Congratulations on your next chapter!