Student accommodation guide #1: university halls
Ucas application done, now the next challenge – sorting your university accommodation. If you’re considering university halls, here’s what you need to know.
Choosing university halls: pros and consHalls are a popular choice for first years, but are they right for you? Here are the pros and cons to weigh up before you complete your accommodation application.
Pros of uni halls:
- Convenient location: near to or on campus / the university community
- Less admin to worry about: rent usually includes bills, and you’re likely to have maintenance staff on hand if you have any problems
- Good for making friends: immediate access to lots of students, plus some universities are known to try and match housemates based on preferences and personalities (via questionnaires)
- Extra support: you're more likely to have good pastoral care services on hand, such as counselling and disability support.
Cons of uni halls
- Can be expensive: it’s worth comparing with other options and checking your budget first
- No guarantees: you might not get a place in your preferred accommodation
- Not 'your own space': you're sharing with many others, which means there will probably be extra noise and mess!
Typical costs: halls vs private rental accommodationWhile rent in halls includes utility bills (gas, electricity, water and internet), and contracts are slightly shorter than in the private rental sector, university halls are still likely to be the more expensive accommodation option overall.
However, when making the move to university, spending your first year in halls on campus can make the whole adjustment significantly easier (including allowing you a bit longer in bed ahead of morning lectures).
Hall prices vary greatly, both within a university, as well as from one institution to another. For instance, when looking at the cheapest non-catered halls at different institutions, we found examples in Liverpool charging around £200 per month versus one London-based institution charging just over £1,300.*
We wouldn’t recommend basing your entire university decision on the price of halls at an institution alone (although consider what your living costs as a whole might come to, especially if you move off-campus in subsequent years).
Going back to first year, don’t dismiss the cheapest halls . What’s more important to you: having an ensuite bathroom or enough money to have a good time?
Often students report being happier in cheaper accommodation as they still have enough money left over to enjoy themselves.
University halls: facilities checklistIf you've decided to go for halls, there is still plenty to think about, including:
- huge range of room types (standard, ensuite, studio etc), sizes and locations to choose from
- whether to go for catered or non-catered halls
- many universities offer specialist accommodation for disabled students or students with children, as well as that suited to particular preferences (eg quieter areas, those with more international students etc.)
About our data
*University halls data: collated from cheapest non-catered hall prices, as advertised on individual university websites, correct as of February 2018.