University Accommodation Guide

Going to university is one of the most exciting things you can do as a young adult. Whether you’re moving country, city or simply just moving out of your parents’ house, you’ll be sure to love your newfound freedom and independence. But with so many different types of university accommodation to choose from, how do you know what’s right for you? Should you choose an en-suite, shared kitchen or catered halls? It all comes down to personal opinion, but to help you decide we’ve created this university accommodation guide.

Things to consider when making your decision:

  • Location – how far do you want to live from your university or college? Do you want to live in a town/city or a more suburban/rural setting? Where do other students at your university live?
  • Housemates – Who do you live with? Do you want to live in a shared house, with one other person or on your own? Do you have any friends you can live with, or do you want to meet new people and join a new house share?
  • Rent and Bills – What can you afford to pay for your rent and bills? What’s your budget? Are your bills included in the cost of your accommodation? Will you be able to get a reduction on your rent and bills for being a student or single occupant?
  • Social life – What is there to do at your university? How far do you want to be from your local shops, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, beach, train station etc? Do you have any sports clubs or hobbies that you want to live close to?
  • Support – What support is there on offer at your university? Is there a housing office that can help you to make a decision, or find the right type of accommodation?

University Halls of Residence:

Most universities will try and house their first-year students in university-owned accommodation. This is to help most students make friends and get settled at the university, without having to travel too far to classes. The size and quality of university-owned accommodation varies for each university, but you will usually be allocated a room in a shared flat with other students. You may have the option to choose an en-suite bathroom or a shared bathroom. You may have the option to choose catered halls, or non-catered if you want your own kitchen facilities.


  • Bills are usually included
  • Close to class (usually on campus)
  • Living with people in the same boat as you
  • More sociable/party scene
  • Lots of options for different prices/budgets


  • Party culture (which is great for some, but not for others)
  • Quality can vary
  • Living with strangers

Private Halls of Residence/Private Halls/Communal Blocks:

Private halls are not owned by the university but may appear to be similar to the traditional halls of residence. They are usually laid out in shared flats and studio apartments with excellent quality accommodation and communal facilities.


  • A little more independence than being on campus
  • Can choose to live with your friends
  • Bills are usually included
  • Tend to be better quality
  • Can choose to live alone


  • Can be expensive
  • Not on campus
  • Can be less sociable

Private Renting:


  • Independence
  • Choose the location
  • Choose how much you want to spend
  • Great practise for when you are older
  • Choose who you live with


  • Dealing with letting agencies/landlords can be unreliable
  • Sometimes bad quality – you get what you pay for
  • Bills are typically not included
  • You have to pay council tax

Stay at home:

Financially, this may be the only option available to you, in which case, you will certainly save a lot of money compared to your friends.


  • Cheaper
  • Good support network
  • Possibly quieter so can focus on studying


  • Less sociable
  • Less independence
  • Public transport fees

Whatever you decide, make sure it is the right choice for you. Your parents may want you to stay at home so you can be safe and study more, and your friends may want you to live on campus so that you can party more. Make sure it is ultimately your choice.