Image Credit: University of Exeter/flickr
Universities offer a wealth of different options for new students, and here are some of the things you might like to consider when choosing the right halls for you:
Would you like to share a bathroom?
Most accommodation offers en-suite facilities as well as standard. En-suite facilities give you more privacy, especially if you are used to them at home, however they are often more expensive.
Would you like to prepare your own food?
Some universities offer the options of catered or self-catered halls. In catered accommodation you’ll be given meals, with the plan depending on your university. It may be that you’ll just get breakfast and dinner, while you may also get lunch or even a packed lunch! In catered accommodation you’ll also be provided with a kitchenette to prepare small meals and cups of tea, but you won’t be able to hold dinner parties! As food is included in the price of accommodation, catered halls tend to be slightly more expensive.
In self-catered accommodation you’ll be provided with a full kitchen to prepare your own meals. If you want more flexibility, you may also be able to purchase a food card to use in university food outlets so you don’t have to make you dinner every night. Some universities also offer part-catered which may offer an evening meal, but not a full-blown meal plan for those of you who’d like the flexibility during the day without the hassle of having to cook at night.
How close to campus would you like to be?
Halls may vary in their distance to the university and to individual campuses. Would you like to roll out of bed at 8.50am or would you like a leisurely stroll into lectures? If there is more than one campus you’ll also want to look at which campus your lectures will be, so you can pick one suitable. You might also prefer to be near the centre of town rather than you university so you can go on nights out and stumble home a lot more easily!
Your university accommodation guide they will show you how near each halls are to the various campuses, as well as how long it would take to get there via walking, bus, cycling etc. and will hopefully have a map so you can see how your university campuses and halls relate to one another.
How much would you like to spend?
Depending on your facilities, the closeness to town and the university and catering accommodation will come in at varying costs.
How many people you’d like to share with?
Universities offer a variety of different hall arrangement. For example, you may be able to share in a flat of between four to ten people in self-catered, while in catered you might be able to share in a hall of 200 people. Additionally, these flats may be clustered together in a student village or separate from other students. If you want to get involved in university life then clustered halls and ones with lots of people would be ideal for you. However, you may find this rather overwhelming, and a separate hall might be a better option.
A university’s accommodation brochure will give you all this information to help make your decision.
Who would you like to share with?
Universities often offer some single sex accommodation whilst you may also be able to choose a hall that accommodates both postgrads and undergrads and returning undergrads, while others only accommodate new undergrads.
Any special requirements?
If you have specific disability requirements, most universities offer accessible accommodation for you to use, and can tailor you room to suit your needs. If you have dietary requirements, for example you only eat halal food, or you are allergic to wheat you might find that living in catered halls is tough and your own cooking will suit your needs better.