Student Life – Choosing Accommodation

The first semester at University can be exciting and nerve racking in equal measure! If you are just starting out at university, experiencing student life as a fresher and exploring your new city, there will be a lot on your mind, including where to live!


Meeting new people and finding your feet in a new city can be a great adventure but one of the most exciting aspects of being at university is the freedom to choose who you live with and where!


With this in mind we have put together a short blog post looking at the options available and things to consider when looking into accommodation.


What Types Of Accommodation Are Available?

Generally there are three main options, you can live in university managed accommodation (typically halls of residence) private rented accommodation or at home.


  • Halls Of Residence

Typically Halls are large blocks of flats or similar, housing hundreds of students, each with individual furnished bedrooms organised around corridors or apartments with shared kitchens, bathrooms can sometimes also be shared, although en-suite rooms are increasingly commonplace.


On the positive side, Halls are generally located on or close to campus and are often the first choice accommodation for new students. Bills are usually included and you will be right at the centre of student life with support from the university accommodation team on hand and most of the facilities you need such a laundrette etc nearby.


However living in Halls can have its downsides, your room may be quite small and in return for the convenience you will most likely find yourself paying more than you would in a private house or apartment, plus you don’t get to choose who you live with – which can make things tricky if you don’t get on with others on your corridor – and with so much going on Halls might not be the best option if you value your piece and quiet!


Another thing to consider is that shared areas come with shared responsibility and you’ll be collectively responsible for communal areas in your Halls, which means you have to contribute to any repairs.


Another thing to bear in mind is that some Halls have strict access and parking restrictions which can sometimes feel a little oppressive to your new found freedom, on top of this, parking permits often come at an additional cost per month.


Generally most students tend to look at other options when returning for the second year, after the initial buzz of student life has subsided. Some institutions can’t guarantee a place in halls after the first year and each university will have its own eligibility guidelines.


Halls can be a great option, especially in the first year where you can use life in Halls to make new friendship groups who you may wish to live with outside of Halls in future.


  • Private Rented Accommodation

 One of the most exciting things about starting university is a sense of new found freedom and choosing to live in private rented accommodation can be a great way to enhance your experience at university. This is the path that most students follow from the second year onward but it is also a choice that many first year students make.


With private rented accommodation you get to choose where you live, who you live with and what type of property you want to live in.


There is generally a much greater choice of property in university towns and cities than can be offered by Halls and the rents are usually cheaper than university provided accommodation. In addition, you will be able to stay in a whole house or apartment, rather than just a single room.


You can choose to live on your own in an apartment or house or share with a group of like-minded friends, spreading the cost of the rent and making sure you are living with people you get on with.


Most university cities/towns have accommodation hot spots that are close to shops, bars and food outlets but also offer relatively easy access to campus. You can get advice about the best locations from the university or speak directly to us here at Hannells Lettings.


One thing to bear in mind in choosing private rented accommodation is that bills may not be included. Some Landlords choose to offer to pay utilities as a part of the rent, however it is often cheaper to pay utility companies directly and this should be budgeted for. Of course if you choose to share with friends then certain bills such as gas, electricity, internet etc can be split.


You will need to be comfortable in contacting your Landlord or Lettings Agent to sort any issues that may arise, but if you have found a property through a reputable Letting Agent, this shouldn’t be a problem.


  • Living At Home

For many people moving away from home is one of the attractions of university life, however, if you’ve chosen to study locally, staying at home can offer great incentives.


It will save you money on rent and bills, it can be convenient and you will avoid some of the potential stress that can come with leaving family and friends and living with new people.


It’s worth remembering though that living at home could see you further removed from student life and it may be more difficult to make friends away from the social hub of Halls or a shared student house.


Making A Decision.

Choosing what type of accommodation to live in isn’t always an easy decision to make, so get as much advice as possible. You can always speak to family or friends who have been through university before and many universities invite you to attend accommodation days ahead of the start of term, where you can meet other students and find out more information about local rental properties that are available.


You can also check out property portals to find lettings agents in your chosen area and contact them directly to ask advice about what properties are available and which areas are popular.


Whatever route you choose, getting as much advice as possible is always a good idea.


You can find out more about student life including accommodation, managing money and getting student support here.


And to find out what student life is really like, check out this blog from UCAS:


If you want to search the best student accommodation that Derby has to offer, just head over to the Hannells search page by clicking here!


And if you need any advice about private rented accommodation, don’t hesitate to get in touch either by email to or by calling the Hannells team on 01332 294396!



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