Becoming a student

Introducing you to life at university

A guide to student accommodation

Finding the right student accommodation to suit you is important. It's probably the first time you've lived away, but don't worry, your university digs will soon feel like home. Here's our guide to the different kinds of student accommodation and some of their pros and cons to help you find your new home from home.

Accommodation options

University halls are one of the most popular types of accommodation for first-year students. They’re a great place to meet new friends as well as often being one of the cheapest options.

If you plan on going home outside of term time, then university halls could be ideal because the average contract length is 41 weeks, meaning that you won’t be paying for the time you’re not there. 

You could save money on travel too, because lots of university halls are either on or close to your campus.Make sure you find out where your halls would be and work out how much travelling you’d need to do so you can budget for travel cards or taxi fares.

The average rent at private halls (also known as ‘student villages’) can be slightly higher than university-owned halls, but bills are normally included.

Catering and cleaning aren't usually included, so if you want a bit more independence, but still crave being in that student environment, private halls could be perfect for you. 

Though they shouldn’t be too far away from the university campus, you’ll probably need to factor in travelling time and costs. Again, it’s a good idea to work out your route to and from university so you can factor any travel expenses into your budgeting.

The average contract length is 46 weeks, so it’s another good option if you expect to come home for certain periods of the year.

If you know people you want to live with already, you could look at renting a shared house together although it does mean a bit of extra organisation and self-reliance on your part.

You’ll need to take care of everything that goes with living independently including rent & bills, cooking, cleaning and putting the rubbish out. If something isn’t right with your property, like damp or a broken boiler, it’s up to you to make sure your landlord gets on the case. 

The cost of rent and contract length will vary from one place to the next, so make sure you compare plenty of options and find out the cost of travel too. Asking your university for a list of approved landlords and student friendly letting agents is a good place to start.

Choosing a shared house will mean arranging your own insurance to make sure your belongings are covered, you can find out more in our student guide to insurance below. 

Student guide to insurance

Most students own smartphones and laptops so it's worth taking the time to look into insurance. You might be able to extend your parents' home contents policy or it could be included in your student halls but it's always worth checking if you're covered. 

Below is our top five tips to student insurance.

  1. 1

    Check the terms and conditions of any student insurance package to make sure you have the level of cover you need.

  2. 2

    If you're remaining in your property outside of term-time, make sure you check the period of insurance as some policies only cover term-time.

  3. 3

    Make sure any specialist equipment that you want cover for are specifically highlighted to your insurance company.

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    Specialist equipment

    Items such as bicycles, musical instruments and course equipment could be seen as specialist. Expensive items such as these may need to be listed separately on your policy.
  4. 4

    If you're taking a car to university, make sure to your insurance provider is aware.

  5. 5

    Remember, even if you're living in shared accommodation each student is responsible for their own insurance policy. 

Ever wonder how much it will cost? Wonder no more.

For the fifth year in a row, we’ve published data to help you understand what it’s really like to be a student at university. We’ve asked 3,419 students across 35 popular university cities how much they spend on essentials like food, rent and bills, and how they juggle their time across studying, part-time work and socialising.

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