Wednesday, 12 March 2014

University can feel quite far away...

Although choosing which university you will study at is one of the biggest decisions you will make in life, there are other decisions surrounding this important one which will have a big influence on your life at Uni and these other decisions can have a big impact on your life.

One of the main choices you will have to make, after deciding on which University to study at, is where you will live whilst studying. There are several options open to you as a student. The obvious initial choice is perhaps University Halls. This is a great way to start student life it is a brilliant way to make friends and meet potential future housemates for when you decide in the future to move to privately rented accommodation. The great thing about Halls is that they are managed by the University; there is no need to be concerned with Landlords and bills as you pay one sum for your rent and bills inclusive whilst living in halls. You will be provided with a room with en-suite and communal areas for kitchens and laundry. There will be fridges and a freezer and oven, but you will need to provide pots, plates, cutlery and other kitchen equipment. It is worth considering, however, that you don’t get to choose who you live with! Don’t forget that there is no guarantee that you won’t have complete party animal neighbours and you may be drawn unwittingly into this lifestyle! You also need to consider that when a lot of students live in a small space the noise and mess is likely to be quite obvious and difficult to avoid. There will be parties and odd behaviour and students often don’t take great care of their surroundings – so consider that you will need to be comfortable living alongside this behaviour if you decide to move into halls. Living in halls is a gentler introduction to living outside of the home, and doesn’t throw you quite as far into the deep end as some of the alternatives for student living.

Moving into privately rented accommodation leaves you needing to arrange a contract with a Landlord and you will be responsible for ensuring your bills are paid for gas, electricity, water etc. If you are moving to a new area to go to University, you will not necessarily know anyone in the area so arranging a joint contract will be difficult. If the Landlord arranges all tenants and you are each jointly responsibly for the house, what happens if one of them causes some damage and won’t take responsibility? Remember that you will not know these people before entering into an agreement with them and then living alongside them! If one of them refuses to pay the electricity bill then how will you go about sorting the situation? You will need to be confident in managing a home and discussing concerns directly with the Landlord – if something needs repairing, you will contact them or the property management agency to arrange this.

If your family home is near to your university, living at home with your parents may be an option? The benefits involve food and a clean house, no noisy neighbours and of course a taxi service built in! It is also a lot cheaper. But consider that there may be boundaries alongside your free accommodation, including limitations on partying. Ultimately you will need to respect your family rules and this can limit the freedom you will have as a student.

Whichever option you choose, there will be more information available to you directly from your University and there will be student advisors who can talk through the pros and cons of each option to consider which option is most suitable for your requirements. Keep an open mind – this is all a new experience and there is a lot to learn along the way. You could also talk to local lettings agents to see which options are open to you; there will usually be an approved list of agents available from your university with trusted landlords.

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