Soon-to-be students often find themselves in this quandary: Where will I be happiest living, halls or a house?
Your friend’s brother’s girlfriend told you: “You won’t really experience uni properly if you don’t live in halls.” But halls don’t look anywhere near as nice as the houses you have been eyeing up online – and admittedly it is just as expensive.
So what do you do? Slum it out in halls like you’re “supposed” to or forgo uni accommodation in favour of a more adult option: renting a house or flat.
Now, only you and you alone can make that call but we are here to offer you a little guidance along the way to find what is best for you.
Living in halls
There are more people to meet in halls
If you move into a house or flat you are likely to be sharing with just a few people, whereas in halls you will be close in proximity to a huge pool of potential friends.
In most halls, there are hundreds of rooms, so you are bound to find a range of different people you connect with.
Catered halls eliminate the need to cook
If you don’t fancy cooking, no worries, you can select catered halls which are usually more expensive but mean your food is provided for you. Hot meals without having to lift a finger or even hand over any cash? Sounds ideal for many students.
If you struggle not to burn… well, anything you cook, then catered halls may be the one for you.
Bills are (usually) included
Unlike your friends who opted to live in a house, your bills are likely to be included in your halls rent. So no crying over unexpected surprise costs for you.
Cleaners will ensure your kitchen isn’t constantly filthy
Very few students can afford a cleaner but another bonus of halls is you will most likely have cleaners. Wave goodbye to nightmares of mouldy plates and cockroach infestations, halls are likely to be a lot cleaner than your average student house.
I could never be a student flat cleaner
— Chloe (@chloemellors_) April 28, 2015
LIVING IN A HOUSE
There are likely to be fewer distractions and disruptions
You can smile to yourself as you hear your coursemates’ stories of 3am fire alarms while you were happily fast asleep.
With fewer people running around, making noise and burning toast at all hours of the night, you are likely to get a bit more peace and quiet when you need it.
Better rested? Better prepared to tackle the day. Plus, when essay time comes, around you are less likely to be tempted out to see what all the chaos is.
The fact that the fire alarm has gone off 3 times since midnight is the exact reason why I won't miss halls
— meg (@meganjh_) May 13, 2016
You will be more keen to get involved in societies
Because there are going to be fewer people living in your student house than in halls (unless you live in a mega-house), you are likely to be more determined to meet other people. Instead of kicking back and waiting for people to come to you, you can branch out, be brave, and expand your friendship group yourself.
Taking matters into your own hands might seem scary, but in reality everyone is going to want to make friends too. So turn up to that society meeting, slap on a smile, and be your awesome self.
You will be more independent
You will quickly learn how to pay bills, cook meals and clean – among other adult skills – unlike your halls-dwelling peers who still call reception every time they run out of clean cutlery.
You can pick who you live with
Instead of living with people you have nothing in common with or don’t enjoy being around – which is always a risk with halls – you will be able to choose the people you live with. As a first-year student, this can seem a daunting task as chances are you don’t know anyone else going to your university, but the uni is likely to have people on hand to help.
So glad I didn't get into halls at uni now, being in a house is so chilled
— Lauren (@laurencooper_1) March 2, 2017
Some unis offer housemate matching services so have a look at your university’s website to see if they could help set you up with your new best pals before you go house hunting.