Starting your journey as a university student can be overwhelming enough without the added stress of choosing your accommodation.
Especially if you’ll be living away from home for the first time.
From locations to internet connections, you need to cover all bases before making your decision – you don’t want to rush into it and regret anything down the line.
You want your accommodation to feel like home.
Here are some of the top things to think about when choosing your student accommodation in Liverpool.
Should you choose uni halls, private student accommodation or a private landlord?
Popular among new students, uni halls are large blocks of flats with individually furnished rooms.
Most universities guarantee their full time first year students a room in their halls, so they can be perfect for getting involved with freshers activities and meeting people quickly.
But this can vary and depends if you meet your course provider’s application deadline.
For example, if you got into university through clearing, you might be ineligible for uni halls, and have to go down a different route.
They typically are located right on your campus (if this isn’t the case they won’t be too far away) and places you in the heart of the bustling student community, which sometimes isn’t great if you’re after somewhere quieter to knuckle down on your studies.
Private student accommodation
Private accommodation is similar to halls.
The only difference is they’re owned by private companies, so they’re slightly more expensive.
Costs of private accommodation usually include additional expenses like energy and broadband bills, so that’s one less thing to worry about.
They usually offer a wider range of facilities, like en-suite bathrooms, cinema rooms, etc – so are perfect for socialising and living in comfort.
Renting privately is more popular with 2nd and 3rd year students.
But some first year students do decide to rent a house through a private landlord.
You have more control over who you live with if you rent privately.
This can be perfect for if you’re anxious about moving in with people you’ve never met or have your heart set on living in a certain area.
Student houses usually accommodate up to 5 people, and although it might seem cheaper sharing rent between you and your housemates, there are lots of hidden costs that add up.
Utility bills most likely won’t be included in your rent, along with any other additional costs, so it’s important you manage your budget effectively.
How much will it cost to live there?
Whichever route you decide to follow, prices will vary and rates will fluctuate depending on where you’re studying.
According to Unipol and the NUS, on average, students in the UK paid around £147 per week for their accommodation, while students in London paid an average of £178 per week in 2018-19.
If you’re living in halls, additional costs like electricity bills will be included in your rent, which can help you budget more effectively.
Renting privately might appear cheaper as you’ll be sharing the cost with your housemates, but any additional costs, like energy or broadband bills for example, will be your responsibility.
Make sure you fully understand how your charges are calculated or if there are any limits on usage.
Student budgets are notoriously restrictive – if you’re prepared you’ll find it easier to manage.
What’s the area like?
According to a survey by Downing Students, 86% of students across the UK said that location was an important factor when choosing where to live.
Think about convenience.
Can you walk everywhere?
Is public transport easily accessible?
How close are you to campus and other university facilities?
Where’s the nearest supermarket?
Which bars, restaurants and clubs are around?
Living further out might seem cheaper, but using buses, trams or taxis every time you have a lecture or go on a night out will add up quickly.
If you have room in your budget this shouldn’t be a problem.
But consider choosing accommodation that’s in close walking distance to everything you’ll need; the money you save can be put towards other expenses.
What internet providers are in the area and are they reliable?
Obviously as a student it’s important you have a reliable internet connection to meet those all important deadlines or stay connected with family and friends back home.
To find the perfect provider, consider how long you’ll be in your accommodation for, the speed you’ll need, how many people will be using it and if you’re interested in subscription TV.
It’s also important to read reviews and other students’ experiences with different providers to give you a better idea of the service you’ll get.
What facilities are available?
Spend time thinking about what facilities you want and which accommodations are able to offer them to you.
Maybe you’re bringing your car from home and need a safe place to park?
Or you’d prefer having your own bathroom for a bit more privacy?
Different accommodations will offer different facilities, so work out what’s really important to you and
explore all your options to make sure you’ll have everything you need.
Do you have everything you need?
Think of essentials.
What do you need for your bedroom?
Does your kitchen have all the necessities?
A quick internet search for your accommodation provider should tell you what they do and don’t have already there for you.
This will be helpful when shopping so you’re not spending money on unnecessary things.
It’s important that you read the terms and conditions of your agreement, so you know what you can and can’t take with you.
For example, most accommodation providers don’t allow candles, and ask that you opt for a safer alternative, like a reed diffuser.
Who else lives in the area?
Most university halls are in student hotspots in or just outside the city.
They’re a great place to live if you’re eager to get involved with freshers activities and really immerse yourself in the vibrant student culture.
If you’re looking for somewhere quieter and private, renting through a private landlord might be the best choice.
Properties can be located both in student or residential areas, in which case you should make sure you’re being respectful to your neighbours and their space – not causing any serious disturbance.
What do the reviews say?
Reviews will become your best friend when you’re picking your accommodation and help you answer some key questions.
Are your landlords helpful?
Are the facilities up to standard?
Is the building safe?
A quick Google search for student halls or private rented properties will reveal past students’ experiences with them, and give an idea what the area is like as well.
Moving away to university doesn’t have to be stressful.
Taking these things into consideration and exploring all the options you have available will make your decision miles easier.