Now you’ve got your course and university place sorted, it’s time to decide on where you’re going to stay.

There are a variety of different options available to you, so to help you make the best decision, we’ve weighed up the pros and cons of choosing student accommodation.

Halls of Residence

What are Halls?

Imagine a nest of students, all eating, sleeping and partying together. Essentially, that’s what university halls are.

For first year students, university managed halls are the best option. Providing a safe, social and enjoyable atmosphere, halls of residence are a great way to mix with other students and build friendships.

Usually located on or near campus, halls are perfect for getting to and from campus easily and efficiently.

When applying for halls you will have the opportunity to select a catered or self-catered form of accommodation. Catered accommodation comes with an additional cost which varies depending on the university.


The application process is relatively straight forward. Every university provides a step by step guide on how to apply for their halls, so check your chosen university’s accommodation page.

Hall places are typically prioritised for first years and international students. Contract lengths vary, therefore, be sure to take note as you may have to purchase summer accommodation if you’re not returning home.

Room Types

Depending on each individual hall, room types and facilities will change. Typically, halls consist of cluster flats. Cluster flats usually house between 4-8 students, however, room types differ.

Halls commonly accommodate three types of rooms:

Standard Single Bedrooms tends to be the most common style of room at university managed halls. The rooms are fully kitted with the necessary furniture and facilities including a bathroom and kitchen (if the hall is self-catered). This room type comes at the cheapest monthly rental cost; however, prices vary depending on university and location. 

En-suite Bedrooms is perhaps the most desired room type. Accommodating all the same necessities as the standard room, en-suite rooms also include their own bathroom and toilet facilities. Rental costs tend to be more costly for this form of accommodation and availability is limited.

Studios are the most exclusive room option on offer. Studio rooms are traditionally kitted with a bathroom, kitchen and living space, as well as all the necessary appliances and furniture. As the most comfortable room type, availability is restricted and rental prices are significantly more expensive. 


  • Great way to make friends
  • Bills are normally included in price, including Wi-Fi and water
  • Option of catered meals – cuts down on meal costs


  • Tends to be more expensive than private accommodation
  • No choice on who you live with
  • Communal facilities mean a lack of privacy and personal space

Privately-owned Halls

What are Private Halls?

Managed by private companies, private halls are another popular form of student accommodation. Like university managed halls, the private halls provide a safe, social and enjoyable atmosphere for residents.

Populated by fellow students, you will have the opportunity to network yourself, build friendships and gain contacts as you go along.


Usually, students must directly contact the organisation who manages the hall. From this, you will be able to rank your preferences for the accommodation such as room type and catering options. For more information, contact the university’s housing department.

Room types

Private halls have many of the same features as university managed halls. Room types are pretty much identical, with a mixture of standard, en-suite and studio rooms available.

Catering options vary depending on the individual hall and organisation, however, private halls with catered packages do tend to be more expensive.


  • Usually include utility bills in rental cost
  • Tend to be located close to university campus and student community
  • Good place to build friendships with students from other universities
  • Purpose built for students


  • Can be expensive
  • Lack of university support
  • Can be noisy
  • Can’t choose who you live with

Private Rental

What is Private accommodation?

After the first year of study, most students are expected to move out and gain their own form of accommodation with friends or flatmates. This leads students to the private sector.

Student accommodation is abundant within the private sector, with a range of houses, flats and apartments fully equipped for student living.

How do I get private accommodation?

Obtaining private housing can be a real challenge. Prospective buyers must meet with the landlord (at least once) to negotiate payment and contracts. Contracts can be another issue as different forms of contracts can affect your tenancy period.

Types of private accommodation

With an extensive list of accommodation options, the private sector is thriving with great housing options. From semi-detached houses to apartments and flats, cities are rich with private student accommodation. Whatever your preference, there’s sure to be something to suit you.  

For more information on types of private accommodation, check out sites such as Student Pad.


  • Can be cheaper than university hall prices
  • Give you a sense of independence – you can decide where you want to live and who with
  • Range of choices to suit your preferences


  • Must manage your own bills
  • Outside the university community 

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