Believe it or not, if you’re in your first year at university, you’re already pretty much half way through – it doesn’t seem long since you were unpacking your bags and enjoying fresher’s week with a bunch of people you had never met, right?
Well, now that you’ve settled in, you’ve probably made a good group of friends and it’s time to start thinking about looking at your student accommodation for your next academic year. But before you rush into any decisions that you might regret here’s a few things to consider…
Decide Who You Are Going to Live With
First things first, you need to decide who you are going to live with. The great thing about second year at Uni is, you get to decide who you want to live with, rather than just being thrown into student halls with a selection of people you hope to get along with.
Question whether you want to live with the same people that you are already living with or if you would prefer to live with some different friends – really consider whether you are getting along with them. Seeing them in small doses might be great, but living with someone 24/7 can be very different and might take its toll.
Your friends annoying habits that you can deal with now, might get on your nerves when it’s a common occurrence on a daily basis – whether it’s being messy and refusing to participate in communal house clean ups or waking everyone up after a night out – these are things you need to consider before making the decision.
Furthermore, you need to decide how many people you want to live with as this will impact your house search and the type of accommodation that you live in.
Once you have decided on who you are going to live with, it’s time to get organised. A lot of first year students make the mistake of planning their student accommodation at the last minute, leaving them with the housing dregs that nobody wants. Nobody wants to end up paying a princely sum for lean-to under a railway bridge, two thousand miles away from the nearest bus stop.
On the other hand, first year students rush into signing the contract for the first house they see, thinking it’s a great house at a great price – only to later find that they are actually getting majorly ripped off and there is much better student accommodation around, after visiting their friends that have a nice shiny second year house.
Therefore, it is essential that you and your friends leave enough time to do your research properly. The ideal time is just before or after your Christmas break. Most universities have a list of recommended student accommodation, so look at a few of them before putting a deposit down anywhere – and if you get in early, you’re more likely to get the accommodation you want!
Select The Type of Accommodation You Want to Live in
There are lots of accommodation options that you can choose from. The most popular is probably shared housing, where you and your friends can enjoy living in a house together, giving it a very communal vibe. You can look for shared housing through various agencies, however, it’s worth noting that they often charge agency fees, so it might be beneficial to seek out a private landlord to reduce costs. (Remember to make sure you do your research on whatever company you choose, so you don’t get ripped off- unfortunately, some individual companies and landlords do whatever they can to squeeze as much money out of students as possible).
If you decide sharing a house isn’t for you, then there is always the option of private student accommodation, which has a similar vibe to halls. Touchstone Student Living are a renowned company, who offer student accommodation in London as well as other major university cities such as Manchester and Nottingham.
Most of all, good luck! After all, if it doesn’t work out there’s always that lean-to under the railway bridge…