University Accommodation: A Quick Way To Break The Ice

Deciding where to live during university can feel like navigating a minefield of difficult choices that could make or break the student experience. Should one opt for catered or non-catered accommodation, choose to live nearby or on campus, a spacious apartment or a humble one, and an ensuite or a shared bathroom?

Vivienne Robinson, the head of accommodation at Newcastle University, suggests that new students need not worry too much about minor details. She advises them to choose an affordable accommodation option, emphasizing that they can have a great time regardless of where they end up staying.

Nonetheless, the decision is not one to be taken lightly. Robinson highlights the importance of research. Students should visit university websites and brochures and attend visit days to gain an understanding of what each accommodation option provides. It is crucial to note that photographs may not necessarily reflect the actual state of the rooms.

It is best to begin by considering the most significant decisions. For instance, mixed-gender accommodation may not be suitable for everyone, and so students may choose to stick with their same-sex counterparts. Furthermore, students should keep their budget in mind. Ensuite bathrooms and proximity to university may increase accommodation costs. Therefore, one may opt to prioritize personal preferences, such as bed and sanitation arrangement.

Catering is a crucial consideration, but Robinson suggests that cost should not hinder decision-making. The difference between buying food and paying for a catering plan may be negligible. Instead, choose what appeals to you more. Catered students benefit from not having to grocery shop, cook, or clean, which is a plus for those with busy schedules or during exams. However, self-catered accommodation offers more flexibility for students with dietary requirements or those who enjoy cooking.

Robinson highlights that horror stories about the quality of university accommodation are often unfounded. While quality varies, all accommodation meets national codes like UUK or ANUK. Moreover, living within university halls provides advantages over private renting in the first year. This is where students can form their first friendship groups, and facilities like laundry and vending machines, bars, and recreation rooms are often available. Inclusive rent payments make budgeting easier, negating the risk of shocking electricity bills when student loans run low.

Finally, university accommodation is often the first time students move away from home, and it is reassuring to know that there is always security or a friendly colleague nearby.


  • owengriffiths

    Owen Griffiths is 35 years old and a blogger and teacher. He has written about education for over 10 years and has a passion for helping others learn.