Returning Students – Halls or House Share?

Preparing for a return to Uni and not sorted accommodation yet? Don’t strike out halls!

I am just about to enter my final year at university and, differing to last year, have chosen to return to halls rather than rent a house.

While house and flat shares offer independence and may seem like a logical next step for students, mine had many problems. For instance, we woke one morning to find a gushing pipe in our kitchen – a leak that persisted throughout our exam period, subsequently affecting our concentration, and thus our results.

University-owned halls are, generally, better on plumbing; with teams on hand to sort out maintenance problems; creating a better working environment when important deadlines loom.

Of course, many students will find their houses to be leak free and will see living in private housing as a chance to be independent. However, for those that are considering a move back to halls, the benefits of doing so are manifold.

For example, another reason I am headed back is money – I need simpler finances.

University halls have a calendar that fits around students and these shorter contracts are far more convenient. Last year, my landlord demanded we pay our rent quarterly; but because our lease began in June and our loans arrived in September, I had to borrow money from my parents to pay my first instalment – something I felt uncomfortable with.

Students in their second and third years are also often put off returning to halls as they fear being the ‘old student’ in a corridor of freshers. However, students need not share halls with first years unless they want to.

Despite perhaps missing out on a bit of domestic independence, halls of residence have so many benefits that they deserve consideration – and for students stuck for digs this year, some halls will still have places available.

My advice for those still looking – have a Google. Student halls have their email addresses and phone numbers online. Get in touch with your university accommodation office, explain your circumstances and ask whether they can squeeze you in.

You might have missed certain types of flat – returners’ halls are less common than freshers’ halls and might be full up – but a more general space is very possible and worth asking after, as long as you aren’t too picky about location and decor.

If the halls offered by your university are already full, keep in touch with the accommodation office regularly – rooms free up as other students pull out, and you can be placed on a waiting list and contacted when a space becomes available.

Many first years [-] rush into shared houses in second year, but, in my experience, halls are suited to many more people than apply for them.

We come to university to get a degree; so, ensuring you are in an environment that helps you get there is vital. A lot is at stake so the decision merits some thought. I could have settled for another house share – gone down the usual path – but I am so glad I made the choice I did.

Students headed back to house shares – good on you. Just don’t rule out student halls in the future, if you find the experience doesn’t live up to expectations.

Alex Dean is a third-year student at the University of Leeds
Twitter @AlexDean94
Original Post | Telegraph

What worked for you? Student Halls or House Share, and how do they compare?

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