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Student accommodation guide #1: university halls

Ucas application done, now the next challenge – sorting your university accommodation. If you’re considering university halls, here’s what you need to know…

We explain more about all the living options available to you in our student accommodation guide

Choosing university halls: pros and cons 

Halls are a popular choice for first-years, but are they right for you? Here are the pros and cons to weigh up before you complete your accommodation application. 


  • Generally convenient location: near to campus / the university community
  • Everything’s sorted for you: the rent usually includes bills and you’re likely to have maintenance staff on hand if you have any problems
  • Good for meeting other students: many in the same boat
  • Extra support: you're more likely to have good pastoral care services on hand, such as counselling and disability support.


  • Can be expensive: it’s worth comparing with other options and checking your budget first
  • No guarantees: you might not get a place in your preferred accommodation
  • Not 'your own space': some students feel it’s not very homely.
First year halls are a great experience. Even though the rooms are generally small and the bathrooms may be shared, they are a great way to meet people and most are very central.  Second Year Business Student | King's College London


Typical costs: halls vs. private rented 

While rent is inclusive of bills and contracts are slightly shorter than in the private rented sector, university halls is still overall likely to be the more expensive accommodation option overall.

According to the NUS Homes Fit for Study report, purpose-built student accommodation is a significantly more expensive option than privately rented accommodation, with average rents of £426 per month (versus £366 in the wider private rented sector).

In the city centre and on campus the university accommodation is very expensive considering it is the north and the rent is very high compared to private rent in a shared house. First Year Economics Student | University Of Leeds
Tip: It’s worth comparing with other options and checking your budget before you go for it – tools like Brightside's Student Calculator will help you do this. Chances are your maintenance loan might not completely cover your rent, so consider how you might make up the difference.

Also, don’t dismiss the cheapest halls – what’s more important to you, having an ensuite bathroom or enough money to have a good time? Often students report being happier in cheaper accommodation as they still have enough left over to enjoy themselves.

University halls: facilities checklist

If you've decided to go for halls, there is still plenty to think about, including: 
  • Huge range of room types (standard, ensuite, studio etc.), sizes and locations to choose from
  • Whether to go for catered or non-catered halls
  • Many universities offer specialist accommodation for disabled students or students with children, as well as offering you the chance to choose quiet or single sex areas.



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