So it's worth spending some time making sure you find the right place for you. Here are nine useful things to consider when hunting for your dream pad, with a little guidance from student accommodation experts Mansion Student.
1. Location, location, location
It might look pretty, but if home is a full day's march away from your lectures, it's quickly going to get in the way of your studies. Plus, you don't want to be living in the sticks when all your friends are in the heart of the action. A site close to uni means you'll feel more immersed in the student community and it will keep your transport costs down.
2. Know what you're paying for
Is the price you see all-inclusive or are bills extra? Find out in advance: all-inclusive pricing is less likely to cause headaches. There's no need to worry about large bills landing on your doorstep unexpectedly, no fall outs with friends, and bills are not the responsibility of one person.
3. Who fixes the broken bits?
Check if a residence has a maintenance team: they can come in handy when things go wrong, from broken bulbs to failing fridges. Mansion Student offers this service as standard.
4. Is the residence ANUK approved?
It's not essential to live in an accredited residence but, if you do, it means the owners have agreed to comply to benchmark standards in things like fire safety, facilities and repairs. All Mansion Student homes are ANUK approved: "It provides reassurance that the accommodation will be safe and well managed," says the Mansion Student team.
5. What's the room like?
Don't settle for cardboard walls, dubious mattress stains and broken internet points. You'll spend a lot of time in your room: see it first if you can, and make sure it's up to scratch. "The days of students living in rundown student accommodation are gone," says the Mansion Student team. "Students expect more, so all our properties are fitted to a high-standard."
6. Check out the communal spaces
Communal spaces (kitchens, common rooms, bathrooms) make the difference between a temporary residence and somewhere that feels like home. Mansion Student residences, for example, have flat-screen TVs in the shared spaces and some even offer gyms and rooftop gardens, so find out what you get beyond a cupboard and a shower curtain. (Definitely make sure you get a shower curtain.)
7. Find some community spirit
Halls are a great place to make new friends, and many will help you settle in with social events, so have a look and see what's on offer. “We want students to have the best experience so we have onsite events to bring people together,” says Mansion Student.
8. Settling in
Going to uni brings with it a whole host of changes and challenges. For starters, you’ll be living independently – and probably in a place that’s new to you. That means it’s important to have a good support network. All Mansion Student properties have hospitality teams, who are there to support students on a day-to-day basis. When you’re making the move from home to university life, it’s reassuring to know there’s someone nearby who can lend a hand when you need it. (And it should mean your folks don’t worry about you so much. Well, not too much, anyway.)
9. Find a place you'll enjoy living in
A residence that's cosy, comfortable and secure will contribute to a great university life. "It makes it a home away from home," says Mansion Student. "Moving to uni can be difficult so we want to provide the best possible living space we can to make people feel comfortable and happy, making the student experience even better."