Should I Live At Home or in Halls? FAQ & Chat Megathread Watch

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Origami Bullets
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This sticky replaces the old megathread, which grew from a single question. This is the new place for all your questions and chat on the subject of whether you want to move into halls or stay at home for uni.

Finance
Probably the most commonly cited reason for living at home is finance, and the belief that it will be far cheaper to live at home. However, for many people it is no more expensive to live in halls. Things you should take into account include

  • Travel costs – this is clearly going to vary from person to person, but you should check out www.nationalrail.co.uk for train prices, and if you will have to take a bus include that too. Base your calculations on having to be in uni five days a week, by 9am. Even if you are on a course that only has 8 contact hours a week, you can be in for five days a week. If you plan to drive, be aware that most universities have no free parking unless you have a blue badge, so you will probably have to pay for parking too.
  • The time taken for you to travel in to / home from uni. Ensure that you calculate the door-to-door time, not just the time spent on the train. Now, what else could you do with that time? If you (say) had a one hour commute each day, that's 10 hours a week. If you were to spend 10 hours a week in a part time job, you would earn at least £61.90 (i.e. most of the cost of a place in halls), and you would have the work experience that graduate employers want to see.
  • Taxis – when you do go on nights out with friends from uni, consider how you will get back home again. You can't count on being able to sleep on someone's floor – especially in the early days as you won't know them well enough, and public transport will have stopped running.
  • Your parents may charge you rent
  • Student Finance – if you live at home, you will receive around £1,100 less per year in the form of maintenance loans
  • Bursaries – many universities include money off accommodation as part of their bursary package.


Social Life
It's not impossible to make friends if you live at home, but you are making your own life harder. There are, for most people, three main sources of friends: course, halls and societies.

If you live at home, then clearly you won't have any friends from halls, and depending on the uni this may mean that Fresher's Week is something of a write off too, because most people will go out with their new flatmates.

Some courses don't socialise with each other – mine doesn't, for instance. I'm a perfectly social person with plenty of friends from outside my course, but I don't know anyone from my course who is more than an acquaintance. This tends to be more common for people on larger courses where group work is not a regular feature of the degree.

Societies can be a good way to make friends, but do be aware that some societies are such an intense commitment that living at home just makes participation impractical to the point of being impossible. For instance, in first year I was part of a sports society that involved practice around 3 times a week, more in summer, and often starting at 6am, plus gym sessions, plus weekends away to compete. It was hard enough when I was living in halls, but not one person who was living at home managed to get (and stay) involved. This isn't the case with all societies, as some will only want you to do stuff once a week, but the more intense societies do tend to be the ones where lasting friendships build up.

Independence
For many people, moving away from home is a chance to gain independence from their parents, and to learn life skills. Living in halls means that your mum isn't going to be telling you to tidy your room, but you will have to learn to cook and do your own laundry (which, let's face it, you've got to learn how to do sooner or later). Of course, this can lead to some mishaps (which will invariably later be told as funny stories!), but invariably communal areas will be cleaned by a cleaner, which keeps the worst of it under control. Many people cite this as being one of the more valuable aspects of going to uni.

Academia
Unlike at A Level, even when degree courses at two different universities have identical names and UCAS codes, they will invariably have very different content. This is because what's taught tends to be based around the staff's research and interests, and each university gets to set its own exams. This means that if you move away from home, then you will have far more choice between courses, and will be able to find a course that suits you best.

Depending on your grades and where you live, you may be able to get into a better uni if you move away. For instance, I am from Bristol, but I didn't have the grades for University of Bristol. I did have the grades for UWE, but by choosing to move away I was able to get offers from Russell Group universities including Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds.

When you're actually at uni, being close to campus has the advantage of easy access to facilities such as the library. This means that if you suddenly realise you need a book, it's really easy just to pop over and get the book out rather than having a two hour round trip (which, let's face it, isn't going to happen).

This may be just me, but I actually found it easier to work in halls than I did at home. This was because whilst my parents found it impossible to comprehend that coming in every five minutes to chat / asking me to look after the grandparents / similar wasn't conducive to working, my flatmates (a) had work of their own to do, and (b) understood that if my bedroom door was shut, then I was probably working and so shouldn't be disturbed if possible.

Finally, at my own university (and I have no reason to believe that this isn't something that isn't replicated at other unis), the group that is most likely to drop out of university is those that are living at home, which is food for thought.

With all that said, living at home can be better if . .
  • You have significant family responsibilities e.g. you are a carer for a family member, or you have a child of your own. In the latter instance, some universities do offer family accommodation, but you may find that the support you get at home (e.g. childcare) is worth staying at home for
  • You have significant mental / physical health problems that mean you can't live independently, even with support from the university. Universities do have excellent disability support services, and can provide you with adapted accommodation, a non-medical helper, equipment and various other means of support, so I would urge anyone in that situation to talk to their university before making any decisions, but for some people living at home will turn out to be the only realistic option.
  • If you live next door to the university, then it probably will work out cheaper, but there are still all the other factors (e.g. social life and independence) to consider, though as mentioned above not all unis will give you accommodation if you live nearby.


So are there any benefits to living at home?

  • Mum will (probably) still do your washing and cooking for you (though some will say that this is a point where you should be gaining independence and learning to do these things for yourself)
  • If you have many friends who are not going to uni / living at home for uni, then it can be easier to stay friends with them. However, be prepared for people to drift as they get jobs elsewhere, go to uni elsewhere and make new friends. It's unlikely that things will remain how they were at school / college. In addition, it will make it harder to make new friends at uni.
  • You get to see your family every day (though you may, or may not, see this as a benefit!)
  • Finance (possibly - see above)


Compromise?
One option can be to move into halls for first year, and then make a decision about second and third year later on. By that point, you know what living away from home is like, so you can make an informed decision, and you will have made a group of friends that you will keep for the rest of your degree.

The only potential snag to this is that some universities won't offer local students a place in halls, though this does vary from uni to uni. If this is the case, then you could
  • try and find out how likely it is that a place will become available in uni halls in the first few weeks of the year
  • opt for private halls
  • find a room in a house share

I know quite a few local students who moved into halls, and only one has chosen to move back home, which indicates to me that they prefer living away from home!



This is intended to be a work in progress, so I'll incorporate your questions / comments / criticisms into this post as time goes on :cool:

Last edited by 04MR17; 1 month ago
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melodyogbebor
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I do think it is worth living in halls, though it is important to think about the costs, Halls is definitely the best option. You will meet so many new people, and correct if me I'm wrong, but isn't that what 1st Year is about. Meeting so many new people, so in your 2nd year you can move out and live with the new friends that you've met.

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TheSownRose
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I admire the intention of this post, but (probably unintentionally) it comes across as very negative towards living at home. Apart from the brief section at the end, you provide very few examples of where living at home does have the advantage.
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Potally_Tissed
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(Original post by TheSownRose)
I admire the intention of this post, but (probably unintentionally) it comes across as very negative towards living at home. Apart from the brief section at the end, you provide very few examples of where living at home does have the advantage.
It's not finished yet What else would you suggest as reasons in favour of living at home?
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Ras17
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Great post. And I can relate to it, particularly the social aspect.

Living at home does have some advantages though.

- The obvious financial one
- Not having to live with flatmates that get on your nerves (to put it mildly)
- Living local means you can stay in touch with a lot of your old friends
- Keep close ties with family. I know independence is important, but for example, I would've missed my nephew growing up had I moved away and I love the kid to bits
- Chances are you'd know your own city quite well, which could be an advantage to make friends with course mates who are new to the city

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I'm sure there more!
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username1229387
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I can relate entirely to the agonising decision over whether to move into halls or stay at home. Door to door is around a two hour and ten minute trip for me, which is fine and fortunately I enjoy trains which eradicates the travel as a negative from my own conundrum.

I moved out in my first year into what would have been halls of residence, only for the fact I later found myself at Pontins holiday park which was then forty minutes via a university provided coach to the campus itself. Needless to say, I was not at all disheartened and count my novel first year accommodation as fantastic fun. In second year, indecisiveness and lack of housemates led to me remaining at home and commuting whilst my girlfriend stayed in Cosmopolitan accommodation with nobody who spoke her language. So you could say I have seen both sides to the argument in some way.

In September, I will be heading into my final year and this summer a painful decision awaits me. I have a reserve job on campus as a student assistant within halls, faintly similar to warden type duties. Regardless of whether I remain on the reserve list or am promoted I am given a room in halls, for which I still pay, reserve position or not. My other option is of course to remain in my idyllic and cushy home life for another year.

Remaining at home though I still pay my way is so much more financially stable, I have money to pretty much do what I like, which is nice. Though I cannot help but ponder if I am having the university experience I want especially socially. They say university is the best days of your life, though I am enjoying it very much, I cannot help wonder what it could be like.
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jonathanemptage
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(Original post by TheSownRose)
I admire the intention of this post, but (probably unintentionally) it comes across as very negative towards living at home. Apart from the brief section at the end, you provide very few examples of where living at home does have the advantage.
The truth of the matter is because living away in halls is actually most of the time and for most people the better or most practical option.

also it's a lot more fun
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Origami Bullets
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I've added in done stuff at the end about potential benefits of staying at home

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Creat0r
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Just finished my first year at uni and I lived at home, I have desperately been gathering money for summer rent and deposit for a student house for second year and here's why:

1. People go out on a whim in halls, "let's go to the cinema I'm bored", although I was invited to go clubbing and the pub all the time I still missed out on that whole student feeling.

2. It's just like living at home and going to college.

3. NOBODY understands you're at university, they know you go to a place called 'uni' but nobody takes it seriously. You will be sat in your room revising or trying to get your head around an essay with your mum or dad nagging you like you're are dossing around in your room. My mates would come round and I would always have to make up an excuse to make them go away as stating you're busy with uni work isn't good enough.

4. I could never just nip into the library, I would have to plan it out and get the bus into the city just to get a book.

5. You aren't independent, you save money because you live at home, you will see your student mates shopping in Tesco or Home Bargains and you might often find yourself as being the odd one out. They could say to you "you're lucky to save so much more money" but deep down they wouldn't change it for the world, whereas YOU are probably going home to mummy 'cause tea's ready.

6. You may have mates at uni, but you won't be as close with them as they are with the people they live with, eat with, **** with, drink with, wake up looking like Liz Jones with. Although I could stay in the halls on someones floor after a night out I was the one they felt sorry for waking up with a huge hangover making my way home on public transport.


Yes, I am finally moving out and I know I won't regret a minute of it even if I am skint. At least I can then say I did it, that I was an impoverished student that had the best time of his life full of memories and nostalgia for years to come, not the guy who goes "yeah, I stayed at home, saved so much money" (loser)
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Stylo92
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Stayed at home for 2 years of Uni already. Thought it was okay and wen't out now and then, and not being that keen on the club scene that suited me fine. Saved a lot of money as others have said and my job is near-enough just down the road from my house. Also got to stick around for my nan as my Grandad passed away last year.

However, generally had the sense that I was missing out, and felt that mates that had moved away (apart from one) had a better experience than I have. I'm guessing part of that is because of the independence.

Have the chance to move out next month (paid deposit months ago) and am still undecided for a couple of reasons:
- I'm currently taking driving lessons and having passed my theory, and will soon (within the next 2 months) take and hopefully pass my practical. So would like to buy a car soon, but the house I could move into is quite pricey.
- Job, as mentioned in first paragraph, is about 10 minutes away at the moment. It would be about 40-50 mins away if I move away.
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ChloeBelle
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I'm in Year 13 and am currently trying to decide both what course to do and which university to attend. I'm torn, as I seem to have very limited choices; I live in Hertfordshire and would ideally like to commute, however, no nearby unis offer my desired course of English Literature and Journalism, so I would be forced to study either English Literature or Journalism and Creative Writing. The obvious answer would be to move away from home, however, I am reluctant to do this for a number of reasons:

1. I am a very homely person, my family means a lot to me and I can't bear the thought of leaving them for months on end.

2. I'm part of an amazing dance group and a drama society which I'm completely loyal to - as much as I love performing, I would never join another anywhere else.

3. My heart sinks when I think of leaving my boyfriend for long periods of time. I know it's a stupid reason not to move away, and I know our relationship would stand the distance, but I honestly can't imagine me being very happy without him by my side. He can't come with me, either, as he commutes to a uni not for from where we live.

However, I'm really worried about the lack of social life when you're a commuter. I know people currently as unis ranging from Wales to Coventry to Cambridge and to Essex, and they're always out and have made stacks of friends after only a month or so. How much do commuters miss out? I'm not a big clubber, but the one thing I don't have at home is many friends, and I really don't want to miss out on the opportunity to make some. I'm also a bit gutted that I can't do my ideal course from home, and that I can't find the perfect uni - I have to settle for whatever I can.

Any advice? I'm so jealous of all my friends who are at the uni of their choice and are having an amazing time! :'(


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ChloeBelle
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Bump.


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SpicyStrawberry
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I'm in third year of uni and have commuted 30 miles each day, which takes around an hour, ever since I started and it hasn't impacted on my social life at all as luckily I live very close to Manchester city centre where all the nightlife goes on and I've made lots of friends on campus, many of whom also commute. I'm not much of a drinker myself but still go out each weekend if I'm not working, there's a nice balance there.

I suppose it depends on where you live and how much you value the "student experience" - I personally felt that there was no point me moving out at such a large expense when I'm happy at home where I can commute and still get to see my friends and family all the time. The idea of living in halls and constantly moving around, and chances are having to move back home anyway after finishing the course just didn't appeal to me. You still gain life skills by living at home if you're used to looking after yourself, cooking, cleaning, budgeting etc. I should also add that the nightlife near the campus I actually study at is terrible and when I talk to people who live on campu they say they wish they lived as close to Manchester as I do (and many have moved into Manchester to get the train each day because of this). This is quite an unusual situation though, as most campuses are close to lots of nightlife but where this one is it's very dull!
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BlueSheep32
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I know a few people who commute to uni; some of them aren't very involved with university life at all whereas others do have a very good social life, so it all depends on you really. You can get involved as much or as little as you want to! My uni has a Home Students Association who put on social events & stuff so that people who live at home can meet others who live at home - from what I can tell they're quite an active society, so if you do end up commuting then it'd be worth seeing if your uni has one. You can always stay over with friends who live on campus if you want to go on a night out with them or something.

One thing I would say is: don't limit your university choices just because you want to live at home - if none of the unis that are within commutable distance offer the exact course you want to do then don't be afraid to go a little bit further afield and move out. If you stay near enough to home you'll still be able to see your boyfriend or go home pretty regularly, although you probably wouldn't be able to continue with the dance group and drama society (having said that one of my friends in first year used to make the 45 minute train journey home during the week so he could carry on going to his drama group). But it's up to you and as long as you make an effort to get as involved as you can in university life then I don't think commuting would be much of an issue in terms of missing out on the social aspect
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la-dauphine
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I agree with BlueSheep32 - the course should always come first, although maybe you could find a uni with good transport links to home. You might find that moving out does you a lot of good; after all, presumably you won't be living at home forever, and uni is a good way to get used to flying the nest because most people are in the same boat. I can't comment on whether it impacts your social life, because I think it very much depends on the individual, although my friend lived with his grandparents during his first year at uni and kind of regretted not having the full 'student experience' (although it saved him a lot of money).
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gr8wizard10
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Whatever you feel's best, Judging on your personal circumstances it would seem commuting would be favorable. However as SpicyStawberry suggested there's an opportunity cost involved where you may not reap the full benefits of the 'student life'. You should try and draw out the benefits and disadvantages of both staying at home and commuting or moving. Best of luck regardless.
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(Original post by SpicyStrawberry)
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Agreed. I've commuted to uni for two years now because I was too close to justify moving out, and it's saved a hell of a lot of money, I still see my old friends from sixth form AND I made new ones. If anything it's given me a better social life than if id moved into halls, and like you say it doesn't mean you're not learning to be independent unless you don't make an effort to learn stuff.

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ChloeBelle
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Thanks, everyone! I think that I judge the whole commuter/no social life thing on my boyfriend, as he has friends at home and attended uni purely for the studying, not for the social aspect. He's also, according to him, past the age of wanting to go out a lot. I, on the other hand, am relying on uni as a way of making new good friends for life.


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New- Emperor
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well it seems to me (and i am sorry) that you have no choice you gotta go move out think of it this way.

1. you know that you and your BF can weather through this so it's not a huge problem you can always visit each other.

2. It is a chance to make some new mates.

3. living away from home is a big step (I am a bit like you and really close with my family) but if you get stuck in (clubbing turned out to be quite fun) living on your own is a total blast.

4. most of my mates that stayed at home felt that they were missing out a bit.

5. you won't wast time travailing so you have more time to study.

6.you swill lean so much out of the family home and prove to yourself that you can live on your own and you can always come home at weekends.

7 as for the clubs at home I am shore that y they will understand if you only do it in the holidays whale you are at uni.

at the end of the day of course it is up to you so have fun and enjoy yourself living away from home is not as hard as you may think.
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Sheldor
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Wouldn't it be easier to move out for uni, where there is a large support system, everyone is getting to grips with moving out and you don't have to worry as much about certain things than later on when you have to get a job to pay the rent whilst looking for internships , graduate positions, etc.

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