(Original post by studbs)
there are already plenty of threads about accommodation in general but I feel they are more addressing undergraduate students than postgraduates.
I will start my master's at Imperial College this fall and I'm currently thinking about how to deal with accommodation.
I do have a budget (around 160pw max) and now I'm wondering what's best: Living close to college or commuting every day to save money?!
Of course, if money allows, I would prefer living close to Imperial and it would be great if it is in walking (or biking) distance. Otherwise I will move outside of London ... Are there any good areas (especially for students) that are outside of London and nice to stay at? Maybe there are some students here that have already dealt with that question.
Also I'm wondering, is it worth saving some money by living outside of the city but then having to commute every day? It's probably quite frustrating to commute for an hour each morning/evening, right?!
Thanks for any answers!
There is no such thing as a best solution, it all comes down to your budget, needs and preferences. I know this is not the answer you're looking for but that's all there is to it. Do you put a premium on walking distance? Is the lowest possible living cost your priority? Would you mind a long commute? You need to ask yourself these questions and do your research accordingly. Essentially, it's all about the trade-offs. Personally, what I did was to calculate the cost of living for many possible scenarios, with figures on average: high rent but walking distance vs medium rent with short commute vs low rent with long commute etc; you get the idea. And besides the monetary cost, there is also the psychological cost. For example, some people really don't like using the tube as it can get hectic sometimes. From that perspective, it's not worth going for a cheap-rent-long-commute combo if that will make you miserable for a year.
As a rule of thumb, the neighourhoods surrounding Hyde Park can be quite expensive; Kensignton, Mayfair, Bayswater, Chelsea, Hampstead and Westminster are just some of them and they all have been historically upper-class, benefiting from the park itself, their central location and their great transport links. Of course there are always expections to the rules and you might be able to find a gem somewhere there, but with 160pw budget, logic suggests you should look elsewhere.
So the farther you move from Imperial, the cheaper it gets. You might wanna consider locations West of Imperial; Hammersmith, Fullham, White City and Shepherd's Bush are pretty popular choices among Imperial students from what I've seen. They're all kinda close to uni and rents are very reasonable and within your budget. Or you might wanna check locations South of the river, which can get signifcantly cheaper. But of course that might mean longer commute.
Also, dunno if you're aware but you could use Imperial Home Solutions (you can find it on the accommodation tab). It has flat ads from trusted landlords. There is also a message board with sections for students advertising available rooms and students looking for a room.
Sorry for the long post, hope that helps.