The Student Room Group

Private Vs Uni Halls

What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Uni halls.

I have never understood people’s desire to stay in private halls for ‘nicer’ accommodation. You are a student and should spend your money on going out, meals, studying etc. not paying another landlord’s mortgage (just my opinion though).
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Uni halls, not all of them are bad. First year should be the focus for getting to know people so you’ll want to be with people from your uni specifically and close if not on campus. Second year is where you have your friends and you all move out and live together.

Everyone’s in the same boat for first year at uni, socially, so you need to make the choice that will help you interact with the most people.

My accommodation at my uni is really nice and on campus, i’ve got en-suite and sky light windows. Perfect to quickly nip to lectures and socialise around the area.

For sussex, I would definitely stay on campus as all first years will be in the same area. Sussex isn’t like an inner city campus where accommodation and blocks are spread out across the centre. Sussex would be a lot more isolating and you may struggle socially to make some core friends in first year otherwise. I’m not so sure about Cardiff though.
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Hi there,

I think university owned halls are a great choice for first year.

First year is the time to get to know people and it helps to be in large halls - this is where I made a lot of the friendships I still have now. Being located on or near campus in your first year is also helpful, as you can get familiar with the campus and be close to all of the activities that go on without feeling super isolated.

Second year is the time to be looking at private accommodation once you have people you'd like to live with, although there is no problem with living in university owned halls again.

I'd just say be mindful of how much you'd spend for a 'nicer' accommodation. Consider what you want your student life to be like, e.g., eating out, nights out, trips, and shopping, and make sure you don't stop yourself from fully enjoying your experience.

I hope this helps,

Isabella
Third-year Geography with a Year Abroad Student
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Cardiff University student here! I would say for first year, going with university-owned student accommodation is a good idea 🙂 I'd only say this because most of the people in private accommodation and 2nd years+, whilst uni-owned accom is mostly first years. It's a great social environment to be in!

Also, in Cardiff, all the university owned accommodation has a Residence Life Team. They help you with any problems you might have in your accommodation, such as helping you move out of your flat into a different accommodation if you had problems, which private accom might not do, for example. Another plus is that the Residence Life Teams hold social events for students often, which tend to be quite fun.

I wouldn't say that choosing private wouldn't hinder your socialising though if you are good at being social in, for example societies or in the wider space - not everyone becomes friends with their flatmates, after all. I think private accom is also good if you want a quieter space to live.

Really depends on your preferences at the end of the day!

~ Fatiha, Cardiff University Student Rep
(edited 2 months ago)
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Hey there,

Firstly, I wanted to remind you that student finance might cover at least some of your accommodation expenses :smile:

I have lived in both uni run accommodation sites and private ones, and I would say that I haven't noticed much of a difference. It depends more on the type of accommodation you are looking for. Universities do not usually provide studio rooms, so if you are looking for maximum privacy of studios - most likely you will need to look into private providers. If en-suite rooms or rooms with shared bathroom are suitable for you - I would go with university owned halls, as they are cheaper and usually not worse than private ones.

Please, let me know if you have any questions,
Ilya :smile:
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 6
Original post by De Montfort University
Hey there,

Firstly, I wanted to remind you that student finance will cover all your accommodation expenses :smile:

I have lived in both uni run accommodation sites and private ones, and I would say that I haven't noticed much of a difference. It depends more on the type of accommodation you are looking for. Universities do not usually provide studio rooms, so if you are looking for maximum privacy of studios - most likely you will need to look into private providers. If en-suite rooms or rooms with shared bathroom are suitable for you - I would go with university owned halls, as they are cheaper and usually not worse than private ones.

Please, let me know if you have any questions,
Ilya :smile:

Hi! I think it’s more I just want to know I have my own space that I can make feel homely and a lot of the uni halls seem a bit grotty for lack of a better word 😂 I struggle a bit with cleanliness and definitely want my own bathroom but I was thinking to still have a shared kitchen for the social aspect!
Can I ask when you stayed in private accom did you make new friends with your flatmates or stick to your other friends/ already know most of them? I’m trying to work out what would be a good balance for me as I don’t go on nights out very often at home but would probably go more to flat parties and things because I prefer them - are they more common in uni halls
Original post by geeismee
Hi! I think it’s more I just want to know I have my own space that I can make feel homely and a lot of the uni halls seem a bit grotty for lack of a better word 😂 I struggle a bit with cleanliness and definitely want my own bathroom but I was thinking to still have a shared kitchen for the social aspect!
Can I ask when you stayed in private accom did you make new friends with your flatmates or stick to your other friends/ already know most of them? I’m trying to work out what would be a good balance for me as I don’t go on nights out very often at home but would probably go more to flat parties and things because I prefer them - are they more common in uni halls

Hello!
Lancaster has been rated best university halls 8 times since 2010 and has such a variety of accommodation types that suit everyone! They are regularly updated and often have maintenance checks. At Lancaster there is such a variety of accommodation options from en-suites to townhouses. A shared kitchen is definitely recommended to first years to encourage making friends. I personally don't enjoy going out but I have found friends who also don't enjoy that and enjoy doing other things! Flat/house parties are almost guaranteed in campus accommodation but are still safely controlled by college porters! Here is the link to Lancaster's accommodation types but I hope you find what you are looking for! https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/accommodation/undergraduate/#is-there-any-building-work-on-campus-403345-14

Hope this helps,
Lucy (Lancaster University Student Ambassador)
Original post by De Montfort University
Hey there,

Firstly, I wanted to remind you that student finance will cover all your accommodation expenses :smile:

I have lived in both uni run accommodation sites and private ones, and I would say that I haven't noticed much of a difference. It depends more on the type of accommodation you are looking for. Universities do not usually provide studio rooms, so if you are looking for maximum privacy of studios - most likely you will need to look into private providers. If en-suite rooms or rooms with shared bathroom are suitable for you - I would go with university owned halls, as they are cheaper and usually not worse than private ones.

Please, let me know if you have any questions,
Ilya :smile:


I just wanted to say that this isn’t always the case. For a lot of students such as myself (middle class especially) maintenance loan does not cover the cost of rent and my parent has to chip in (either that or me getting a stable job).

Some universities do offer studio rooms owned by the university, it depends on the university, mine does for example but that doesn’t seem to be the case with every university.

OP I would agree with everyone else though and recommend halls unless you really want a studio or private accommodation is cheaper.

Maybe look at the accommodation online to see if you like it.
Reply 9
Original post by CardiffUni Rep 2
Cardiff University student here! I would say for first year, going with university-owned student accommodation is a good idea 🙂 I'd only say this because most of the people in private accommodation and 2nd years+, whilst uni-owned accom is mostly first years. It's a great social environment to be in!

Also, in Cardiff, all the university owned accommodation has a Residence Life Team. They help you with any problems you might have in your accommodation, such as helping you move out of your flat into a different accommodation if you had problems, which private accom might not do, for example. Another plus is that the Residence Life Teams hold social events for students often, which tend to be quite fun.

I wouldn't say that choosing private wouldn't hinder your socialising though if you are good at being social in, for example societies or in the wider space - not everyone becomes friends with their flatmates, after all. I think private accom is also good if you want a quieter space to live.

Really depends on your preferences at the end of the day!

~ Fatiha, Cardiff University Student Rep

Thanks for replying! Do you know if there’s opportunities to visit the Cardiff accom at all? I guess it was probably earlier in the year for sep 24 entry?
Original post by geeismee
Hi! I think it’s more I just want to know I have my own space that I can make feel homely and a lot of the uni halls seem a bit grotty for lack of a better word 😂 I struggle a bit with cleanliness and definitely want my own bathroom but I was thinking to still have a shared kitchen for the social aspect!
Can I ask when you stayed in private accom did you make new friends with your flatmates or stick to your other friends/ already know most of them? I’m trying to work out what would be a good balance for me as I don’t go on nights out very often at home but would probably go more to flat parties and things because I prefer them - are they more common in uni halls

They are much more common in uni halls, it’s where first years congregate. I get your concerns about cleanliness and making a place feel homely, but uni accom or private you’ll have this problem.

In terms of cleanliness, it’s about the people you share with, and for homeliness, all you have to do is bring your furnishings and make it feel like a home from home. 🙂

For first year I would highly suggest uni accom regardless as from my brothers experience, he started at Nottingham and then left as he didn’t make a single friend from his accom location and struggled on campus as his subtopic lessons always had different people in. I believe (personally) that first year flat mates are the crucial foundation to making friends elsewhere in the uni experience.
Original post by geeismee
Hi! I think it’s more I just want to know I have my own space that I can make feel homely and a lot of the uni halls seem a bit grotty for lack of a better word 😂 I struggle a bit with cleanliness and definitely want my own bathroom but I was thinking to still have a shared kitchen for the social aspect!
Can I ask when you stayed in private accom did you make new friends with your flatmates or stick to your other friends/ already know most of them? I’m trying to work out what would be a good balance for me as I don’t go on nights out very often at home but would probably go more to flat parties and things because I prefer them - are they more common in uni halls

Hi again,

When I lived in the en-suite room with shared kitchen I had made a lot of friends! However, it does depend on people who you live with :smile:

I would advise you to have a look at accommodation during Open Days to get an idea of what it looks and feels like,

Let me know if you have questions,
Ilya
Original post by geeismee
Thanks for replying! Do you know if there’s opportunities to visit the Cardiff accom at all? I guess it was probably earlier in the year for sep 24 entry?

No worries!

Yes, there are opportunities to see Cardiff accom on Open Days, but unfortunately the next open days are a little later in the year, on the 5th and 6th of July! If you need to research your options sooner then I really recommend looking at YouTube room tour videos that students make, I'd say it's pretty accurate of what you should expect 🙂 It's how I made my decision on which accommodation to chose!

When it comes to private accommodation though, they're usually happy for you to give them a ring or an email to arrange a viewing.

~ Fatiha, Cardiff University Student Rep
(edited 2 months ago)
Reply 13
I picked a private studio over uni halls for first year and loved it! I had saved up enough to have a nice chunk of money to spend and it genuinely wasn’t much more than uni halls.

Loved having my own space to settle into and could rebook the room again if I wanted to. Glad I didn’t have to share a kitchen or bathroom! Some uni spaces are genuinely so grim so it felt great having my own clean space.

I genuinely don’t think it impacted my social life much. Most private accoms host their own social events and there are plenty of new students who are looking to make friends there! If the price doesn’t bother you and you really value your space then I’d absolutely recommend private!
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Hi,

Personally I have lived in university halls all 3 years of my undergrad degree and have found it to be great. I found it a great way to get to know others in my university and I have lived with the same girls all 3 years who are now my closest friends.

Although I never personally considered private halls, I can see why it would be appealing however don't discount uni halls straight away as although it may not be as fancy as private halls, it is a lot less expensive and that is money you could be using to enjoy your first year in university. You may also be mixed with people from different universities in private halls which is something to also consider.

I hope this is of some assistance,

Mary
London South Bank University Student Rep - 3rd year Children's Nursing
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Hiya,

I would say it depends on what sort of person you are! Uni accomodation halls can be very nice buildings, but also loud late at night and in mine I lived with 9 other people in the same flat. Which can also get quite messy and lots of dishes in the sink!

Private accom might be for you if you have a very academically challenging course and would like to have uninterrupted study time, but you may not have as many opportunities to have as many of those 'uni moments' as in halls.

It does depend on your preference- that's just my experience! 🙂 I hope everything works out for you
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Hi there,

Generally I would recommend staying in uni halls. While private tends to be nicer quality and you'd likely get more space to yourself, it takes away from the social side of university halls. You get to bond very quickly in university halls and can have a lot of fun with your flatmates. It's great you have saved up but i would recommend saving as much as possible throughout your degree - uni halls are perfectly good to live in and overall if you really don't like then its only a year and trust me time goes by quickly !

Hope this helps,
Sophie
Original post by geeismee
What’s peoples opinions on staying in private vs uni owned halls in first year? Obviously private is more expensive but I’ve been working for the past year on my gap year and saved so that I can pay more for nicer accom so I don’t really mind about that. Is the social side better/worse in either or does it really just depend?
I’m choosing between Sussex and Cardiff if anyone knows specifically about them!

Private accommodation and uni halls both have their cons and pros. However, it’s best recommended to start your first academic year at uni halls, as you’ll get the chance to make new friends and form a community. If you want, later on in your second year, for example, you can find a private apartment with people that you want to live with. It’s very subjective, and it depends on your personal preferences. Consider what you want your student life to be like, e.g., eating out, traveling, and shopping. Remember that those are your youthful and memorable years, so try to make the best of them.

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