Where to live at university?! Home Vs Halls

This may be a little late for those of you going to university in September, but this might be interesting for those of you guys looking to start in March or even starting to think about your UCAS application now!

I'm coming towards the end of my second year at university and whilst I've been lucky to live at home for the length of my degree, not everyone gets the chance to do that.....cue this blog post!

Whether you live at home or live in halls will really all depend on the university you go to. Some of you guys reading may want to stay close to home, whilst some of you may want to spread your wings and get away from the parental units for a while. Don't worry as much as you think you'll have 3 years of space, you will be back every time you get time off from uni!

Living at home
Dependent on which degree course you choose living at home can be one of the best things to happen to you! Doing my nursing degree has meant working crazy hours on placement with hours of travelling to and from, so living at home has meant that I haven't had to worry about doing a food shop or getting home at 10pm and having to make something for dinner. 


  • Living at home is generally cheaper than living away - primarily due to the fact you are living with your parents. Whilst I know people whose parents who don't ask for anything whilst they're at university, I prefer to give my mum 'rent' money that helps go towards buying healthier food options as well as things like electricity etc.
  • You don't have to panic about cleaning a whole flat as at home cleaning is split among the whole family.
  • You don't have to go through the whole moving everything you own in August/September every year.
  • You live with people you know you will get on with, even if you only get on with them for like 90% of the time!
  • I find that I don't stress about money half as much as some of my cohort as I am able to wangle like how much money I give my mum and then make it up the next month.
  • One disadvantage of living at home is that I live further away from 90% of my friends from university. For example if we all go out for drinks I either have to go home before 11.30pm or pay about £30 for a taxi home!
  • You don't get the independence you would if you lived away from home. For instance at the moment I 'feel' ready to move out into my own place (if only my monthly income could reflect this!) but I have a sneaking suspicion that when I actually move out I will be home sick for probably the first month!
  • One thing I noticed last year was that I was trying to be really good and eat healthier and at that time my family weren't so much bothered (saying bothered sounded bad, but my younger brother is a lucky one that can eat what he wants and not gain anything and my mum's partner is a night shift worker that spends his nights moving heavy stock palettes and constantly moving so he kind of gets away with it too). I found it so difficult especially on placement as I found that sometimes if I was out late in placement or university, I would come home and I'd already have a big heavy meal cooked for me, when I will have wanted something lighter and healthier.
  • One thing I have noticed about living at home and commuting to university is that if I am completing assignments and I suddenly realise I could do with a book on X which if I'm say on 'holidays' it would cost me at least £2.80 just to get that book, you couldn't just walk to university and pick it up.
  • Another massive one for me that university's don't advertise is that sometimes you be 'scheduled' for a 3 hour lecture, get there and then they let you go 30 minutes - 1 hour after it started! One annoying thing about my uni is we have compulsory tutorials we have to attend that last say 30 minutes, meaning I will travel a 20 mile round trip for 30 minutes (this is where your diary becomes your best friend, as you generally get told about these sessions weeks in advance so you can plan to say stay and get 2-3 hours of work done before you leave or go for lunch/coffee with the girls. I'll sometimes even take my laptop and do some blogging!).

Living in Halls
I've got to give a shout out to one of my girls at uni Becca who primarily helped me out with this section as I've never lived in student accommodation! Now halls is brilliant if you have to move for uni as it allows you to meet people from all different courses that you might not have met otherwise.

  • You can get student accommodation (primarily university supplied, not sure about the private student accommodation) that offers catered halls, meaning you don't have to cook. This is also handy if you currently can't cook to save your life!
  • Non-catered halls offer you the ability to cook whatever you want, whenever you want. This is especially useful if you are going to be on a course when the meal times won't fit with that of the meal times of the halls. For instance I on average have to start placement at 7am meaning I have to be ready and have eaten breakfast by at least 6am (sometimes earlier dependent on where the placement is), some placements I may be in till 7-9pm if I'm on a full day or 3pm on a short. For me it wouldn't be worth getting a catered hall as I would double paying for at least half of my meals!
  • It's great to meet tons of different people from all different courses and all over the world. Believe me sometimes it's nice to have friends that are from a different course than yours!
  • Catered halls food tends to stop when the university term time stops meaning if you do a course such as medical degrees where you get about 7 weeks off holiday a year, you are stuck without food for the remainder of your course. Also there tends to be set menus, meaning if you are a picky eater or you don't like the food served you are stuck! 
  • It is also obviously more expensive to live in catered halls but one of the big differences is that in catered halls you don't actually get any kitchen facilities so that means if you miss the scheduled meal times, you will either have to go buy something ready-to-eat or a takeaway (which I can promise gets expensive in no time!). You also don't get all 3 meals during your day catered for, you still have to 'find' your own lunch.
  • Not all university accommodation is going to be right next to uni, some of the accommodation for my uni is a bus ride away which means you have another expense to account for. Be careful - sometimes these buses that run from halls to campus stop when it's not term-time, meaning you'll need another alternative way to get to lectures!
  • I am yet to meet a halls that offers parking for people living there. As a student nurse I could not live without my car and I have the up most admiration for those who can use public transport for placements. If you live in the city centre its not too bad, but outside that it gets difficult!

One thing to note with halls-type accommodation is that you are going to live with a group of people that are completely different to you. You may prefer to cook and then wash your dishes straight away then eat whereas other people might prefer to leave washing their dishes till later on/next morning, vise versa not everyone may be as neat/messy as you which is something you really need to consider!

Private Student Accommodation
Whilst you can live in the halls provided by the university, there are also numerous companies that offer private student accommodation in every city there are universities. Private accommodation is a lot more regulated than university halls, it's kind of the in between as it's like having your own private flat that isn't completely on your own. 

Private accommodation can also be really useful in your second and third years of university after you move out of halls if you don't want to move into a student house but you don't quite want to get your own place just yet!

Did you guys live in student accommodation or live at home during university?

Danielle Levy

1 comment:

  1. i am agree with your thought, because many students wants their accommodation perfect , and it can be possible when they will see their apartment before registration.

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