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Is your choice of university halls important?

The first year of university is both daunting and incredibly exciting in equal measure. You’ll meet so many people from so many different backgrounds and share some fantastic experiences. However, this still begs the question of where you will be living during your first year at university?

‘University halls’ is usually the simple answer. The thing is though, there are a variety of options at most universities, which all present their own advantages and disadvantages. We’ll be taking a look at the things to consider when selecting your university halls below. With our help, you’ll hopefully make the right decision and have a whale of a time.

Format & Size…

University halls can be a collection of dorms along a corridor, a number of shared self-contained flats or a complex of shared houses. Toilets and showers also tend to play a big part in making a decision. It’s common for a number of people to share the same lavatory and washing facilities, so if this sounds like a nightmare to you, make sure you check it out before you go! A growing number of halls built over the last ten years, however, have rooms that all come complete with en-suite bathrooms.

If you’re a social animal, it’s generally better to choose halls where lots of people are going to be about all the time. Dormitories with long corridors and loads of rooms make for a great social experience. Meeting 20 or 30 people in the first few weeks of university is literally unavoidable; even if you just choose to hang out around your room.

Self-contained flats offer a similar experience, but on a smaller scale. You’ll still meet a great mix of people, just not as many. If you’re keen on your own personal quiet time though, living in this kind of environment can have its advantages; self-contained flats offer more opportunity for hiding away (to do work or watch a film) than the long corridor option.

The ‘shared-house’ variety of halls, although a lot less common, is also a good option to consider. You’re more likely to have communal space here, usually a living room or a common room of some sort. However, it’s highly likely that a lot less people will be kicking around on a regular basis.

Location…

Whether you’re at a campus university or one with various sites dotted around a city, halls can largely be viewed as either being in the thick of the action or not. Most universities have epicentres where the majority of the action takes place. Firstly, your job is to find out where it is and which halls place you the closest. Your second mission is to figure out what you would prefer: Being right in the thick of it? Or living in the quieter areas of the university?

Food…

That’s right, we’ve all got to eat! Generally speaking though, halls will present you with two options: catered or self-catered. One obviously allows you to rock up and eat regular meals from a select menu without the hassle of using a hob. The other option gives you the freedom to eat what you like, bolster those culinary skills and go it alone!

Most catered situations will have set times which you’ll need to adhere to in order to keep hunger at bay. Consequently, if you’re not an early bird or a champion time-keeper, you’re likely to play truant with your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Catered halls also tend to be slightly more expensive, because the university has to factor the food cost into your rent. Despite this added expense, the food at university halls tends to be reasonably-priced, filling and not bad quality.

Some catered halls allow you to pay for what you eat, so this could be a pretty useful option. Most catered halls are also likely to have a few kitchens dotted around, so if you’re desperate for a midnight snack, you can also rustle yourself something up whenever you please!

Although self-catering affords you the choice of eating when and what you like, you’re also entrusted with the budget and the task of trudging back and forth with your ten shopping bags in tow. If you do go for this option, it’s wise to plan carefully for each week’s shopping budget.

Cost…

Stating the obvious really, but when it comes to choosing university halls, costs are a big consideration. At most universities there can be quite a significant difference between the costs of different halls, so make sure you’re up to speed with the options at your prospective university.

We would highly recommend establishing a budget of some sort. If you’re receiving help from your parents in addition to a student loan, or you’re planning to get a part-time job, put some figures down and assess how much you’ve got to play with.The first year of university is both daunting and incredibly exciting in equal measure. You’ll meet so many people from so many different backgrounds and share some fantastic experiences. However, this still begs the question of where you will be living during your first year at university?

‘University halls’ is usually the simple answer. The thing is though, there are a variety of options at most universities, which all present their own advantages and disadvantages. We’ll be taking a look at the things to consider when selecting your university halls below. With our help, you’ll hopefully make the right decision and have a whale of a time.