If you’re planning to start university this year, you’ll have the task of finding student accommodation ahead of you. While many people leave this task until summer, it pays to be well prepared and start thinking early about what you really want from student living.
There’s certainly a lot of choice, but before you dive in, it’s worth asking yourself what’s really important to you, so you don’t end up in a situation that doesn’t suit your own needs.
Here are some factors to consider as you begin your search.
When you start looking at student accommodation options, you are sure to notice that social spaces are a big deal. While you might not find much in the way of facilities at university halls, and will have to forego them completely if you choose to live in a student house, private halls of residence generally offer a wide range of facilities.
These might include things like a gym, lounges with TV, games, seating areas and vending machines, cinema and gaming rooms, and even things aimed at creative interests like art or music.
Different iQ buildings have a different range of features which, when circumstances permit, will make the business of getting to know people so much easier. It’s one of the big advantages of this type of student living.
If you prefer to concentrate on your studies, these things might not be so important, so it’s worth looking into what quiet zones and dedicated study areas are on offer. Some student accommodation providers will meet your needs here better than others, so check out whether the study areas offer any useful tech and that they’re not located in areas which are going to be disturbed by lots of noise. Every iQ room and studio flat gives you a private study area of your own, so if you prefer to hit the books alone, you can.
As with any other accommodation, it’s generally true that the further away from the city you are, the cheaper your room is going to be. So, just as if you were buying or renting a house, you need to balance the possible inconvenience with the cost involved.
You might find that commuting back and forth to university every day, which can take some time and cost quite a lot on public transport, starts to take its toll. How much study will you feel like doing after a long journey? A university education is an investment in your future, and short-term savings can turn out to be expensive in other ways later.
If you’re eager to experience all the social benefits of student living, a city centre location might be a priority for you. There’s nothing like being able to say ‘yes’ to a spontaneous invitation and not have to worry about getting back home afterwards.
As for the cost, there are ways to keep it down. All-inclusive bills, which all iQ sites offer, mean you won’t have the hassle of paying extra towards electricity, gas etc, and central locations mean you can just walk into the city or to your campus – no need to fork out for a bus, train or taxi. You could even take a look at renting one of our shared apartments and splitting your living expenses with a friend.
Moving away from home and starting university can be hard for anyone – it’s probably the biggest move of your life so far. If you’re moving from one country to another, there’s a whole extra level of newness to contend with – a new culture, new ways of doing things, and possibly a new language.
Your university support services are there to help you, but it’s nice to have a network of people you can rely on for informal support as you go along. This is where student halls come into their own – you can be sure there are others going through the same struggles as you. In fact, you might find this is a great way to bond and make new friends. This is one of the reasons many students choose to spend at least their first year in halls – the sense of community can be a great comfort.
Our teams are always on hand to help you adjust to university life and, if you need support on a particular matter, they can often direct you to a suitable source of help. Worried that you’re just not going to feel at home or that you’ll have trouble meeting people? We hold regular events with the aim of getting people together and developing friendships – after all, the student experience is so much more fun when it’s shared. The great memories will remain long after you graduate, while all your initial fears will soon be forgotten.
While it might be tempting to put off your accommodation search until the last possible moment, you run the risk of being left with accommodation which is low quality, poorly located or much more expensive than it could have been if you had booked earlier. If you can, there is a lovely sense of calm to enjoy when you have already booked your student accommodation and can just forget about it until the university year starts.
Of course, if you’re a future first-year student, you might be thinking, ‘that’s fine for everyone else, but I don’t know what my results will be yet’. We hear you! Plans can change, so if you do book your accommodation with iQ and don’t get the grades you needed for your conditional offer to be confirmed, we’ll refund your booking fee, so it’s a no-risk strategy. We can even transfer it to another of our properties, if it turns out you need accommodation near a completely different university.
When you’ve planned for every scenario, you’ll be able to concentrate fully on your studies and make the most of the summer.
Need help with your student accommodation search? Get in touch.