With their personal statements complete and their UCAS applications submitted, one of the next things students will need to think about is where they are going to live once they get their results and head off to University. Whilst some students opt to live at home and commute, for others University represents a move away from home, and the prospect can be in equal parts daunting and exciting. We’re here to discuss the pros and cons of each, and hopefully make the decision a little bit easier for any prospective University students.
Living at home:
You’ll save money: The number of students choosing to live at home and commute is steadily increasing, largely due to sky-high tuition fees and the rising cost of living. There are several pros to living at home – the first being you are likely to save quite a lot of money. Through avoiding the expense of student accommodation and having to be self-sufficient, you’ll save a fair bit of cash through living at home. Whilst your parents might decide to charge you rent, or ask you to chip in for the food costs and bills, it is unlikely to be as much as you’d have to spend on student accommodation. However, it’s important to remember that you’ll get a reduced loan if you live at home – so make sure to discuss the rent situation with your parents beforehand.
You’ll spend more time with your family: Another great thing about living at home is that you’ll get to spend lots of time with your family. When living at university, it can be tricky to find the time to spend with your parents and siblings, but if you live at home then this isn’t an issue. You might not appreciate this at the time, but family time is something you will really come to cherish. University is an exciting time full of opportunities and change. However, for many students, having the safety net of your family on-hand is the best way of avoiding overwhelm and giving yourself the confidence to spread your wings.
You’ll be more motivated and less distracted: Life in halls can be pretty chaotic, and students can become overwhelmed and distracted, causing their degree to suffer as a result. It is not uncommon for students living in halls to neglect their studies, and pulling an all-nighter the day before an important assignment can have a real impact on the quality of work students submit. Through living at home, students will be less tempted to attend every night out or event, and the practicalities, such as travel, will also get in the way of boogying in the club till 4am three times a week. Whilst you may wind up feeling left out at times, your studies and grades will greatly benefit from you living at home in your first year while you get the hang of independent learning.
The commute: Depending on where you live and your University of choice, the commute could be a bit of a hassle, and could wind up being pretty expensive too. Also, if you’re commuting every day you could feel like your missing out on evening activities and nights out with your friends, as you will always have to factor your commute home into the equation.
It can be tricky to make friends: Whilst there is no doubt you will make friends, if you decide against living in halls you won’t be living with friends, which can sometimes make things tricky and could lead to you feeling left out. Therefore, living at home can mean missing out on the full ‘university’ experience.
You don’t have the same independence: Living in halls gives students a unique feeling of independence, and the freedom to do as they please for the first time in their academic life. This isn’t the same for students who continue to live at home. They might feel like they’re still being nagged for not tidying up after themselves or for not adhering to their parents rules and this can become frustrating, especially if you’re watching your friends do exactly as they please.
It may take you longer to adjust: While challenging, moving away from home for university can give students a real push towards developing important skills and habits that will prove essential both later in their degree and in adult life. While when you live at home things like doing your laundry, making time to study, and knowing when to say no to an all-nighter are much easier, you will at some point need to learn how to “adult” all on your own. The first year of university offers you a lot more support and room to make mistakes, making it a good opportunity to take ownership of yourself and your responsibilities. Therefore, by staying at home, you may miss out on a good opportunity to mature that will make it harder when you do move out.
Moving into halls:
Easy to make friends: University halls are the most popular choices of accommodation for University students. One of the biggest advantages to living in halls is that it’s super easy to make friends. You will be surrounded by lots of other students in the same situation as you, all of whom will likely feel excited (and terrified) by the start of their University experience. Although you might all come from different backgrounds and have different interests, living together often helps people create real bonds and many students find that they make lifelong friends during their first year at University.
You’re right in the middle of the action: University Halls are generally situated in the town centre or, if you’re attending a campus university, the halls will be right next to the campus. Even if this isn’t the case, fun will never be longer than a short bus-ride away. There will always be loads of stuff going on, and when you’re living with your friends you can make even a rainy night in incredibly fun.
Independence: Living in University Halls is the first time that any student has a real sense of independence. With no parents telling you to tidy up after yourself, no bedtime or set mealtimes, no one telling you to make your bed or do your washing up – living in halls gives students a sense of complete freedom. Whilst this doesn’t always result in the best outcomes (believe it or not – your plates won’t wash themselves), it is an important learning curb and it’s a fun if not slightly bumpy road that is fun to experience with your pals.
Independence…: Leading on from the last point, living independently is not a walk in the park. Whilst you will have the freedom to do as you please, there is a fair bit of responsibility that comes with living alone, and it can be easy to let yourself go, which can quickly result in mountains of laundry, piles of washing up and a very empty bank account. Whilst everyone needs to learn this for themselves at some point, there are some students who really struggle to take on the responsibility of looking after themselves when they move to University.
It’s more expensive: It is no secret that University is an expensive game. Not only are tuition fees at an all time high, but without a job, students will quickly realise that living alone is not cheap. If you’re used to free, home cooked meals and paying no rent – the cost of being self-sufficient could come as a bit of a shock. Whilst budgeting is an important learning curb, most students will find this out the hard way. It’s not uncommon for university students to spend all their money in the first term and the rest of the year eating super noodles and begging their friends to lend them a tenner for a night out. This isn’t always the case, but trying to stick to a budget from early on will really help you out in the long run – trust me.
Distractions: This is part of the fun, but can also be incredibly disruptive. Halls are notoriously noisy places – pre drinks, parties, pranks, the fire alarm going off because someone put chicken nuggets in the oven and then fell asleep – all of these things will happen regularly and can be both incredibly irritating and disruptive to your studies. If you’re really struggling to keep up with your university work, then hiring a tutor can be a great way of making sure you stay on top of your studies as well as making the most of living in halls.
Whether you opt to live at home or in student accommodation – there are pros and cons to each, and you should take everything into account before making a decision. If the decision is out of your hands, then there are plenty of ways to make it work either way – so don’t worry!