One of the advantages of being a student in London is that there are many accommodation options to choose from. Especially since starting at university, I’ve realised the breadth of factors which went into decisions on where to stay so, if you’re looking at accommodation soon, here are some factors which I would advise considering.
1. Think about your price range
I had a maximum figure of how much I would be happy to spend on accommodation per month and I also had an ideal (lower) figure in mind. Knowing how much you can spend on accommodation helps when considering other factors and weighing up options later on. For example, if you’re happy to stay in a shared space, you might consider getting a twin room as a way to save some money or if you don’t mind walking a bit more (or getting on public transport/cycling…) to campus, then perhaps your trade-off might be staying in accommodation which is a bit further away.
2. Think about the distance
For me, this was quite an important consideration as I wanted to live within walking distance of certain places I knew I would likely visit on a regular basis. Apart from considering how far the accommodation is from campus, you might also consider the specific location- do you want to live closer to certain train lines for example? If you need to live closer to campus or certain facilities then this is definitely a useful way to narrow-down your accommodation options.
3. Think about the social scene
Especially as a first-year student, I thought about this quite a lot and then decided that I wanted to live somewhere which was just social enough for me (not too social but also, somewhere that facilitates conversation and meeting new people). On the other hand, other people might prefer to live in halls where everyone tends to be much more independent. It’s also useful here to consider the size of the accommodation- the social experience will also be influenced by how many students stay at that accommodation.
4. Consider the amenities
Different types of accommodation offer various advantages so ranking preferred amenities is really a personal choice. If being able to cook all or most of your meals sounds appealing then self-catered halls (or room options) are the way to go. On the other hand, I wanted to be able to cook sometimes but not have to so choosing a hall where dinner was provided on most days was ideal for me. In addition to this, some halls might offer ensuite rooms or shared kitchens between a smaller flat size…these are all considerations I had in mind when choosing my accommodation- going based on my previous experience or what I wanted to try out.
5. Choose your preferred type of accommodation
Like I said, the advantage of being a student in London is that there is a lot of variety. You could live in university halls, inter-collegiate halls (useful if you want to meet people across different universities or want a stronger ‘divide’ between ‘work’ and ‘home’) or private accommodation. Starting your research early will allow you more time to discover the range of options and weigh up all the relevant factors for you and hopefully, get you your ideal living space!
Good luck to anyone thinking about or actively researching accommodation and if you’re like me and end up having a well-thought plan of finding the perfect accommodation but a semi-rushed booking process, I hope it still works out well!