Heading off to university is one of the biggest steps you’ll take as a young adult. There are so many things to look forward to and so many unknowns to face. What will you learn? Who will you meet? What experiences will you have? What doors will you open? Another vital question is, “Where will you live?”
Accomodation is a huge part of any college experience and can impact everything, from your social sphere to your academic success. As a result, it can seem a little daunting to choose one,
especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed with this new beginning.
To make the most of the student housing options available to you, there are a few key things you should consider before
settling on one.
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing the best student housing option for you:
1. Set A Budget
With the many costs and demands that come with being a student, it’s likely you’ll be pinching plenty of pennies during your university years. Even if you can manage to juggle a job and your schoolwork successfully, you’ll want to choose a housing option that doesn’t break the bank.
Set a maximum budget when hunting for housing, and make sure not to go over it. Remember that housing costs are cumulative, and what you can afford during a good month might be just a bit too high a cost during a leaner month.
2. Find Out What’s Included… And What’s Not!
While you should steer clear of pricier options, housing that seems too cheap to be true should rouse some suspicion. Student housing tends to be affordable, but plenty of landlords try to take advantage of uninformed students desperate for a place to stay.
Part of the way you can avoid being duped is by finding out what’s included in the cost of your new housing. Are bills included? Are there any surprise costs that might pop up later? Are you only paying for the bare bones; minimum, or are there extras included?
Private accommodation options, such as ones you can find on vintageattabernacle.com, should come with plenty of perks, ranging from an onsite gym, pool, to common room spaces.
3. Know What You’ll Need
Make sure to include in your estimated expenses any extra furniture you may need to buy to make your new house feel like a home. Every student needs a comfy spot to sleep, a desk for studying, and plenty of good seating options.
If you have a bit of extra space, you might be able to turn your apartment or dorm room into a great hangout spot. If you’re a bit short on space, get creative and make a plan for how you want your room to be set up.
Choosing the right storage options can help you maximize even the most limited of spaces. Also consider if you’ll be able to eat at school dining halls or if you’ll be mostly eating out or cooking
for yourself as that will be an important expense as well.
4. Weigh Your Options
Some rural colleges may have very limited housing options, whereas city colleges might have a surplus of housing options to choose from. Check with your university to learn what’s available,
and decide on accommodation based on your needs.
If you want to be at the center of campus life, campus housing might be your best choice. If your priorities are primarily academic, on the one hand, a quiet apartment that’s a bit further from the social hubs of the university might provide a more conducive working space.
Many universities have private accommodations close by that provide a nice balance between independence and social engagement.
5. Make Sure The Space Works For You
While it might be difficult to find your dream apartment on the first try, you should have an idea of what you need from a living space. Do you want a quiet, comfortable place to study in solitude, or are you looking for a more communal environment with plenty of roommates and shared spaces for socializing? Do you want to be within walking distance from the library, or do you want a life well removed from campus?
Visit any housing option you’re considering to make sure that the noise levels, light levels, and cleanliness match your personal preferences. Watch out for any issues such as dampness, poor
building upkeep, or security issues. You should also check the strength of the Internet connection. If you’re living in any housing option where students are the majority, you want to make sure the Internet connection can hold up when everyone’s watching Netflix and you’re trying to submit a paper last minute.
Lastly, a landlord may offer a clemency period that allows you to ‘try on’ the apartment for size for a short amount of time. This way, if it’s not quite what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to move out and find a place that suits you better, without breaking contract. If you’re not sure if a housing option is right for you, don’t hesitate to ask you university or your parents—they want you to make the right decision, and they’ll be glad to give some advice.
6. Know Who You’re Living With
If this is your first time leaving home, your roommate relationships may be some of the first (and, potentially, most difficult) non-family relationships to navigate. Be aware of your own living preferences, and try to find roommates with similar preferences or who are willing to respect different living styles. In larger shared houses, it might be difficult to communicate with all of your roommates, but being on good terms with them can help you address any issue that
Common spaces are particularly important for this. Not only are they shared by all (and any house rules will likely deal with how they’re used), they’re also spaces for you to socialize in.
Common spaces can facilitate new friendships and hangout sessions, not to mention productive house meetings to keep housemates on the same page.
Lastly, make sure that you feel safe in your living space. COVID-19-related precautions have significantly impacted many aspects of higher education, especially when it comes to housing. You’ll want to make sure that you and any roommates are on the same page when it comes to protecting your space and wellbeing.
7. Don’t Wait Until The Last Minute
Plenty of students leave choosing housing to the last minute, only to find that all of the good options have already been snapped up, leaving them the literal dregs of the pot. The sooner you can start looking, the better your chances of finding a great deal.
Most housing options will fill up between four to eight weeks before orientation begins, so start your search early so you’ll end up with an accommodation that suits your needs and preferences.
8. Read The Fine Print
While it can be a real drag to read the conditions of your housing contract, they have a real impact on your life. Make sure to learn if there’s a security deposit and watch out for any other hidden fees.
Ensure that your landlord is placing your deposit in a protection scheme. You can also find out if there’s a clemency period to allow you to change your mind. Check the length of the lease, see what utilities are included, as well as check when your move in and move out dates are.
Lease breakage fees are also important to note so that you know what to expect. Lastly, if you live with roommates, check to see if bills are going to be an individual or shared opportunity.
9. Location, Location, Location
One of the most important things for you to consider is where your housing will be located. If you’re an avid biker, an apartment on the other side of town might not seem like such a bad idea.
If not, you’ll probably prefer something much closer. Having plenty of transportation options will give you more choices in the long run, but being beholden to a bus timetable might have you arriving late to class very often.
Choose a safe neighbourhood with plenty of food and shopping options nearby. A conveniently located market is a must, and you’ll probably come to appreciate living down the road from a good spot to hang out. If you plan to spend a lot of time on campus, choosing an accommodation that’s a short walk away is the best choice, and make sure that there’s a dining hall in the
immediate area for your meals.
You might feel a bit daunted by all of the changes that starting college can come with.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things to be excited about as well. New places, new friends, and new opportunities, plus memories to last a lifetime all await you in college, and choosing the right housing option should contribute positively toward these. With these key tips, you can be sure to skip the stress of house hunting and find the right home for you for the next four years or