University can be a big change and a daunting situation for many. It can be especially hard to start planning for university if you don’t know anyone who has been to university before! There always seems to be so much to think about- from student finance to accommodation, however it isn’t as complicated as it first seems, so don’t worry. In our new blog series ‘University: Explained’ we’ll go through all the information you will need about all things university. This time we’ll be discussing all things University Accommodation!
When planning your journey to university, you might be wondering where you’ll be staying during your time studying. You might decide to stay at home, if the university you plan to attend is within a commutable distance. This might be a great option for you, and there are quite a few pros and cons to consider when deciding to live at home whilst studying. Why not read this article on living at home during university if you’re thinking of doing so: https://universitycompare.com/advice/student/advice-living-home-university/.
However, if you are thinking of moving away from home when studying at university, you might be wondering where you might be staying, how to apply for accommodation and what different accommodation options there are…
There are a few different types of places you can stay during your time as a student. The most popular option for students, particularly those in first year, is to stay in University Halls. These are halls of residence owned by the university you attend and full of lots of other students (usually first years). Therefore, University Halls are great options to meet new people and fellow students in a safe environment, run by the university. At the University of Manchester, there are lots of different University Halls, throughout the city- which we’ll discuss further later on in the post!
There is also the option of Private Halls, which are similar to University Halls, but as the name suggests, are run by private companies, such as Unite Students or IQ. These halls can sometimes have options for things such as studio apartments, which are rarely offered in University Halls. So, if you are particularly set on having your own kitchen space and a studio apartment, then private halls might be a good option for you. Private Halls can also be useful if you have gone through Clearing and have not had a chance to apply in advance to University Halls! Please note though, that Private Halls can often be more expensive than University Halls so do make sure to research these halls thoroughly and check that they are within your budget.
Finally, there is Student Houses. These are often popular options for students after their first year, once they have moved out of Halls (although some students decide to stay in halls for the duration of their studies). Student Houses are essentially what they say on the tin! They are houses (usually ranging from about 3 to 8 bedrooms, depending on how many people you want to live with) where students live together. This can often give a greater sense of independence than living in halls and, as mentioned, is therefore a popular choice for students in second and third year (and beyond). Student Houses also allow you live with the friends you have made in first year and get used to doing things such as paying bills and doing different chores such as taking the bins out on collection day (which sounds really silly but is a life skill that you don’t really use in halls). There are lots of different student house companies in Manchester and in every University town/city, so keep an eye on them for houses. It is best to start looking quite early on as the best houses can get snapped up quite quickly.
So, we’ve discussed the different types of accommodation you may be able to find as a student. Now, I thought it would be a good idea to delve deeper into discussing University Halls in particular, as these are the most popular form of accommodation for first year, undergraduate students and are probably what you will look into first when researching accommodation (and also what you will be told about on things such as Open Days and prospectuses).
As previously mentioned, there are lots of different University Halls options around the city of Manchester. This will be the same in lots of universities, so be sure to have a look at all the different options before choosing your preferred halls! At the University of Manchester, there are three main clusters of halls- City, Victoria Park and Fallowfield. You can find a list of all the halls of residence in each of these clusters on our accommodation website. Each of these areas has its pros and cons, so do make sure to look into each one carefully before deciding on where you would prefer to stay!
For example, you may want to stay in one of the halls of residence within the City Campus, as these are very close to the university, which means you won’t have to travel as far to get to lectures (and won’t have to wake up as early to get to them!). Or you may want to stay in Victoria Park, which is closer to the university than Fallowfield but has more of a student vibe than the City Campus. Finally, you might want to live in Fallowfield halls of residence- which, although it is the furthest away from the university- has a very strong student vibe and is often the place of choice for parties and get-togethers!
If that’s not enough to think about already, then there are a few other things to consider when looking at halls of residences. One of the main differences between certain halls is that some are Self Catered (e.g., you cook for yourself) and some are Catered (e.g., you are provided with cooked meals). It’s a really good idea to reflect on whether you would like to be cooked for or do your own cooking when staying in halls as this will really impact which halls you will want to stay at. For example, I personally really wanted to be able to cook for myself- so I applied to only self-catered halls of residence. Catered halls sometimes cost slightly more than self-catered halls, as the cost of food is included in this price. This might be a good option for you if you don’t want to have to worry about cooking or the cost of buying food- however, always just double check to make sure it is within your budget.
Another thing you might want to look at is whether the halls of residence has shared bathrooms or en-suites. This is pretty simple to explain- essentially in some halls, you will need to share a bathroom with other people in your flat/corridor, whereas in others you will have your own en-suite. Whilst sharing a bathroom may not bother some people, for others it might be a big issue so if it is for you then make sure to double check which halls offer en-suites and which don’t! Again, en-suite rooms often cost more than rooms with shared bathrooms so just check to make sure they are within budget.
Finally, one other thing that you may consider when looking into halls of residence is the style of the different halls. Some halls offer much more traditional student halls rooms, set out in corridors. Whilst others, such as the new Unsworth Park accommodation, offer more modern rooms, set out in smaller, flat-style layouts. Why not have a look on the university accommodation website to find some pictures of each halls of residence to see which you like the look of most? It can also be helpful to look up the halls of residence on YouTube to see if any students have done ‘Room Tours’ of their rooms during their stay!
So- hopefully this information has been helpful in showing you what to look out for when researching different halls of residences. Obviously this information has focused on the University of Manchester, but each university will have its own web page with information about the accommodation on offer so do make sure to take a look at those for each university you are intending to apply to! You can also check out the UCAS accommodation page to search for accommodation throughout the UK. One other thing to note is that, although most university halls are for undergraduate students, some are for postgraduate students only- so make sure to double check this on the website so you don’t get your heart set on somewhere you can’t actually stay!
At the University of Manchester, an offer of residence in university accommodation is guaranteed to:
All UK undergraduates in the first year of study, provided they
All overseas undergraduate students for the duration of their studies, provided they
You will need to apply for accommodation using an online form, which you can find out more about here. You can only apply once you have received an offer to study at the University of Manchester. If you have any questions about university halls of residence or the application process then please email: email@example.com. This information is focused on the University of Manchester, but many other universities will have similar application processes. Make sure to check out their accommodation websites to find out more.
The University of Manchester