If you're heading to uni, in just about two months’ time, you'll be packing up your life to continue it somewhere else for the next three, four or more years.
The weeks between getting your results and starting term scoot by and unis start allocating their housing the moment the grades are out. There are four basic housing choices for students – living at home, living in, living out or private halls.
Living at home means staying wherever you were before you started your course - usually with your parents. It can be cheaper (although you are entitled to a bit less funding and travel can sometimes be just as expensive as rent), but the fridge magically refills with food and if you're lucky, your dirty clothes even clean themselves.
Living 'in' means living in housing that the uni provides. That's usually on the same site as where you study or at least in the same town or nearby. It might be in a flat, in a room in a shared flat or house, or — most commonly — it’s in a purpose-built block called a hall of residence.
There are lots of different options with halls of residence, but usually you get your own room with a shared bathroom and kitchen. Often students cook for themselves, but many halls have canteen meals as part of the deal.
Living in is a popular option for 'freshers' (first year students), but only a few unis have enough housing to offer the opportunity for more than one year.
Living 'out' means finding housing for yourself, usually a privately rented flat or house. Students often choose to share with their friends (so living out often suits second and third years who've had a chance to make some friends). Occasionally, living out means just renting a room in someone else's house.
The fourth option is private halls. These work in much the same the way as uni halls of residence — lots of students in individual rooms (usually en suite with shared kitchens), but they’re owned by private companies rather than the uni.
Often the only significant difference between a private hall and a uni hall is who you pay your rent to.
Different unis have different options when it comes to housing and, at a few, they have nothing of their own at all. Check you know what your first choice uni offers to first year students.
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