When preparing for your college life, you may need to make important decisions, especially when it comes to choosing suitable accommodation. Even if you can select any available housing that you prefer, the right one can make a difference in your college experience.
Unfortunately, due to the countless accommodation options available, the selection process on accommodation can be confusing. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Whether you prefer to live in a university hall or student housing with private rooms, finding the right place to live should be easy. To help you decide wisely, here are the ways to search for the best accommodation that suits your needs:
Start Searching Early
When looking for student accommodation, it’s best to start early. It’ll give you an advantage since it’s not peak season, and most prices are still reasonable. On the other hand, if you search for accommodation on the day or a week before classes start, the prices may go beyond the standard rates.
If possible, do your search as early as two or four months before the beginning of the semester. It’ll be a great way to find several options, mainly if you want student housing that feels like home.
- Do Your Research
Similar to performing some types of schoolwork, finding the right accommodation also requires doing some research. It would entail visiting on-campus housing, attending open days, showing up for a rental inspection, and speaking to the institution’s accommodation advisers.
As you do your homework, try to list the things you’re searching for and keep them in mind when visiting your preferred housing options. You wouldn’t want to live in a private student apartment with existing issues like mold growth.
- Perform A Background Check
No matter how nice the accommodation may look, you must ensure that the surroundings are secure. You can do a background check on the properties around the area and its neighborhood. You might want to choose the one that will serve as your haven to escape the stress associated with college life.
Know Your Budget
Student accommodation widely varies in terms of price points, so it’s essential to know your budget. University halls, dormitories, and private student housing can be expensive, particularly when benefits such as access to the cafeteria and the gym are included.
When creating your budget, include your monthly rent, food, travel, and utility costs. This way, you’ll know how much you can afford and which housing is best for you.
Compare The Different Types Of Accommodation
Once you’ve decided on a budget, it’s time to evaluate the different accommodation options. If you want to live with other students and have your own social circle, university or private halls may suit you best. On the other hand, if you prefer to be more independent, your best option is private accommodation.
To help you decide better, here are some of the types of accommodation you can choose from:
- University Halls
First-year students prefer university halls for many reasons. For one, it gives them opportunities to socialize since living with other students is an excellent way to get to know other people and make new friends.
Most university-managed accommodations are conveniently located near your campus, allowing you to attend classes on time. However, you must remember that some university residences may be located outside of the campus, in a nearby town or city.
If this is your first time living away from home, university residence halls are your best option because they help you prepare for living in private student housing. In addition, if anything goes wrong, you can guarantee that your concerns will be appropriately addressed by the university or housing office.
- Apartment Or Private Flat
If you’re willing to spend extra on your accommodation and prefer more privacy, a private flat is a great student housing option for you. Most students choose this after having negative experiences in shared housing. However, before you make this choice, you should prepare for a possible lack of social opportunities as well as higher costs.
- Private Student Halls
Private student halls are set up similarly to university halls and private flats. You can have your own room but share communal areas, such as the living room and kitchen. Since it’s privately owned, it’s usually pricier.
Do your research if you want this option to avoid paying expensive upfront prices and getting fewer inclusions. Some owners even include hidden fees in the final rental costs, which can hurt your budget.
Even if private halls tend to be more expensive, living there can be a good way to meet new friends from other universities. When looking for one, check the available communal spaces and other regular events or activities offered to the residents. Some private halls have activities that give every resident the chance to meet and socialize with one another.
Keep Expectations Realistic
Everybody wishes to get the best, but it always comes at a price. Usually, to get the right accommodation, you need to make compromises in order to stay within your budget. This is why it’s essential to keep an open mind when looking for the best housing.
The compromises you may make can involve daily commutes to your campus, cooking in the same kitchen as other residents, or using shared facilities. To avoid disappointments, keep realistic expectations. Know that compromises are always expected. While there’s nothing wrong with it, ensure you’re comfortable and willing to embrace any sudden changes so you can enjoy your college life.
Review The Contract Details
In reviewing a contract, you may need the assistance of your parents or someone who can explain its conditions in simple terms. Before you sign it, it’s crucial that you understand what it covers.
Never hesitate to ask your landlord if something seems odd about certain details of the contract or if you can’t fully comprehend them. It’ll help you avoid costly mistakes and misunderstandings. Furthermore, you’ll feel secure knowing that you’re familiar with the inclusions and exclusions.
You should also pay attention to the contract’s duration, payment terms, grace periods, rules on refunds, and penalties for delayed payments. Check if there are provisions about possible changes to the rental fee after a particular period. For instance, landlords may impose a 10% increase after two years.
Before signing the contract, don’t forget to ask about the house rules. Know whether pets and visitors are allowed. Ask as many questions as possible, especially regarding the details you’re curious about. After signing the contract, keep your own copy for record purposes.
Ensure Your Security And Safety
Not all student housing has a front desk or security personnel. They are often exclusively found in dormitories and condominiums. So, regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, make sure it’s generally safe.
Are there surveillance cameras? Do you have access to fire extinguishers and emergency exits? Whether you choose private lodging, university halls, or any purpose-built student housing, ensure that security measures are in place and that building owners adhere to the laws’ security requirements.
Know What’s Included In The Rent
You must ask about rent inclusions in detail when dealing with property managers. Ensure you ask whether or not utilities, such as electricity, water, and internet, are included. These are also the things you must consider when comparing the prices of various accommodations. If possible, use the inclusions as your basis to determine whether the price is worth it.
For example, compared to other options that only provide rooms, choosing private student housing that has a designated study area, a gym, and a game room may be worth it. Sometimes, choosing the cheapest student accommodation may require you to pay more because of the excluded essential utilities like internet connection.
Weigh in The Pros And Cons
As you consider every option, be sure to take note of both the negative and positive aspects. Always keep in mind that there’s no such thing as perfect housing and every option has some flaws.
For instance, while renting a shared house with school friends has social benefits, it might not always be ideal for you, especially if you frequently study late at night and don’t want to be disturbed. On the other hand, living in private housing with rigid regulations may restrict your freedom. So, before you finalize anything, weigh the pros and cons until you make the best decision.
Plan Your Move
Once you’ve chosen the best college accommodation, the next thing to do is to plan your move. You’ll know which items to bring by using a checklist. It’ll help save time and allow you to focus on the items you need to pack as you sift through your belongings.
While it’s crucial to prioritize the essentials, you shouldn’t forget to carry items that provide you comfort and remind you of home. These will help you overcome homesickness so you can enjoy your college life.
Make sure to divide your belongings into reasonable portions when packing. You should label your boxes so that when you unpack, your stuff will be easier to organize. Prior to moving in, always take into account the space available for all your belongings.
Other Things To Consider When Choosing An Accommodation
Even if it can be challenging to choose the right accommodation, you can always find the perfect student housing suitable for your personal preferences and unique needs. Before you finalize your decision, here are the other things you should take into account:
- Internet Connection
Having a fast and stable internet connection is necessary for every college student. In fact, you’ll probably require an internet connection throughout the day. It’ll be vital for completing school projects and homework.
An internet connection is also important because it lets you communicate with your family, friends, and classmates. So, when looking for student accommodation, check if it offers a reliable internet connection and whether an additional fee is required for it.
Living in a private student house can have many benefits, one of which is having your own functional bathroom. However, if your budget only permits you to live in a shared house with communal bathrooms, you should do some inspection. The first thing you need to do is to check if the bathroom fixtures are working and in good shape.
Sink and toilet clogs should be the least of your concerns since you need to focus on your studies. Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss any faults you notice with the owner so that they can be resolved straight away.
If you prefer shared housing, selecting your roommates wisely is critical. While sharing a room with your classmates or friends is never a bad idea, it’s best to share it with the ones you truly trust. It’ll ensure that you and your belongings are safe.
If you can have the privilege to pick your roommates, you should start by knowing your living preferences. From there, you can choose those you think will respect your private space and lifestyle. To maintain good relations with your roommates, try to settle your differences immediately and make communication a priority.
When choosing the right accommodation, you might also want to check if there are nearby amenities such as convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes. Furthermore, it’s important to know where to go in an emergency so you should find out where the closest medical facility or police station is.
- Activity Areas
If you’re in college, it’s always a good idea to have fun and enjoy the moment with your classmates or friends. So, when searching for accommodation, select a place with activity areas where you can hang out with your friends after a tough week.
Activity areas can include a basketball court, a gym, or a café. If your accommodation doesn’t have such areas, check if there are places nearby where you can relax and maximize your leisure time.
Summary – Making the right decision will make college life convenient
The right accommodation will only make dealing with your college life convenient, it will also help you make good memories, meet new people, improve your quality of life, and enjoy new opportunities. Other than the cost of accommodation, it’s vital to consider other aspects, such as building security, amenities offered, cleanliness, and location. So, if you want to simplify your search for the ideal student residence, use this article as a guide.