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Studios or Shared: which accommodation should you pick at university?

10 August 2022

So, you’ve selected your university. Now it’s time to decide where you’re going to live. While most first-year students choose to reside in university halls. However, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same. 

If you’re stuck between studios and shared accommodation, we’re on hand to help. In this article, we’re looking at studios and shared living, so you can decide which accommodation you should pick to best suit your preferences. So, let’s get into it! 


University Halls

Student halls of residence are university-managed apartment buildings which house a block of flats specifically for students. Generally, these flats are pretty much identical throughout, offering between 2 and 15 bedrooms. 

If you choose to live in university halls, you’ll be allocated a place by the university. However, because places are assigned, you don’t get to choose who you live with, and there are no guarantees regarding your preferred accommodation. 


Private student halls

A second option, which is growing in popularity, is private student halls. Although the set-up is like university halls, they’re owned by a private company. 

While the setup is similar, private student halls often offer more perks than university halls. From free Wi-Fi and breakfast to cinema rooms and gyms, private student halls are shared living at its best. 


Studio apartments

If you’re someone who likes your own space or heading to university with your significant other, a studio apartment might be the best option for you. You’ll have two options, a studio apartment within student halls or a private rental. 


Private student halls

In addition to shared living, most private student accommodation also offers studio flats. While they can be smaller than shared flats, you won’t have to share your space with fellow students. 

Studio apartments commonly include a double bed, a kitchen, workspace, dining space, en-suite and storage. 


Private rental

If you’d prefer to bypass student accommodation altogether, you may go straight into a private rental. This means you’ll rent your apartment from a landlord or letting agent. 


Choosing suitable student accommodation for you

Now, when it comes to weighing up the pros and cons, only you can make the final decision. So, whilst you’re considering the advantages and disadvantages, here are some key considerations to bear in mind. 



Typically, choosing university halls will mean you’re close to university buildings, making it a convenient choice, particularly if you’re someone who is notoriously late. 

Private student accommodation tends to offer a best of both worlds scenario where you’re close enough to university but within easy reach of the city centre. 

Finally, with private rented accommodation, you’ll get complete control of where you live. 

Overall, it comes down to your general preference. For example, if you’re confident you’d like to be close to the city centre, you might find private student accommodation best suited. Whereas, if you’re not too fussed about location, a randomly allocated flat in university halls may be your best bet.  



The cost of private and university halls can vary significantly in price depending on facilities, location, and the type of halls. However, both types of university accommodation incorporate costs such as utility bills, cleaning, and insurance. So, with some research and financial planning, you should have a clear idea of the type of accommodation you can comfortably afford. 

With private rentals, it’s essential to consider that you’ll also be responsible for all bills on top of rental fees. So, be sure to incorporate this into your budget too! 


Social life

If you consider yourself a social butterfly, you’ll likely have your eye on student halls. You’ll usually live in halls with 4-12 fellow students. The downside? You don’t get to choose your flatmates. 

With that said, there is some degree of flexibility. For example, you can often request to live in quiet, sociable, or mature student halls in both university and private student halls. In addition, you can often request to live near friends in private student halls – although there are no guarantees. 

If you’re keen to enjoy the best of both worlds, then a studio apartment within private halls might be your choice. This way, you’ll have your own space to retreat to while enjoying communal areas where you can meet new people. 


All student accommodation comes with Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, communal living space and social areas. 

However, as mentioned earlier, private student halls often boast many facilities you won’t find in university halls. For example, many private halls offer premium options, including double beds and en-suite bathrooms. In addition, you’ll get access to on-site gyms, wellness facilities, study areas, and so much more.

With private rental accommodation that isn’t tailored to students, you may get access to some facilities. However, facilities such as Wi-Fi and gym memberships might be an additional cost. 

So, if facilities are important to you, this might be the deciding factor. 

Length of contract 

Finally, it’s essential to understand the terms and conditions of your rental accommodation. For example, while university halls tend to offer the option of 40 (September to June) or 52 weeks for rental, private accommodation may have different terms. 

Before making your decision, read any tenancy terms and consider how long you plan to stay in the city. 

Ultimately, the decision on where and who you live with comes down to you. Take your time to weigh up the options available to you. This way, you’ll be confident in making a decision suited to your wants, needs and budget. Wherever you end up, one thing is for sure – university is an experience you’ll never forget. Good luck! 

Once you’ve weighed up your options, if you’re set on private halls or your very own studio, Novel offers a range of living options, check out our locations to find your perfect studio or shared flat.

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