Pros and Cons of Postgrad Accommodation Types
Whatever you study as a postgraduate, it is important to have comfortable and affordable home away from home. And the options are a little different this time around.
But don’t worry. Whether you are coming from overseas or you are a UK student moving to a new town or city, we’ve got you covered. We’ve listed the pros and cons of the different types of postgraduate accommodation to help you decide what’s best for you.
Living on campus
University living space is offered to a limited number of postgraduate students, but there are some postgraduate-only halls. They are generally equipped with a shared kitchen and a private study bedroom, with either private toilet facilities or shared. Purpose-built privately owned accommodation is provided by companies such as Unite Students and Fresh Student Living, which have accommodation in many of the most popular student cities.
- Easy to find – on campus housing is advertised by the uni, so getting information is easily accessible and it’s easy to arrange viewings.
- Less hassle – you don’t have to buy lots of extra items that you would require for a house, and you are guaranteed a desk.
- Regular cleaning – the communal areas are usually cleaned every other week.
- One bill – you don’t have to deal with a bill for rent, a bill for water and a bill for electricity.
- Catered – this may not be the case for all halls of residence, but some do include food, which is one less thing to worry about!
- Sociable –you are surrounded by other students, making this a great place to make friends as they are right on your doorstep!
- Noisy – lots of the people means lots of noise.
- Distracting – as a Masters student you may not want the distractions of living with lots of ‘enthusiastic’ undergraduates. Finding postgrad-specific accommodation can help with this.
- Term-time living – you may be required to leave during the summer and during the Christmas holidays, which is not ideal for a postgraduate student with dissertation research to do – again, finding dedicated postgrad housing can help.
As a postgrad, you may also be able to apply for a job as a resident tutor. This lets you live in undergraduate halls for free, but it’s your job to provide support to students living away from home for the first time and also ensure that good conduct is maintained within the accommodation. This is an attractive option, but it does add to your workload.
As an experienced university goer, you may feel that you no longer want to live in communal halls of residence and would prefer to rent a house with a few of your like-minded colleagues/friends (i.e. the people who aren’t going to be up all night watching Great British Bake Off repeats when you’ve got that big seminar presentation in the morning). This is also a good choice if you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of university and see more of the city you’ve moved to.
- Affordable – shared houses are generally cheaper than living on campus.
- Quiet – you may choose to live with people with a similar work schedule/ethic so you aren’t trying to do an assignment while other people are partying.
- More space – unless you are unfortunate and pick the shortest straw, you generally have a lot more space and a bigger bed in a rental house.
- Change of scenery – you may want to experience different parts of the city.
- No rules – you will no longer be told to be quiet at 1am in the morning (or at least not by university staff) or that your friends can’t stay over.
- Transportation costs – student houses are further away from uni.
- Several bills – you may have to juggle paying rent and bills separately with going to uni, assignments, socialising, taking care of yourself and feeding yourself.
- Shared facilities – in a house, the bathrooms, kitchen and washing machine etc are all communal.
- Cleaning – a cleaning rota is a good idea if you want to stay friends with all your housemates.
A private studio is a self-contained flat, with a bed and kitchen/living room all in the same space, with a private bathroom. This can be a good option for couples, or if you would just prefer to have your own private space that is quiet. Studio complexes have communal areas and can vary in location.
- Furnished – you are provided with all the furniture you require, and this includes a desk.
- Quiet – studios are a good place to study as you have no distractions.
- Private – you have your own bathroom and kitchen and no one has access to your flat.
- Low maintenance – it is a small flat, which makes cleaning it pretty easy.
- Laundry facilities – these are shared so it is not guaranteed that these will always be free when you want them to be and they often require a charge for use.
- Higher cost – studios tend to be a bit more expensive than the other options as you are paying for a place to yourself.
- Less chance to socialise – a studio minimises your contact with others.
Homestay is a great way for students (especially international students) who are moving to a new country or city to adjust to their new life. This is accommodation, with the luxury of having a family for support and comfort. Homestay is set up through agencies that are registered with the British Council, for example HFS London Specialists.
- Sociable, but not with students – you will build a relationship with family members and meet friends of the family who are not from university.
- Practice English – this is a great way to improve your English language skills and learn about the English culture.
- Quiet (mostly) – good environment to study.
- Low cost – this is a more affordable option than on campus housing and student house shares.
- No student culture – this may make it more difficult to meet people initially.
- Rules and regulations – it’s not a hotel and you can’t have all your friends round whenever you want, you do have to ask for permission.
- Short-term – this is a more temporary form of accommodation while you get settled in and make friends, but this is negotiable.
Living at home and commuting
You may not want to bother trying to find a home away from home, when you can just stay. . . at home. This is a popular option with postgraduate students, who have already become ‘independent’, but it is worth taking into account how often you have to be at uni.
- Low cost - depending on how generous your parents are, you are more than likely going to be saving a lot of money with a lower rent, and no admin fees etc.
- Home comforts – yes, you can still have that lovely home-cooked roast on a Sunday.
- Less hassle – if you stay at home, you don’t have to spend hours searching endlessly for accommodation that is overpriced and five times smaller than your family home.
- Transportation costs – this can add up more than you think, so it is worth calculating the cost before committing to this option.
- Less sociable – depending on your mode of travel, you may be more restricted when it comes to those spontaneous nights out.
- Travel time – this can eat into your study time and there can often be delays that you didn’t plan for.
It's clear that there are plenty of options for postgraduation accommodation, but hopefully, after reading this blog you now have a better idea of which one will suit you best. You can find more information, from accommodation tips to costs here.
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Last updated: 01 September 2022