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Choosing student accommodation
Hi, I’m Eleanor, a Fashion Marketing student at Leeds Beckett. In this blog I’m going to share some things to consider when choosing your student accommodation as a first-year.
Choosing your accommodation can seem daunting. You may be thinking ‘how am I meant to know where I want to live for a university I haven’t even started attending?’. I understand how it feels to have to make such a huge decision, so here are four steps to help you find the right accommodation for you.
Before you start researching and stressing yourself out over this, sit back and think about what type of student accommodation you want. Most universities offer university owned halls, but you also have the option of private accommodation or house shares if that’s what you would prefer.
Think about if you want to be living in a place that allows you to mix easily with students in a very social setting, such as university halls, or if you would prefer a quieter and more relaxed environment. Some uni accommodations are known for being more outgoing than others, with social events within the accommodation (Arena Village and Marsden House for example), so it’s worth thinking about what kind of vibe you are after.
When I was approaching the stage of choosing accommodation, I knew I wanted to be in a place that had a strong social setting allowing me to maximise my socialising experience. Due to this reason I chose to stay in Arena Village, and it was the best decision I ever made; they provided ice-breaker events during Freshers week but also maintained the event by holding weekly activities in the common room.
The facilities in student accommodation really vary. Universities offer halls that offer different things causing it to sometimes become a little overwhelming. When I was choosing my accommodation, I was adamant that I wanted my own ensuite, so this was a priority for me when choosing. Likewise, consider whether you would mind sharing a bathroom, would you prefer to be catered or self-catered and do you want a mixed flat or all girls/boys? Similarly, to when considering the type of accommodation you would like, think about if a communal social space, a gym or a study room are requirements for you. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you to narrow down your options when looking.
My accommodation, Arena Village, included all of the above and even though some of the facilities, such as the study space, were not a priority for me when choosing my accommodation, it was a bonus and helped me secure my decision further.
It is also worth keeping an eye out to see if different accommodations mention 24 hour security and contents insurance being included, as I highly recommend this. It helps you feel safe in a new, big city.
We all want to live in the nicest accommodation there is, but we have to live within our means and our student loans. Everyone’s financial situation is different so don’t be alarmed if you cannot afford some of the more expensive ones. Try and work out a budget for yourself and go from there. When I was looking, I found it really useful to reflect on what facilities I thought were a top priority for myself and then correlated this to what I could afford. Will you be happy with a small single room or do you require a double room or even a studio flat? It is important to know this as it will influence the price.
The accommodation at Leeds Beckett ranges from roughly £99-£250 a week, allowing every student to find the right fit for them and their budget. When I stayed at Arena Village, I paid mid-range at £150 which included all the facilities I have mentioned previously, bills were included, and I had a spacious double bedroom.
In addition to this, a tip is to look out to see if bills are included, or if there are any hidden costs that will catch you out when you arrive in September. Also, be aware that you may have to pay a deposit although these are usually refundable.
Lastly, I found it really useful to think about where I wanted to be situated in Leeds. This varies so much for each individual, depending on which campus your course is taught at and if you want to be near to it, or if you’d prefer to be local to your interests and hobbies. For example, are you planning on joining societies and clubs and would prefer to be closer to Headingley or are you a night out lover and would prefer to be more city centred?
I was based at city campus which was ideal for me as I knew I wanted to live in the city for my first year, which allowed me to not only be less than a five minute walk away from campus but also to be next to the shops, bars and clubs. Regardless of where your course is taught you can choose to live closer to the city or Headingley. However, it is important to look into the walking distance or the bus routes to ensure you can go into university easily, so you make it on time for the dreaded 9am lectures!
Personally, choosing to live in student accommodation in my first year was the right decision for me, it allowed me to gain independence, meet new friends and experience new things while feeling safe and secure. Hopefully these four things to consider when choosing accommodation makes it a smooth and easy process, allowing you to have the best time here at Leeds Beckett.
Now that you have some of my top tips on what to look out for when choosing your accommodation, check out the website to explore virtual tours and find out more about the specific options available. Bookings for 2021/22 are now open.