When I started researching the different student accommodations in Manchester, I was under the impression that halls of residence were the way to go. “That’s what everyone does, right?” was a thought cemented firmly in my mind – I didn’t know anything outside of this bubble was possible in first year. However, after a lot of digging and recommendations by my mum, I actually realised that private accommodation was the way forward for me (especially as I applied to the university late), and it gave me a lot more flexibility. I discovered a lot of beautiful and well-equipped private halls that were all within my budget – it seemed perfect, so why had I heard nothing about it before? If you’re under the exact same impression, keep reading to hear my list of pros and cons about living in private halls, and perhaps it may open your eyes to a new possibility you didn’t consider before.
The people are more diverse
Pro – you’ll get to meet a variety of people staying in private halls, as it’s not just restricted to people from your university or year. Any student in Manchester could be in your accommodation, so you’ll meet a wide range of people and gain a lot of experience from them
Con – you may feel as though everyone is different and so settling in might be a bit harder, especially if all the people in your flat are third years while you’re a fresher. However, this isn’t always the case, and quite often (depending on availability), they’ll try and group you with people who are in the same year or doing similar subjects
Flexibility with food
Pro – some halls of residence are catered and this is something you’ve got to live with if you stay there, whereas in private accommodation you don’t have to worry about this. You can eat what you want, when you want, and not have to worry about set mealtimes or foods you don’t like, especially if you have allergies or intolerances
Con – maybe you’re the type of student who prefers to have this structure in your day, or you’re not ready to start cooking for yourself yet, in which case catered accommodation would be much more suitable
It is tailored to exactly what you want
Pro – if you want to ensure you’re in a certain location, then you have full control over this by opting for private accommodation. You also have the option to choose whether you want a modern room or something more traditional, as well as any extra amenities like a gym
Con – not all private accommodation is modern and luxurious as you may think, and there are some equally nice halls of residence that you can opt for!
Best suited for the independent students
Pro – although it varies from place to place, a lot of private halls have more of an independent feel, with everyone doing their own thing and quite often keeping to themselves, so if you’re more of a person who likes to keep to yourself or mind your own business, some private halls are definitely suited to this
Con – this atmosphere can feel quite lonely for people, as there’s less of a wild community feel and constant activity going on, although again this varies from place to place, but often halls of residence are far more reputed for being social
The price is whatever you want
Pro – whether you’re budget is super small or a lot more flexible, there’s a variety of private accommodations on the market for you to consider, so you can really tailor it to what you want and can afford. There’s also different room sizes and models on offer for different prices, so you can have full control over what you want and what you’re paying
Con – regardless of what you pay, you’re still bound to have some of the same struggles as you would in halls of residence – not choosing who you live with, noise, mess, just to name a few!
I really hope this opened up your eyes to the possibility of private accommodation, which is often overlooked, and it might be something you want to consider! Remember that the experience will be different from person to person – some might love it and others might absolutely hate it – but if this sounds like the type of uni experience you’d like then I’d recommend looking into it!