If you’re reading this, you’ve probably fallen victim to the ‘house panic’ that grips freshers every year. It feels as if you’ve only just settled in, and already everyone around you has started rounding up potential housemates, endlessly scrolling housing websites and signing contracts. I remember it well!
Though it all seems overwhelming, rushing into a decision is never the best solution. You have various living options, some of which you may not even have considered.
Rent privately with friends.
Overall, this is the most popular option amongst second-year students, as it offers the opportunity to live with a chosen group of friends, choose the location and facilities you want and usually works out cheaper than other housing options. Finding a house can be a pretty lengthy and daunting process, and my biggest tips are to take advantage of Manchester Student Homes and ensure that you view properties in person before signing anything. Unfortunately, scams are rife, and the quality of housing is sometimes pretty low, so don’t rush into any decisions!
Despite the effort required, I personally would really recommend this option if it is appropriate for you. I lived with two friends in a rented house in Fallowfield last year and had a fantastic time. It feels like a big step towards independence and adulthood, as well as offering flexibility and a sense of ‘homeliness’ that can be difficult to find while at university.
Stay in University-owned student halls.
If finding housemates, spending hours scrolling through listings and dealing with landlords doesn’t appeal to you, you also have the option to stay in student halls during your second year. With City, Victoria Park or Fallowfield campuses to choose from, there are plenty of options depending on the location, price and facilities you are looking for.
It’s worth bearing in mind that University-owned halls are often more expensive than private houses and that you would likely be living with a group of freshers who will be at a different stage of their university journey than you. That is not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your outlook, and it means you’ll be able to benefit from support from ResLife and can attend social events in halls.
If you’ve struggled to make friends or felt isolated this year, halls could be a great option to become part of a community and meet new people.
Note that the deadline for current UoM students to apply for this accommodation is Wednesday, 15th February 2023, More information is available on the accommodation website.
Rent a studio flat.
Sick of arguments over whose turn it is to take the bins out and the flatmate who keeps helping themselves to your milk? Fair enough. If you appreciate solitude and have the funds available, a studio flat could be a great option for your second year. This is especially true if you have a placement-heavy degree that requires long working days or if you want to knuckle down on your studies.
Studios are definitely a more expensive option, but I know various friends that took this route during their second or third year and are really enjoying the peace and cleanliness it offers. You will still have to deal with landlords and viewings, but the higher price point often means the communication and living standard of a studio is higher than that of a shared house.
Live at home and commute.
If you’re a home bird or looking to save money, living at home and commuting to university could be a really worthwhile option if possible. Though it may leave you at the mercy of public transport and long journeys, it also offers the opportunity to be with family, work in your hometown and keep up the hobbies and connections you had prior to University.
If worries about your social life or making friends deter you from this option, check out the Student Union’s resources for commuter students here (Living at home | Get ready | The University of Manchester) to learn more about the opportunities available to you.