Our Guide to Student Accommodations

It’s that time of year again.  Prospective students are looking to sort out their student accommodations for the coming academic year.  September is not so far away!

This article shows you around a few of the most and least popular types of student accommodation with a special emphasis on choices available for first-year students who may still be unsure of what those oft-repeated phrases ‘student halls’ and ‘student flats’ really mean.

1) Catered Halls

These are a popular option for first-year students, although largely because of American college movies. Most students get their own bedroom on a shared corridor. They get a desk, bed, wardrobe and access to a shared bathroom and pantry. Meals are served daily or twice-daily at a lunch hall not all that different to a school canteen. The plus side? A sense of security and lots of social contact – often organised events and nights out. The downside is that if you’re independent or introverted, you may find it’s just a bit too much like school all over again with social cliques, dull food and too much contact and structure.


2) Self-Catered Halls

A middle-ground between university halls and your own student flat, self-catered halls can be provided by universities themselves or by private companies. Unite in Edinburgh are one such example. Offering secure environments but with more independence and privacy than catered halls, this type of property has a big bonus: cost. Plus you’ll be put in with a random group of flatmates who could end up being your best friends for life.

3) Shared Rooms

Popular in the US and elsewhere, these aren’t quite so common in Scotland or the UK. Maybe we’re just a grumpier people who get uppity very easily when our personal space is filled with fellow students not just at seminars and mealtimes but right through the night. That said, many halls do offer a few shared rooms as a cheaper alternative to single rooms if you don’t mind the constant cosy companionship.

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4) HMO Flats

A true classic, the HMO flat. The vast majority of students move into something like this after their first year. Whether it’s a two-bed flat for you and your best mate or a massive party flat with six different rooms, student flats are the go-to venue for much of the drama, hard work, wild nights and lazy mornings of student living. Get one with a living room if you can as this helps to keep bedrooms private, allowing you and your mates to strike the perfect balance between hanging out and studying hard.


5) Studio Flats

A less common option is a one-person studio flat. Rising costs of living and the recent spike in tuition fees mean most will opt for the more wallet-friendly option of splitting their bills with friends. But older students with a little more capital may enjoy the peace and quiet of a flat to themselves. Although if you live by yourself you’ll no-one else to blame when it’s exam season, you’re panicking about your deadlines, and there isn’t a clean mug left in the whole flat!