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Renting your first student property? Here’s what you need to know

students eating together at home

If you’ve never been through the process of ever renting a property, it can seem like a massive deal.

We get it, we’ve been in the same (unstable) boat of what it feels like to be growing up. But once you break the process down into smaller chunks, it really isn’t as difficult or overwhelming as it may first seem.

Having helped thousands of Huddersfield students find their perfect pad, here’s our guide to renting your first property so it goes without a hitch.

Oh, there are so many things that could go wrong.

Oops, things going wrong.

Sorry, we had to say it. And we know you’re thinking it too.

One moment you think you’ve scored with a four-storey terraced house with a garden (the size of filing cabinet but a “garden” nonetheless). The next, you find yourself regretting every decision you ever made bringing you to this mould-infested dive.

We get it. When you throw large sums of money into a house, you expect it to at least be suitable for human habitation. Is that too much to ask for?

The reason we find things quickly heading south for students is because landlords think they can take advantage. Just because you’re young and you’ve never done this before, doesn’t mean you’re naive.

It’s time for you to put you big pants on and get down to business. If you know what you want and what to look for, there’s no reason for things to go wrong.

First things first, who are you going to live with?

emotional support

Listen, you’re probably not going to make it out of your twenties without having to share a house with someone. And this great and bizarre journey begins in university.

This is when the real fun begins so you shouldn’t be anxious about living with other people (if you do it right). You’re going to want to pick your housemates wisely as you’re going to be living with these people for a while.

When you get time, check out our previous post on how to pick your perfect housemates (and avoid nightmare roomies) – all the questions you need to ask to weed out the bad ones and find the keepers.

Where do you want to live?


If you’re a hater of early mornings, you’re probably the type who prefers to roll out of bed and be in your lecture 5 minutes later. In this case, living on the doorstep of campus will suit you perfectly but bear in mind, it’ll be more expensive and smaller.

If you’re happy to trade proximity for a bigger and cheaper property, look a bit further out of the city centre. What’s a 15-20 minute walk when you can live in a castle? OK, maybe not a castle but close enough in the realms of student living.

There’s also this great invention called a bike, just remember it’s never a good idea to get s**t faced off box wine and decide to cycle home. Yes, you know who you are.

What type of property would you prefer?

Room for activities

Do you want to live in a flat or a house? Both have their advantages and compromises.

If you’re after a flat, you’re more likely to live close to Uni. Again, it’s going to cost you the closer you get to campus. For two to three people, a flat is ideal but it can get stuffy when you go beyond four.

If you’re the popular one with friends lining up to be your roomie, well then a house will suit your needs better. You’ll be a bit further out from campus but you’ll have more space for activities!

Let’s talk money.

Where's my money?Before you can rent your first student home, you need to outline exactly what your budget is. Take into regard factors like bills, food, stationery, transport costs and last but definitely not least, your social life.

Your location will be impacted by how much you can afford to spend on rent every month. Be realistic with yourself and strict with how you spend your money. You don’t want to be the one getting by on 2 minute noodles because of your addiction to covering the house in fairy lights and soft-touch throws. Get your priorities straight.

Do you want bills included or excluded?


Be aware of this when you begin your search. Most students go for the option of having gas, electricity and water included in the rent, especially if there’s eight of you in a house. However, this is not always the case so be sure to check.

No one wants to be hit with unexpected costs at the end of the month, especially when you’re living on a tight budget already.

This is the most exciting time of your life and there’s no need to panic. We only rent out properties we would be happy to live in. Every single property we have listed goes through a rigorous vetting system to adhere to our strict standards.

Check out our latest properties here and if you need a helping hand along the way, we’re only a phone call away.

It’s simple: grab your best mates, outline what you want and what you don’t and we’ll sort out the rest.


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How to choose the right type of student house for you

High five for managing to pick your perfect housemates. Phew, at least the hardest part is out the way. After all, it doesn’t matter where you are, but who you’re with.

(Just joking, of course it matters where you are otherwise you wouldn’t be here right now).

So, you have the friends but now the next big question on your mind is: “Where are we going to live?” There’s a lot to think about when choosing your house…

What type of property are you all looking for?

Do you want somewhere you can all have your own privacy?

Or do you want more open living and communal spaces?

Not to stress, this is the fun part. It’s also the most important because you’re going to be living in this place for at least 12 months. We want to help you make the right decision so here’s our guide to choosing the right type of student house.

How many people do you want to live with?

Dealing with housemates







Start by knowing how many people you’re dealing with before searching for the house.

Do you want to go solo? Living on your own won’t be the most sociable but it will give you the independence and freedom from the rules of sharing. If you can afford to pay rent on your own, then a studio would suit your needs perfectly.

The most popular option is to live with 2-3 people. This is the middle ground. You get the best of both worlds having people around always but without the chaos of living with a large group.

As soon as you’re dealing with numbers beyond four, you may need a house with more space so you can escape when you need to, but still have all your besties under one roof.

Size matters








It would be ideal to live with all of your friends but this is not always the most realistic and easiest plan to put into action. It’s one of those things we see only working out in the movies.

The bigger the house, the bigger the chance of something going wrong and the longer the wait for the bathroom. If you’re a group of 10, it’ll be more practical to get two houses – that way you have more space and choice when you’re throwing a party.

When you start to talk about your expectation for the size of the house with your potential housemates, you will find out if you are in fact on the same wavelength.

It’s all about the convenience (location)









You’ll need to consider exactly where you want to live.

Do you want to be able to walk everywhere? Are you near local shops and nightlife? How far do you want to be from uni?

Your location will be heavily influenced by your budget, too. If you want to be closer to the town centre, it’ll be more expensive. Go further out and you’ll find cheaper and bigger properties with the bonus of staying fit from cycling or walking to campus more.

On a side note: if you stay further out of the city centre, make sure you’re living around other student houses rather than living next door to a family, unless you want your curfew to be at 8pm too.

Apartment vs house living











While the hyped apartment buildings in the city centre place you in the heart of the activity, they can often be overrated for the amount of rent you’ll be paying.

Yes, living close to campus means you can stumble out of bed five minutes before a lecture and still make it on time. It also means you don’t need to worry about catching night buses because everything you need to survive and recover is on your doorstep.

Downside, the rooms can be the equivalent of a shoe box and if there’s 4-6 of you, it could get a tad claustrophobic. Less space also means less privacy. You’ll sometimes feel as if you have people around you 24/7. A flat will be a better option for 2-3 people.

But what’s a 15-20 minute walk or a short bus trip when you have more space and at a cheaper price? When you move out of the hustle and bustle of it all, you can get bigger and better houses. If there’s a big group of you, we definitely recommend getting a house.

Again, we’re all different people with different needs so sit down and weigh up your options together. Then prioritise what will work for the entire house.

Hopefully you now have a solid idea of what type of student house you want.

What to do next? Well you’re in the right place. We have the largest selection of high quality student accommodation to rent in Huddersfield. Check out our latest listings here and if you have any questions or want to arrange a viewing, give us a call.

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How to pick your perfect housemates (and avoid nightmare roomies)

It’s your worst nightmare come alive.

Stuck in the room next to the noisiest, most-selfish, pain in the *** housemate who insists on playing their terrible music until the early hours, regularly steals your food and always leaves the washing up for someone else.

How did this happen? How did we end up like this? They seemed the perfect bestie-material when you were living in halls with them. Now you’re left to wonder if all those freshers’ social events are to blame for your cloud of judgement or if they just happen to have a split personality.

If you want to avoid housemate warfare, you need to know how to pick the good ones from the sloppy ones. Who knew? Just by asking the right questions you may just end up living with people you actually like.

So, what are you likes and dislikes? Any hobbies?









Get straight to the point. You’re going to be stuck with these people for a whole year so you want to be sure you at least have some common ground.

Given the perils of different personalities and habits coming together under one roof, it’s only natural some conflict will go down. However, it’s a lot easier to deal with this conflict when you live with people who value you as a friend and aren’t just in it for themselves.

Remember, a shared fondness for vodka shots probably isn’t a smart indication you’ll be able to live together (but you’d definitely make for a good party team).

How important is a clean house/apartment to you?








Find out if they’re the messy or neat type. You can’t expect the house to be spotless just because you’re a neat freak. On the other hand, there’s a difference between an organised messy person and to put it simply, a dirty slob. This is also a chance for you to be upfront about about your habits too.

It may also be better to ask how often they clean. Find out what they absolutely loathe and don’t mind doing when it comes to house chores. The ‘I’ll do it in a minute’ housemate will result in the kitchen sink starting to resemble a mind of its own. Terrifying and just plain gross.

One thing’s for sure, living with other people will make you realise why your mum was constantly nagging you to clean up after yourself all those years (you better call her now and tell her how much you love her).

Are you in a relationship?









Not many people think to ask this one. Let us tell you, this is very important.

There is NOTHING more infuriating than having your housemates’ significant other helping themselves to your food, taking hour long showers and making themselves at home. Before you know it, they’ll start to rearrange the furniture and walk around in a towel (your towel, BTW).

Let’s get one thing straight, you cannot expect your housemates to subsidise your boyfriend/girlfriend staying for half the week. Every week. This isn’t a student hostel, this is your home.

Yes, you want to be able to invite people over and have your lover around, but there’s a line. Be sure to set the rules from the outset so you don’t end up having an unexpected new roomie (who doesn’t even pay towards the bills).

What do you enjoy cooking?









This is a casual way to find out about someone’s dietary preferences without straight up asking someone to delve into their finicky eating habits.

It’s not to say you can’t live with someone just because they have a different diet to yours. But chances are if you’re living with a vegan, they may have a slight issue with the fridge containing slabs of dead animals from time to time. Being honest before makes sure these type of surprises don’t happen.

On the subject of food, ask your potential housemate what their thoughts are on sharing. It’s handy to have certain shared supplies like salt and oil but you don’t want to be living with someone who keeps helping themselves to your food.

Set the boundaries so you can avoid passive-aggressive notes on the fridge and the heartbreak of having your leftover pizza being scavenged the night before by a drunk housemate.

How’s your ability to lock doors and shut windows?









Find out how cued up they are with their security. If you come home to find the door has been left unlocked and the windows are wide open, you could be living with a ‘it won’t happen to me’ type of person. And we all know how living with this person will end.

In tears and broken friendships.

Students are easy targets for burglars so avoid having your laptop stolen in the middle of your dissertation and talk about safety beforehand. This way you can worry less knowing the house will be in good hands when you’re not around.

Are you willing to sign the contract?








To ensure your best chance at coexisting with these people, you need to know where you stand with each other. If your potential roomie isn’t willing to make a legal commitment, this is probably a red flag. You’re in this together and you should share the responsibility together.

This is a perfect time to mention the deposit. One month’s rent is standard. Talking about money is never easy but you’ll get a good impression of this person depending on how they react to this question. Unless they have a really good poker face, in this case, we can’t help you.

Remember, try not to be too intrusive whilst asking these questions (no one wants to live with someone who sounds like their parents). This is probably going to be your only chance to live with your best mates so choose wisely, make the most of it and buckle up for the good times (it’s going to be a wild ride).

Good luck with gathering your ultimate housemate crew. You’ve got this.

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5 Questions Every Student Needs To Ask Their Landlord Before Moving In

Leaving the safety bubble of campus living to renting your first home can be a confusing and scary venture.

It feels as if you’re stepping into the unknown, especially when you hear of the many scare stories about dodgy landlords ripping off unsuspecting students. Not to panic, we’re here to make this move go smoothly by giving you the knowledge you need to make the right choice.

Here’s 5 questions you need to ask your landlord before you move in so you can avoid any unnecessary problems:

1.) Are you accredited by my university?








Just because someone has a house to rent, doesn’t necessarily mean they know what they’re doing (shock).

A good way to check if the landlord is legit is by asking if they’re accredited by your university and signed up to the code of standards.

2.) Are bills included?








Most students find it easier to have bills included, especially if there’s eight of you in a house. However, this is not always the case so be sure to check with the landlord.

No one wants to be hit with unexpected costs at the end of the month, especially when you’re on a tight budget already. Combining gas, water and electricity into one monthly payment is convenient and will save you from running after that one housemate who’s always late paying their share.

This way, you can just split it between the housemates, add it to the rent and pay one lump sum to your landlord each month. Extra bonus: you won’t have to worry about skimping on gas during winter to avoid a hefty bill (walking around the house in three layers of clothing is no fun).

3.) What is the fair usage policy/do you have a fair usage policy?









What’s more important than cheap beer? Duh, fast WiFi.

From assignment research to streaming Spotify and Netflix, internet connection and student life go together like cheap beer and greasy pizza. We would hate for you to catch a case of FOMO because of a dodgy internet connection.

Be sure to ask your landlord if there is a fair usage policy regarding the internet and how it works.

It’s also important to note, if you spend the entire weekend binge-watching and downloading 10 movies every hour, it’ll be your fault your internet has slowed down to the pace of a snail. We’re not here to tell you what to do (OK, maybe just a little) but download responsibly kiddos.

4.) Do I need a guarantor?









Ah, the good ol’ guarantor. Your last hope. The only person left who can save you from the brink of homelessness.

The purpose of a guarantor is to basically guarantee the landlord will get paid if you and your housemates who are renting the property cannot pay. It’s a serious undertaking because the guarantor will be liable for any payments if the tenants fail to pay. It’s a perfectly normal situation and almost all properties will require a guarantor.

Chat to the landlord to see if you’ll need a guarantor. If the answer is yes, then between you and your housemates, there has to be at least one person who will lend you a hand and trust you to be the (responsible) adult you are now.

5.) What do you reasonably expect in terms of keeping the house and garden in good shape?












If you’re one of the lucky few to have a garden (imagine the parties you will throw in the summer) you need to remember this: even gardens need some TLC from time to time. They’re not on the list of things you can just ignore and hope for the best.

If you don’t envision any of you getting down and dirty to prevent your backyard from transforming into an overgrown jungle, it’s worth asking the landlord who’s responsible for general maintenance and upkeep. This also applies to any repairs needed in the house.

If you have any more questions about landlords, please feel free to call us and we’d be happy to help.

Ready to find your haven? Check out our latest properties and if there’s a place that catches your eye, let us know and we can arrange a viewing. Happy searching!

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What Every Student Should Know About Staying Safe at University

Thinking about your safety might not be top of mind when you first start university, but taking it seriously now can prevent unnecessary trouble and heartache later on. Read our comprehensive guide and get a head start on how to stay safe as a student. 


First and foremost, always be responsible for yourself and your belongings – don’t rely on friends and housemates to look after you or your stuff. This is especially true for first year students who are living away from home for the first time and aren’t used to things like checking their house is secure or turning off the heating (usually mum or dad’s job!). Also, your campus may not look unsafe due to the relaxed atmosphere and thousands of students passing through every day but they are often hotspots for planned crime. Always stay vigilant and don’t get complacent about your surroundings.


Student properties are notorious amongst thieves for rick pickings due to the plethora of gadgets and devices lying around and the lax attitude of most students towards safety and security. For example, if all of the housemates happen to go for a night out separately from one another, who is going to check that all the windows are closed and locked? The last one leaving the property can check downstairs and their own room but what about the other bedrooms which might be locked? Also, when students are drunk they are very careless and tend to forget to lock the door/windows; being passed out on the floor isn’t going to help either if thieves do decide to pay a visit.

Make it difficult for thieves to gain entry by ensuring all outside doors are fitted with a heavy duty fiver lever mortise deadlock. Fit all ground floor windows with small key operated locks and ensure that windows are dressed with curtains/blinds/nets so that it’s not easy to see inside. You can also use timer switches for lights and fake TV units (which make it look like the TV is on when it’s not) to give the impression the house is occupied. A burglar alarm and security lights outside the property also act as good deterrents.

If you feel that security isn’t up to par, politely request your landlord to look into it and remind him/her that it is also in their best interests to keep their property safe and secure. It’s also worth considering secure storage for more valuable belongings if you are leaving these during the holidays.


Don’t plan a night out without making adequate provision for getting back home safely. Pre-book a licenced taxi or find out where the taxi rank is from where you plan to be. Students’ unions usually have a list of recommended companies so it’s a good idea to save some numbers in your phone. You can also download apps like Uber and Minicabster which allow you to book and pay for taxis via your mobile phone so you don’t have to carry extra cash on you. If you do, remember to keep your taxi fare home separate from your spending money so you don’t accidentally spend it on food and drinks. If you need to get home but don’t have any money left then certain taxi companies will have arrangements with universities where you can get picked up from the union and pay them back later – a good option if you are drinking at the students’ union bar or close by.

If you are travelling on public transport and are alone, sit near the driver on a bus always sit in carriage with other passengers if you are on a train, the tube or metro. If you decide to walk home then try and do so with a group of people and be extra vigilant by looking around you often. Avoid walking through poorly lit areas at night such as parks and alleyways and never use your phone torch to light the way in the dark, as it just makes you more of a target for unscrupulous characters. Also, don’t stay stuck to your mobile phone as it makes you unware of your surroundings and it will be difficult to react to a bad situation quickly.


Always plan where you are going beforehand and let a responsible friend or relative know where you are going, who you are going with and when you expect to be back. If plans change then be sure to inform the relevant people so that they aren’t unnecessarily worrying about you but also, if anything bad happens they will have the most up to date information to give to the police. Apps such as Glympse track your location so that others can see where you are at all times. Glympse does drain your battery so you can just turn it on before you start making your way home so your journey can be tracked easily.


Being intoxicated is an easy way to lose your wits and your belongings in the process. Your personal safety is also at risk as you are also far more likely to do something dangerous when you are under the influence. The best advice to follow is to limit your intake and stop before you get drunk – you will know what your limits are. Don’t give in to peer-pressure or the expectation that you need to drink more just because you are a student. Try not to drink on an empty stomach and also keep hydrated with water which also helps to not get drunk so quickly. Be careful not to leave your drink unattended and never accept drinks from people you don’t know as drinks can get spiked.


In the UK we are limited by law as to what we can carry on our person for self-defence. Knives, weapons and pepper spray are all illegal but there are some useful items you can use:

Criminal Identifier Self-Defence Spray: This works by emitting bright red dye when it is sprayed and can stop an attacker in his/her tracks by catching them off guard and blurring their vision. It also colours their skin bright red for many days making it easy for the police to identify them if they get caught. It does not contain tear gas, pepper spray or any other noxious substances so it is perfectly legal to carry in the UK. You can purchase it from here.

Personal Alarms: These emit a very high pitched alarm which alerts people around you and is usually enough to scare off any attacker.

Carrying these aids with you at all times is a good idea and will help you feel more at ease knowing that you may be able to fend off any attacker with their use. Traditionally, these items are considered to be more for female use than male use but crime figures prove that male students are more likely to be attacked in the street than female students.

Learning self-defence and martial arts is also highly recommended as knowing how to defend yourself and neutralizing an attack can save your life. Sometimes you may not have safety aids on your person or easy access to them so self-defence is the next best thing.


Students are often targeted by burglars as they have expensive gadgets and are not really known for being security conscious, especially if they are drunk. A good way to protect yourself from mishaps if they do happen is by getting adequate insurance for your mobile phone, laptop and other expensive belongings. Check your student bank account as many banks include perks like phone insurance when you open an account with them. Keep a copy of your insurance details in a safe place.


Marking Your Valuables

As soon as you purchase something expensive which can be easily stolen – such as a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, handbag or bicycle then immediately mark the item using property marking products – such as a UV pen, MicroDot System or barcode tags. There are a number of different items available but they all act in the same way – which is to deter burglars from stealing your possessions and repatriating items to you once they have been recovered by the police. You can purchase a variety of marking solutions from

Registering Your Belongings

You may never have even heard of it, but the website is the largest free register of personal belongings in the world.It is used as a tool along with other sites to reduce crime and return lost and stolen belongings to their rightful owners. Anyone from students to business owners can use the site to register valuable possessions and assets. It’s the only service of its kind that is supported by all UK police forces and the mobile phone industry as well as insurance companies and the used goods trade (to check if items have been stolen prior to purchase). Full details on how to register your mobile phone can be found here

If your phone does go missing, make sure you remember to contact your network provider as soon as possible to report the loss so they can block the phone. This means that nobody else will be able to use the phone even if a new sim card is put into it. Most providers have a £100 liability limit which basically means that you will only have to pay £100 towards a replacement handset if you report it lost/stolen within 24 hours.

Remember to do the same if you lose your credit/debit cards. Get in touch with your bank and credit card company as soon as possible so that they can block your card and prevent it from being misused.


Many people don’t think about security when they are on the internet but there are plenty of scams online that are netting fraudsters millions every year. Cybercrime is also more difficult to police so if you do get conned, it’s harder for you to get your money back.

Shopping online -Look for the padlock or unbroken key icon on websites which shows the site is secure when taking personal information and card details. Websites that have ‘https’ have a security certificate and use encryption to store card details – which means those details can’t be copied/stolen and it’s safe to proceed with a transaction. If however, you don’t see the final‘s’ when you come to the checkout, abort the transaction immediately as it means the site is not secure.

You can also download free security software such as Rapport by IBM which helps to keep your personal information safe online and also protects your card details when you are shopping. It also shields your online banking details which is why many banks prompt you to download the software when you log on to digital banking. Credit scoring sites such as Experian offer services that monitor your details online and alert you to any irregularities for a small fee.

Phishing Emails – We’ve probably all received fake emails from scammers in different parts of the world asking us for our bank account details so that they can deposit $10 million from their grandmother’s inheritance – and laughed them off but sometimes fraudsters are far more subtle in asking you for sensitive information. Beware of clicking links from emails asking you to verify your account, especially if you have not set up a new account recently. Phishing emails from fake PayPal emails are extremely commonplace so be extra careful with them.

Dating Sites – Staying safe online is not just about protecting your financial details; your personal safety can also be compromised if you are use dating sites and meet up with potentials on a night out. When meeting someone new, always let your housemates and a trusted friend know where you are going and what time you plan to be back. Set up Glympse (location tracker) on your phone and activate it on your way back home so your friends can check where you are and what time your ETA is.


Bike – Popular amongst students as a cheap way to travel, bikes are often targeted by thieves. Universities have bicycle racks outside faculty buildings so lock your bike on those with a solid, tamper proof lock. In other places, make sure you leave your bike somewhere public and locked to something which cannot be moved. If you keep your bike in the garage or university halls then follow the same principle of securing it with a lock. As an added security measure, take a photo of your bike (including the number on the frame), mark it with a UV pen or Microdots and register it on

Car – Choose parking locations carefully – don’t leave your car in the middle of nowhere and in poorly lit areas which also compromises your personal safety. Remove all valuables from sight and use a steering lock to secure your car.


Identity theft is on the rise in the UK and as a student moving from property to property, you are more vulnerable to being targeted.

Keep these tips in mind to prevent your identity from being stolen:

  • Keep an eye on your post and put it somewhere safe as soon as it comes through the letterbox. You won’t know all of your housemates’ friends who might visit and with strangers in the property you can’t be too careful. Set up post re-direct services once you have vacated a property for at least 3 months which will give you enough time to inform your bank, credit card company, GP surgery and other places of your new address details.
  • Keep valuable documents like your passport and driving license in a lockable container hidden in your room. Make photocopies of your documents and save the scanned images in your email or cloud based storage account.
  • Never give out sensitive information such as security passwords, PIN numbers and bank account details to anyone.Destroy expired bank cards by cutting through the chip and magnetic strip and contact your bank/credit card company as soon as possible if you lose your card.
  • Shred or burn papers carrying bank details and other sensitive information and move to paperless statements with every account you hold.


Cash machines – Always check a cash machine for any signs of meddling before using it. When entering your pin number, cover the keypad with your other hand so nobody can see it and be cautious of anyone standing too close to you. If you need cash then plan ahead and withdraw money during the daytime wherever possible.

Restaurants – When eating out with friends, don’t let your guard down – particularly if you are having a few drinks with your meal. Keep your handbag in a safe place where you can see it at all times (it can be stolen from under the table so put it in between your ankles). When paying for your meal, don’t allow the waiter to take your card away as it can easily be cloned.

Mobile phone – Ensure that your mobile is sufficiently charged when you leave the house. It might be worth investing in a power pack for days you will be out of the house for an extended period of time.

Bonus tip: Add the contact number of a trustworthy friend or relative and save it under ICE (In Case of Emergency) in your phone. If anything untowards happens, the police will know who to contact in case of an emergency.

Gadgets – If you are working late at libraries and IT centres be careful when leaving such facilities in the dark. Carry your laptop in a sports bag or even a strong plastic carrier bag from Tesco so it doesn’t look obvious as to what is inside.

Check Everything – Double – even triple – check things like locking car and house windows and doors, turning electrical items like the iron, hair straighteners and the cooker off and investigating any suspicious sounds around your property (take a housemate with you).

Remember, all it takes is a few simple precautions which don’t cost much time and money to safeguard yourself and your belongings leaving you to enjoy your time at university. We hope you found this guide helpful and hope that will share it with your university friends so they too can benefit from it.

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How to Survive and Thrive in Your First Year at University

Going to university for the first time is an exciting experience but it can also lead to feelings of anxiety and overwhelm as you figure out how to navigate your first year. Read our guide below to make sure you not only survive but thrive in your first year!

Students come in all manner of mind-sets; some take to university life like a duck to water and others find themselves struggling to swim at all. There is no doubt that starting university is a huge shift for students in many ways, from making new friends and social networks to moving away from home and managing finances. It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by the changes, especially in your first semester when you are just starting out. It helps to remember that there is nothing wrong in feeling like this and you certainly won’t be the only person on campus who might be struggling to adjust to your new life as a student.

We have put together some advice and tips below on how you can make your first year not only easier to cope with, but hopefully one that you will enjoy and have fond memories of when you look back years later.


Being confident and cultivating the right mind-set when you start university is one of the most important things you can do as a new student. It’s highly important that during your first semester you give yourself the space to adjust to student life and see it is a learning curve so that future semesters are easier to handle. It also massively helps to keep an open mind and view university as an opportunity to make new friends, learn new skills, try new things and generally enjoy the experience. Remember, nobody knows (or even cares) who you are and what your past is, so if there are things holding you back from your years gone by- such as failed exams or messy relationships – then now is the time to bury the baggage and start anew; your future self will thank you for it.


Going to university is a great way to meet new friends and expand your social network. However, if you are moving to a new town or even a new country, it can feel quite daunting as you try and figure out new people, customs and cultures. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make lots of friends or try and ‘fit in’, especially when you see other students doing the same and maybe feel left out. Instead, be confident in your own self and let things progress naturally; remember you are there to study and get a good degree, not to impress people. Also, resist the urge to make friends with everyone during fresher’s week, it’s not realistic or sustainable and most people are just having a laugh at the start of term without giving much thought to long term friendships. Save your efforts for a few but more meaningful friendships which blossom over time.


Clubs and societies are a fantastic place for pursuing new interests/skills and meeting people outside of your normal circles. Joining them is a fun way to use your free time and bolster your CV at the same time. Whilst you may not necessarily be thinking about jobs and a career in your first year, it’s worth bearing in mind that being part of a club or society is good for networking and getting a foot on the career ladder as you caneasily strike friendships with students who are years ahead of you in their studies Once you have completed your degree, they may well be able to help you get an interview at your dream job or even help organise a work placement whilst you are still studying.


Studying at university is very different to college or sixth form as more focus is given to independent study, making your own notes, reading around the subject etc. The onus is on you to put in the effort and ask for help if you are struggling. Use your first year to get used to the idea of slowly acclimatising to study life. Yes, you can enjoy yourself in year one a little bit more but make sure that by the end of year one that you get all of that wild stuff out of your system and that you are ready to take things seriously in year two, three and beyond. Outside of lectures and assignments, it’s a good habit to make time for studying every day to review notes and catch up on reading so that you are well prepared when it comes to exams and revision. Cramming a few days or even a week before each subject is extremely stressful (both physically and mentally) and whatever your approach to study is, you are unlikely to give your best performance when under so much stress.


The sooner you get used to the idea of being financially independent and accountable for yourself, the better you will be in the long run. Parents aren’t here to clean up after you and pay your bills, so use the first semester to get used to this fact. The best thing you can do is to draw up a budget and religiously stick to it. List all of your monthly outgoings and add on an extra 10% for unforeseen expenditure and try your best not to exceed it. Don’t forget to take advantage of student discounts at retailers, eateries and even online – it all adds up. Stock up on grocery and essentials from the big discounters like Aldi and Lidl as well as local pound stores. Charity shops are also a great place to find hidden gems and are now much more ‘upmarket’ than they once were. Also, eating a good breakfast and taking lunch from home is also a great habit to get into as not only is it time saving but you can make healthier food choices (rather be forced to eat what is on offer at the university café) and save a small fortune in the process. Consider this: breakfast and lunch from a café with drinks will easily set you back around £10-£15 per day depending on where you go compared to a few pounds a day if you eat from home.

Remember, not only do you want to graduate with a good degree and as little student debt as possible but at some point after graduation you may wish to travel, buy a car or get on the property ladder. Therefore it makes good sense to get into the habit of being money conscious now so that you can enjoy yourself later.


There is no shame in asking for help when you need it. You might be stuck on an assignment, can’t find your way around campus or need help finding student housing.Or you might be feeling homesick and missing friends, family and pets back home. The key thing to remember is that there are lots of people willing to help – be it classmates, lecturers or tutors. Your student union office can help with a lot of matters and provides free services such as financial advice, counselling and help regarding student accommodation. Family and friends back home are only a call away, so don’t be shy to pick up the phone and share whatever you are feeling – they will probably be happy they can help. The challenges of higher education affect many students at one point or another and with help available there is no reason to feel alone and suffer in silence.


It’s really easy to let things slide regarding your health as you get busy with lectures, socialising and hangovers! During fresher’s week it’s customary to drink excessively, eat takeaways and sleep late. However, such a lifestyle will soon take its toll on you mentally and physically if it’s not kept in check. It’s very important to quickly revert back to your regular health and fitness regime as soon as you can after the first few weeks of university and if you don’t really have one to begin with, now is as good a time as any to start. Try and eat well (get more fruit and veg in, less junk and less alcohol) and get some exercise in by simply walking to university instead of catching the bus (or if it’s too far then just getting off a few stops earlier). Most campuses have their own gym (with student friendly rates on membership) which you can visit during free periods in your timetable. Also, if you are in a new town then make sure you register at your local GP surgery and dental practice (ideally in the first week of moving) as you never know when you may need such services.


It’s fair to assume that as a student you will have your phone or tablet on your person at all times, so use that to help you study and stay organised. There are many apps that you can use to your advantage such as ExamTime and Timetable as well as whole host of other apps and built-in phone features which enable you to do things like record lectures, scan your notes, save and share files, collaborate with classmates and more. Also look at lifestyle apps such as journey planners, fitness trackers and budget planners to help you stay on top of things.


This particularly applies if you are studying in a new city (or even country). It’s very easy to get used to campus life and not leave your surroundings often, especially if everything you need (shops, library, eateries etc) are within walking distance. However, if you are willing to explore then you will find all sorts of hidden gems to enjoy – from theatres to great places to eat, which will enrich your time at university and perhaps also help you feel less homesick. It’s also very important to be able to easily navigate your way back home after a night out as you can easily get lost and find yourself in trouble, especially if you have had a bit too much to drink.

For the more adventurous amongst you, heading out of the city will reward you with all sorts of unique places that you would never have experienced otherwise. Just an hour on the train and you can be in the countryside, besides the sea or exploring a medieval castle (depending on where you are of course!). If you have a railcard (which gives you a huge 33% discount off fares) then all the more reason to take advantage of it and head out of the city.

Life at university doesn’t have to solely revolve around the campus or the city in which it is located – there’s a whole lot more to discover and your first year is the perfect time to do so before you have to start handling heavier workloads in year 2 and above of your degree.


If your culinary skills start and end at boiling an egg, now is the best time to start developing the important life skill of cooking. If you are used to home-cooked food then very quickly you will start to get tired of ordering food in and surviving off boiled eggs! Not to mention the fact that it will burn a hole through your pocket and expand your waist line faster than you can say sushi! Get to grips with the basics like knowing some simple herbs and spices, which utensils to use and how to use an oven. There are lots of easy to follow videos on YouTube from the likes of Jamie Oliver and Sorted Food which are perfect for students looking to whip up a fast and healthy meal. Don’t forget your mum is only a phone call away so make use of her knowledge (and maybe even surprise her by cooking a family favourite then next time you visit home). Food is also a great way to bond with your housemates (provided you don’t give them food poisoning!) and to use leftover bits and bobs in the fridge – you’d be surprised at how much food is thrown away in student houses due to lack of planning and spontaneous nights out. Make it a regular occurrence and take it in turns to cook for each other. This will help you improve your confidence in the kitchen and the feedback you get will also improve your skills.


Very quickly you will have to learn how to balance all of your commitments; study, work and social.  In the first few weeks it’s very easy to get drawn into the culture of going out drinking every night and sleeping in late and this can spiral out of control. Don’t give in to peer pressure and stick to your own limits, which will help you save time, money and your health.

One of the easiest ways of managing all of your commitments is by scheduling everything into your calendar with reminders and doing your best to stick to it. Do this on a Sunday afternoon or evening for 30 mins and plan your week ahead by chunking your time between all of your commitments, starting with your biggest priority first (which is of course study!). Assignments and deadlines always tend to take longer than usual so factor in some extra time so you are not stressing about an impending deadline. Don’t forget that as newbie at university, you are in a very good position to set boundaries early on which fellow housemates will respect.

Meal planning is also an excellent way to save time (and prevent you standing in front of an open fridge wondering what the heck to eat!) and money by doing a weekly shop with a few main meals in mind. A great tip is cooking a larger quantity than is required and freezing a few extra portions so that when you are extra busy or just very tired all you need to do is defrost and heat up.


One of the most difficult things to adjust to in your first year at university is living with a new set of friends (or even old friends). Somebody might be real fun on a night out but that doesn’t mean that they will be fun to live with. If you find that a certain housemate is making things difficult and behaving awkwardly then it is better to talk it out before things escalate further and cause a negative atmosphere. Ignoring things doesn’t tend to work so try first to understand why they are behaving in a certain way – it might have nothing to do with you but they are still taking it out on everyone around them. In most cases you will find that both of you feel better once you have had a chat but if you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, perhaps enlist the help of another housemate to talk to them. On the other hand, don’t be that person who is difficult to get along with or too stuck in their ways to embrace change and challenges – which is what university is all about. Have an open mind and make an effort to get along with everyone as a happy and harmonious environment at home will greatly help you with your studies, mood and overall mental health.

We hope that after reading this article, you will be more confident and relaxed as you approach your first year at university. Good luck!

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Amazing Money Saving Tips Every University Student Should Know

Going to university is an exciting time for every student, but the financial side of it can be quite daunting if you’re not well prepared. Don’t worry; read our top tips below so that becoming a cash strapped student living off baked beans doesn’t have to be your fate! 

We totally understand that whilst you are a student, you will want to have fun before settling down with commitments such as a steady job, getting on the property ladder etc. Travelling, nights out, movies and gadgets are the usual trappings of a typical university student but not having enough money to enjoy these can lead you to feel miserable and like you are missing out on some of the best years of your life.

On a more serious note, funds running dry early on can also lead to spiralling student debt (especially with easy access to credit cards and bank overdrafts) which can cause you a lot of stress and even depression if it gets out of control.

So, in a bid to help you enjoy your life at university whilst stopping you from getting into serious debt, we’ve put together some useful and actionable tips to help you on your way.


Learning how to budget properly and developing the discipline to stick to a weekly or monthly budget requires effort and willpower, but it is actually an incredibly important lifeskill which has far reaching consequences beyond life at university. If you manage to crack this in your first year of study, we can pretty much guarantee that it will serve you well for the rest of your life and help prevent you from getting into serious debt – the consequences of which are pretty bad.

Beware of a false sense of security at the start of term when you have your just received your student loan monies and it feels like you are pretty rich! Before you know it, you have already started spending those pretty pounds on nights out, new clothes and a fancy new hairstyle. If you’re not careful though and don’t have a proper budget drawn up, you might get yourself into trouble and end up with not enough money for food or rent. Sticking to a weekly/monthly budget will avoid these problems and at the end of term if you find you have a bit more left over than you thought you would, you can enjoy yourself without feeling guilty about it.

Make a start by listing all of the necessities; rent, food, travel, books/equipment, clothes and mobile phone. After paying for these expenses, see what you have left over and then plan your social calendar accordingly e.g. allocating £20-30 on a night out is fairly reasonable – be it catching a movie, eating out or having a few drinks at the local pub.Once funds run dry, make a point of heading home and calling it a night.


From free nights out to free furniture, take advantage of your status as a student and save yourself a load of cash in the process!


Given that social activities are likely to take a hefty chunk out of your monthly budget, it’s definitely worth scouting out the free entertainment and events that most universities offer to students. Information is usually well advertised and can be found on faculty and students’ union notice boards, university newsletters and on social media. Events aimed at students also offer discounted food and drink so you can have a great night out for less than what you might expect.


You may have not thought about this one but freshers’ fairs are the perfect place to not only find out about products and services which are beneficial to you as a student but they are also great for getting a whole load of free stuff including pens, keyrings, mugs, T-shirts, notepads, wall calendars, snacks and much more. Brands are constantly trying to connect with university students as a demographic so make the most of your status and bag those freebies! Don’t forget that there are other places you can get free stuff from make-up to food and magazines – check out your local supermarket and food outlets for such promotions as well as online at sites like

Facebook Groups and Exchange Websites

If you are looking for furniture for your new student pad then be sure to check out relevant sites and Facebook groups online – you’d be surprised at what you might find. Most students tend to head to brick and mortar stores but you could be missing out on some amazing freebies if you don’t include the internet as part of your search. Exchange websites like www.freecycle.organd relevant Facebook groups list all sorts of items from furniture, books and even bicycles that students are giving away free of charge. Not only is recycling good for your wallet, it’s also good for the environment so you really can’t go wrong.

New Store Openings

New bars and restaurants that are launching in the area are a great place to get free food and drinks as that is how they attract new customers. Similarly, other new shops that are launching – be it a grocers, hairdressers or clothes shop – will offer promotional goodies like T-shirts, keyrings and balloons as well as introductory discounts on stock so it’s always a good idea to check them out. Store openings are usually advertised around town and in local newspapers and on radio stations so chances are you will know about them when they happen.


Don’t be lazy and get an NUS Extra card as soon as possible. The card costs just £12 a year or £32 for three years and offers students hundreds of discounts and offers at popular retailers – both online and in-store including Pizza Express, Amazon, Odeon and Topshop to name a few. It is estimated that on average, students can save £532 a year which is definitely worth your efforts in applying for one. If you haven’t got yourself one yet, you can apply here:


If you travel on the train frequently and spend more than £90 per year then getting a 16-25 Railcard is an absolute must. Railcards slash a hefty third off the cost of your train ticket andwill set you back just £30 for the whole year or £70 for three years. The savings really add up if you are frequent train passenger plus having a card also encourages you to explore other places due to the discounted fares. To save even more money, plan trips well in advance and you will get the best savings. Remember to also carry your card on you at all times as ticket inspectors require a valid card on the spot, otherwise you will have to pay the full fare.

Bonus tip: If you are looking for a student friendly bank then look into opening a student current account with Santander who not only give you an interest-free overdraft of up to £1,500 but also include a free railcard for four years.


Eating out regularly is very expensive – and we don’t mean nice restaurants for a treat! Grabbing a quick coffee and croissant in the morning plus a sandwich, drink and crisps at lunch will cost you up to £15 per day depending on where you go, which is certainly food for thought!You can slash this cost down to just a few pounds per day if you eat breakfast from home and take your lunch to work with you. Home cooked food also tends to be healthier as it’s not loaded with preservatives and extra salt and fat just to improve flavour and extend shelf life.

Additionally, make sure you are sensible about leftover food and either make the intention to eat it the next day or freeze it as soon as possible. You can also cook larger quantities of food (which often doesn’t take much extra time and is more cost effective) and freeze portions which can be very helpful when you are too busy, sick or tired to cook.


Sometimes students don’t know which discounts they are entitled to on their bills and end up overpaying without realising. Here are some you should be aware of:

Council tax – Full-time students living on their own or with other students are not obliged to pay council tax – regardless of how many of you are living in the property. Also, if you live with a non-student, you are still eligible to receive a 25 per cent reduction in your council tax. Discounts are not automatically applied; you must get in touch with your local council and follow their process to ensure you get a valid exemption.

TV licence–A good way round paying the full TV license fee is by watching on demand e.g. through BBC iPlayer on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. If you prefer to enjoy programmes on the TV (like most of us do) then you are still entitled to claim a refund for the months you’re your accommodation is empty in the summer – which can be up to £37. Don’t be lazy about claiming even if it seems like a small amount – every penny counts.


You can save a huge amount of money not to mention being kind to the environment by simply choosing to buy items that have been used before – be it furniture, books and even clothes. Even if you are not the type to typically go for second-hand stuff, it makes perfect sense to try it out as a student as you aren’t buying furniture for your own home or clothes for the office. Everyone is aware of the places online you can pick up used items such as eBay, gumtree and pre-loved but you can also find hidden gems at your local charity shops, car-boot sales and even listings in local newsletters and papers. Also check your students’ union and faculty noticeboards for listings of second-hand books, furniture and other items. You will be surprised at how much cheaper you can get such items and don’t forget, you can also negotiate prices on second-hand goods.


Books, stationary and printing costs add up quickly and that’s just for the standard classroom based degree course. Other courses such as photography and architecture require additional investment in equipment, field trips etc and the costs can really mount up. You can spend less by buying second-hand books and also looking online for downloadable PDF files of the books which you can read on your phone or laptop (you only need to print chapters which are absolutely necessary). Many books are also available on Kindle and are much cheaper than their printed counterparts. Used equipment can be sourced from older university students who often post adverts on the faculty noticeboard. If you live with students who are studying on the same course as you are, think about how you might be able to share books and other resources with each other to save on costs.


Preparing for university also includes the boring but necessary task of opening a student bank account. Banks offer a whole range of freebies and deals to entice students to sign up as they will usually stay with the bank for life. Perks can include free railcards, shopping vouchers, cash-back schemes, free cinema tickets and whole lot more. It’s easy to get drawn in by such offers but the most important thing to look out for is the facility of a zero per cent overdraft which will help take care of unexpected expenses.

Many of the high-street banks offer first-year students generous interest-free overdrafts of up to £3,000 to help you transition into your new life as a student. Be warned though, having a large overdraft doesn’t give you the green light to blow it all in your first semester and then spend the rest of your studies living in your overdraft or worse -going over your limit and being charged fees by your bank. Be sensible and reserve dipping into your overdraft for only when you really need it so you don’t end up getting into debt.


One of the best ways to avoid getting into debt as well as having extra money for a few treats now and again is by getting a part-time job – especially in your first year at university when the workload is manageable and grades don’t count towards your final degree classification. If you think about the amount of time you might spend watching movies, playing on the X-box or socialising at the local pub, you can probably work a part-time job instead without it affecting your studies. Remember, if you decide to work then check that your employer is paying the right amount of tax; for 2017/18 the income tax threshold is £11,500 – which means that anything you earn up to this amount is not taxable. If you think you have paid too much tax then you can check the HMRC website for advice on how to get a refund.


If you are a regular smoker then you could be literally burning a hole through your wallet by paying out £2,000 per year or more for your habit. No doubt It’s a serious amount of money to consider and of course, you can’t put a price on your health which will also be negatively affected by smoking.There is lots of help and support available to help you ditch your habit e.g. getting nicotine patches, sprays and gums on the NHS and talking to your GP about smoking cessation services and groups you can join. You could also try e-cigs to help you during your transition to becoming a non-smoker but remember they too are costly and there is growing evidence that they too pose health risks.

Don’t forget recreational drugs and legal highs are also very costly habits to maintain and are also very damaging to your health. Unfortunately, soft drugs are considered somewhat part of the student lifestyle so be careful that you don’t give in to peer pressure and start a habit that you can’t afford.


This obviously depends on how far you live from the campus but if you just live a couple of miles or so away then get into the habit of walking there and back. Not only will you save money on transport costs but you will also get in some fresh air and plenty of exercise. You have to be disciplined to do this as you will need to wake up earlier but even if you did it every other day, you would cut your transport costs in half – which can translate into savings of hundreds of pounds over the course of the year. Save catching the bus for when the weather is really bad or you are running late!

We hope that you have found these tips useful and aim to start your life as university student with good intentions to manage your finances responsibly. It takes a bit of practice and some willpower but the rewards are well worth the effort.


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Student Accommodation: The Truth About Living in the City

You might think that living in the city centre is the best place to be if you are a university student, especially if your friends are doing the same. But there are important factors many students overlook when considering city centre accommodation versus suburban living. Read on to find out more…  

In every town and city across the UK with a large student population, there is a familiar scenario playing out; increasing numbers of new student accommodation is appearing in the city centre or very close to it – mostly as blocks of flats. As a student, it may seem like the perfect place to live due to the close proximity to bars, clubs and shops. However, beyond the easy access to nightlife, there are also many other important factors which should be considered seriously before deciding where you are going to spend the next year of your life.

In this post we highlight common pitfalls of city centre living as compared to living in the suburbs so that as a student, you can make a more informed decision the next time you are on the search for accommodation.


If getting a good night’s sleep and being able to focus on your studies is important to you, then you may want to re-think about living in a noisy town centre. Sure, when you first begin university it may seem like fun being close to pubs and bars but soon, you will tire of the nightlife and want to retreat back to your sanctuary – only to find that the nightlife has followed you there! Students often get drunk and can be very rowdy and inconsiderate to people trying to sleep nearby. It’s not just students either, weekend revellers looking for a fun night out also behave in the same manner. Also bear in mind that city centres at night are also plagued with loud siren noises from the emergency services responding to all manner of incidents, as well as noise pollution from traffic (car engines, beeping horns etc) which often continues late into the night. As a student you will have exams and coursework deadlines and it will be very difficult to focus on studying when you are being repeatedly disturbed night after night and your sleep quality is poor.

Conversely, choosing to live just 10 minutes away from the city centre can make a world of difference to the noise levels you will experience on a day-to-day basis. As long as your house is not right outside a pub/bar then you can be pretty much guaranteed a huge reduction in noise levels when compared to living in the city centre. The volume of traffic is typically lower and the presence of more trees and greenery act as a sound barrier which helps to reduce noise pollution. This peace and quiet is welcome relief particularly during periods of intense study like exam season and also in winter when you might be subject to the odd bout of flu and in extra need of rest and a good night’s sleep.


Student accommodation in the city centre is usually comprised of flats which are generally much smaller than houses in the suburbs. If you are used to living in a house (which most students are before they go to university) then living in a flat will suddenly feel very cramped, especially as windows are also smaller and let in less natural light. Bedrooms are small and you are likely to find it difficult to store all of your belongings in a way which is organised so it’s easy to find things. Stuffing clothes in suitcases and bags is commonplace and looks very untidy, which may not bother you until you have to find something in a hurry!

Also, there are no private gardens with student flats which is something to consider especially if you are used to enjoying your own space outside. If you or your housemates are smokers, this is a huge point to consider as many student housing schemes do not allow smoking inside or even immediately outside entrances. Even if your property allows smoking, it can often cause arguments with those who don’t smoke.

Conversely, student houses just a short walk from the town centre offer bags more space for your money. Bedrooms are bigger so you have more space to store your belongings and communal areas like kitchens and living rooms are also bigger so sharing facilities is a lot easier. Some student houses also offer en-suite facilities for a little extra rent so it’s worth having a look at out of town properties when you are on the hunt for somewhere to live. Additionally, many student houses in the suburbs also offer gardens which are most welcome especially in the summer when you want to relax or get together with friends, hang out your laundry or pop out for a quick cigarette. The opposite is also true i.e. if you are a non-smoker and your housemates smoke, having an outside space they can smoke will be a much welcome relief to you as you don’t have to deal with secondary smoke inhalation.


If you drive and are planning to use your own car whilst at university, it’s worth remembering that student accommodation in the city centre very rarely includes free car parking facilities. Usually you will have to pay for a permit or use public car parks which can end up being a short walk away from your accommodation – which is not good for convenience, safety or your wallet!

Alternatively, most student houses away located even just a short distance from the city centre offer free parking immediately outside the property saving you money in car parking fees and of course time. Generally it is also safer (for both you and your car) to park outside your house than parking a few blocks away – especially if you are coming home late at night.


Rental rates tend to be much higher in city centres than in the suburbs despite the fact that properties are much smaller and there are no gardens or parking facilities. You are paying more for what you get than if you were to choose a house out of town. Certainly some suburbs are more expensive than the city but there are also plenty of areas with rents that are student friendly. Also, as demand is less for properties that are out of town you may also be able to negotiate rents with the landlord and make additional savings.


Whilst it’s not always clear cut, the incidence of crime can be higher in inner city areas than in the leafy suburbs of a town. Blocks of student flats have new students coming and going all the time so there is little chance for a community to form that looks out for one another; everyone just tends to keep themselves to themselves. Drugs and anti-social behaviour is certainly more prevalent at night and street lighting is hit and miss; many side streets and short cuts are poorly lit and are therefore hotspots for crime.

Conversely, living in the suburbs can help you feel safer due to the presence of neighbours who have lived there for a while and a community that looks out for one another. Streets and roads are always better lit and many areas participate in neighbourhood watch schemes which have been proven to reduce rates of crime. Rowdy and anti-social behaviour is also less commonplace as bars and clubs tend not to be in the near vicinity.

No matter where you live, it’s always important to take the necessary steps to safeguard yourself and your property e.g. closing and locking windows and doors, keeping valuables out of sight, coming home with friends if you are staying out late and letting trusted people know your whereabouts.


An often overlooked aspect by students when they are searching for a property is the level of service you receive from your landlord – be it in city centre or suburban accommodation. Student flats are often managed by a third party and this can feel quite impersonal, especially when there is an issue that needs reporting. Often, if there is a recurring issue, you will find yourself dealing with different people each time with little knowledge of what has happened before which can be quite frustrating.

On the other hand, if you are living in a student house out of town, chances are that you will be dealing with the landlord directly which helps you build a relationship with him/her and receive a more friendly and personal service (provided you look after their property!). You may also deal with a letting agency with a named contact which again helps to establish a good relationship which is very helpful when dealing with issues. Repairs to the property will usually also be carried out by the same team year in, year out so they have a good working knowledge and history of the property. This can prove to be extremely valuable in resolving issues quickly and efficiently.

Also, some landlords with out of town properties offer perks such as free cleaning services or discounted rent in the summer months to encourage students to take their properties so it’s well worth exploring what additional perks you might be able to get.


There is no doubt that city centres are well served by public transport links and catching a bus or tram might not appear to be a difficult thing to do. However, if you have a 9am lecture to attend and walking isn’t an option (due to bad weather or distance for example) then don’t forget that you – and what seems like the rest of the world – will also be travelling/commuting at the same time so traffic jams and delays to transport services are highly likely. Travelling during peak times along with city workers and school/college students also makes it difficult to grab a spot on the bus or tram.

Alternatively, living a bit further out can help (depending on the direction you are travelling in) as you might be catching the bus many stops earlier than other commuters and hence able to get a seat. You may also find that some of your housemates have a car and you can hitch a ride with them or even pool together to get a taxi – which makes more sense if you are living out of town.


Town centres are packed with all manner of shops and restaurants so you will never be short on grocery items or places to eat. However, it is easy to forget that you definitely pay for the privilege of such convenience. Retailers are very savvy about their customers and know that students are typically on foot when nipping out to get some milk or bread and their prices reflect this. A few pence extra here and there may not seem like a lot but it certainly adds up and over the course of a year, you could find yourself hundreds of pounds worse off.

Living away from the town centre gives you access to local, independent shops and grocers where you might be surprised to find that prices are cheaper and there is a more diverse range of shops/products available e.g. Asian supermarkets, Polish bakeries etc. As a regular customer at local shops, you have the opportunity to build a good rapport with the shopkeepers which can help you get better deals on groceries, especially at the end of the day when they need to sell produce before it goes off. It’s an excellent way to eat well and save money in the process.


Whilst access to parks and green space might not be your first consideration as a student, it can certainly help your health and wellbeing if you have such amenities at your disposal. Going for a walk in the local park is an excellent way to get some exercise, fresh air and de-stress, particularly during busy and stressful periods such as exam season.

However in the city centre you will be hard pressed to find such amenities and when this is added to the lack of a garden, cramped living space and dirty pollution from high volumes of traffic, you may soon think that living in the city is not all that it’s cracked up to be and yearn for some greenery and fresh air.

On the other hand, if you choose a student house even just 10 minutes away from the city, you will usually find that there is a local park or other green space within walking distance of where you live. So even if your property doesn’t have its own garden, it won’t be too much of a loss as you’ll have other green amenities on your doorstep. The convenience of having a park you can enjoy and take benefit from any time will be something you come to really appreciate, especially in the summer months.

As you can see, there are many advantages to living in the suburbs of a city rather than in the centre and we hope you have found this post helpful in highlighting the differences between the two. Ultimately, where you wish to live during university is down to personal preference and what factors you consider to be important. Happy house hunting!