ONE: NUMBER OF FLATMATES
I applied to a halls with 8, 6 and 4 flatmates. I ended up with my third choice pick, and got a flat of four. I was disappointed at first, I was worried that if I didn't get on with the girl I'd be sharing with, and the guys became good mates that I'd be really lonely. Well it's not been like that at all really, and I really like the fact the flat isn't huge. I know when people are around, if people are going home, and although we aren't all best mates, I like the fact that it feels less like people are coming and going all the time.
TWO: DISTANCE FROM UNI
My first two accommodation choices would have required me to get a bus to Uni each day. I've instead ended up being a 20 minute or so walk from Uni and it is absolutely ideal. I love how convenient it is for me to get there, and everything I need is on my doorstep. It wasn't something I'd thought about before I came, but when it came to looking for houses for my second year, me and my new housemates decided we wanted to be walking distance to uni because of how much we liked it already. Being closer saved from investing in a bus pass, it saves getting up earlier and queuing at the bus stop, it's a bit of exercise...I'm glad I'm closer.
THREE: QUIET OR SOCIAL
The day I moved in my very sociable flatmate said 'these halls are meant to be really quiet, sometimes boring apparantly'. I wasn't sure how I felt about that, I'd never heard that before. So my advice would be if you are looking around accommodation and see some current flatmates, ask them their opinions and whether or not they like it and have a social life. It really depends what you're after. Even though I didn't realise my halls were quieter I've found it to be good with working shifts so it just depends what you want.
FOUR: KNOW YOUR BUDGET
I knew what I wanted when I picked my halls, I wanted an en-suite and I wanted to be self catered and I only looked at places that offered that. But I think it's quite easy to get carried away, with the weekly price seeming just like a number until you start paying it. I would recommend having a rough idea how much money student finance can offer you, how much money your parents might be able to help you with, any savings you have. Just have a rough idea about things like that and then weekly costs you'll have and you'll soon know what your budget tells you that you can have rather than what you want. Warning - I don't think I've spoken to anyone who has their entire halls expenditures covered by their student finance!
FIVE: VIEW THE PLACE
My uni was my insurance choice and if it wasn't for the fact I took a gap year I would have picked my halls based on some perfect pictures in a glossy brochure. Don't do that. If you can go and have a look, go. Most universities over accommodation open days as well as the general open days where you can view every accommodation they offer. Look at anything and everything, even if you don't think you'll like it. There were places I liked from a picture but really wasn't feeling when I went around so I'm very glad I viewed them!
Any tips out there for picking uni rooms? Are you going to Uni and looking at places at the moment? Any questions, pop a comment below?!