Eight tips for choosing the right student accommodation

Here are some quick pros and cons of the main housing options available to students, including tips to pick the right one for you.

Ready to choose your accommodation?

The results are in and you’ve accepted your spot at the University of Nottingham - we are so excited to welcome you! Time to celebrate and relax, right?

Before you pop the champagne, you may want to consider the important matter of choosing which of our halls to live in for your first year away from home. 

We know there are loads of options so we're here to support and guide you. We’ve created this list of our 8 top tips to help you make the right choice. 

1. Location, location, location

Location is arguably the most important factor when choosing the right student accommodation to suit your needs. We highly recommend mapping out the area you want to live in, based on a few key factors.


Let’s be honest – what are the chances of you making your 9 am lecture if it involves getting up at the crack of dawn to get organised and jumping on a tram or bus to get to class?

That’s what we thought!

In your first year there will probably be a few late nights, so if this is your first time living away from home, organising your time and schedule might be a learning curve. The closer to your campus you are, the better, so make sure you find out where your classes are based.

Interests and amenities

To further narrow down your choices, think about what’s really important to you. It might be the proximity to nightlife, or maybe you’re an avid runner and want to be close to parks/running routes to stretch those legs.

Top tip: create a list of the ideal area you'd like to live in. This might include things like: 

  • supermarkets
  • pubs 
  • shopping faciltiies
  • parks 
  • gyms, sports and wellness facilities
  • coffee shops

You can then check which halls cross off the most on your list!    

2. Night owl or early riser

Are you a social butterfly, ready for late nights and parties til’ dawn, or are you a morning person, and your idea of a great night ends with you tucked in bed with a good book before 10pm? If you resonate more with the latter, consider our quieter accommodation options. 

3. Private and personal, social sharer or a bit of both?

Deciding how much personal space you need will help narrow our accommodation options, so do some research and use the filters on our accommodation page.

For example, is en-suite a non-negotiable? If so, you can cross off all the student accommodations with shared bathrooms.

Maybe you don’t mind sharing if it's only with a couple of other people – another way you might narrow down the list.

Did you know? 

All of our student accommodation at the University of Nottingham is located within easy travelling distance of our campuses.We also offer a free hopper bus between Jubilee Campus and University Park.  If you prefer to travel by bike, all of our accommodation options include secure bike storage. 

4. Budget or regret it

Before you find your perfect halls, get super excited and start decorating in your head – stop, take a deep breath and consult your budget. Wait – you don’t have a budget?

Hear us out. We know budgeting is the last thing you want to do, but when it comes to big decisions, it's essential and will make your life much easier in the long run.

If you stretch your budget because you want an en-suite room now, you might live to regret it later when all you can afford to eat is super noodles and baked beans.

When creating a budget, you need to consider:

  • Student loans
  • Grants and bursaries
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Toiletries
  • Socializing
  • Bills
  • Travel
  • Course materials (books etc.)
  • Non-essentials (still important to consider as you may not want to trade them in for extra floor space)

After you’ve created and tallied a realistic cost sheet of the things you can’t live without, then you can make an informed decision on your accommodation.

(If you still can’t live without that en-suite – there's always a part-time job!)

Discover more budgeting tips.

5. Catered vs self-catered

Next up, we’ve got catered and self-catered halls to choose from. Let’s consider the pros and cons of both.

   Catered  Self-Catered
  • Sense of community. 
  • Opportunity to meet a lot of different people. 
  • More common areas for socialising  
  • Easier to adjust to the move from home.
  • Prepaid so less budgeting.  
  • More balanced diet.  
  • Smaller groups of people can make developing friendships easier.
  • Cooking together helps make bonds.
  • Learn to cook different meals.
  • Flexibility to eat when you like.
  • Learn to budget when shopping for food.
  • More independence.  
  • Structured meal times so less flexibility.
  • Cafeteria can be loud and potentially overwhelming.
  • Shy students may find the number of people daunting.
  • Less independence.
  • Missing an opportunity to learn to cook and budget meals.
  • Can be expensive.
  • Can cost more if you aren’t a great budgeter.
  • Food can go to waste if not planned carefully.
  • Shared kitchens can get crowded.
  • If you aren’t great at cooking you may end up eating a less balanced diet.
  • Time-consuming shopping and cooking.

For more insight into the pros and cons of catered and self-catered accommodation, you can watch our student vlogs:

Living in catered halls

Living in self-catered halls

6. Check for extras

Be sure to carefully read the details of each accommodation to find out what extras may be included in the price of your room. For example, some halls have a cleaner included in the price which you may be very glad of when your workload starts to kick in.

Halls of residence on the University Park Campus and Jubilee Campus (as well as Dagfa and Varsity), include our sports, health and well-being package.

7. Facilities

Don’t forget to check out what facilities are included as these will also differ from hall to hall. For example, some student accommodation includes outdoor space and communal areas so if you are a particularly social person this might be appealing.

All the facility information is available on our accommodation page

8. Finishing touches go a long way

Try and keep an open mind when viewing the different rooms on offer. It can be hard to picture yourself living in halls but once you add your personal touch it will transform the space and make it feel like home.

You can plan ahead to get an idea of what your room might look like:

  • Create a Pinterest board with style ideas for your room before you arrive.
  • Search for before and after videos on TikTok for inspiration.
  • Watch our student guides and tours on Youtube to give you an idea of what your room could look like. 
Open Day June 2022