Second Uni Year: Halls of Residence or Private Rent? A Guide For Parents and Students

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The first year of university is a mixture of extremes for both parent and child. As a parent, you find yourself suffering a bout of empty nest syndrome. You constantly worry about how your kid is doing; how they're coping; if they're eating right or getting enough sleep.

As a student, it's a time of delight. New experiences with new people. For the first time in your schooling, you're learning a subject you alone selected and which you are hopefully passionate about.

Even if both parties are coping well, the year passes quickly. Soon, you will have to start thinking about arrangements for the second year. It's a decision that both parent and student need to be privy to, as the choices made can impact you both.

The biggest choice to make is whether or not to stay in halls of residence. Halls are a standard for the first year, when the student doesn't know anyone - or the city they are going to be living in. By the second year, friendships will have formed, and familiarity will have set in. The decision, therefore, has to be made on whether to remain in halls for the second year or split off into private housing with a group of friends.

Both of you - parent and student - may have differing viewpoints on what's best. Here's a guide to finding out how to muddle through them.

#1 - Expense

Comparing the price is the first step to fixing this problem. While it may be cheaper to rent a house with friends, it may be more expensive in other ways. You have to consider utilities and what's included while calculating the cost. With private rent, you lose access to the supplied student accommodation furniture for example. Do you have the budget to buy a whole furniture set? If you do, is it the best use of resources?

#2 - The Lifestyle

This is likely to be the biggest bone of contention in this area. As a parent, your immediate suspicion is that it will be less work and more play in private rent. You imagine house parties that halls just can't accommodate.

As a student, this is a major selling point. But remember you will have to abide by noise restrictions and other laws - there won't be any acceptance just because you're a student. You may find halls more stringent regarding rules, but easier in terms of bureaucracy.

#3 - Going It Alone

Halls have a lot of similar aspects to living at home. Some have a curfew, rules, regulations and room checks. These won't necessarily be included in a private rent.

For the parent, this is a real first step to letting your child live by themselves. They need to learn life skills sometime, right?

For the student, you can benefit from the same lesson - if you think you're ready for it. If you'd prefer a little longer in a home-like scenario, then halls are the best bet.

When you know the above, the only way through is to talk to each other. Arguing and resenting a decision helps neither party, so try and find a compromise that works for both!

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