12/15/11 10:35:00 AM
In the UK it’s very common for students to move out of University-owned accommodation and into privately owned flats or houses by their second year in University. This is still something of a weird concept to me since in the U.S. some colleges require that students live on campus for all four years. I asked my housemates about why this is such a common thing and they said that British parents are actually very supportive of students moving into private accommodation as soon as possible because it makes them more independent and responsible. Since this is such a common thing to do, not only is finding private accommodation fiercely competitive but being accepted for limited University-owned accommodation after first year becomes unlikely. Finding private accommodation becomes a very intense competition towards the end of first semester and at the beginning of second semester. Since I don't want to risk not getting University housing, I'm entering the competition.
The house-hunting game is a little bit stressful but always manages to make me feel mature in the end. A year ago I never would have thought that I would be apartment hunting and comparing rent prices, but here I am! According to everything I’ve heard from my friends in the higher years, the same skills that will keep you on top of your academic work will also ensure you a good house. You have to plan ahead, do your research, and be prepared.
I know this post may not be particularly relevant to a lot of U.S. freshman, since renting may not even be in the picture, but for everyone attending University in the UK or thinking about coming over here it’s something that needs to be considered. It’s not impossible to do or something that should stop someone from coming to a school they love, but it is an important component of coming to University in the UK and even in going to some schools in the U.S. Just be responsible and aware of what you’re getting into.