6 Tips for deciding who to live with for your next year at university

12 Apr 2021
By Hazel M., Freelance writer, journalist and total bookworm at Unite Students

Choosing who to live with in student accommodation for the next year can be a challenging prospect. How do you make such a big decision?

From sticking with your good friends to teaming up with people you don’t know as well, it’s normal to feel a combination of emotions, including stress.

Whether that’s because you’re worried about hurting people’s feelings or even having your own feelings hurt, it’s sometimes easier to keep putting it off.

But the thing is, the sooner you make your plans, the sooner you can start getting excited about who you are living with next year. The good news is that I’ve pulled together some tips to help you get the ball rolling.

1) Think about who you actually want to live with

Being friends with someone and actually living with them are two completely different things. So, if you’ve got someone in mind, think carefully about whether living together could actually damage your friendship.

For example, if the common areas staying clean and tidy is incredibly important to you, you might want to re-think living with that friend that leaves used cups and plates everywhere.

Not only could it cause avoidable arguments, but you could be left regretting that you lost a friend in the process. The same goes the other way – if keeping things tidy isn’t that high up on your list, you probably don’t want to live with someone who’s going to nag you all the time.

Personality clashes are essentially the biggest thing you need to think about when it comes to choosing who to live with. If you can, make sure you have a good idea of what this friend is like before dropping the idea of living together to them.

2) Be honest about what you want

If you’re approached by someone who wants to live with you, but you’re not that keen, don’t feel like you have to say yes.

Enjoying your home life is a big part of university, so you need to put your wellbeing first. Don’t think living with this person will make you happy? Be kind, but honest, and tell them. They’ll appreciate it in the long run.

3) Consider your workload

If you’re studying a course that’s incredibly intense, such as law or medicine, it’s worth thinking about teaming up with others on similar courses to you.

Why? Because, if you’re spending a lot more time studying from home, you might need to live with others who are also used to keeping things quiet and chilled for the majority of the week, rather than friends who love to party.

Plus, it’s great for boosting motivation when you’re living with someone who’s working on similar projects and can offer insight or support if you get stuck.

4) Think about budget

Student accommodation can vary in price. If your friend has a bit of extra cash or financial support, they might be thinking bigger.

The key thing here is to not be bullied into signing up for something beyond your budget. You will be locked into a contract so, if you suddenly run out of student finance before you’ve had a chance to pay rent, you’ll instantly regret it.

If your friend isn’t keen on compromising to something cheaper, they’re probably not the right person to live with, anyway.

5) Make it easy

Once you’ve picked who you’d like to live with, you’ll need to ask them if they want to live with you, too. This can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if it’s something you’ve not really talked about before. In this case, make things a bit easier for you both and follow these steps:

  • Avoid piling pressure on them by asking face-to-face. Send a message on Facebook or WhatsApp and give them some time to come back to you.
  • Don’t make it a big thing. Ask if they have made plans already and casually drop in that you’re looking for people to live with.
  • Prepare yourself. It might be that they’ve already got plans to live with someone else, so don’t take it to heart if they say no.
  • Be clear. If you need to know by a certain date, whether for a property or your own peace of mind, tell them when you need to know by, so you have a chance to make other plans if needed.

6) Try other avenues

If you have no one to live with or still haven’t made any decisions and it’s coming up to crunch-time, get cracking and start looking at other options.

Whether you’re on your own or just need an extra person to fill the last room in your new property, you can get help to find people to live with without having to rely on your friends. To get started, try:

  • Checking with your university – the housing officers may be running events or know of people looking for a place.
  • Look online – websites like Gumtree and SpareRoom will likely have listings from students also looking for flatmates or places to live.
  • Ask people you know – your friends may already have places to live, but they might know people who are still looking. Don’t be afraid to ask!

Know who you want to live with already? Use Unite Students’ group booking tool to snap up a flat with your friends in just a few clicks.

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When not stringing words together, can usually be found on the local beach with her cocker spaniel pup, Huey.