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Life as a returning student

By FLcs 19 Jan 2021

When considering whether to live in University halls beyond first year, there are so many things to consider.

Below I will give a little summary of my experience and why I chose to stay in halls in my third year.

My experience:

I am now in my final year of Economics. For my first year, I actually decided to live at home and commute to Coventry University, since my dad’s house (where I was living during my A levels) is in Coventry and my rationale was to borrow less money from Student Finance.

Despite still making friends in first year, I just knew I wanted to move out of my family home and live independently. For me the decision was between University halls or privately renting a house through an estate agent.

For me, the decision I made was to live in halls in my second year and now third year.

Below I have outlined some of the main advantages of living in halls as a returning student, the advantages which made me stay!

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TOP 10 advantages of halls for a returning student:

1.) Convenience/proximity to campus

By far, the main and most important reason as to why I chose halls is the convenience. My halls is literally a maximum for 5 mins walk to any University building. As someone who doesn’t like walking too much in the rain or dark (9am lectures or classes until 6pm), this was ideal for me!

Not only does halls mean you’re close to campus, but you also end up being close to everything else which is close to campus. Shops, pubs etc. I literally do have everything on my doorstep!

TIP : Despite some houses being also close to campus, some can be up to 30-40 mins walk. You have to assess personally, whether you’re happy to walk this distance or use a bus etc. (adding an extra cost). After all, if you’re 5-10 mins away from campus, you can just wake up at 8:45 and still make a 9am.

2.) Flexibility – choice

There is quite a bit of flexibility with University owned halls. The first is that there are around 8 different accommodations to choose from which have different rooms to offer. Single rooms, double rooms, En-suite rooms, shared flats, studios etc., there is literally something for everything!

I personally live in a studio as I prefer a bit more of my own space and my own kitchen to cook in, but also love the fact I have friends a few floors above or below me to chill with (depending on COVID measures etc.) I asked to live in the same studio for my final year and was able to, so definitely enquire with Futurelets if you wish to keep the same room!

3.) Flexibility – price

As a result of there being such a wide choice, there comes a wide choice of prices.

For example, single rooms are cheaper than double en-suite rooms, which are cheaper than studios! There are prices for all budgets (and remember, these include a lot of benefits discussed in 4 – 9)

PLUS you can get a discount and rewards if you choose to live in a showflat in halls during your 2nd or 3rd year.

FACT: There is also catered Accommodation (Priory Hall & Quadrant Hall!) whereby food is included too – perfect if you don’t like cooking!

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4.) Security, security, security……

For me, one of my main worries about leaving home and moving out was being safe. All of the Coventry University Accommodations have security and CCTV cameras across each site. This really does give me a sense of relief, especially at night-time! (you don’t get security guards when you rent a house :D)

Security Protection Services are also great when it comes to if there were any emergencies as they can come out and assist you and also carry out regular patrols. I used to be a Student Warden in first year, so I really did see all the work they do!

BONUS: You get free contents insurance with Futurelets Halls, so your personal possessions are protected – something you don’t usually get included with private rentals!

5.) Accommodation staff (+ Deliveries)

After being in your accommodation for a few months and getting involved with activities, or simply visiting reception a lot to collect parcels (this is me!! :D), you will quickly form relationships with the accommodation staff.

For me, it is great being able to walk past reception and have a quick chat with the girls at reception etc. After a couple of months, I became really settled in my accommodation and quite frankly didn’t want to move out, so I have stayed :)

BONUS: Remember the accommodation staff accept deliveries Mon to Fri until 7pm. If you were in private housing, you or a housemate would need to be at home to accept them.

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6.) Facilities

One of the biggest bonuses of halls is the facilities that are all included within your rent.

From social spaces, study spaces, pool tables, laundry rooms and a discounted rate to the University owned gym, this is a massive advantage (some gyms can cost up to £30 a month!)

Living in halls allows you to have a lot more room to chill out and also do your work in other places other than the library, which for me, works really well!

7.) Reslife Programme

Sometimes when moving out, you can be worried about making friends etc. This is where the Reslife Programme comes in. They promote a sense of community and bring students together through a range of events such as trips, quizzes, online slumber events, biscuit decorating and more recently events to support students during the lockdowns such as the Isolation Chat Station and welfare calls!

These events really do help change and improve your student experience at Coventry University.

FACT: The Reslife Coordinators and Manager are all Mental Health trained so you can book to talk to them anytime! 

8.) No worrying about bills, bills, bills…

All of the University owned halls are all inclusive! This means all your bills are included within your rent payments. This means, you wouldn’t need to sort out providers and payments for all the different things like gas, electric, water, WIFI etc.…. This is also in addition to the Reslife Programme!

For me, this really has been great, as never once have I had to worry about anything besides my phone contract and Netflix! :D

9.) Cleaners

Yes, there are cleaners in each University halls! This helps to keep the place clean and tidy (and even more cleaning staff and measures now with COVID).

Cleaners usually clean the social spaces in halls, as well as shared kitchens and bathrooms in the other halls! 

10.) Flat mates

With University Halls, if you’re a returning student, you may likely find you will live with new flat mates. Although this could be daunting, you’ve most likely already done it before, so you know how the new students will feel.

New flat mates = new friends = new social events between you.

Most first year students may be a little shy initially and as a returning student, you can help them with settling in, as well as making new friends with them along the way. This is really exciting! 

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When deciding on whether to stay in University halls in second or third year, it is important to assess what you want -  Is it convenience? security? all the benefits such as Reslife events and social spaces?

Once you have established what you want, consider if you wish to stay in the same halls, or perhaps move. Is this option available? You won’t know unless you ask! Take a look at our apps portal to check out the options available - including studios and ensuites!

Potentially look at what is available to rent privately… a lot of the advantages of living in halls again will be the disadvantages of living in private housing. Make a pros and cons list, including the pros above and then assess your situation.

 Don’t rush so you make your decision carefully. Good luck!

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