Clash of Comments: Are private or on-campus halls better?


Hannah Boyle and Nadia Sayed go head-to-head

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Image by DS Pugh

By Hannah Boyle and Nadia Sayed

ON CAMPUS (Hannah Boyle)

I remember the day that I moved into my on-campus accommodation in my first year – despite being late September, the weather was warm and I was excited to move into my flat for the first time. Surrounded by the greenery of Campus East, my flat was on the ground floor – perfect for spotting all of the thousand rabbits which congregated on the grass several times a day.

This view of nature was only one of the many benefits of living on campus that I discovered, and while I appreciate not everyone had the same nature opportunities as we did, the perks that come with campus couldn’t be clearer. It can be an initially scary experience, particularly if you move in with some perfect strangers, but all round – campus for the win.

Convenience is at the heart of campus living, and the short distance between your bed and all the amenities can’t be overlooked. Having the library, study spaces and your teaching all within a short distance works massively in your favour, sometimes providing that extra motivation to go to your 9am seminar when you know it’s only five minutes away.

Campus accommodation may be lacking the personality that comes with a student house, or the amenities that come with private student accommodation, you can’t get away from the convenience of being able to roll out of bed one minute, and into your seminar the next. What could be easier?

Furthermore, campus-based accommodation is often relatively easy and stress free. Living in university accommodation means you don’t have to worry about interactions with a landlord who may or may not be willing to fix the shower that has broken for the third time, the oven that doesn’t cook anything or the tap that won’t stop dripping; a benefit you rarely see while living there, but becomes clear when you move into a house and any form of maintenance has the potential to become a battle.

The most practical, and I’ll admit, potentially boring, benefit to living on campus has to be the easy-access bus routes that everyone takes for granted. While you can argue there are issues with reliability, having a dedicated bus route from door to door is vital – and never appreciated until you move away from campus and have to carry your weekly shop home by hand every week, or trudge in the rain to the train station as no bus passes in the vicinity of your house.

Campus boasts many bars and cafes, and if you live on campus you’re never far away from one. Whether you’re wanting a quick coffee with your flatmates, or really want to join that sports social one Wednesday night, the venues on campus have you covered. Who wouldn’t want to have an easy social space on your doorstep?

And the next day, if that night out hits you a bit too hard, you’re also in close proximity to all the shops and amenities you need, with shops close to both Campus West and East. Can’t be bothered to cook while you exist in a hangover haze? Food options are never far away, whether you want to take advantage of Courtyard’s menu or seek shelter in the Roger Kirk Cafe for some well deserved caffeine – all the options are there for the taking.

Anyone living on campus should definitely appreciate the benefits while you can. Never again will you have such easy access to everything within moments – and if you move away from it, you’ll be missing the convenience of a simple bus ride into town


Picture this: a small cramped room with very little space to put all the miscellaneous stuff your parents told you not to bring from home but that you brought anyway; the wonky shelves that look like they’re going to fall on you each time you shut your creaky door; a dirty kitchen; and, last but not least, the smelly bathroom you share with five others. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an image of the harsh reality of living in on-campus accommodation. By no means will this be everyone’s experience of living on campus, but I have definitely heard a few horror stories not too dissimilar. Luckily I’ve never had to deal with any of that, as since first year, I’ve lived in private halls and here's why you should consider doing the same…

Firstly, probably the most beneficial factor of living in private halls is the centrality you have to the city centre. Being an English Literature student, I have plenty of free reading time, so being close to town is perfect for me – I can get into town in under ten minutes. This is great as I get to enjoy wandering past York Minister and exploring lots of York’s independent coffee shops. On-campus, there are only so many places you can go to grab a coffee and study, without it getting extremely mundane. A lot of students I know who lived on campus during their first year never bothered to leave the uni bubble there, which I think is quite a shame. After all, you chose York to explore the beautiful city, along with its great university.

As private halls are located away from uni, it also means that after a long day of working in the library or attending seminars, you can pack up your things and leave campus, coming home to a different, more relaxed space. Although many students enjoy the convenience of being able to roll out of bed and straight into their lectures, there is a great sense of comfort in being able to leave behind the academic environment at the end of the day.

Living off campus is also great if you aren’t particularly keen on being surrounded by excitable freshers who just want to party all of the time. This usually results in the unmerciful freshers flu which seems to linger until the depths of second term. For the more introverted, private halls are perfect as you have no pressure to go out and you can always use the excuse of living off campus to escape any peer-pressure. I certainly did!

Another fantastic thing about private halls is that you only have to share your space with the other residents, rather than with herds of uni students. Most rooms also have plenty of storage space to put all of those things you brought up ‘just in case you needed them’, but that you have never used and probably never will – it’s nice to have the space for them anyway.

Most of the rooms also come with en-suites, which I have to say, is one of the best perks for me personally. For some, sharing a bathroom isn’t a huge concern and some people find it bearable, however, I like things clean and tidy. Plus, knowing I can have a shower whenever I like, without having to wait for anyone, is great. I won’t go too much into detail, but you also know that any mess in the bathroom is yours… Believe me, I’ve heard some horror stories about this too!

Overall if you're able to pay a bit extra and commute to and from uni, then private halls are definitely worth it. Also, you can enjoy wandering around the beautiful city centre more frequently and have your own space, away from the overwhelming uni bubble. What’s not to love?