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Should you stay or go?

leavinghome.jpgIs it better to find a university or college near your family home or get a fresh start in a new environment? Here are some points to consider.

For most students going to university or college in the UK used to mean leaving home. Thousands of people do still move away to study. But with so many places to study and so many courses on offer, many people now opt to stay at home and study close to where they live. The choice is yours!

Why live at home?

Living at home while studying in Higher Education (HE) has been the norm in countries such as France and Australia for a long time. By staying put, you can often save money on rent and keep in touch with home life – while still making new friends and having new experiences. For some people it offers ‘the best of both worlds’, and it is becoming more popular as more institutions, such as further education colleges (FECs), offer HE qualifications. Expansion in HE means that it is more likely that the right course for you could be close to home. If it’s within commuting distance, then staying put is worth some serious thought.

The Pros:

  • It’s often cheaper than renting or moving into student accommodation
  • You avoid the hassle of moving and travelling to get home
  • Makes it easier to keep close to family and friends
  • Provides home comforts and stability
  • Offers the ‘best of both worlds’

The Cons:

  • It can restrict your choice of course
  • You may have less independence
  • Other friends may move away to study

Why move away?

For some, getting away from home is reason enough to go to university – sometimes the further away the better! In the UK it used to be the norm that most students went to live on or near campus, and there is still a strong tradition of moving away to study for a degree. In some cases, the preferred course may be at a specific university or college, in which case it may make good sense to move. Some students also value the experience of living in student halls of residence, or in shared accommodation, as an important part of university life. Others want the opportunity to experience living in a different part of the country.

The Pros:

  • Gives you more independence
  • Allows you to discover a different part of the country
  • Brings you close to campus
  • Gives you greater choice of courses
  • Gives you the chance to live with other students

The Cons:

  • You will be further away from home and family
  • It may be more expensive
  • You may have to live with other students!

‘Should I stay or should I go?’ is a decision that very much depends on your personality and the kind of experience you want from university. Try asking friends who have studied about the choices they made, or get involved in online student forums like The Student Room, where accommodation is a popular topic of discussion.

Read about standards of accommodation on the National Union of Students website.

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