Living on campus vs living in the city

Natalia Wilkowskaon 21 April 2021
city skyline

Which is better - living on campus or living in the heart of the city centre? Find out which living situation is right for you.

Campus vs city living - which should you choose? Exploring the local area is a great way of deciding whether living in a bustling city is right for you, or it might be that a small campus hub fits you and your lifestyle better. There are many pros of each type of university living, and, depending on the university experience you expect to have, there could also be some cons. Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding on your dream university. 

Do you want to roll out of bed and into lectures?

If your answer is ‘yes!’, then a campus university is for you. You’ll have all the university buildings on your doorstep, so you won’t have to set your alarm more than five minutes before class. 

If your answer is ‘no’, then are you even a student? Jokes aside, some of us enjoy the walk or cycle to lectures, in which case city living will give you more structure to your day and will prepare you better for your transition to working life. 

sleeping in

Do you enjoy going ‘out out’?

Campus universities tend to have one designated student bar or club. Once you’ve frequented the campus bar every day during Freshers’ Week, you’re likely to get bored of it. However, if you’re more of a ‘stay in and watch Netflix’ kind of person, then living on a small campus with just the right amount of amenities you need is a great option for you.

On the other hand, living in a city gives you easy access to local restaurants, bars, clubs and shops, so you’ve got a choice of where you go ‘out out’ on Thursday nights. 

dancing in a club

Have you considered how different it'll be from where you currently live?

If you currently live in the countryside, you might find it difficult adjusting to student life in a big city like London, so read our article on what it’s like to move to a big city. Equally, if you’re used to living in a city, then you might find it suffocating to move to a small campus university, where you’ll have to travel for nights out and find alternative accommodation as public transport doesn’t run until 2am. 

stepping out of caravan

What is the price difference?

Living in the city is more expensive than living on campus. However, you might also receive a bigger maintenance loan to cover these costs. Remember, from pints to transport and coffees; city living costs more than campus dwelling. Not everyone you come across in the city will be a student, and the prices reflect that. 

You also need to consider how much your lifestyle will cost after your first year. Most students move out of halls of residence after their first year at university, so think about where you will live in subsequent years. With campus universities, you’re likely to move into a student area, meaning housing that accommodates second and third-year students. As these areas are typically for students, they may be cheaper than other accommodation options.

In contrast, city living means that you’ll have to find accommodation around the city, with no designated hub for students. Rent is more expensive, and your neighbours are unlikely to be students, so you’ll have to be careful with the noise you make at pre-drinks. 

Who do you want to meet?

If you’re content with meeting students everywhere you go, not worrying about the noise you make and bumping into your coursemates in the student bar, then campus living is for you. However, if you would prefer to be a part of the hustle and bustle and meet a diverse group of people, you should opt for city living. 

Hopefully, those questions will help you make up your mind about which type of university living situation is right for you. However, we suggest visiting the area (when it’s safe to do so) to get a feel for it before you make your final decision. 

What type of university are you looking to go to? Join our Student Panel and earn money for your opinions. 

Natalia Wilkowskaon 21 April 2021