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What do students really want when choosing new accommodation?

by Archit Chopra Journalist
5th Dec 19 1:32 pm

Whether they’re moving on campus or looking elsewhere for somewhere to live term time, it’s fair to say that most students are rather particular with what they’re looking for in their university accommodation.

To prove this, I conducted a survey at Edge Hill University, asking a sample of students living off campus what their top priorities were when they were searching for their current housing.

Proving the most popular feature was high speed WiFi, with over 50% of candidates choosing this as their top priority when looking for a house or flat. Some students added that this was not just for browsing the internet, it was so that they could upload assignments and bring the studying to their room if need be. Additionally, having a desk and chair in student rooms is almost as essential as the bed, with some degrees suggesting that for every one hour that is spent in the classroom, three hours should be spent studying in your own time. Thus, a study space at home is needed.

A double bed came in at number two on average, with a few students claiming that this was essential when looking for somewhere to live. There are often no options for a double bed when living on campus so it’s a nice change for students to be able to choose to have one when looking to live somewhere off campus. As well as this, most students don’t have single beds at home so it feels a little more homely to have a double while living away.

Proximity to the university was highly important for most of our student candidates. With a lot of classes starting at 9am, and some finishing as late as 8pm, it’s easy to see why they would want to be within walking distance to the university. Surprisingly, being close to the town centre was not seen as that important, with just less than 65% of people claiming they felt ‘50/50’ about this feature.

According to our candidates, another vital feature is that the bills (such as water, electricity and WiFi) were included in the price of the rent. This is very common with student accommodation and makes the payment process a lot smoother for both the landlord and the occupant as it is just one payment to make (usually once per term) and one payment to chase up!

Although many of Edge Hill University’s on campus rooms give you an en-suite, this feature did not prove popular on the survey, with just less than 20% of candidates claiming they didn’t even consider it, and only 9% saying it was their top priority.

When asked what else they looked for when they were searching for their current accommodation, some popular answers included ‘mould-free’ and ‘good communal spaces such as large living area’.

We also asked the students how easy it was to find a house or flat that fit all of their preferences. The answers were mixed with 20% claiming it was ‘very easy’, 30% saying ‘easy’, another 30% who said ‘50/50’, 20% claiming it to be ‘difficult’ and nobody who found it ‘very difficult’.

It is clear to see that what students want isn’t too far-fetched, I think reliable WiFi should definitely be standard. As well as this, in light of the recent incident in the University of Bolton student flats, it is important to mention that the safety of students is always going to be the number one priority.

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