Most (but not all) students move away from home to go to university, which is usually a big step. Here’s a guide to the main things you’ll need to think about if you’re considering living in university accommodation.

Your halls

Students usually stay in halls for their first year and then move into private accommodation. Some universities offer halls for your whole degree. Halls of residence are owned and managed by the university. They are divided up into flats, usually of about 6 rooms. There are options with private or shared bathrooms. All halls are self-catered, each flat has its own shared kitchen. Sometimes there’ll be a vending machine and some bigger halls can have pubs built in. There’ll be a reception and wardens if you need help with anything. Halls will always have nearby bike racks, students in halls are not permitted to keep a car in Oxford. Wi-fi is available in halls and across the university.

hall of residence

Your flatmates

You’ll meet your flatmates when you move in. It’s a great opportunity to make new friends and learn how to live with new people. This means organising rotas for cleaning or shopping, relating to people from different backgrounds, and keeping shared spaces clean and tidy. There will usually be Facebook groups for individual halls - have a look before you move in and you could find your new flatmates before meeting them in person.

students outside hall of residence

Your room

It probably won’t be massive, but it will definitely be big enough. There will be a bed (with mattress and mattress protector), a desk and a chair. You’ll have storage space and shelves for what you bring with you. Remember, it’s better to bring too little than too much. You can always bring more of your things back with you after going home during the winter break. Make sure you check what you can and can’t bring - there will be a list of banned items. These can include certain types of furniture, large speakers and fairy lights.

a room in a hall of residence


wallet and calculator icon

The cost of halls depends on several things, including location, facilities, and how new the building is. You can see some examples of Oxford Brookes accommodation options.

Bills are typically included in the cost. So no worries about heating, electricity, hot water or internet! If you want a TV, you will have to buy a licence for your room. You should get information in your first week.

You will probably have to pay a deposit. As long as you don’t damage anything in your room and shared spaces, you will get this back after you leave.


Halls are very secure and there will probably be 2 or 3 locked doors to get to your room. Some students take out insurance on their belongings just to be safe, and some halls include insurance in the cost. Make sure to get advice from the wardens or reception about keeping safe in and around your halls.

Why should I stay in halls?

  • Independence: it’s the first step towards living completely independently. You don’t have to deal with some of the complicated things about finding your own accommodation, like council tax and bills. But you are ultimately responsible for yourself.
  • Location: many halls are pretty central and great for exploring your new home. If you’re at uni in your hometown, living in halls will help you find new things to see and do. If your halls is on an out-of-town campus, you’ll have all the important university facilities on your doorstep.
  • Support: you’re never far from someone that can help you. This could be the 24 hour security team, wardens, reception, or even just other students you can help you out.