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What's the Difference Between University Halls and Private Halls?

It is a common belief that you must stay in university halls when becoming a fresher in your first year at university. But did you know this isn’t your only option? Private halls are also a great option. We are going to delve into the differences between both accommodation types and provide you with all the guidance you need so that you know what is best for you as an individual.

University Halls: What Are They?

University halls of residence are owned by your university and most often reserved for first year students. Usually, your housemates are allocated by the university, however you can typically request to live in a more sociable hall, quieter hall or with mature students.

What are Private Halls?

Private halls are owned by a private company, rather than the university, although they often have ongoing partnerships with specific institutions to support their housing needs. You may also be able to request a flat with your friends (depending on availability), so if you and some friends are going to the same place, you can be together. However, not to be worried if not as you will have the opportunity to mix with a ton of new people! Unlike university halls, living in private accommodation opens the doors to mingle with second- and third-year students too.

Private vs. University Halls: Key Differences

Now we know the basis of what university halls and private halls are, let’s take a more detailed look into the key differences between them.


Private halls tend to be slightly more expensive than university student halls. However, at this extra cost, you can expect more modern facilities, luxuries such as ensuite bathrooms, private kitchens, and more central locations. Whereas university halls are usually slightly cheaper but can vary in price depending on the types of halls you want and facilities you request. Both types of accommodation will help you avoid hidden costs as utility bills, insurance and communal cleaning will be included in the price. It is important to know both what you are paying for and how long you’ll have the place for and note that costing of both private and university halls varies based on location.


The choice between types of accommodation can come down to the facilities they offer. All halls differ on style and design, but all should offer a bed, bathroom, cooking facilities, plus utilities and internet access within the price. We would always recommend double checking that facilities such as laundry areas, security, insurance and cleaners are available within your package.

Private halls have grown in popularity in recent years, as they can provide some extra luxuries and unexpected perks such as satellite TV, gyms and pool tables in chill-out zones and some even have cafes and other fun amenities.

Check out some of the exciting facilities available here at Lulworth!


Flats & Bathrooms

University halls are divided up like flats, with private bedrooms and shared kitchens on every floor. You may also find that in the older halls you could be sharing a bathroom. However, you will find that some university halls do also offer premium options, like double beds and ensuite bathrooms. As you can imagine, some people are not keen on that, especially if you are in a mixed-sex group and have limited numbers of showers and toilets. Ensuite rooms can be available at university accommodation, however private halls typically come with them as standard - in addition to shared kitchen and studio options.



The locations of both types of accommodation vary depending on the area. Most uni halls are on campus or close to the main university itself, whereas private halls can be a little further afield and typically in a more central location to the town or city you are studying in. Whatever you decide to go with, it’s always worth visiting the area first to figure out conveniency of the halls for things like lectures; not forgetting nights out!

As an example, here at Lulworth, our student halls are located in central Bournemouth making it an excellent hub for local lifestyle and nightlife, as well as reliable transportation options. The central location means it is within close proximity to several universities, including Bournemouth University, AECC & AUB, who can all stay at the halls - which makes for an EVEN GREATER social life.


Social Life

University and student accommodation in general is a great way to meet new people as you will usually be living with between four to 12 people and joining lectures with plenty of fellow students. Any accommodation provider, private or university based, may host regular events to help students get to know each other and socialise.

As previously mentioned, in university halls you can often request to live in more sociable halls. They may have less overseas students or post-graduate students meaning that Fresher’s week is a huge deal!

However, private halls often have more social, communal areas such as dining areas and lounges, as well as being in more sociable, central locations. The best of both worlds, private halls can can also offer more privacy and independence if that is what you were looking for, with the option of studio apartments.


student Halls: Which Comes Out on Top?

Both types of accommodation offer a great way to meet new people whilst giving you a taste of independent living. But which comes out on top?

It is ultimately down to your own personal preference. If you are looking for your own space with more modern facilities, access to central locations and a little extra luxury, then private halls may be more suited to you. Alternatively, you may opt for a university hall experience sharing with a variety of people, benefiting from an on-campus location.

Getting ready to head off to university is amongst some of the most exhilarating experiences of a student’s life, and choosing the best accommodation to suit you is key.

Discover High-Quality, Value for Money Private Halls in Bournemouth

There are many reasons why our private student accommodation in Bournemouth is considered a good option. Our accommodation is high quality, well maintained and provides excellent value for money. We also have a range of exceptional onsite facilities that all our resident students have access to as part of the rental agreement.

We have a variety of student room options available so you can find the right fit for your needs and budget. Visit our booking page to discover our full room availability, contract lengths and prices.