Going to uni in London and living at home

(21 Posts)
Spr1ngchick Sun 10-Apr-16 18:12:03

DS has place at a London uni. Was keen to live in halls but they are so expensive. Would have to take out full maintenance loan to cover it and we would have to give him more on top for living expenses. Being in London not the full campus experience anyway, halls scattered, closest one to uni 30 minute tube commute - commute from home is 45mins. DH has told him makes more sense to live at home and save the money, maybe move out and share a house with friends next year. DS dissapointed but seems ok about it, I can see the sense but I feel guilt ridden and worry he will find it harder to socialise. Have no problem with him coming back all hours etc, does that already , but I feel sad he's not getting full independence. I would love to hear from others in same situation, can't imagine we are the only ones. Any tips for making changes to home dynamics?

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Decorhate Sun 10-Apr-16 18:42:16

I'd say it's more important to be in halls in first year. Esp as you are a 45 minute commute. I know it can seem a waste of money (we are an easy commute from London too & some of dd's friends seem to be living almost halfway home). But that's not really the point. Unless your ds specifically chose a local uni to save on expenses? If he'd gone elsewhere he would have had to take the maintenance loan anyway.

I think my dd deliberately did not apply to London unis for fear we would make her commute!

Having said all that if ds went to a London one I could see him commuting but he is very shy so might not be as interested in the social side

Eustace2016 Sun 10-Apr-16 18:48:20

Depends on the student. One of my three mostly lived at home and commuted which suited his personality. The girls were very sociable and lived away although even they came back home for 2 years after graduating to go to law school in London which worked fine (although that's a different time period - already done the 3 years away experience).

My sons' friends who are mostly Asian are encouraged by parents to live at home so places like UCL and King's are very popular - presumably because they want to keep an eye on them.

voilets Sun 10-Apr-16 18:49:16

A DF has had DS in London uni. He did a 45min commute first year and then lived out Year 2 and 3- worked for him. Actually, mid course his halls have lowered prices to attract students - London prices putting students off.

bittapitta Sun 10-Apr-16 18:52:07

I made some good friends and met my (now) DH in student halls in London. Living in halls is crucial to student integration ime - in fact, I'd say it would make more sense that he should live in halls in first year then move back home in second year and avoid shitty overpriced private house share in London, shudder.

OddBoots Sun 10-Apr-16 18:56:09

DS (y12) is looking at London specifically because he wants to commute, it will suit his personality. He has also looked at some of the youth hostels (Mainly the YHA) with the idea that he might stay over at times if it suits him.

Were his living arrangements discussed before he applied?

Biscetti Sun 10-Apr-16 18:57:46

DD2 at LSE. We live just south of the river. She's in halls. Actually, I'm glad she is. She's having a blast. Will be renting with friends pretty close to home (2 stops away) next year. I too think it's crucial to student integration.


Needmoresleep Sun 10-Apr-16 19:09:11

Curious to know the basis of the information provided by Decorate and bittapitta.

DS was allocated a large Intercollegiate Hall. The location was great, the food awful and he finished the year not having met anyone there. Curiously one of his good friends moved home after a couple of weeks for this reason. Perhaps it was a pity they did not meet before he did so.

Despite this, DS made lots of friends in his first year. He was on a large course so it is really only once they select second year options that he had really got to know others on his course. However he met plenty in his first year through societies and sport. My assumption is that activities are more centred around the College and less around the Halls. The advantage for him is that he likes London and so has met lots of like minded people who enjoy living in the capital. I suspect he has more friends than he woudl have had he been living on a traditional student drinking culture campus. Plenty of his friends live at home. London Universities are an attractive option for London based students as they are effectively cheaper than going elsewhere. Not all, by any means, are Asian. confused

One nice thing was that by staying in London he kept up with friends who either took a gap year, were at other London Colleges, or convened in London for the weekend. This is happening a lot less now, but it was nice that rather than a single "moving away" he gradually switched from his school friendship group to his University one.

Spr1ngchick Sun 10-Apr-16 19:15:39

We live north London, uni south London. Biscetti don't you have concerns about amount of money DD2 will have to pay back? Maybe you earns lot of money but we are on lowish income .

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Spr1ngchick Sun 10-Apr-16 19:27:08

Thanks needmoresleep for your encouraging answer. I notice some people seem to relate to their own students experience and times have changed.

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madeinkent Sun 10-Apr-16 21:54:15

DS says that most of the students on his course who commuted left. He was really sad, he had made good friends with some of them. Also depending on what subject they are taking, there can be group projects that really need everyone to be around in the evening. he often had people staying the night so that they could be part of a group, but they got fed up with the commute and disrupted trains, and never felt quite at home. They couldn't stay on in the evening and go out for drinks or join in for social events at weekends, or help out with open days and general student life. Yes we did have to take out a full loan, we are having to supplement his living expenses because it's just too expensive for him if we don't, but I am really glad we did it because he has really grown up - plus he has a part-time job. At 19 I was still living at home - he was out house-hunting and taking on estate agents and rents, remembering which day to put the bins out and learning how to clean the house for 6-weekly inspections. I taught him to cook before he went.

This might help


Spr1ngchick Sun 10-Apr-16 22:05:29

Thanks madeinkent but he can still do evenings and weekends, we live in London. More a question of the independence experience.

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Needmoresleep Mon 11-Apr-16 07:32:54

Spr1ngchick, a few more thoughts. All children are different. DS was very keen to leave home so lived in hall in his first year. I think he needed the sense he had left school and home. He then had the chance to take up a spare room in an established flat in his second year. Its not clear what will happen in his third year, but it is useful that he has moving home as a Plan B. For him getting away was useful and if he came home now it would be as an adult, with him expecting to pull his weight with housework, laundry etc. He has also managed to land a three month summer internship outside London, which hopefully will help widen his geographical horizons.

A few of his friends have ended up moving home for their third years. The work load is heavy, getting a good final result is so important, and they find they get more done in their home bedrooms, with fewer distractions.

DD recently had an interview with another London University which would not have offered her accomodation. She was rejected, but had she ended up going there I think she would have been quite happy staying at home. She is quite sociable so though it might have taken her a bit longer to get going, she would have found her group and given plenty of others would either have been living at home or in some far flung hall, she would not have been at a disadvantage. Our concern would have been more about how we altered her status within the family unit. She will get a fair amount of leeway through the Yr13 summer of exams, but we would not want this to continue. I guess we would have looked at encouraging her to spent the summer somewhere else, perhaps some sort of residential job, perhaps learning to drive, decorating her bedroom etc, and would have consiously tried to treat her as a responsible adult. A couple of positives would have been that she could have continued with her volunteering, and with her sports club, which she felt would have given her a nice balance/grounding away from student life.

Oddly accommodation seems more of an issue where she is going, as she likes her sleep and will have regular morning lectures. The University has a bit of a reputation for being party-town. Staying at home is definately a lesser evil than being in a student flat full of late-night clubbers.

One thing mentioned by a previous poster is that Halls often have spare places after Christmas when overseas students, doing a term abroad, leave. If your DS wanted a break from home, he might be better off waiting till then. He would save the first term's accommodation costs and would know where he wanted to live.

London is different, obviously, but if your DS is not hankering after the full-blown campus University experience, there will be lots of positives. Student London, whilst not geographically separate, will be a different place from the London he already knows. And if he works reasonably hard he should emerge with a well-respected degree, an international outlook, and a certain amount of city-smart, which should all aid his future employability. Plus less debt.

MirandaWest Mon 11-Apr-16 07:36:08

When he was applying to universities, did you discuss where he would be living or is it only afterwards it's come up?

onadifferentplanet Mon 11-Apr-16 07:54:39

Ds2 has lived at home for his first year as we fell just inside the cut of point for no guarantee of accommodation. He will be moving into a shared house with his friends for his second year. He isn't the most social of people and doesn't drink/go clubbing but the does go to clubs/societies 2 or 3 times a week and meets up with his friends at weekends too catching the last bus home around 11 . Unlike a lot of his friends he also has a large amount of this year's loan still sitting in the bank! He does not feel he has missed out at all though this might not be the case for a student who wants to party and fully embrace the social side of being a student

titchy Mon 11-Apr-16 08:04:34

Regardless of the amount he borrows, the repayments will remain the same, so please be aware that what you envisage as saving him money in the future actually won't save anything for many many years.

Re living in halls - if he's sociable I personally think he'll miss a lot. Obviously he can go out in the evening, but most first years don't go out every night - they spend the evening in each other's halls room which he won't be able to do, largely cos these are ad hoc gatherings so unless he's on the same corridor he won't know.

I'd let him live in halls, it sounds like that's what he originally wanted. Maybe he can move back for his final year if he's (not you!) not comfortable taking out another loan.

bojorojo Mon 11-Apr-16 09:43:43

I thought students living at home had a smaller loan than those living at the university. How can you swap around mid year without taking out a larger loan? I think if he wants to go into halls, he should. It is his loan, his decision, not yours. You are not responsible for it in any shape or form. It is also the cheapest money he will ever get and if he does not get that great job, he won't pay much of it back either. The government believes that 50% of students will never pay it back.

Halls do provide a greater opportunity to make friends. Some young people are less able to do this than others as perhaps they are quiet and all the other young peipe around them are different from them. It is ludicrous to suggest that everyone goes clubbing. There is a real mixture (some overseas students do not go clubbing and in London that is a high propoertion of students) and some students like cooking for others and watching a good film, for example. My DD had one girl on her course who lived at home and she never socialised. Just went home. Other DD, in London, has quite a lot living at home on her course, but not 45 minutes away. They do socialise and can get home after going out.

I think there is an issue about growing up and making decisions for yourself. I think living with Mum and Dad does make you a different person from the other students in that you are not responsible for lots of things in your life. Moving back home in y3 is odd, in my view. Vast numbers of students do well living in houses with like minded students in the final year. It is basically saying you are billy no mates and you want to shut yourself off. Very many students get those top class degrees without having to do that. If you must shut yourself away, it is rather sad and virtually never happens outside London becasue home might be 200 miles away.

Coconutty Mon 11-Apr-16 14:25:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

eatyourveg Mon 11-Apr-16 19:45:50

DS is at uni in London. He was in a uni leased student house for the first year, commuted in the second year and is in a private flat share for his third. He isn't a party animal but found most of his first year friends didn't live in halls either - it was a mix of commuters and those in privately rented houses in the vicinity of the campus. I don't think he missed out socially the year he was home as he often stayed in London on sofas if a group of them were going somewhere special or there was a good party or sometimes just caught the last train home. He didn't often go up at weekends though unless there was a specific event. It never bothered him and he will probably commute again for his masters next year.

Biscetti Tue 12-Apr-16 06:47:12

Spr1ngchick apologies, I have only just seen your question. DD2 is slightly different in some ways. She started at Warwick just over two years ago and realised that she had made a terrible mistake, both in degree and university. She then travelled a bit and worked all the hours she could while living at home to save a very decent amount. Her costs will be higher than DD1's, and indeed DS1's, but she is extremely money savvy, and is working too.

We give her some, but no more than the others got/get and we are not ridiculously wealthy either. She is earning a good amount during term time and holidays and is extremely frugal (her older sister is something of a spendthrift and she does not want to be like that...).

Long term, her future is already looking good and she has potential work lined up. Ultimately it was and is her decision. LSE is absolutely the best university for her degree globally and that is her end goal. We see her fairly often, but tbh, not a great deal more than the other older ones, who we/are at universities in the SW and NW, though she's pretty good in emergency babysitting situations for the younger children! grin

Spr1ngchick Tue 12-Apr-16 20:05:50

Thanks all especially the last few responses. Halls are between £8k and £9k for the year so maintenance loan would just about cover it with us having to supply funds for him to live on, so really doesn't seem worth it. DS seems OK about it and I think it's been a bit of a wake up call that we can't give him everything on a plate. He wants to get a job this summer and maybe some work next year and in the hols, save money by living at home the year and then rent out with friends. He is good at making friends but not a wild party animal so I'm sure he will find a sofa to flop on if needed first year and he knows his way around the night buses. TBH I think I felt bad for him because I went away to uni with campus but obviously no fees etc back in the good old days - he seems quite chilled about it and excited about the course. I think uni in London will always be a slightly different experience but he loves the city life.

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