How to Choose the Right City and Accommodation as an Online Student

In recent years, the landscape of higher education in the UK has transformed significantly with the rise of online learning. The convenience and flexibility offered by online courses have made them an increasingly popular choice among students of all ages. However, the decision to study online does not remove the importance of one’s living environment. The city in which an online student resides can profoundly impact their academic success and overall well-being.

Choosing the right city and accommodation is crucial, as it can greatly enhance the online learning experience. When selecting where to live, online students often consider various options, including private rented accommodation, private halls, and right student accommodation, each offering different advantages. Factors like the cost of living, internet connectivity, and access to community resources play pivotal roles in day-to-day student life. This guide aims to assist prospective online students in navigating these choices, whether they are looking towards private accommodation or the vibrant community of a student house.

We’ll cover essential considerations such as affordability, job opportunities, quality of life, and more. Whether you opt for the bustling social atmosphere of private halls or the independence of private rented accommodation, understanding what each option offers is crucial. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clearer understanding of how to choose the right city and accommodation as an online student that best suits your educational needs and personal preferences.

Choosing the Right City as an Online Student

Cost of Living

For many students, affordability is a key concern. The cost of living varies widely across the UK, with cities in the North generally being more affordable than those in the South. When choosing a city, consider not only rent but also the costs of food, transportation, and entertainment. Tools like the Numbeo website can provide insights into average living costs in different cities.

There are cheaper cities like; Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, up north in Scotland and down south in the towns like; Plymouth and if you want to live surrounded by students Falmouth student accommodation is affordable, packed with students from all around the world and is always sunny so worth considering as an option.

Internet Connectivity

Reliable and fast internet is non-negotiable for online students. While the UK boasts strong internet coverage, there are still variations in service quality and speed, particularly between urban and rural areas. Before settling in a city, check the broadband speeds and connectivity options available. Providers like BT and Virgin Media often publish regional statistics that can be helpful.

Work Opportunities

Whether part-time jobs or career prospects post-graduation, local employment opportunities should influence your choice. Cities with a thriving economic scene, such as London, Manchester, and Birmingham, offer diverse job markets. However, competition can be fierce, and living costs are higher. Consider what balance works best for your career goals and budget.

Quality of Life

Safety, healthcare, and transportation are crucial to your quality of life. The UK’s larger cities typically provide extensive public transport systems and a range of medical services. Sites like the Office for National Statistics provide data on crime rates and healthcare facilities, helping you make an informed decision.

Time Zone Considerations

While studying online, you might need to coordinate with timings for live sessions or submissions based on a different time zone if your institution is not UK-based. Understanding and planning for these differences is essential to avoid unnecessary stress.

Community and Networking

Building a professional network can be immensely beneficial, even for online students. Look for cities with active chapters of professional organizations, universities that host networking events, and opportunities to engage with industry professionals.

Recreational Activities

Balancing academics with personal interests is vital for mental health. Cities like Edinburgh, Bristol, and Brighton offer vibrant cultural scenes, outdoor activities, and rich histories that can enrich your off-study hours.

Climate and Environment

The UK’s weather can be a deciding factor for some. If you prefer milder winters, consider the South of England. If you enjoy cooler summers, Scotland might be more appealing. Comfort in your environment can enhance focus and productivity.

Access to Libraries and Co-working Spaces

For when home distractions are too much, having access to libraries and co-working spaces is beneficial. Most UK cities host public libraries and increasingly, co-working spaces which provide quiet environments conducive to study.

Proximity to Family and Friends

Finally, the support system provided by family and friends should not be underestimated. Living close to loved ones can provide emotional and practical support, which is especially valuable when facing the challenges of online study.

The Advantages of Student Accommodation for Online Learners

Choosing the right accommodation is just as crucial as selecting the perfect city for online students. Student accommodation offers unique advantages that can significantly enhance the experience of online learners, from fostering a sense of community to providing practical living solutions. Here’s a look at the key benefits:

Community and Social Interaction

One of the most significant advantages of student accommodation is the built-in community it offers. For online learners who might not regularly visit a campus, living in an environment surrounded by other students can mitigate feelings of isolation. Social events, communal areas, and shared living situations provide ample opportunities for interaction, ensuring a vibrant social life that can make studying more enjoyable.


Student accommodations are often designed with budget-conscious students in mind. Many include utilities like water, electricity, heating, and even high-speed internet in the rent. This bundled approach not only simplifies budget management but also often represents a cost saving compared to arranging and paying for these services independently.


Typically located close to university campuses, student accommodations offer proximity to key academic resources, including libraries, labs, and lecture halls. For online students, this means easy access to on-campus events and facilities that might be beneficial for their studies, even if their primary learning happens online. Moreover, these accommodations are often well-connected to other parts of the city, providing easy access to shops, restaurants, and cultural venues.

Facilities and Amenities

From study rooms equipped with desks and Wi-Fi to fitness centres and laundry facilities, student accommodations are tailored to meet the needs of their residents. Having access to dedicated study areas can be particularly beneficial for online students, helping them separate their living and learning spaces within their accommodation.

Stability and Focus

Living in an environment that is supportive of studies can significantly impact academic success. Student accommodations provide a stable and quiet environment conducive to focusing on studies without the distractions often found in non-student housing. This can be especially valuable during examination periods or when completing major projects.

Networking Opportunities

Being in a student community naturally fosters networking opportunities. These connections can be invaluable, providing academic collaboration, access to university resources, professional networking, and personal growth opportunities. Such networks can also be a stepping stone to career opportunities post-graduation.

Lease Flexibility

Student accommodations frequently offer lease terms that are aligned with academic calendars, including shorter leases or the ability to sublet during the summer months. This flexibility is ideal for students who may wish to travel, take internships in other cities, or visit home between terms without being tied to a year-long lease.

Support Services

Many student housing options include a range of support services designed to help students thrive both academically and personally. These might include on-site counsellors, academic tutoring, 24-hour security, and resident assistants trained to help students navigate the challenges of student life.

Rules and Regulations

Living in student accommodation comes with certain rules and regulations, which help maintain a safe and conducive learning environment. These rules are designed to protect the well-being of all residents and can include quiet hours, visitor policies, and maintenance services, ensuring a comfortable living situation for everyone.


Student accommodations typically house a diverse group of individuals from various cultural, educational, and geographic backgrounds. This diversity enriches the living and learning environment, exposing residents to different perspectives and fostering a broader understanding of the world.

Practical Tips for Making the Right Choice

When it comes to selecting the perfect city and accommodation for your online studies, a well-rounded approach can make all the difference. Here are some practical tips to help you make an informed decision:

Research and Resources

The internet is your best resource when beginning your search. Utilize online tools and forums to gather information about different cities and their accommodations. Websites like The Student Room or UniStats provide insights and student reviews on various aspects of student life across the UK. Online platforms can also offer comparative data on cost of living, internet quality, and other essentials. Be sure to leverage these resources to get a comprehensive view of your options.

Visiting and Experiencing

If feasible, visiting a city and its accommodation options can provide invaluable first-hand experience. Spend time in potential neighbourhoods, visit local amenities, and get a feel for the community. If an in-person visit isn’t possible, virtual tours and local community groups on social media can also provide a sense of the area and its culture.

Consulting with Current Students and Alumni

Speaking with current students and alumni offers a perspective that you can’t find in brochures or websites. Their experiences can provide practical insights into what daily life is like in a particular city or accommodation. They can also offer advice on handling the challenges of online studies and how to make the most of living in a specific locale.

Evaluating Personal Needs and Preferences

Finally, consider your personal needs and lifestyle preferences. Reflect on what environment makes you most comfortable and productive. Are you looking for a vibrant, bustling city or a quiet, scenic place to focus on your studies? Do you need regular social interaction, or do you prefer solitude? Understanding these preferences is crucial in choosing a place that will support your academic and personal well-being.


In wrapping up, the process of choosing the right city and accommodation for your online studies involves a balance of practical considerations and personal preferences. We’ve discussed various factors, from the cost of living and internet connectivity to the importance of community and diversity. It’s essential to consider both the tangible and intangible elements that will shape your experience.

The importance of a well-rounded approach cannot be overstated. By combining thorough research, personal reflection, and proactive engagement with communities and resources, you can make a choice that not only meets your academic needs but also enriches your personal life. Remember, the right environment will serve as a foundation for your success in online learning and beyond.