Among those buildings battling it out to be crowned Britain’s best new building are a Jewish cemetery, an art gallery, a lecture hall and student digs.

Chadwick House Hall, at London’s University of Roehampton, provides 210 en-suite bedrooms for students across three new buildings, built around gardens that are designed to encourage residents to socialise. 86 of the premium rooms have balconies, and all provide high-quality housing for the university’s students, in the grounds of the 18th Century Georgian Villa, Downshire House and next to the London County Council’s Alston West Estate, both Grade Two listed buildings. Even if it does win the coveted Riba Stirling Prize (Royal Institute of British Architects), award winning design isn’t always top of the list when it comes to choosing university digs.

Here are some key things you might want to consider when choosing your home for the coming academic year.

Halls are a pretty good idea, certainly for your first year when you’re new to the area, or for your last year when you really need to knuckle down to some serious studying. You’ll probably be close to your uni buildings, or even on site so travel costs are minimal. You’ll also save travel time, you may be lucky to bag your accommodation for less if you university offers a bursary package. Halls are a great way to make friends with people outside your course and a safe place to try out independent living for those not yet familiar with it. There is generally an application process to go through, but first year students are often guaranteed a place.delfi-de-la-rua-140752-unsplash

Shared accommodation is an option, and student forums are full of threads seeking flatmates or shared flats. Benefits include being able to choose who you live with, but if you’re posting an advert for someone to join your house, be sure to remain above any accusations of prejudice. And if you’re seeking accommodation, be sure to visit and vet before you commit to moving in. Just in case.

Privately managed accommodation can be a great option for students because most providers include en-suite room, all bills and utilities, insurance, 24-hour security and a decent location for one price, with no hidden costs! You’ll probably need your own TV license unless it’s included with a TV in your room, but as a student, you’re exempt from council tax. You’re responsible for everything else: from car parking to cleaning, and observing any house rules.Bernicia_Halls,_Newcastle_University,_7_September_2013_(2)

The final option is to live at home. The financial benefits have the potential to be outweighed by travel time and costs and parking costs: time commuting could be spent studying or socialising. The highest proportion of people who leave uni before completing their studies live at home, and living in halls can be a viable financial alternative.

Living at home does have the potential for students to feel cut off from their peers, but whether you’re living in university-owned accommodation, in private managed accommodation or at home, your social life is what you make it. With hundreds of students living in similar digs, you’re sure to find plenty of people to enjoy university with.