Rundown on university living: from cramped style to just plain cramped

Students have a wealth of accommodation options available to them nowadays, many of them requiring actual wealth. Here's a guide to help you choose.

With your parents

For many students, this will be the only viable option. Staying with your folks saves you money in return for them frowning and tsking at you over the morning cereal because you came home at 4am.

Living at home might also limit your ''social options'', if you get what I mean. Let's just say there are times in one's life when a bedroom opposite one's parents' becomes a trifle inconvenient.

Nevertheless, you should probably stay at home for as long as you can bear. While it's always tempting to strike out on your own in the interests of ''freedom'', this usually equates to the freedom to devote hours of your precious youth working in bartending jobs for cash you'll pay straight to your landlord.

Given this equation, putting up with your parents' tedious ''while you're under our roof'' rules is a small price to pay - literally.

In a share house

Living cheek by jowl in a dive on the edge of campus can make for the most pleasant of university housing experiences, or can be a gouge-out-your-eyeballs nightmare. It depends entirely on who you're living with.

With good flatmates, you'll have buddies with whom you can laugh, gossip and stay up late watching crappy television. And you'll always have a shoulder to cry on when your budding romances inevitably go wrong. Bad flatmates will steal your food, leave a mess over the lounge room, bring infuriating sexual partners and/or lice into the house and set the house on fire while in a drunken stupor and then mysteriously disappear, owing thousands of dollars in rent.

While share houses are inevitably disgusting, what they lack in terms of bathroom and kitchen hygiene they make up in charm - if you find laminex and endemic rising damp charming.

In college

The good news is that few college experiences are as hideous as those at St John's College at the University of Sydney, which have featured in the media recently. The bad news is that not many colleges are all that much better.

Then again, if you're the kind of person who's comfortable being a member of the pack and ruthlessly isolating the socially weak and vulnerable, and have ambitions of spending most of your uni years binge-drinking, college might be just the place for you. Some of them even have lovely, historic architecture for you to despoil. Just remember, the friendships you make at college will be for life, and so will your criminal record.

In your own place

Really? Your own place? Either you're fabulously wealthy, or haven't looked at Sydney property prices lately. For those with non-ridiculous budgets, let's be clear: when people say that on a limited budget all you can afford is a broom closet, that's what they mean. I hope you can sleep standing up.

If you're a Rinehart or Palmer, getting your own place is clearly the most luxurious option. When I was a student, I knew a few wealthy people who had their own uber-cool apartments near campus. They had lots of amazing parties and everyone wanted to be their friend. I resent those people to this day.

This story Rundown on university living: from cramped style to just plain cramped first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.