It all depends on what you are looking for. My daughter loved the quiet, more adult atmosphere of Northwest Hills, but my son enjoys being in the thick of things in Jester. If you plan to be involved in the greek scene, or are in a major like architecture with lots of late lab hours, you may want to live closer in. Time-wise, you'll get to campus much faster on the Far West Route than on the Riverside route.
Unlike many of the apartments in West Campus and Riverside that offer individual leases, the apts on the Far West shuttle route (most of North Campus too) have traditional leases, but prices tend to be lower. If you plan on renting a 1 br or efficiency, either location is probably fine. If you want your own bedroom in a larger unit (and don't already have a roommmate in mind), West Campus has a lot more options with individual leases.
Craigslist is a good place to find a sublet, and prices get lower as the school year approaches.
If you want a more traditional dorm experience, Dobie, The Castillian, and (I think) The Towers all have meal plans and are as close to class as many of the UT dorms. Co-ops are another option near campus, meals are provided, but you have to pitch in and help with the cooking and cleaning.
Last edited by zlc; 05-09-2010 at 04:39 PM.