So the school year is drawing to a close, and it's time to start figuring out
next year's housing options. You might be an entering freshman or progressing
into your next class year. Either way, you need to decide if you should live
off-campus or on. Some schools require underclassmen – or even all of their
students – to live on-campus, in which case the decision has already been made
for you. For those who have the freedom to choose, however, there are a few
things to consider.
Living in the Dorms
Dorms offer a unique way
of living that, after college, may never be available to you again. Here are
some of the pros of living in a dorm:
- In most cases, you'll be in relatively close proximity to everything else on
campus. Classes, student center, dining hall, library, etc: all these will
probably be easy to access if you live on-campus.
- Opportunities to socialize, from hanging out with your dorm-mates to more
organized social events, will be numerous and convenient.
- You shouldn't have to worry much about transportation unless you want to
spend a lot of time off-campus. Even if your school is so large that you can't
walk to everything, they'll usually have their own public transportation system
to help you get around.
While there certainly are benefits to dorm
life, some people just aren't comfortable there. They might be turned off by the
fact that they don't have a kitchen, or maybe they just like the peace and quiet
that having their own place could provide. That's why off-campus
is an attractive option.
Off-campus housing can potentially
be a cheaper alternative to being on-campus. However, this is by no means a
guarantee. If you can share rent with two or more other people, you may be able
make your cost of living significantly lower than the price of room and board
on-campus. Conversely, if you go it alone to rent an apartment, you could end up
making things much more expensive for yourself.
If you do decide to go
off-campus, make sure you can count on the people you'll be living with. You
don't want to end up in a situation where someone walks out on you and the rest
of you are stuck with his or her share of the rent and utility bill. Also,
remember that, unless you get a place within walking distance of school, you're
going to have to figure out a means of transportation to and from campus.
TIP: Talk to off-campus and on-campus students
from your school. See if they like their living situation and why they chose to
be where they are. This might help you decide where to live.
risks, living off-campus offers even more freedom than you'd get from the dorms.
At the same time, it is often a good transition to life after college, helping
you figure out how to live on your own and deal with things like house
maintenance, rent, and other bills.
Both on- and off-campus housing have
their own benefits and drawbacks. It's up to you to weigh the pros and cons of
each and figure out which offers you the best living situation.