Deciding between living on or off campus can be extremely challenging, particularly if you’ve never lived on your own before. You may not be sure what factors to consider and which factors are the most important to you. We’re here to help you see the benefits of living both on and off campus. Once you see all the information right in front of you, you’ll be able to make your decision more easily! Good luck!
Benefits of Living On Campus
Depending on the cost of living and the area you live in, living on campus can be less expensive than living off campus. However, just the opposite can always be true, especially when meal plans and other fees are added into the mix. It truly depends on the University in question and the campus’ location.
Living in a dorm on campus exposes you to a wide variety of people every day and allows you to be immersed in the college’s campus culture. Moving off campus requires you to work a bit harder to see friends and participate in extracurriculars.
Close Proximity to Class
Being able to roll out of bed and simply walk to class can be pretty nice. Unless you’re lucky enough to land a place bordering campus – areas that are usually in the highest demand during apartment hunting season – then you may have to kiss this perk goodbye once you get an apartment.
Lack of Commitment
Most Universities are flexible about changing living arrangements for students if something isn’t working out. Perhaps you don’t get along with your roommate; perhaps you underestimated the confinement of living in a room with two other people instead of just one. Luckily, most schools are willing to accommodate student’s requests within reason. Leases typically don’t provide the same flexibility.
Benefits of Living Off Campus
If a student makes the right choices, living off campus can often be cheaper than living on campus. You may have to pay rent, but housing costs can be sky high at schools and cooking is often cheaper than a pricey meal plan. Of course, this varies depending on the cost of living in the area and the school’s tuition costs.
Dorms are often cramped, in terms of both square-footage and number of occupants. You rarely get alone time in a dorm or enough space to breathe and store your things. In an apartment, you may be living with housemates, but you’ll likely have your own bedroom to retreat to, as well as the rest of the house to hang out in. You also have the option of living alone.
Sick of paying an arm and a leg for medicare dining hall food? If you’re not, consider yourself lucky to live at a college that offers good food, because it’s a small minority. Purchasing groceries and cooking your own meals will save you money and calories. It can also give you a great skill for your professional future: being able to cook decent, nutritional meals for yourself.
One of the most irritating parts about dorm living is moving out during the break. You have to gather most – or, in the case of the summer break, all of your things – and move in and out of a dorm room up to three times a year. This is extremely time-consuming and exhausting. This can be especially painful or costly for international students or students who are not on good terms with their families. Most apartment leases cover you for the year, giving you living security for an extended period of time. Many on-campus apartments can’t even offer this.
You ever hear people call dorm buildings petri dishes? Well, there is certainly some truth to that claim. Many people become ill after first moving into dorm buildings and might even be more likely to get sick while living in one. Even if you’re living with roommates in an apartment, you won’t have to share the same facilities – particularly bathrooms and showers – with as many people as you would in a dorm. This bumps the hygiene level up a few notches and increases overall wellness.
When you’re ready to pursue a career and move out on your own later, finding a decent place can be really challenging if you have no rental history. Potential landlords like to see a track record to make sure that the person they give their place to is not crazy and will treat their property well. If you have no track record, a landlord has no way of knowing what sort of renter you are and whether they can trust you. Renting a place in college will give you that track record, making it easier to find a place once you’ve graduated and are out on your own.
There’s nothing quite like having complete and totally freedom to do whatever you’d like, something that college students usually don’t get at home and certainly don’t get in a dorm room environment. You’ll no longer have to worry about pesky RAs or other campus restrictions that can be frustrating to deal with. However, it’s important to remember that an apartment is not pure anarchy. You’ll likely have building rules, but they’ll be much more lax than what’s typically enforced in a dorm room environment.
Though meeting new people on campus every day can be a truly enriching experience, this can get tiring for the more introverted or older students who want to spend the majority of their time with their set friend group. An apartment will give you more time to be alone and/or be around people that you’ve already established close relationships with during your time at school.
Living out on your own is a great learning experience for college students. It shows you what to do, what not to do, and what you could do better in the future. After all, college is about learning – not just about academic subjects, but about life in general.
Does living off campus sound like the best choice for you?
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