There is only one Ohio State University and though you love the campus, at some point or another, you might start thinking that it’s time to leave the safe arms of campus life and go explore what Columbus has to offer. That means you have to begin the dreaded apartment search. If this is your first time looking for a student apartment in Columbus, then you’re in for a fun (but potentially overwhelming) process.
You need to start your search far in advance. Columbus isn’t a small town, but ideal student housing starts looking scarce pretty quickly when you have a University nearby. House hunting season begins in November and ends around August, though pickings get slim if you wait too long. The market is most competitive between April and May. Usually, your best bet is to begin the search as early as humanly possible. But how do you jumpstart the process?
First off, you’ll want to find a roommate and get an idea of what you’re both looking for in an apartment. If you’re searching for a place that’s a walkable distance from campus, consider getting an apartment in the University District or nearby Victorian Village. The famous Short North is also just South of campus. However, there are many other wonderful neighborhoods in Columbus that are only a quick drive away. Keep your transportation situation in mind when searching for an apartment in Columbus.
The roommate search is another matter entirely. Perhaps you’re lucky enough to move in with your friends. If you’re still searching for a roommate, there are a number of Ohio State resources you can utilize. Be sure to attend the Off-Campus Housing Fair and Roommate Fairs to network and discover other students also looking to move off campus. Ohio State’s website also provides an online roommate search. You can post a roommate ad or browse through potential roommate profiles. It’s kind of like a dating site, but without the stigma!
Make Ohio State’s Neighborhood Services and Collaboration (NSC) your best friend when you move off campus. NSC communicates with the Columbus community to ensure that students are getting the best treatment from landlords and local businesses. They also make sure that city officials are hearing the voices of concerned students. If you run into safety issue, NSC will provide you with free security systems, alarms, and light timers for your apartment. Should you decide to get an apartment in the University District, you might find Willie Young – senior director of NSC – taking a tour in his truck or walking around, making sure that everyone is safe.
Student Legal Services will walk you through your lease if you find yourself confused by some of the terms and conditions. You can also turn to Student Legal Services for any legal troubles you may encounter with your landlord or nearby business. They will give you solid advice free of charge and help represent you if the circumstances call for it.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, take a deep breath! If you’re smart about it, you’ll be able to find a great apartment off campus that will provide you with the perfect haven away from campus to party (errr…do your homework).