Location is one of the most important factors for finding a student apartment. After all, you are there to go to school, right? Being in close proximity to the campus is desirable, so you can walk to class easily without dealing with parking or traffic. The only problem is that everyone else wants apartments near the university as well, so cost goes up with demand. Downtown is also an option, but the perks of a centralized location come with a price.
If you have a car, finding a cheaper apartment further away from the campus could be an option. However, it’s important to note that East and West Madison tend to attract families and young professionals. You won’t find the booming nightlife and college culture in these areas.
One thing that is important to remember in any college town – particularly in Madison – is to start looking for an apartment early. It may also be in your best interest to search for an apartment that offers a student leasing option, meaning that your lease runs from August to August. This shouldn’t be difficult to find in a college town like Madison.
Be on the lookout for apartments that come fully or partially furnished. This will cut costs when moving in. Though decorating an apartment from scratch can certainly be fun, it’s also expensive and taking any furniture home with you once you move out can be a real hassle. Instead, try to keep it simple. This principle can also be extended into other aspects of the apartment rental process. It can be more convenient to select an apartment where utility costs are included in the rent. However, it’s important to find out how much traditional utility costs are in the area and see if this option will actually save you money.
Ultimately, you should be asking yourself one question when looking for a college apartment: What kind of environment do I need to get my work done? Quiet, spacious, modern, refurbished, etc.? It may be exciting to finally move into a place away from your “campus parents” (aka university staff) and share a space with friends, but you need to remember what you’re there for. Make sure you will be comfortable living in this apartment for the academic year, but remember that you’re not going to live there forever. Swanky features and room for customization could just end up being a pain in the wallet and a distraction from your schoolwork. Get something simple. Get something practical. Get something that will be a great place for you to study and occasionally hang out with your roommates (after completing all of your homework, of course).
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