Deciding where to live during college can be difficult. Below, I highlight some of the most important factors to consider.
1. School Requirements
Obviously, this is the most important consideration. If your school requires you to live on campus for the first (or even second) year, then you need to abide by that. If living on-campus is not financially possible for you or you have a spouse/children, contact the school. Many have a process in which you can get exempted from the requirement. Otherwise, you need to live on campus.
How much is it, on average, for each of your options? Don’t forget to factor in food, utilities, and transportation. These can really add up. Although living off campus is typically cheaper, make sure to factor in everything, including eating fast food half the time since you don’t want to cook.
3. On-campus options
What type of housing is available to you? Most of us want out of the dorms after one year, but does your school offer apartments? For freshmen, be aware that some schools only offer dorms or offer a very limited amount of other room types to first-year students.
Also, how difficult is it to get housing? Some schools have guaranteed housing for anywhere between one and four years. If you’re not guaranteed housing, keep an eye on off-campus options until you’ve secured housing.
4. Off-campus options
Are your off-campus options in a safe area? Can you walk to campus or do you need other transportation? Who will you be living with? Is there a nearby grocery store? What about restaurants? If you have an off-campus job, will you be close to it? Obviously, there’s more to consider in terms of your off-campus options. But this also means more control over your housing.
5. Campus involvement
It’s a well-known fact that campus involvement decreases when you move off campus. If you’re extremely involved in your school, it may be easier to live on campus. However, if you’re tired of being on campus and surrounded by students all the time, off-campus housing may be better for you. If you want to be involved while living off campus, be aware that it will take some extra effort. It’s a lot easier to be involved when everything you need is all in one place.
Everyone has their own situation to consider in terms of housing, so consider the above factors (and more) when finding housing in college. It’s a big decision that can truly change your school year.
Do you live on or off campus, and why? Share your experience in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post using the links below.