Many colleges and universities require their first and sometimes second year students to stay in college campus housing or dormitories. Once students hit their sophomore and especially senior year they are often ready to move off campus. As with anything there are advantages to staying on campus as well as moving into your own place or sharing an apartment with a roommate off campus. Of course the decision to move on one side depends the university and the on campus accommodations available. On the other side availability of affordable apartments, landlords willing to rent to students, proximity to the campus and availability of transportation and basic goods and services are factors to consider. When moving off campus students not only need to look for a roof over their head but also need to consider access to grocery stores, laundromats, pharmacies, parking and other necessities.
Some of the other pros and cons for both on campus and off campus living from students that have been there are:
- Contracts: it is not always easy to get a “short term” lease. Many landlords what a minimum 12 month lease contract, much longer most students need unless they stay over summer.
- Convenience: proximity to classes, library, gym and other campus facilities. If you have a hard time getting out of bed in the boring and have early classes, being close to campus makes a hugh difference.
- You’ve got to eat: food is a short walk away and always available. No need to go grocery shopping, cooking or finding a restaurant.
- Hidden Expenses: on campus, what you see is what you get. There are typically no extra expenses such as utilities, cable, etc.
- Can you hear me now? Living in a dormitory can be very noisy and you get to know what everybody else is going. I think there is a social network for that?
- Too many rules: on campus you have to follow the rules of the school / dormitory. Your options are somewhat limited its just not the same kind of freedom.
- Very little privacy in general and often no private bathroom. Sharing space with 2 or 3 people is one thing but with your entire floor is not for everybody.
- Bunk up: having a roommate and literally having to share your room are is not for everybody. When you are in a dormitory you often have no choice but to share a room as many schools have a minimum of two beds per room.
- No choice living: when you opt to live on campus you do not always have a choice of living quarters or roommate. Especially in schools where space is limited you may be assigned to a particular dormitory or floor.
- Extras: Some off campus housing apartment buildings may have pools, gyms and other amenities as part of the facility.
- Money matters: campus housing can be quite expensive at some schools. Sharing a house or large apartment can be a much cheaper option once you share utilities with several people.
- Compartmentalizing: For some students it is important to keep their college life and their personal life separate. Living off campus can give you that separation.
- Less distractions and noise
- Professional services: Some of the professionally managed apartment buildings have full time staff that will fix any problem within a short time of not the same day.
- Not very convenient: Having to commute to and from campus, parking, not having quick access to your belongings when on campus can be very inconvenient.
- The Apartment Lease: One year leases are typical in most apartment building or off campus houses. It can be quite a challenge to find a place that will lease for less. Students often are on their own finding a tenant to sublet for the summer.
- Transportation: not all students have access to a car and have to rely on public transportation which is not always reliable or convenient.
- Furniture: Many places do not come pre-furnished so the student is tasked with bringing or purchasing their own furniture.
- Social Networking: Not all social networking takes place online. Sometimes it is good to to met people. This can be a challenge when living away from campus or other student apartments. Some students find it hard to stay in touch with their friends living on campus.