College Housing – Off-Campus or On-Campus?

So you’ve been accepted at your university or college of choice, you’ve got your schedule, and you’ve met your roommates-what now? For possibly the first time in your life, you’re going to be living on your own. Aside from getting up and going to class, you’re now responsible for your own laundry, cooking, cleaning, and cohabitation with people who may be complete strangers. Here is a quick rundown of those housing concerns that might fall through the cracks as you start your journey into higher education.

Freshmen and Off-Campus Housing

First and foremost, as an incoming freshman, determine if your school allows you to live off campus. Some universities feel that living nearby helps to make the transition from home life to college life much easier if freshmen are under the wing of a Resident Assistant. If off-campus housing is allowed, and it’s attractive to you, go for it! Living somewhere besides a dorm allows you more freedom and options than living in close quarters with other students.

The Pros Of Living Off-Campus

Privacy is perhaps the most attractive thing about living off-campus. No RA to monitor your comings & goings; no curfews; no set time when members of the opposite sex have to vacate the premises. It’s your place, your lifestyle. The next big deal about living in an apartment or condo (no pun intended!) is the space. Chances are, a nice, roomy apartment with two or three bedrooms is going to feel like a castle when compared to a dorm room, which can feel like an Army barracks. There’s usually a living room where your friends can chill out together and not have to come into contact with everyone living in the dorm; there may even be a pool and entertainment space or clubhouse. You get the picture, though – dorm life versus apartment life is very different.

Dining Options When You’re On Your Own

So, privacy and space are definitely better when you live outside student housing, but how about dining options and access to a full kitchen? When you live on campus, you typically have a meal plan with access to very specific dining options, which are usually limited. And even though you can go and buy groceries, your dorm fridge will only hold so much food. When you live in an apartment, condo, or rented home, you have a full-sized fridge, stove, and other appliances so you can cook full meals. It’s much cheaper because you can freeze & refrigerate leftovers. You’re also not at the mercy of cafeteria hours – you can eat whenever it’s most convenient to you.

Merry Christmas… Now, Get Out!

One other thing that students might not consider is that somewhere you rent or own is available all year, 24/7. Usually, dorms close during school holidays, such as Christmas, and you’re forced to go home or crash somewhere else for a month. If you have your own place, then you can stay or go and come back at your leisure. Again, be sure that freshmen are allowed to live off campus. If so, then it may be the best option for you, and for your parents’ wallets, in the long haul. Hopefully, you’re going to be around for four years, so you need to love your living arrangements!

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