It’s a dilemma that all students have to face at one time or another, whether it’s deciding if you want to live on-campus your freshman year or deciding if you’re ready to move off-campus once dorm life has lost its appeal. There are several factors to consider and there’s no one right answer for everyone.
If you’re trying to decide which living situation best fits your needs, here are a few pros and cons of living on-campus vs. off-campus that may help you make your decision:
Proximity to Campus:
Nothing beats being able to roll out of bed 10 minutes before class starts and still beat the professor (don’t listen to anyone that tells you pajama pants and bed-head aren’t in style). Living the dorm life guarantees that your classes are never far off.
If walking-distance to class is a major factor in your living decision there are still plenty of apartments near campus that fit the bill. Many near-campus complexes are only a few steps from school and offer the same close-knit community atmosphere for students.
Dormitory pricing usually includes utilities like electricity, water, gas and sometimes internet and food. While this doesn’t always guarantee a lower price, it can be easier to manage your bills when you’re paying one flat fee. Most dorms also come with built-in furniture which means you don’t have to worry about furnishing your apartment.
Living off campus and commuting to school can greatly reduce the price you pay, however many students prefer to be closer to campus. Living near campus is generally priced close to what you would pay for a dorm, however you’ll still need to factor in utilities and food costs.
Not interested in living the dorm life, but unsure if you can afford to furnish an entire apartment? Some apartment complexes do offer fully-furnished units.
Life on-campus has its own unique sense of community that’s built around a thriving social life. Student activities, festivals, get-togethers and events are constantly happening only moments away and you can’t turn around without running into someone you know. Living on-campus can be a great way to form friendships and get involved with student organizations.
Dorm life means constantly being in the middle of an active and vibrant social scene and getting away from the noise and temptations can be difficult for some. Having an off-campus apartment means that you can still experience everything that’s happening on-campus, but you have your own space to escape to when you need a little peace and quiet.
The average dorm room is under 400 square feet and oftentimes this small space has to be shared between two or more people. Dorm life also usually means communal bathrooms and toilets and a hallway full of close proximity neighbors. Living so closely with so many people isn’t for everyone and you may at least want a wall and a bit of floor space between you and your roommate(s).
It’s no secret that even some of the smallest off-campus apartments will be bigger than the average dorm. Not to mention the fact that you can finally throw out those grody shower shoes. Off-Campus apartments offer more space and privacy than dormitories and give you the ability to choose who to share that space with.
Let’s face it – going to college may mean that you’re legally an adult, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got it all figured out. On-Campus living is specifically designed to help you transition from life with your parents to life on your own. Bills are paid ahead of time and usually in one lump sum, food is made for you in the cafeteria, and study centers, counselors and other resources are only seconds away. You may not be ready for independent living and dorm life can be a great way to help you ease into the change.
Not everyone is ready for independent living their first semester of college, however choosing to live off-campus at some point in your college career can be a liberating experience. Living off-campus gives students the opportunity to learn about leasing and deposits, manage their own bills, make a budget, and cook on their own. While you still may need help from time to time, off-campus living can be a great place to start developing tools that will help you once you graduate from college and move on to full-fledged adulthood.
Is Living On-Campus or Off-Campus Right for You?
So is living on-campus or off-campus right for you? It all depends on who you are and what you prefer. If you’re still not sure what the best option would be it might be helpful to make your own list of pros and cons.
Have a preference for on-campus or off-campus living? Let us know in the comments below!