One of the most important aspects of your time spent at college is where you choose to live. Choosing to live on or off -campus can make a large difference in how your college experience turns out. In order to decide what option is the best fit for you and your future roommates, it’s important to talk over your preferences and concerns. The list below of pros and cons of living off-campus provide a good starting point.
The first benefit of choosing an off-campus apartment is that they are usually less expensive. Off-campus renters know that kids are looking for a more affordable alternative- especially with the rising cost of college itself- so they usually will offer prices that are a little lower than what they know the college is asking for. Often off-campus apartments will also be a little larger than the ones offered through the college, proving you with more living space.
Another benefit is that you have a lot more freedom. You are removed from the campus community and only need to be there for your classes or extra-curricular activities. On campus, you would be surrounded by many other students and usually some sort of RA or RD (Resident Assistant/Director) who checks up to make sure you are following all rules and regulations, as well as providing help and assistance to any problems you may have. Your neighbors will probably be families or older couples, not loud college students. Living off-campus also allows for couples of the opposite sex to live together, which most on-campus houses do not allow.
A final benefit of off-campus housing is that you can choose who you live with and who you share a room with (if applicable). Many on-campus housing options require you to share a bedroom or require a certain set number of people to live in a house together. This can create problems when there are five people in your group of friends and it takes six to fill a house- resulting in a random person living with you not by choice. If you look for off-campus housing, you can choose options that will have single bedrooms and fit to your group’s needs.
While the freedom and independence may seem great, you will miss out on a lot of events and opportunities by living off-campus. Most schools have a good e-mail system or updated website to help inform students of important events, but a lot of advertising and awareness of these events are done through posters on campus. If a majority of your friends and classmates live on campus, it may be harder to get in touch with them and meet up for lunch dates, parties or group projects.
Another negative aspect of living off-campus is the driving situation. Most of the time, you will need a car (although some campuses have housing off-site that are within walking distance or have bus systems to transport students). A car will also be useful for grocery shopping and any extracurricular activities. Don’t forget about possible traffic, poor weather conditions and paying for gas money- these are all possible cons of driving as well.