Housing is an important part of the college experience and deciding between a dorm or apartment can be very challenging. My freshman year of college, I decided to live off campus and three years in an apartment has helped me develop a list of pros and cons that may help you decide whether living off campus is the right choice for you. Keep in mind that not every on-campus situation or off-campus situation may be the same.
Pro: Distance from campus is refreshing.
After a long day of classes and exams, it is very rewarding to get away from campus for a while and decompress without seeing a constant reminder of school.
Pro: Off-campus apartments can be cheaper.
At my university, it costs around $3,000 for the most basic dorm room in the most disappointing dorms on campus. When you divide that by the months in the semester, it ends up being around $750 a month for a dorm without a kitchen, shared bathrooms, and a close roommate. Depending on where you live, there are apartments for cheaper and if you can find a roommate, like me, the monthly cost goes down.
Con: Commuting to and from campus with parking.
I live around 15 minutes from campus and sometimes this can get annoying with traffic. Also, the gas required to travel is more money than walking. Additionally, parking on-campus can be a hassle. You can usually purchase a parking pass, but I chose to park father away from campus and avoid paying. It is about a 15-minute walk which forces me to wake up earlier for my morning classes.
Pro: Access to space of your own.
I am a private person and I enjoy my alone time. Living in a dorm can often take that away from you. It is nice to have a room where you can shut the door and enjoy your privacy.
Con: More responsibilities.
Living off-campus requires responsibility. You must able to pay rent and utilities on time, go grocery shopping, clean, etc. This may be difficult for some to manage and is a hard adjustment.
Pro: A steady place to live year-round.
This only applies to students who stay in their university’s city for the summer. It is nice to know that you will not have to move at the beginning and end of each semester. You have the security of knowing where you will be staying for a long time.
Pro: Closer to food choices and other businesses.
On campus, there are limited food choices and it is easy to grow tired of them. Living off-campus gives you access to more choices and sometimes better restaurants. Also, most campuses don’t offer places to shop, while living away puts you near stores and businesses you wouldn’t normally see on campus.