The number of housing units built specifically for student use is expected to nearly triple between 2010 and 2021. That’s good news for students but it still leaves them with the question of whether to choose a dorm or off-campus housing.
Both have their pros and cons but a lot of it comes down to a few simple things. Let’s look at what you need to keep in mind if you’re thinking of living off campus.
Do You Have to Live On Campus?
With a few exceptions, notably military academies, even freshmen don’t usually have to live on campus. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea, especially for your freshman year.
You’ll see a few benefits when you live on campus:
- You’re closer to everything and don’t need to worry too much about transportation
- You’ll meet new people who live in the dorm with you
- Most dorms have Resident Advisors (RAs) who can offer helpful advice about all kinds of things
- Things like utilities, security, repairs, and cleaning are often taken care of
When you’re new to college life, having fewer variables to worry about can make things go a lot smoother for that first year.
Advantages of Living Off Campus
A lot of students spend their first year in a dorm and move off campus for the rest of their school days. By the time they’re heading into sophomore year, most students have a pretty good handle on how things work, where everything is, and who they want to spend time with.
Living off campus offers more freedom since you can make your own “house rules” instead of having to live by the ones set out by the dorm. You also have more flexibility with your time and even the food you choose to eat. This can be particularly helpful if you follow a strict diet such as vegan or vegetarian.
Living off campus can often be less expensive as well. The cost to rent an apartment is likely higher than a dorm room but if you get two or three friends together to split the rent, the cost-per-person is likely lower.
You can see some examples of this at https://www.davisapartmentsforrent.com/ for housing near UC Davis.
Things to Consider for Off Campus Housing
If you decide to live off campus, you’ll have some expenses you wouldn’t have to pay for in a dorm, including:
- Internet service
- Renters’ insurance
- Cable and other utilities
Make sure you consider these when comparing the cost of living on campus vs living off campus. Check to see exactly what’s included in your dorm fees and either be willing to give some things up or include those costs in the calculation.
What’s The Best Choice?
Unfortunately, there’s no simple answer to which option is best. It comes down to individual preferences. But remember that you’re at school to learn so whether you choose living off campus or on, don’t let life get in the way of your studies.
Check back often for more helpful posts like this one.