Besides choosing a college or university, deciding where to live can be one of the biggest decisions a student must make. Generally, students who want to be a part of the campus community, choose to live there, while students who value their freedom decide to live off-campus. There are pros and cons to both living situations. Here is the run down:
Benefits to Living On Campus.
More study opportunities – Students who live on campus are more likely to participate in study groups, extra help sessions and direct interaction with professors. This fosters on-time graduation and better grades.
Convenience – When you live at the college, you don’t have to pay for transportation. You are closer to your classes and can get there on time. More time can be spent on completing assignments.
Affinity to the Institution – When you are at the school for the majority of your time, you become part of the community. You tend to participate in campus organizations. You develop your sense of identity which gives you confidence in preparation for the real world.
Campus Amenities – Those who live on site can get a meal plan and be near to facilities such as the gym, library, sports complex and events. It may also be easier to get a job working at the college.
Detriments to Living On Campus.
Cost – While meal plans are great, they can be one of the most expensive aspects of living. If you live off-campus, you can control your costs. You can just get a meal plan for lunch and dinner and buy small items for breakfast.
Privacy – When you live in the dorms, you will have roommates. There will always be other kids in the common areas and the bathrooms. You may or may not get along with all of them. Additionally, if you want to have guests, you will not be with them in a private way. It can be hard to study with student making noise all the time.
Limited Space – Dorm rooms are very basic, small areas. You have to place your things so that they do not spill over onto your roommate’s area.
Freedom – When you live off-campus, you have your own space, your own rules, and your own schedule. This situation is best for those who are self-directed; who can be organized enough to manage work, study and class schedules successfully. You can decorate your space the way that you want. You can have guests over. You can plan and make your own food. You can live on your own, or share your apartment.
Skills – When you live on your own, you learn how to budget your money, how to pay bills, how to negotiate a lease and how to select roommates. At the same time, you are developing your reputation as a renter and growing your credit history.
A Break – Some people enjoy leaving school behind for the night and going to a separate, quiet place.
Detriments to Living in an Apartment
Safety - Not every student can afford a nice place. Therefore, they may compromise and take an apartment that does not have proper fire safety features, that needs repairs or that may be in a dangerous neighborhood. The apartment does not come with security guards the way that the college dorms do.
Neighbors – While you do have freedom, you still have to respect your neighbors and keep your noise level down. You cannot have rowdy parties at all hours.
Transportation – You will need a car or public transportation to get to school and a job. You will also need to find parking for your vehicle. There are costs to owning a car such as insurance, gas, and repairs.
As you can see, there is a lot to consider about where to live. The place that you decide to reside in will affect your entire college experience.