It’s time to go to college, and you are ready to leave home. You’ve packed your bags and said goodbye to your friends and family. The excitement fills your lungs as you start a new chapter. At the same time, you have to worry about a plethora of things, not least of which is choosing accommodation.
Do you live in a dorm and participate in all the campus activities nearby, surrounded by students? Or rent an apartment and reside independently, dealing with your own bills and cooking? It is challenging to pick where to spend the next few years.
That’s why you’re here:
Our team prepared a guide to help you decide whether to live on or off-campus. In the sections below, you’ll see a thorough comparison of the options with tips and suggestions. Find out what documents you need to get a room in a dormitory or rent an apartment. There is also a checklist of things to consider before choosing accommodation.
⏳ 9 Vital Tips on College Life
When you go to college, it is probably the first time you will live far from your family. Thankfully, you are not the only one feeling nervous and homesick. Most of your classmates will also have difficulty adjusting to a new city, room, friends, and professors.
Here are some practical tips to lessen the transition period and make it more manageable:
- Bring memories from home. Feeling homesick is natural. Prepare in advance and bring some of your favorite comfort items from home. Pictures of your parents, a photo board with your friends from high school, or your childhood toy. These small things will help you manage your stress and allow you to feel closer to home.
- Socialize. At times, you might want to lock yourself up in your room and chat with your friends and family from home on social media. This can exacerbate your homesickness. You need to get out and meet new people. Creating new memories is the key to overcoming homesickness. College is the perfect time for socializing, networking, and building lifetime connections with like-minded people. Talk to your classmates, join a club, or simply get to know your roommates.
- Attend social events. Your first semester at college is the best and easiest time to meet people. Everyone is new, everyone wants to make friends and find people to hang out with. Go to events on campus, as it’s the perfect opportunity to meet folks who have similar interests and also get some freebies. Even if you have a ton of assignments and readings to prepare, you can always find an hour or two to enjoy yourself.
- Follow a schedule. Sometimes missing deadlines can make you view your college experience in a negative light. To get comfortable, you need to have some form of schedule or routine. Maybe you regularly go to the gym, or library, or find a spot on campus where you feel creative and inspired. You need to get used to this new place and create new habits.
Avoid procrastination. No matter how motivated you are, you probably know that feeling when you just don’t want to do anything. It can be dangerous at college because you have to meet so many deadlines simultaneously. Instead of doing your homework today, you tell yourself, “I will do it tomorrow.”
This can cause you unnecessary anxiety because when the day of the class arrives, and you did not do your homework, you feel bad.Find a ritual that sets you in the right mood to work—a cup of coffee, a hand-written to-do list for the week, or put your headphones on and play some music. Most importantly, remove all distractions: avoid watching TV or looking at your phone.
- Take a walk. Being alone in an unfamiliar place is challenging. So, get familiar with it. The best way to do this is by taking a walk. Not only will it calm you down when you feel nervous, but it will allow you to explore your campus—your new home for the next four years. You can find the best library, a small book shop, or a cafe on campus. Taking a walk (even alone) is always a great way to distract yourself.
- Exercise. Staying active makes us feel empowered and happy. Most colleges offer a free gym membership or one at a significantly discounted rate. You can also exercise at home or outside, if the weather allows. When you feel sad or homesick, a workout is a great behavior reactivation tool.
- Don’t throw away your shot. You will most probably never have as many opportunities for personal growth as you do during college. Take that internship, workshop, or even part-time job to support yourself financially. However, don’t try to do everything at once. Choose what interests you most and pursue it.
- Talk to a counselor or a therapist. You know yourself better than anyone and if you feel that you need some extra help from a professional to cope, seek help. You can contact your residence assistance services, Student Health Clinic, or Recreation Service to manage your homesickness. In the vast majority of colleges, these services are already included in your tuition. If not, they will most likely accept insurance.
A mental health professional might suggest group therapy sessions as well. You will be surprised by how many of your peers are struggling with the same feelings. Creating a new support system is essential for overcoming homesickness.
⚖️ Living on-Campus vs. off-Campus: Comparison
Picking an accommodation, you may feel nervous—we get it. Moving to a new town or city is never easy. It involves a lot of physical and emotional work.
In the infographic below, we’ve summed up all the essential information about living in a dormitory or rented apartment. See for yourself:
If you’re still unsure about what to pick, consider the following parts of the article. There, we’ll tell you about the pros and cons of both options in detail.
🏫 Living on-campus
Your whole college experience depends on several important decisions. Deciding if you will be living on or off-campus is one of them. Pretty much as soon as you get your letter of acceptance, you will need to decide whether you will live in a dorm or not. Remember that some universities require all freshman students to live on campus. Other universities simply recommend students to consider on-campus housing.
In this section, you will learn about some pros and cons of an on-campus option so that you can make an informed choice. Depending on your preferences, you can pick what’s best for you.
Plenty of first-year students don’t have a choice regarding their accommodation as many colleges require them to live in dorms. (We’ll talk about it in detail in another section.) Therefore, let’s start with the pros of this option:
When you live on campus, your room comes with essential furniture items—a bed, a mattress, a closet, a desk, and a mirror. You can decorate your dorm without worrying about movers or storage unit for the summer months.
Finding a fully furnished apartment close to the beginning of a school year can be nearly impossible. If you find one available, the price will most probably turn you off. That’s why many students prefer to buy their furniture or rent it. Though renting furniture for the entire four years can be pricey as well.
What happens to it when you move out after your program is over? You may have to pay for its transportation or leave it behind. The same happens when you have to move from apartment to apartment at the end of your lease.
Living in a dorm, you never think about any additional expenses such as water, gas, electricity, or the Internet. It’s all covered! If something breaks in your room, though, on purpose or by accident, you’ll have to deal with it. You will be required to pay for all the damages at the end of the semester.
Meals three times a day.
A meal plan can be included with the room fees. It makes sense because you will not have a kitchen to cook your food. In this case, your university may require you to opt-in for one of the meal plans. They are usually flexible and can let you choose anywhere from two up to seven meals per day.
Apartment residences on campus have optional plans because cooking facilities are available. If they are not included, you may have a discounted rate at a Residence Dining Hall. You won’t have to spend time and money grocery shopping.
Common areas for socializing.
Such rooms in dorms are the most popular places among students. You can study, watch a movie, or simply meet fellow students there. Besides, shared spaces are rarely empty. If you need to borrow a pencil sharpener or an iPhone charger at 2 a.m., chances are high you will be able to do that.
A roommate by default.
A room already comes with one. In case you don’t get along with them, you can always try to swap with someone. You also don’t have to worry about your roommate paying their bills on time. Plus, if they decide to move out, you can have a whole room for yourself.
You live on campus, so you don’t have to spend time and money commuting. It becomes especially crucial when your college is in the middle of a big city. In this case, most probably, the bus/subway ticket will not be included in the tuition. In the majority of the small towns, students also get free bus fares with their School IDs. However, public buses/school buses do not operate 24/7, so you will be detached from the campus in the evening.
Living on campus solves these problems for you. Gym, library, dining hall, classes—everything is around the corner.
On-campus events nearby.
As you live in the dorm, you don’t have to worry about missing social events. You can always stop by and check it out, and it will not even take you 10 minutes.
There is no such thing as a free lunch. In particular, it applies to dorm rooms, which are far from free. Here we listed the most common cons of living on-campus:
Living off-campus can be cheaper, especially if you share the cost of living with another 2-3 people. It majorly depends on the city you go to school to. In small towns or cities, where rent is relatively low, dorms are generally more expensive. Besides, the far you live from the college or university, the less you have to pay.
The meal plan that we’ve discussed in the previous section is expensive, as well. Buying groceries and cooking yourself can be considerably more affordable.
Even if the food is good in your dining hall, you can get tired of it. Now imagine if the food is not, or if you have some dietary restrictions or allergies. It can get complicated.
Noise violation and dorm damage fines.
It’s common for universities to fine students for a noise violation and dorm damages. The fines can be high, even higher than in off-campus apartments.
For instance, door damage can be anywhere near $700, window damage up to $1000. Of course, it varies from country to country, and university to university. However, usually, the fines are very high. We suggest you check with your dormitory rules to find out dorm damage standard charges before moving in.
If you enjoy taking long showers, you have to give up doing that. Most dorms will have a shared bathroom for an entire floor. So you will have to stand in line to take a shower in the morning. If your dorm offers rooms with an en-suite setup, you will still share your bathroom with several suitemates.
No guests/Too many guests.
You might not be allowed to invite anyone unless your roommate agrees. So, your significant other, your sister, or your best friend will have to rent a hotel room if they decide to visit you at school. If the visitors are allowed by the dorm rules, your roommate can throw parties in your room. Both situations are not ideal.
Fines for moving out too early.
Not always, however. If you go on military duty, transfer to a different university, or get married, you can be exempt from paying a contract breakage fee. We recommend you check this with your university housing rules.
Getting tired of the crowd.
Living in a student dorm can be draining, in particular when you want some privacy. You are never alone—it can become a challenge for some people. Also, you will not meet people outside of your age group. Usually, dorms are organized depending on the year you are in.
Constantly staying on-campus.
Many students, especially in the middle of the semester, confess that their life feels like a groundhog day. Dorm, dining hall, class, dorm. You eat the same food, see the same faces, and walk the same campus routes repeatedly. Life can get repetitive and claustrophobic.
Not choosing a roommate.
Nowadays, students connect with potential roommates on Facebook. If you didn’t do so, you would get a random roommate. Of course, institutions will try to do their best to pair you with the most compatible one. For instance, they ask questions about your cleaning standards, smoking, and other requirements that can affect cohabitation success.
Nevertheless, you probably know some lousy roommate stories. And changing a person you live with on someone else can be challenging. Depending on your school policy, you may succeed in the task. Some universities allow you to change the room only on the first day of school. Others will require you to stay until the end of the semester.
🏘️ Living off-Campus
Did you decide to live off-campus? Are you ready to spend time and effort on the search for the appropriate apartments? Then, the following section is for you!
Living off-campus is a serious and responsible step. You should be prepared to deal with numerous issues. Singing a rental contact, paying for utilities, communicating with the rental agency, or with the flat owner might be tricky.
Yet, there are a lot of positive aspects of living off-campus. Your life might become fun and liberating. Also, it can be a lot more affordable.
So, let’s dive into the aspects of living in an apartment and get prepared to face any challenges.
Are you ready to start living your independent life off-campus? Congratulations! It will be a pleasurable experience for you since living in apartments has numerous benefits:
Selecting your roommate.
As we’ve stated above, in the dorm, you are usually assigned to random people. And you are lucky if you have friendly roommates. In contrast, while moving off-campus, you can choose one yourself.
Don’t miss this chance to surround yourself with good people. Live with your best friend, relative, loved one, or any other person, not necessarily a student. Suppose there is such an opportunity, try to group with several individuals. This will reduce your rent amount and bring more fun to your daily routine.
Are you going to live with an unfamiliar person? Great! Who knows? Maybe they will become your close friend.
Preparation to adulthood.
In case you think that living without guidance is a piece of cake, you are mistaken. It’s real science. Dealing with utility bills, sharing your space with another person, keeping your apartment clean, and cooking proper meals are skills you have to master. However, they are essential for a successful independent life. Get ready, starting from your college years!
Do you know that living off-campus might be cheaper? First things first, the rent can be drastically lower than a bill for a dorm room. It depends on the location and amount of roommates, but still.
Canceling your meal plans in the cafeteria, you save money on food. Using Wi-Fi from the nearest coffee shop, you don’t need to pay for the Internet. Did you have such opportunities in the dorm? Analyze all the possible options and start saving.
Staying during holidays.
The majority of schools close their residence halls during the breaks. What if you decide to remain in the city during the holidays or after graduation? You might have a job there or a relationship. In other words, you may not see the point of leaving.
In such a case, an apartment is a real solution. Nobody will leave you without shelter. So, you don’t need to stress out, lacking a place to live.
Networking outside your school.
Living off-campus, you meet more people outside of college or university. Don’t miss this chance to establish new connections. Random acquaintances may help you to develop your career, start a relationship, or make new friends.
Freedom of choice and expression.
University residence halls always have a considerable number of annoying policies. You cannot have guests of the opposite sex in your room and visitors after the curfew. You may even have to attend the mandatory meetings…The list of requirements is too long.
However, in your apartment, nobody will restrict your actions. Do you want to have an overnight party? Invite your friends and have fun! Are your parents going to visit you? Welcome them to your place! But don’t forget to discuss your plans with your roommate ahead of time.
Are you ready to start your independent life off-campus? You will have a lot of adventures! And sometimes, these adventures are not that pleasurable. Be prepared to face some troubles and resist them.
The constant need to choose.
You have to take responsibility and pick everything literally. Selecting a roommate, apartment, furniture (if needed) is an unfortunate part of being independent. The process may not be the most pleasant activity. So, make sure you are ready to deal with this stress.
Sometimes, the apartments are not fully equipped with furniture or domestic appliances. To make your living comfortable, you will need to spend money on the missing stuff. Buying a new mattress or wardrobe can be expensive. If you decide to rent furniture or visit a thrift store, you may spend plenty of time on the task.
We recommend double-checking the apartment’s capacity before moving in. And examine Facebook groups where people exchange stuff or give it for free.
Living on-campus, you will not face any obstacles reaching the college because everything is located close to each other. However, moving into an apartment, you may face difficulties.
Firstly, your way to the school may be long and take a lot of time. The closer to the campus, the higher the rental charges are. Secondly, you need to spend money on transportation. Take into account this expense while planning your budget.
If you decide to buy a car to make your transportation more manageable, it will only add the troubles. You will need to spend money on gas, insurance, technical maintenance, parking, etc.
You never know who you rent your apartment from. The owner may be too strict or unfair, so you will get tired of dealing with them. They are more than capable of turning your life into hell.
Thus, be extremely responsible and polite. Follow all the rules and use the equipment carefully. It will prevent you from the conflicts and additional expenses to fix the broken items.
Not every landlord provides the residents with the maintenance service. In this case, if you have something broken, you will have to deal with it yourself. And pay the bills yourself.
Sometimes the situation can be complicated by specific regulations. For example, in Australia, you need to agree on the utility services provision yourself.
Grocery shopping and cooking.
If you love cooking, skip this point. However, even if you are not a fan, you will have to deal with it. Living far from campus, you will not have time to visit the dining hall every time you’re hungry. Spending money on food delivery or takeout is also not the best option as you will struggle financially and physically.
Proper meals are essential, as food supports the organism and eliminates the necessity to visit a hospital. An apple a day keeps a doctor away, which is vital for a struggling student. So, be responsible and take care of your health.
Lack of community life.
Living far from campus, you miss many events and don’t communicate with other students too much. You might feel like an outsider and lack a sense of belonging to a group. To avoid this, try to interact with peers as much as possible and come to the events when you have enough time.
Lack of help from university.
If you live on-campus, the school’s specific office can support you financially. They may postpone the housing payment deadline, give you a loan, or grant with a financial aid award
Living in a rented apartment requires you to follow the strict payment schedule. In case you don’t have enough funds to cover the housing expenses, you have to find ways to get money. It might be difficult and extremely stressful.
🧐 How to Choose Accommodation?
Before deciding whether you want to live on-campus or off-campus, you have to check your school housing rules. Some universities require all incoming students to live one or two years on campus. For instance, West Virginia University has an on-campus requirement for first-year students only. Let’s try to figure out why such a rule even exists:
- Universities recognize that college is much more than just taking classes. Living on campus allows students to fully participate in social life, networking, and other academic events. The convenience of being close to everything is the main reason for such a rule.
- Colleges have little ability to monitor illegal activity off-campus. Also, for the younger students, it is much safer to live on campus.
- Universities want to make students feel that they belong. Living on campus allows students to make friends without effort and feel that they are part of a large community.
If you want to live independently off campus from the very beginning, you can find the top schools without freshman residency requirement:
- The University of Wisconsin-Madison;
- New York University;
- Purdue University;
- Texas A&M University;
- Auburn University
If none of these schools work for you, check out a list of schools where all students live off-campus.
❓ How Does It Work?
Now that all is clear:
You will learn what type of documents you will need to prepare to live on-campus or off-campus. Of course, each school requires its package. However, generally, the documents will be similar.
1. On-campus housing
Documents for international and domestic students willing to live on-campus are usually the same. Be mindful that all the papers and filled forms need to be emailed (or mailed) to the housing department long before the move-in date. So, do not leave this step for the last second.
- All new students have to sign a campus living contract. Most of the schools allow you to fill all the documents online via your student portal. After you activate your university email and account, you will be able to apply for on-campus housing.
- You will be required to provide your ID information and Social Security number if you have one.
- Most probably, the university will require an advanced deposit for the room. You will also have to renew the application process each academic year. Set aside some cash and be prepared to pay in advance anywhere around $200-$400.
- Some universities allow you to choose what hall you want to live in, or what type of setting: double room, single room, or a residential apartment.
- You will also be required to fill some type of personality test to match you with the best available roommate.
- If you have any special needs due to a medical condition, be prepared to show your doctor’s note. For instance, in most universities across the United States, you are allowed to bring your emotional support animal to live with you in the dorm. However, check with your university guidelines before moving in.
2. Off-campus housing
Today, institutions tend to help their students when they decide or have to live off-campus. Along with finding and renting an apartment yourself, you may encounter aid and tips from the school:
Most colleges and universities do not allow graduate students to live on campus. If your husband or wife comes along with you, it is also not an option. That’s why some bigger schools own property around the city, which they manage and lease these houses to students.
You have to remember that university-managed property is usually limited, and you have to place your request in advance. It has attractive pricing (most of the time, it will be slightly lower than privately owned). Also, it has one of the most convenient locations for the students, and utilities can be included in the price.
- Sussex University in the UK has several options on their website for their students’ consideration. It has different houses and flats, starting from shared apartments to shared houses.
- Griffith University in Australia also offers short term apartments to stay for their students, visiting scholars, and professors. Students can apply for housing directly on the website.
Student Financial Services & Housing Services.
These resources help students deal with renting apartments, communicating with landlords, and even paying bills in the form of scholarships or loans. The bigger the school, the more help it can provide for its students.
Boston Medical School organizes housing fares for the new and continuing students every year. It also helps students to understand their lease agreements.
Guides on finding an apartment.
Some schools publish guides on how to look for and rent off-campus housing. The University of Roehampton, located in London, has a useful guide on its website. It gives tips and hints to everyone trying to rent an apartment off-campus.
In case, after careful consideration, you still strive to live off-campus, you should check what applications and forms your university requires. Besides, prepare a list of documents you will need to rent an apartment if you found one.
Keep in mind the following aspects:
- Usually, your realtor will let you know what is needed. You will have to fill an application form with your personal details, social security, and rental history in most cases. Without one, a landlord may ask your parents or guardians to be your co-signer.
- If you are approved for an apartment, you will sign the lease agreement for the desired duration. Remember that in most of the cases, you will need to pay three months of rent before the move in (the first month, the security deposit, and the realtor fee).
- Your landlord should make a copy of your passport/visa for the record.
Some universities will require you to write an official letter explaining where you are planning to live. Of course, it varies from country to country, jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and school to school.
The guide from the University of Roehampton explains in detail how it is done in the UK. It says that the documents that are required include:
- A signed contract;
- Passport and Visa;
- A right to rent document;
- Gas safety certificate.
🔎 7 Things to Consider
While selecting your housing option, you have to evaluate numerous things and forecast the possible problems. To make your selection process more sufficient, we prepared a list of things you need to be aware of.
So, use our tips to go through a long journey of accommodation choice.
1. Living expenses
The first thing to consider is always the cost. Compare the prices you need to pay for a dorm and apartment. According to the country and location, the rental amount can be the same or even less than the on-campus housing. Research your area and decide whether it is worth renting a separate apartment.
Examining options, keep in mind a few aspects:
- Dorm rooms are usually fully equipped with the necessary furniture and supplied with the Internet. The apartments may lack some of the basic stuff like mattresses or desks.
- The payment for on-campus housing covers utility bills and the Internet. In contrast, living off-campus does not—you will have to deal with them separately.
Another vital aspect is signing the contract. In the case of on-campus housing, you fill a form and sing it for a fixed time, decided by your institution. Renting an apartment, you can sign a contract for three months or half a year, for example. Then, if you are satisfied with your choice, continue the agreement.
In case you decide to move out earlier than was agreed on, you will be charged with an advertising fee either way. Plus, you may be required to pay the rent as long as the landlord will not find the new residents. This part will be mentioned in the contract, though, so examine it thoroughly.
Overall, the approximate housing costs in the US are the following:
- dorm (per person) – $1080-1230/month with utilities included,
- apartment (whole place) – $1300-1500/month + utilities (~ $130-170/month).
Carefully evaluate both options and decide which one is the most suitable for you.
Living on-campus, you are always close to the university. You will be involved in various activities and will quickly become a part of the students’ networking. However, you may be stuck in a loop, never leaving your campus and feeling like your dormitory walls limit your life.
If you decide to live off-campus, you will face specific difficulties:
- Lack of community involvement. Living in an apartment, you often stay aside from campus events, student gatherings, etc. Prioritize whether you want to be isolated from eventful campus life or prefer to be a part of the student community.
- Long way home. If the path to university is too long, someday, you will face a desire to skip the class. Especially when it is too early in the morning or the weather outside is frightening.
Only living in your rented apartment, you can experience independence and prepare for adulthood. You’ll inspect the town or city and learn how to reside on your own without guidance. Plus, you won’t get tired of academic life and get rest from your college daily.
The majority of colleges do not let their students stay in the dorm during the winter and summer breaks. This might be considerable trouble for those who don’t plan to return home or travel every holiday season.
Thus, while choosing the housing option, think about the breaks. Will it be more affordable to move off-campus during for holidays? Or is it more reasonable to start renting an apartment from the beginning of the studies?
Also, notice that sometimes the university offers winter and summer housing for the additional payment. Contact the Residence Life Coordinator at your university, ask for details, and determine the requirements and price.
There is no reason to hide that you will use transportation much less if you live in the dorm. You won’t spend time traveling to the university every single day when it’s around the corner.
For those who decide to rent an apartment, transportation may result in expenses. Consider various options:
- You may buy a bike or a scooter. In addition to saving money on bus tickets, you will stay healthy and protect the environment. But these vehicles are not practical during the winter.
- The most popular way to reach the university is public transportation. Consider purchasing the multiple-use cards. They are more affordable than paying for each trip, costing from 45$ to 100$ in the US.
- Do you have a car? Lucky you! But keep in mind that maintenance and parking costs are relatively high. In the US, you may spend around $184 per month on gas alone. Are you ready to cover these expenses?
The dorms may vary from those with a kitchen to those not equipped with the necessary appliance. In the latter case, the meals are provided in the dining hall. They are either included in the dorm fee or don’t cost too much with a student discount.
In the rented apartment, you should buy groceries and prepare food yourself. Even if you hate cooking, you just need to do it. Another option would be to visit cafes and restaurants, but it’s too expensive. Also, there is a high chance of gaining digestion diseases if you don’t eat homemade food.
To compare the prices:
- A meal plan at university costs approximately $250-350 per month.
- Going grocery shopping and cooking yourself, you will spend around $200-300 monthly.
6. Security and medical care
Regarding security measures, dorms are more reliable. Here you are guarded 24/7, and no one is allowed to enter the residence halls without permission. In the rented apartment, you are responsible for your safety. You need to be incredibly careful and attentive to prevent possible troubles.
Medical assistance is available for both: on-campus and off-campus residents. Yet, for the off-campus students, it will be more complicated. Anyway, you need to get familiar with the medical care services provided in your college. Most probably, there is a wide range of health services available in the dorms and a hotline for those who seek medical assistance off-campus.
Another vital aspect:
Insurance is essential for every college student. It will cover all the emergency expenses, belongings, repayment, etc. Investigate various insurance packages, purchase the most suitable for yourself. And don’t stress out about the unexpected payments.
In the dorms, you will be assigned to the room with a random person. The only thing the university takes into consideration is the gender preference. Thus, if you want to live with a specific person, consider moving off-campus.
Do you want to rent an apartment but don’t have a person to share the space with? Then, you can find a roommate online or through other friends. Here are the topics we recommend you to discuss with your potential candidate:
- Room cleanliness preferences.
- The attitude towards alcohol.
- Food restrictions and preferences.
- Indoor temperature preferences.
- Schedule (early-riser or late-riser).
- The attitude towards pets.
- Financial abilities to cover the rent and utility bills.
- The attitude towards guests.
🏹 Survival Tips on Living…
We hope the previous sections helped you determine the place of living while being a college student. Have you chosen to live independently off-campus? Or do you prefer to be fully engaged in the social life and live in the dormitory?
No matter what you decide, we have useful advice for everybody. Look at the following sections to find out some tricks to facilitate your life…
➡️ …on Campus
We’ve mentioned above a couple of times that on-campus housing can be a struggle for someone who requires peace and loneliness to rest. Here you’ll see some tips on dealing with this and other problems of living among the students:
Networking is the key.
No doubt, dormitories can be exciting for any first-year student. Numerous details about living in them should be clarified. You won’t know where is the laundry room, how to use washing machines, and where to get kitchen supplies.
Never hesitate to ask questions. The dorm receptionists, residence assistants, and older students are always willing to help. Believe us; it’s still better to make sure you got everything right than be embarrassed by the silly situation you get into because of being new in the dorm.
Take advantage of common rooms.
If you think that sharing a room or hall with somebody else is a nightmare, you are mistaken! This is a perfect opportunity to spend a pleasurable time. Organize movie nights, room parties, game contests, or cooking battles.
Generally, communication is a crucial aspect of your life in the dorm. So, don’t lock in the room. Make new friends, establish connections, and be sure that you will never be left alone when you need a company.
Participate in campus activities.
Isn’t living in a dorm a perfect opportunity to have some fun and make new friends? College is not only about studies, sleepless nights, and missed deadlines. It’s about community and social interactions. Thus, the student council members usually organize numerous events
Attend picnics, community days, fairs organized by the university representatives. Do you have some talents? Participate in the Talent Night or the Christmas Program. Make yourself recognizable.
A hint: such events often have free food for students. Will you dare to miss it?
Keep clean and tidy.
Before leaving for college, your parents were caring about the tidiness and comfort of your house. Now, you are a grown-up. From now, the responsibility of keeping the room clean lies on you.
To make your living environment comfortable and cozy, wash your bed sheets and towels frequently. Make sure your desk is in order, and all of your belongings are in their places. Agree with your roommates upon the cleaning of the common spaces.
It would be a great idea to create a cleaning schedule. Draw in on a paper and put of the room door to avoid possible housekeeping disagreements.
Have some alone time.
Not to get overwhelmed, you should take care of your emotional health and devote enough time to yourself. Watch your favorite movie, take a walk at the park, or just spend time in a quiet room. If you lack a place devoid of people, go to the town or city nearby. You can find a peaceful spot in a small café or bookstore.
Living in such a fast-flowing environment, you have to refresh your mind regularly. So, don’t underestimate the significance of taking a rest from social activities.
Guard your boundaries and stuff.
Remember that personal comfort and satisfaction should be your top priority. Never let somebody else break your boundaries and destroy your freedom. If you don’t like something, don’t be afraid of discussing it with your roommate. You are all equal. Everybody has a right to state their position.
Boundaries are not the only thing you need to guard. Keep track of your stuff as well. It would be perfect if your roommates became your friends. Yet, at first, you don’t know who they are. Don’t trust them too much before you get to know them well, and don’t leave your belongings in the open access.
Remember that your dorm-mates are just people.
Living with a new person or several people cannot go without problems and quarrels. Make communication as straightforward as possible. Don’t dramatize if something is wrong. Just talk with another person and figure out all the issues you might have.
Also, don’t be offended because of minor things. Probably, your mate didn’t intend to hurt you. You just took it too personally.
As your off-campus housing may as well be your first rented apartment, we can only wish you luck. And, of course, we’ll offer some recommendations on how to balance your studies and independence.
Choose your roommate wisely.
The person you choose to live with will be with you the majority of the time. Picking up a random person that you haven’t appropriately questioned or got to know is not the best idea.
Ideally, move off-campus with your friend. If you don’t have such an opportunity, select the roommate carefully. Ask a lot of questions to find out their preferences, values, and financial status. Make sure your lifestyles, habits, and schedules fit each other. The well-chosen roommate is a key to pleasurable college years.
Research the area before renting an apartment.
When you decide to move off-campus, a wide range of choices will appear in front of you. Take it seriously.
Pick the district that is not too remote from your college. Also, take into consideration the surroundings. Is there a great grocery store nearby? Does public transport functions well? What is the crime rate in the area? Evaluate all the pros and cons of our options and select the most suitable one.
Create a budget.
It is worth mentioning that moving in an apartment requires the adjustment to new costs. You’ll pay not only for rent but for utility bills, groceries, emergencies, maintenance, etc.
Thus, it is crucial to plan your budget accordingly. Make sure you have enough to pay the monthly rent and utilities each billing period. Always back up some money for emergency cases if you don’t wish to struggle when your roof starts leaking. Also, carefully read the agreement because some of the flat owners require a non-refundable deposit, prepayment, etc.
Make grocery lists.
Decide with your roommate whether you want to buy the food separately or together. To save money, you are better to collaborate, of course. However, you might have different preferences, so negotiate beforehand.
Before going to the grocery store, create a list. This will help you to avoid spontaneous and unnecessary purchases. And a little advice: never to go to the shop being hungry. You will spend too much money and buy too many products.
Divide responsibilities with your roommate.
Maintaining the tidiness and coziness of the apartment is not a simple task. Hence, don’t take this responsibility only on yourself. Divide the household chores with your roommate and strictly follow your agreement.
Why do so? It will save your time, prevent possible conflicts, and establish a trusting relationship with your roommate.
That’s all we have! Thanks for reading the article. Share it with peers who suffer through the same question regarding on or off-campus housing.
- Living On or Off Campus: Investopedia
- Tips for Adjusting to College Life: Church Hill Classics
- Should I Live On or Off Campus: Kelci Lynn Lucier, ThoughtCo
- Adjusting to College Life: University of Missouri—St. Louis
- 10 Tips for Living in Residence: Government of Alberta
- 10 College Survival Tips: Kate White, SignUpGenius
- On-Campus Living vs Commuting vs Off-Campus Living: Scholarships.com
- Living On-Campus vs. Off-Campus: Master and More
- Off-Campus Living: Department of Housing and Residential Life, Texas State University
- Living On-Campus vs. Living Off-Campus? Here’s What You Need to Know: Rent Cafe
- Student Housing On-Campus vs Off-Campus: BU Today, Boston University
- Reasons to Live on-Campus: Niagara University
- Benefits of Living on-Campus: Kent State University
- Roommate Tips Residence Life: Emmanuel College Boston
- Tips for Living With a Roommate: Spelman College
- Tips and Guidelines, Off-Campus Living: Student Support, Division of Student Affairs, Indiana University Bloomington
- Off-Campus Tips: The Student Experience, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
- Off-Campus Living & Commuter Services: Pennsylvania College of Technology
- Furniture Rental Packages for Students: CORT
- Student Renter’s Guide: BestColleges.com