Leaving home and going to college or university is a big step. You will be facing a lot of new decisions, including whether to live on or off campus. This can be a difficult choice to make since there are pros and cons to both situations. The choice is even tougher if this is your first year living away from home. Where you live will make a big impact on your college experience, including in terms of finance and social situations. Consider these advantages and disadvantages before you make the decision.
On Campus Pros
There are plenty of great reasons to live on campus. Consider the following.
• Atmosphere – You can build camaraderie and close relationships with fellow college students who are having the same experience you are. Living on campus gives you the classic college experience.
• Social Life – When you live in a dorm with lots of other people, it’s easier to make friends and form new social bonds. There is always something going on on campus, which gives you lots of nearby opportunities to have a social life.
• Accessibility – When you live on campus, you are short walk from class, the library, the dining hall and computer labs. You can sleep late and still make it to class on time. It’s good exercise to walk everywhere too.
• Save Money – While you will have to pay for the dorm, you can save money on gas, public transportation and parking. Some dorms include meals so that will save you money on groceries too.
On Campus Cons
Of course, there are also some downfalls to choosing to live on campus.
• Cost – Even when you account for the savings, room and board in a dorm can sometimes be more costly than an apartment off campus.
• Social Overload – You will be constantly surrounded by people in a dorm and this can be hard if you’re an introvert. It might be difficult to get away from the commotion.
• Privacy – In many dorms, you’ll have to share your room with at least one other person and bathrooms are usually communal too. It can be hard to get any privacy when you live in a dorm room.
• Space Constraints – Most dorm rooms are very small and you won’t have much room for storage. Having to share means even less room. That means you’ll have to carefully consider what you’re taking to college with you.
• Distractions – Living on campus is great for your social life, but all those people can also be distracting when it comes to getting your coursework done. You could find that your grades suffer if you can’t resist the temptation to hang out instead of studying.
Off Campus Pros
• Living Space Options – If you choose an apartment off campus, you have more options regarding how much space you have. You can opt for a space with more living space, storage and a separate bedroom rather than being confined to a single space. Most college towns have many kinds of apartments so you really will have a good selection.
• Flexibility – If you live in an apartment, you won’t have to move out during the summer and can stay home even if there’s a break from school.
• Solitude – If you enjoy your own space, you can decide you don’t want a roommate. If you do need to share, you can choose who lives with you rather than being stuck with someone assigned to you.
• Independence – When you live in the dorms, there are usually rules and guidelines you have to follow. If you live away from the campus, you won’t have to adhere to these restrictions. If you want to take control of your own life, living off campus could be the right fit for you.
• Lifestyle Fit – If you have a job or a family, living off campus probably makes more sense for you since your own place will fit better with those obligations.
Off Campus Cons
There are some downfalls to moving off campus too.
• Isolation – If you live away from campus, you may feel disconnected since most other people are there all day, every day. You might find that it’s harder to make friends or find social opportunities. Living off campus won’t give you the full college experience.
• Cost – Finding the right apartment could cost you. Unlike in the dorms, you’ll also have to pay the utilities, cable and phone bills. You’ll also need to buy furniture for your space.
• Travel Time – If you live off campus, you’ll have to commute to school. This will cost you in terms of gas or transportation and could mean living a good distance away from the campus. This cuts into the amount of time you have to socialize and study.
Now that you know the pros and cons, it’s time to make your decision. Go with your gut reaction and try not to second guess yourself. It is a big decision to decide where you’re going to live, but being prepared will give you the college experience you dream of.