The Pros and Cons of Living Off-Campus
Although many university students choose to live on-campus, some do consider the value of off-campus living. After all, there are many advantages to being off-campus. At the same time, there are certain disadvantages of living off-campus, too.
If you’re trying to determine the benefits of living off the college campus, it’s crucial to consider the inherent pros and cons of on-campus vs. off-campus housing.
Advantages of Living Off-Campus
In many cases, living off-campus is a young person’s first time feeling like they have an apartment or space of their own. Some of the most notable perks include:
Like to do things at your own pace and without following rules? Off-campus living allows you to make up your own schedules and not worry about dorm restrictions. Of course, this means you’ll have to be responsible for maintaining a reasonable routine so you don’t miss classes.
The “bubble” effect of living on a college campus tends to provide shelter, but it can often weigh students down. To get a better sense of what it will really be like to have to work and pay bills — not to mention get along with neighbors and be a part of a diverse community — off-campus living can be a better option.
Freedom to Decorate
Dorm rooms are notoriously small and spartan. However, an apartment unit — even an efficiency boasting one room and a private bathroom — allows you to furnish your place as you like. You can buy or rent furniture to give your home a more polished, put-together feel.
Ability to Choose Roommates
In an on-campus situation, you may be given a roommate without any input. This means you’ll have to figure out how to get along with him or her to live peacefully. As an off-campus student, you may still need a roommate or roommates to cover the costs, but you’ll likely get to choose the person or people.
Proximity to Culture
Living in a new town can be exciting, and if you want to dive into the city culture, living off-campus might make sense. You’ll be a resident of more than just a college campus and can easily participate in the area’s cultural and recreational activities. You may even want to snag a part-time job or internship so you can fully immerse yourself in the ambiance of your new home town.
Depending where you live off-campus, you might be able to have small pets. This can be a huge morale boost, especially for animal lovers. Just be sure you have enough time and room for any creature you bring into your apartment. Also, keep close tabs on your income. Pets can cost more than you originally thought, particularly if they become ill.
Disadvantages of Living Off-Campus
Of course, there are two sides to everything, including making the decision to live off-campus. Some reasons you might consider staying on-campus include:
When you pay for room and board on-campus, you usually pay for everything in one flat fee. This means that your utilities and amenities are all-inclusive. As an off-campus resident in an apartment or townhouse, you’ll most likely be expected to cover the costs of everything from water and sewage to garbage removal and heat. Plus, if you want internet access, you’ll need a provider unless your apartment building offers free Wi-Fi for residents. All these expenses can add up to cost more than living on-campus.
Need for More Stuff
Dorm rooms typically supply you with at least a bed, dresser and desk. However, you’re probably going to have to find your own if you’re renting an unfurnished apartment. You can reduce this expense by renting furniture pieces rather than buying them outright.
Away From It All
One of the biggest cons of living off-campus as opposed to being on-campus is you’re farther away from everything. This requires you to travel not just to attend classes, but to meet up with friends, go to parties and even visit the library to study. Whether you walk, use public transportation or have a car, the added hassle can eat up time out of your day.
While most landlords are decent people, some challenging ones are out there. As a renter, you could find yourself dealing with a difficult owner or property manager, in which case your time off-campus might be more stressful than anticipated.
Of course, the answer to whether you should live on-campus or off-campus for some or all of your college years is up to you. But be sure to take all the considerations in mind and plan. Think about the pros and cons of living off-campus before signing any leases to ensure being off-campus will dovetail with your needs and preferred lifestyle.
If you do take the leap and decide to rent an off-campus apartment, be sure to check out IFR’s convenient student housing furniture options and resources.