As though it wasn’t hard enough to choose a college, choose a major and then get into your school and program of choice, now you are left with yet another pressing challenge – deciding where to live throughout college! There are many pros and cons of living either on campus, off campus in apartment, as well as choosing to stay at home. However, sometimes students are even not left with the choice, as some schools require students to live on campus, and in other cases, financially what we would ideally like is simply not feasible. Thankfully, no living situation is permanent, unless you sign a contract of course.
A very popular college option is living on-campus. For many, this path is chosen for the desire to find a sense of community and to truly have the full college experience, being away from home, gaining independence, and creating a new life with fellow students. It is often seen as a easy way to meet friends quickly and become more adjusted to the new shock of starting college and being in a new environment. However, meeting lots of new people and constantly being in group settings, as well as living with roommate also entails a lack of alone time, and little, to no privacy whatsoever. While your college roommate might very well become your best friend for life, for some people it is very important to have alone time here and there. And for others, having someone by their side every step of the way might be the best aid in getting through college successfully.
It is also said that living on-campus can make it easier to really focus on school, since it becomes your everything, and there are fewer outside distractions. It is often referred to as ‘easy living’, for one since it takes away from the potential commute to campus, as well as all the headaches of dealing with apartment bills and problems. In campus dorms, the rooms are already furnished and set up for students. Meals along with everything else you could possibly need in an apartment are already organized for you. Often times, on-campus living can be cheaper than living on an off-campus apartment, other factors such as expensive meal plans need to be taken into consideration as well. Or perhaps if you are a picky eater a or a terrible cook, a meal plan not might not be the best option for you.
Another popular option for college living is an off-campus apartment. These of course, range in prices, but are often known to be very expensive, usually more so than living on-campus. Although it is possible to find more reasonable apartments, private developers are now making the market more competitive, and attempting to advertise apartments as a tempting way to feel right at home, with kitchens and living rooms, as well as a more spacious, comfortable, private option. Furthermore, not only does the cost of rent need to be taken into account, but students will need to purchase furniture or even renovate the place, which can become quite costly and stressful. However, as meal plans can be very pricey, being able to cook at home needs to also be taken into account as a money saver, if you both enjoy and know how to, of course.
Another important factor about living off-campus is the transportation. Perhaps you are just a few minutes walk away from campus, or have a bike. Maybe you don’t mind taking the bus or your college might even have a free shuttle system. If it is difficult for you to share such a small space with other people and compromise your privacy, which can be most challenging for some, especially in terms of sharing a bathroom and shower. And despite a desire for space and privacy, some people fear they will feel isolated from their peers living off-campus. However it does not mean you have to live completely alone, as their are multi-room apartments, that also provide more space and privacy. And then of course, there is the reality that you will have more bills and apartment problems to deal with. But perhaps the independence and responsibility is something you feel ready to handle and want to experience, and is another great way to have the college experience.
A third option is living at home throughout college. The biggest and clearest benefit of this path is that it is the most financially easy and stress-free option. However, it can be problematic in terms of transportation to campus, similar to living in an off-campus apartment. The downside however of living at home, is that it does not although for the same amount of self-development and independence that the typical college experience offers, but this is not necessarily something that everyone feels they need.
Overall, when trying to decide where to live throughout college, firstly you have to add up all of your costs of living after everything, and see what is realistic and affordable for your budget. And most importantly, you must decide which aspects are most important to you, and what you are willing to sacrifice for the other benefits.