Living On Campus Vs Off Campus Essays

Are you debating on where to live while attending college? Similar to how you contemplated different colleges and universities, you need to look at student housing options to decide on what will best fit your situation. This is an exciting time of your life, and you want to choose a housing option that will not only be memorable but also help to guide you on the right path for life after college.

Long before starting your freshman year, you should weigh the benefits of living off campus versus college dorm life. You need to know all of the advantages of living off campus to make your final decision based on what matters the most for your college experience.

Here are the benefits of living off campus vs. living on campus:


Preparing for Life in the Real World

When living on off campus vs. living on campus, the first major difference is the amount of independence that you will have. You may need to focus on learning some tips for success, but off campus living will give you more exposure to start preparing early for life after college. Cooking dinner, managing a budget and commuting are just a few of the life lessons that you will learn from off campus living.

In your own place, you will be able to enjoy more privacy and freedom when compared with college dorm life. While this does come with added responsibility, it can be preferable to dorms where you are subject to strict rules or even surprise inspections. You won’t have to worry about asking permission for guests to come visit when you have your own place.


Is it Cheaper to Live in a Dorm or Apartment?

If you don’t have access to financial aid, living in a dorm room can be incredibly expensive when compared with finding an apartment off campus. The best way to save money on housing costs while in school is to find a roommate that you can trust to split the cost of rent and utilities. Some college students even have multiple roommates to save more money on bills.

One thing to keep in mind when comparing living on campus vs. living off campus is your method of transportation. If you are planning to live in an apartment and commute to class, it is important to factor in the cost of a vehicle or public transportation. Even with a decent commute, you will often end up paying less living off campus.


More Space When Renting an Apartment in College

Dorm rooms are a fraction of the size of an apartment, which means if you live on campus, you probably won’t be able to bring all of your belongings. It may be much easier to pack for dorm living, but you will likely be leaving most of your furniture and large items behind. When living off campus, you can furnish and decorate your space to make it feel more like home.Getting an apartment in college not only will give you more storage space for your things, but you also won’t feel like you are cramped up in a tiny room. When sharing with a roommate, you will surely want all the space you can get!

Getting an apartment in college not only will give you more storage space for your things, but you also won’t feel like you are cramped up in a tiny room. When sharing with a roommate, you will surely want all the space you can get!Don’t Worry About Missing out on Campus Life


Don’t Worry About Missing out on Campus Life

While living in the dorms may give you easier access to networking opportunities, living off campus doesn’t necessarily mean you have to skimp out on campus involvement. Before you start the school year, look into clubs and activities in advance to find out what may interest you. Regardless of where you are living, you can plan to stay engaged with your friends at school.

While living in the dorms may give you easier access to networking opportunities, living off campus doesn’t necessarily mean you have to skimp out on campus involvement. Before you start the school year, look into clubs and activities in advance to find out what may interest you. Regardless of where you are living, you can plan to stay engaged with your friends at school.

Commuting to school can make your life a bit more hectic but thankfully technology makes it easy to stay involved with all of the excitement on campus. Instead of worrying about missing out on the campus fun, pop onto social media to see if an event is worth going to before you head over. Even if you are stuck at home on a snow day, you can chat with fellow classmates on the internet or host a virtual party.


Considering the Disadvantages of Living Off Campus

While there are many advantages to off campus living, every prospective student should take into account the potential downsides to renting an apartment in college. If you have a roommate that is not reliable, the chances are that you could get stuck footing the bills until you find a better roommate. On campus housing is generally paid for as part of tuition costs so you wouldn’t have to worry as much about a flaky roommate.

Ultimately, you will make a personal choice based on considering the pros and cons of living off campus. Saving money and enjoying more freedom can certainly be pretty attractive benefits but you should cover all of your bases before making living arrangements.


This is not a decision to be taken lightly as it will have direct influence over the connections you make in college. Think about what you want to gain from your time in college and what you value when it comes to your living situation. If it is space, money and independence that are important to you, you will likely want to go with off campus living.

Many colleges require freshmen and sometimes sophomores to live on campus. Juniors and seniors usually have the option to live off campus, which may be a way to save money and possibly improve social and academic circumstances.

I’ve experienced both sides of that coin. I lived in a dorm my first year of college and lived off campus my remaining undergraduate years. As you recent high school graduates head to campus this fall, you’ll be transitioning to a whole new domestic and social world.

Of course, for some of you, this may be old hat. You already may have done summer college programs where you resided in dorms with one or several roommates. If so, your transition will not be as stark as those of you who have never had to share living quarters with someone else, and likely a complete stranger, to boot.

Eventually (hopefully), all you about-to-be first-year college students will reach the place where you will have the option to decide between dorm or off-campus life. I thought it would be useful to explore the pros and cons of living on campus.

CollegeNews.com proffers a list of pros and cons about dorm life. So, I’ll make a few brief comments on some them, based on my experience (if you can trust someone my age :-)).

Pros:

– Easier to become involved on campus

Amen to this. During my sophomore through senior year, I commuted to campus (from 40 miles away — I was married and my wife worked as a nurse at a hospital far from campus), I felt completely divorced from what was happening on campus: concerts, sporting events, parties, etc. That was a significant negative for me.

– Access to all the resources the campus offers (computer labs, library, etc.)

This is an important advantage. Putting distance between yourself and these resources can lead to missed opportunities that can take a toll on academic performance.

– No parent-enforced curfew

If you’re living at home, Mom and Dad will be keeping an eye on your comings and goings. Not so in a dorm, where you can be out all night (or for days at a time). The obvious caution is, “Don’t get hurt, sick, or killed!”

– Easier to be a student worker while living on campus

Once again, the distance factor has an advantage. You’re probably more likely to engage a job on campus if you don’t need public transportation to get to and from it.

– Less of a commute to class

I had to drive for almost an hour to get from my home to my big-university’s campus. One term I had an eight o’clock English class on a Monday morning. I look back now and wonder how I ever got up at that awful, early hour and made it to class on time.

– Ability to meet with professors more often or, even, at their house

Very true. Living far off campus, I discovered that my profs’ office hours fell mainly during inconvenient times for me. Just when I needed to speak with a prof about something, I would find that I had a conflict with something at home. Living off campus where you need to rely on public (or even private) transportation can also conflict with professorial office hours — take a meeting, miss your bus.

Cons:

– Homesickness

This would affect students who are within a reasonable distance from home. If you’re going to a West Coast college and your home is on the East Coast, then you’ll have to suck it up, since flying across America just because you miss your dog, cat, Mom, Dad, etc. is extremely impractical.

– Having to stick to a meal plan

This is an economic factor. Most colleges won’t refund for uneaten meals. Breakfast may be the most-missed meal on meal plans due to students’ propensity to sleep as late as possible. The flexibility factor comes into play, too. If you’re tired of Mystery Meat Mondays, you’re probably going to spend your own cash of non-college food. That can add up, leading to a shortage of spending money and wasted meal plan dollars.

– Limited privacy

A middle-ground solution here is a private dorm room, but they can be hard to get, plus there’s no guarantee that your little haven won’t become a hangout for other dorm residents. If you don’t study effectively amid noisy surroundings, dorm life can be quite distracting. It won’t be like your bedroom at home, that’s for sure.

– Not being able to “get away” from campus environment

Even a big university can become way too familiar. This factor has been identified as the motivation for the infamous college “road trip.”

– Having to deal with roommates

This issue is worthy of an entire article. My freshman roommate was a chain smoker and although he would put out his smoke when I appeared back in our room, everything in my room, most disturbingly my clothes, smelled of cigarette smoke. Yuck! Of course, other issues can arise, such as dissimilar interests, quirky behavior, and even having to listen to your roommate make out with his/her significant other while you try to solve differential equations. Yuck [again]!

– Limited access to appliances like stoves, ovens, washers and dryers

While many colleges today provide amenities like this in common areas, it’s not like home or the convenience of your own apartment. The kicker here is having to share with the general population of your dorm. That’s something you can avoid by living off campus.

– Student housing restrictions on parties, drinking, etc.

Well, even apartments can have landlord-based restrictions, but, thanks to Resident Advisers (RAs) and the institutional rules they must enforce, the “fun factor” of dorm life can be highly limited.

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Check the entire College News article for deeper insights. Overall, deciding the the issue of on- or off-campus living can make a big difference in your college experience. Don’t take that decision lightly.

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Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles on College Confidential.

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