Off-Campus Housing: Is it Right for You?

Author: Lauren Ross

Group of students preparing for exams in apartment interior

A college student — or college-bound student — is faced with many decisions throughout their tenure at school. From accepting a college offer to picking a major to joining a club on campus, every decision you make as a college student is a big deal, as it can impact your life – in the best ways of course!

Deciding where to live as a student may be a less life-altering decision then picking a major, but it does hold substantial importance because it’s where you’re going to live, eat, sleep, and study for the next term.  Choosing to live on- or off-campus can be a difficult decision for some, and for others, it’s undisputed. Both have their perks and drawbacks, but it’s a choice most college students must make.

I lived on-campus for two years at Georgia State University and I loved it! Getting to experience downtown Atlanta with new friends was one of the best experiences I had. It was great to be on campus attending school functions and walking to classes. When I found part-time work, and then an internship, I lived off-campus my junior and senior year – and I loved it, too! It was so nice to have my own things and decorate my own apartment.  I enjoyed having my own independence.

If you’re considering living off-campus, then you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages to make an informed decision. Living outside of the university may be an option for some and not for others. We’ll breakdown the perks and drawbacks of off-campus housing, so you can make the best decision for you:

There are some definite perks to renting off-campus. Apartment life can be fun for a student; from decorating the space to cooking meals to inviting whomever you want over – apartment life is the way to go. Renting can save you money – especially if you have a roommate or two. Having a roommate that splits the rental and utility costs is a great way to keep some extra cash in your pocket, so you can spend it on other necessities, such as groceries, books, and school supplies.

Renting an apartment off-campus can also help you secure a new place in the future. When you rent, you begin to build up a rental history. If you maintain a satisfactory rental history, you become a more qualified renter, which can help you land a new apartment after graduation – though there are other factors that will be considered too, such as income.

Maybe you will be working through the summer at a job or internship? Living off-campus will allow you to continue work without disruption in your employment. Many college dorms require students to go home during breaks and completely move out at the end of final exams. If you do plan to continue working, you should consider off-campus housing. Pet-parents should also consider off-campus housing since dorms don’t allow pets, except for service animals.

Off-campus housing may not be for everyone.  Having a place off-campus may not be ideal for some students – and that’s okay. As fun and exciting as renting a place can be, there are some disadvantages for off-campus students.  It’s important to understand both the advantages and disadvantages of off-campus housing so you can make the choice that is right for you. Because of your apartment’s remote location, it may be more difficult to arrive to school on time. To counter tardiness, it’s imperative to track your morning routine — from getting dressed to driving to school — and then allocate extra time on top of that in case you stop for breakfast or hit traffic along the way. Attendance is weighed heavily in college courses.

Some students may also be hesitant about renting because of monthly bills, as well as finding a reliable roommate that will stay up-to-date on their share of the costs. Finding a suitable roommate or suitemate can be a pain, because you need someone who will not flake on payments or abruptly move out.  Student apartment communities are great living options since they specialize in amenities and services specifically for college students. These services and amenities may include free printing and roommate matching.

When you live off campus, social events and late-night library cram sessions may be more difficult to attend. You will probably need to purchase a parking pass – and those can be expensive! However, many student apartment communities provide their own bus service to and from school, or are located in direct route of city transportation – which can save you big bucks!

Once again, choosing where to live may not be the biggest decision of your college academic career, but it’s important. Your living space can directly impact your grades; if your dorm is loud, you may not get the restful sleep you deserve and need for a big exam. If you’re ready to live in off-campus housing, then check out Apartment Finder, where you can search for off-campus student housing and apartment communities near school!