How to Adjust from a College Dorm to Living Solo in an Apartment

Author: Lauren Ross

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College was a blast and the experience of walking across the stage to accept the diploma you worked so hard for – well that was an incredible feeling. Now that you graduated (yay!) and have found a post-college apartment, you’re finding the transition somewhat challenging to get used to.

Living solo in an apartment is going to be a completely new experience than life was at the dorm. No more late-night study sessions, no more tight living quarters, and no more bad roommates. There might be a few aspects of dorm life you will miss, like group powwows and movie nights with friends – but don’t worry, there’s a lot to like about having a place all your own.

1. You’ll have more privacy

Unlike the cramped dorm room, living alone in an apartment is guaranteed to give you privacy that campus housing lacked. Having your own place allows you to relax in the living room without people constantly barging in, or being able to walk freely from the bedroom to the kitchen and back in your pajamas – minus the awkwardness. Living solo in an apartment is great for new graduates who want peace and quiet without the comings and goings of roommates.

2. Apartments have fewer restrictions than on-campus dorms

When you enroll for school and sign up for on-campus housing, the student has to follow the rules set forth by the college to live there. For example, if a student has a visitor, that guest must be escorted at all times by the resident and is probably only allotted a certain amount of hours they can stay. Most college dormitories prohibit open-flame sources like candles – something most people love to have in their homes because of the sweet fragrances. When you rent an apartment, there are generally no restrictions – except for what is stated in the terms of the lease agreement. Most communities do have “quiet hours” in place, but generally have little restrictions on whom or what residents can bring into the apartment home.

3. Costs for an apartment are typically paid monthly

Because of the many factors that contribute to the cost of an apartment, comparing the overall cost of a dorm to an apartment may not suffice either. Dorms typically are paid by semester – I remember paying upwards of 3k to live in a dorm in Atlanta. But then again, that included cable/Internet, water, AC/heat and unlimited food for one lump sum. Apartments have a lot of flexibility in term leases, but renters will be responsible for their own meals, of course.

Apartment communities are great because many hosts a resident social hour, which often times have appetizers and light cocktails. Other costs that apartment renters will have to adjust paying for every month include cable/Internet, electricity, heat/air, water, gas, and furnishings for your new place.

4. Meals and chores are your responsibility

Going down to the university dining hall for three square meals a day was great! The best part of it was you could swing by anytime and it was already prepared for you. Living alone in an apartment means you might be on your own for meals – you can either go out or take up a cooking class and make meals yourself.

Also, when you lived with a roommate in the dorm, you may have split the chores 50/50. Having a place of your own means that cleaning is up to you. It’s totally worth it though, because at least it will be done right!

What advice would you give fellow renters who are adjusting from dorm life to living solo in an apartment? Share it with us on Facebook or Twitter!