The never-ending debate: To live on-campus, or off?

Stock image courtesy of Google.

For most undergraduates attending a four-year institution, college represents the first real opportunity to live away from home. As you grow and spread your wings, slowly easing into adulthood, you’ll definitely need a place to stay.

While most universities provide dorms for their students, there are also many off-campus selections to choose from as well, and it can sometimes be difficult determining which option is best for you.

Here are some pros and cons to better assist you:

Living on campus pros:

When living on campus, you are getting placed in the middle of an exciting campus life; it can feel like you’re living in a community at times.

“I recommend students to live on campus for at least one year, it helps you transition from high school, make friends, and get involved in campus life,” said Jasmine Johnson, FAMU senior.

Dorm life is easy living; when living on-campus all kinds of amenities and facilities are easily accessible, from the cafeteria and gym to the library and classes. The commute is quick and finding parking isn’t too much of a hassle.

If you’re living on campus, you’ll probably have a meal plan, which is great because you don’t have to worry about groceries or setting aside time to cook.

With on-campus housing, your room will already be equipped for the internet and cable. It’s also a great way to meet people and build friendships. You can always find someone to hang, study, or eat with. The relationships you build can impact your collegiate experience heavily.

“I enjoyed living on campus,” said Sasha Rouzeau, FSU student. “I never had to worry about parking, I was close to all the events being held on campus, and I was able to go to my dorm between classes which was great.”

Living on-campus cons:

However, dorm life does have its downsides. While it’s great that there will be so many social options a few feet away, it does leave a slight struggle to focus or get some much-needed quiet time.

The space and privacy are often limited and there’s a high chance that you’ll be sharing a moderately sized room with someone. Bathrooms are typically communal, which means you might be fighting for shower time, etc. In shorter words, it may be hard to escape your peers.

“I didn’t like the room inspections and lack of privacy that came with living on campus,” said FAMU senior, Jonathan Jarvis.

Living off-campus pros:

There are a few advantages when living off-campus. To start, off-campus apartments will most likely offer more space and more privacy. One may feel more comfortable and at ease not having to share a room or bathroom with many other people. Because of the lack of students everywhere, it may be quieter than a dorm space which can make it a great place to study.

“I realized that the dorm and mandatory meal plan fees for one semester could pay for my off-campus housing for a year and decided that was the better option” said Johnson.

Renting your own place allows you to meet even more people and gain some responsibility. It offers the opportunity to get a deeper feel of independence and adulthood. Your apartment won’t have rules dictated by your college or resident advisers.

Living off-campus cons:

The commute when living off-campus can be a negative; depending on how far away you live, your commute can affect your social and academic life. You may miss events or end up late for classes.

The independence mentioned above comes with bigger responsibilities, you will have to pay and keep up with amenities and bills such as cable, internet and utilities. You will also have to clean and furnish the apartment on top of buying groceries (another expense).

“The commute and having to buy groceries weekly are probably the most annoying part about living off-campus,” said Jarvis.

The cost:

One of the main factors to consider is the cost. To really decide and better weigh your options, you must compare the price of an apartment/house rental to room and board at a university.

It’s important to remember that your off-campus expenses will be more than just your monthly rent. You must calculate utilities, cable/internet, food, gas, etc. However, depending on where you live and attend school, these expenses may still be more affordable than room and board. There will never be a correct answer when it comes to the on-campus versus off-campus debate. Each option has its pros and cons, it’s a decision that really comes down to an individual’s wants, needs, and preferences.