We know what college is all about. It’s a legitimate excuse to finally get away from your parents. I mean, it’s about the education. Okay, it’s really about your friends and all the amazing people you’re going to meet. Taking independence, education, and your social life into consideration, does it make sense to live on-campus or off-campus? There’s not a right answer to this one. It depends on what works best for your personality and your bank account. I’ll walk you through the pros and cons of living on-campus versus off-campus.
Why Living On-Campus is a Good Thing
On-Campus Housing Means Independence From Your Parents
Remember that college is about making your parents feel okay about letting you go out into the world. While some people think off-campus housing offers more independence, that’s not always the case. One study showed that almost 60% of college students go to school within 100 miles of home. That’s an easy trip for parents. Your parents are much less likely to pop into your room unannounced if you’re tucked away in a college dorm. Those communal bathrooms are also excellent parent repellents.
Enjoy Impromptu Social Interactions with Random People and Friends
The smell of greasy pizza fills the hallway. It’s impossible not to follow the smells and sounds of college living. That’s what makes college so awesome. A dance party or an in-depth conversation about the philosophy of life can happen anywhere and at any time. When you’re deciding whether to live on or off-campus, see what others are doing around you. If the culture is to live on-campus throughout your time there, stick around and make some meaningful friendships. Digging into a tube of cookie dough while you study with friends will be what you’ll remember about college later.
On-Campus Housing Gives You Easy Access to Libraries Without a Commute
Fine. I admit that your education is your top priority in college. That’s why you’re paying the big bucks. Consider where you do your best studying. I’m a library girl myself. If I stay in my dorm room or apartment, I know I won’t get anything done. If you live on-campus, it’s easier to get to the library before classes, at night, and on weekends. You also don’t need to lug all your books around throughout the day. Maybe you study best in your dorm room with distractions around you when you need them. Think about what works for you and if on-campus living is your best bet for your education.
Why Living Off-Campus Is a Good Thing
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
The independence of living off-campus can be the main draw for many. No rules, no one telling you what to do. It’s a little more complicated, though, because there are rules. They’re just different types of rules. There are rules about security deposits and monthly payments and noise ordinances. The greatest benefit of your newfound independence is the pride you’ll feel about handling the responsibility on your own. It’s a pretty big deal and you should feel proud that you’re living on your own.
More Space Means More Room For Friends
It can be tough to watch TV with your friends when you’ve only got an extra long twin bed in your room. Living off-campus usually means more space. Maybe you splurged for a used couch and even a coffee table. Now it’s time to start hosting friends at your place. You may not get that random encounter with people who live down the hall, but you will get to hang out more with roommates and the people you invite over for game night. It’s a trade-off, but you can decide what you’re looking for in your social life at college.
Quiet Space All To Yourself
Silence can be a beautiful thing, especially when you have finals coming up. This can be a huge benefit to living off-campus. You can study in your PJs without worrying about random people knocking on your door. You’re in school to learn. So, figure out what your ideal learning environment is and whether your off-campus options provide that.
The Money Side of Things
I saved the money part for last so that you could consider the other benefits of living on or off-campus. Sometimes we focus so much on the money that we don’t take into consideration the other things that are also important to our college experience.
When you look at the cost of living off-campus, it may seem less expensive at first. Remember to consider additional costs like utilities, cable, insurance, transportation, grocery shopping, laundry options and the security deposit. Now combine the cost sheet to your ideal study environment, your optimal social life and the level of independence you want. Then you can decide whether you’d be happiest living on-campus or off-campus.