Being a freshman in college is probably one of the most memorable moments in one’s life. For the young ones, the thought of college sounds like a dream. Building a new life, forming new relationships—everything in college is a new adventure. Looking for a place to stay in college is one of the many adventures any college student is bound to encounter.
On top of diving head-first into college life, choosing where to live while studying already sounds like a big jump to take. Some are fine living with their parents, while some prefer to stay on-campus.
If neither of those sounds good for you, the option for off-campus housing is still on the table.
What To Consider When Housing Off-Campus
Choosing where to live is an important decision. And just like any significant decision, it requires careful thought and planning to make the right one. Since many housing units usually cluster nearby colleges, it can be extremely overwhelming—especially if you’re new to this. But here’s a short checklist that might help narrow down your choices:
1. The Location
One of the main reasons people move out of their homes is convenience; the same applies to college students. Not everyone has the luxury of having their campus at walking distance, and commuting from your home to school (and vice-versa) can consume your time when you can focus on your schoolwork instead.
Fortunately, there are housing units like Sunrise Village and other apartments residing nearby campuses. Knowing who they’ll be catering to the most, these units tend to be student-friendly with high-speed internet and an inviting social environment.
The only downside is that some residences may be a little pricey the closer they are to campus. If money is not an issue, you can go ahead and explore your options before starting the school year.
However, if you’re on a budget, you should start on the apartments a distance away from your campus before delving closer to the ones nearby.
2. Your Budget
Since it was mentioned earlier, you can probably tell why money plays an essential role in off-campus hunting. While some housing units include the bills (like electricity and water) in their rent, some only ask for the rent. In that case, you’ll be paying the bills and rent separately.
So, you should plan ahead of time. Including your tuition and other school expenses, calculate the rough estimates. How much will you need to pay per month? What’s your payment method? Will you sign up for student loans? Are your parents willing to help you pay your bills? Do you plan to work part-time?
Expect potential brokers or landlords to probe your financial status and payment methods because they need to know if you can keep up with their rent, making it all the more vital for you to consider your budget heavily.
3. Your Connections
Maybe it’s someone you know who’s studying at the same campus as you are, or perhaps it’s with some stranger you just met in the building having connections is essential in off-campus hunting. By asking around, they can give first-hand opinions on what it’s like living in the apartment you’re eying. By getting to know the tenant, you’ll also:
- Learn the apartment regulations
- Have a feel for the landlord’s character
- Get familiar with the building, and
- Learn the ropes of leasing
Although, if they’re just as new as you are, having them as roommates is on the table, too. This way, you can divide the rent and other expenses among each other, which should help ease the burden, at least.
4. Your Mental State
On top of making first impressions and wanting to stay true to the college life you’ve envisioned, ask yourself this: can you handle the stress of living independently? No parents are holding your hand, and no family members to help around the place; it’s just you and your roommates.
Before you can even consider how stressful that might be for others, there’s also the matter of off-campus hunting. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who’s planning to live in the apartment on your checklist. There are many students in the same situation as you, so it could get competitive, especially if the start of the school year’s getting closer.
Then, once you get the apartment, you still have a lot left on your plate, such as:
- Compromising with your roommates
- Balancing work and student life (if applicable)
Being a college student will bring you problem after problem, but you can consider this an appetizer for adulthood. And living on your own is the best example of maturity because, although it’s hard, getting that degree while building solid relationships will make it worth it in the end.
Why Students Choose Off-Campus Housing Than In-Campus
If you’re an incoming freshman, you might be wondering why many students are staying off-campus when there’s a college dorm already. Because of this, you must be torn from choosing between the two. So, here are reasons why students prefer off-campus more:
1. Attain Freedom
Colleges have every reason to be strict since their students are staying in-campus, so living and studying are two concepts that may blur together. From emergency drills to having the resident advisers (RA) checking each room out of the blue, it’s easy to say that it’s challenging to get time for yourself. And that’s not even touching on the curfews your campus might have.
On the other hand, being off-campus solidifies dividing your time as a student and as a person outside school. Play video games with your roommates, go hang out with friends at midnight all of those fun things you’ve seen from those coming-of-age movies can come to life!
2. Encourage Responsibility
This amount of freedom comes with even greater responsibility. Sure, you’re allowed to do all sorts of things without anyone monitoring you, but it’s better to remember your limitations, especially with you being a student. So, prove to your parents that you can live on your own.
Besides, exercising responsibility is a must when living in your own space. Without an adult to supervise you, taking care of your residence is on your shoulders. Take out the trash, do the dishes, tend to laundry these are only some of your tasks on top of being a student. So, learning to conserve time is another thing you need to keep track of.
If you’re living with roommates, complying with what you’ve discussed and compromised with them promises a good relationship in the long run. Although you’re able to comply with it, however, that doesn’t mean you should handle tasks left and right when your roommates might decide to shove their unfinished chores in your hands.
Maturity is a must when dealing with them. Because these people aren’t assigned to you in the first place, you need to set boundaries into stone, and some of these boundaries are:
- Dividing groceries
- Taking up chores, and
- Splitting the rent
By neglecting these boundaries time and again, these people you’re living with could be taking advantage of your accommodating nature. So, remember your limits, and be the bigger person. Since you’re responsible for your well-being from now on, you should be firm on what you’ve set down. Don’t let anyone drag you down.
Who knows? Your parents might be beaming with pride once they see you holding your own, relieved to have their child all grown up.
3. Practice Frugality
Being smart with your money is a vital aspect of living off-campus. The rent may be the same as living in a college dorm, but living on your own make it more challenging—especially if you’re a working student. Living off-campus means you’ll be budgeting rent—and the bills, depending on your landlord—instead of simply paying for the tuition with the rent already included.
Although it’s incredibly challenging, learning to budget while in college is another stepping stone for adulthood. Here, you’ll learn how to be more capable of handling money while knowing when to treat yourself efficiently.
4. Cherish Privacy
While roommates are assigned to you by the campus to share a bedroom, living off-campus grants you that needed privacy after a long day in school. You still might have roommates, but some apartments have enough space to accommodate one student per room.
If that’s the case, you have a place you can call your own. Here, you have the freedom to decorate it in any way you want or do whatever when you’re alone. No roommate will disturb your well-deserved rest when there’s a designated space for everyone.
Make Your Home
Outside learning how to be a professional from the course you chose, college is also a wealth of knowledge for non-academics. And you can see why once you’re living by yourself, far away from home. Although it might seem overwhelming at first, you’ll find that life isn’t so bad when you settle with off-campus housing.