When most people think of college, they picture dorm rooms, lecture halls and fraternity houses. Dorms have become synonymous with college — whether you're going out of state or staying local. But off-campus living may be a better option than sharing a tiny dorm room with a complete stranger.
Here are three reasons why.
You get space to breathe.
Off-campus apartments typically have more space than the average dorm. Unless you're sharing a room to save on rent costs, you'll have your own bedroom. Apartments also have an actual living room, larger kitchens and more storage space. You may even have your own bathroom, but if you don't, you'll only have to share one with your roommates. With dorm living, you're typically sharing showers and toilets with an entire floor of people.
Even if you do decide to share a room with someone, the apartment will still have more space than a dorm. Most dorm rooms are 130 square feet or smaller. And you won't have to worry about people constantly going in and out of your room.
You’ll save some money.
Living on-campus can be pricey. Tuition is high enough at most schools. Room and board can really add to the overall cost of college.
Renting an apartment off-campus may actually be cheaper than paying for a dorm. This isn't true for every city and college, so make sure that you compare prices before making your decision.
Look around nearby neighborhoods to see if any offer comparable or cheaper rent options than your on-campus dorm. Make sure that you can easily commute to classes, and keep in mind that roommates will lower rent costs significantly. You also won't have to worry about maintenance or repair costs, so if a pipe bursts in the middle of the night, it's the responsibility of your landlord to hire a plumber.
Make sure that you do all of your research before deciding to rent off-campus. The cost of an off-campus apartment may not necessarily be cheaper, but the other benefits (more privacy, freedom, etc.) may outweigh the costs. Keep in mind that with an apartment, you'll still need to pay for utilities, food and laundry. With dorm living, these costs are usually included in your room-and-board fees.
You make your own rules (mostly).
Dorms have rules, and if you live there, you have to abide by them. There may be restrictions on how late you can have visitors. You may not be able to have people of the opposite sex visit your room. There may be periodic inspections of rooms, and you'll probably have to attend meetings with your RA regularly.
When you rent an apartment, there will still be some rules that you'll need to follow — like not having pets or being too noisy. But generally, you can have people over whenever you want. You won't have to attend monthly meetings, and your landlord can't just show up at your door for a surprise inspection.
Living off-campus can be a lot of fun, especially if you live with friends. You get to decorate your space and entertain friends. And you won't have to live with all of the restrictions that come with dorm living.