Tired of living in a college dorm? There are pros and cons of living on and off campus. You should evaluate these when making a choice on where to live. The short story is that dorms on campus offer to you, for one large fee, a room with a stranger, with cafeteria meals, and supervision located somewhere on campus. Not having a car, lack of privacy, few amenities, distance to goods and services, as well as a room with no kitchen or bathroom can leave you wishing for a community that has everything you want and need either onsite or right across the street.
According to the New York Times, 87% of students live off campus. Off-campus life is a great opportunity to get the most out of your college experience. Besides studies, students also want to have fun by meeting-up with friends and colleagues.
The decisions and choices you make while attending college have a significant impact on life after school. Make all the right choices and school is a breeze. Make a misstep or two, college life can become a little more difficult.
But the place you choose to live while in school matters a lot. It can be a real game-changer. If you select a community designed to maximize your potential and that provides a healthy and balanced college experience, you will be way ahead of the game when you graduate from college.
Things to Consider when Living Off-Campus
1. You Get to Choose Your Roommate
Your roommate plays a critical role in the quality of your student experience. While it might be impossible to choose your roommate in campus dorms, living off campus in your own apartment makes it possible for you to choose your roommates.
If you want to stay with your friends, colleagues, or a partner, you can easily do that if you live off campus. You will have independent control of your living situation. One, two, three, four roommates? It is up to you. If you want to live alone, that is your choice as well.
2. Living Near the Goods and Services You Want
Do you want the convenience of living near the grocery store?
Do you want to live near the night life?
If you can’t get what you want on campus, you can look into living off campus near the areas and conveniences you want to live next to; the things that are important to you.
The university has limited living options and amenities. It is a “one size fits all” approach which many not be enough for you. If this is the case, then living off campus might be the most appropriate option for you.
If you prefer certain goods and services, then the off-campus lifestyle will fit you perfectly.
3. Amenities make life easier
Off-campus apartments have many more amenities than dorm rooms. When you rent your own apartment, you’re provided a full-sized refrigerator instead of a dorm-sized mini fridge that can barely hold a gallon of milk. In off-campus apartments, cabinet space is more abundant and luxuries like a private bathroom, dishwasher, stove, oven, microwave and Wi-Fi are usually included.
The apartment communities tend to offer a wide range of amenities designed for your comfort and convenience that are not found in dorms. These include exercise rooms with modern equipment, pool areas with spas and gas BBQs, clubhouse for socialization, study labs with Wi-Fi, computers and printers to get your assignments finished and ready to turn in as well as study rooms to work alone or in study groups on tables equipped with USB hookups to charge your devices while you work.
4. Off-Campus Living Is Less Expensive
Living off campus is cheaper than living in the on-campus dorms. Many college students are on a budget and need to be selective as to where they spend their money. If funds are tight, there are a number of options to live off campus in apartments that fit your budget.
A budget-conscious student can find a decent sized apartment with utilities included (such as water, sewer, garbage, parking, etc). and live comfortably. This is especially true if you decide to share your new apartment with roommates. Selecting a large unit with several roommates substantially reduces the cost per person and can make for a great college experience.
5. Available Car Parking
Many college campuses do not provide parking for students who are living in the dorms. If you own a car and want to bring your car while you are in college, living off campus will likely be the better option.
Parking your car can be stressful at times, especially if there aren’t enough parking spaces. The campus parking lots tend to be full and, on many occasions, make it difficult to park your car. Additionally, there are fees to park your car on campus.
Renting an apartment near the college campus gives you access to free parking while still giving you the option to save money on gas by biking to class or taking the bus. In Davis, CA, bike routes and bike paths make it easy to get to campus and to class. Unitrans buses run all day with routes that serve many of the off-campus student apartments. Unitrans bus service is free for students.
6. It Teaches Responsibility
Renting an apartment or house off campus will probably be your first adult milestone. Living on your own instills a sense of responsibility and maturity. Keeping up on your studies, maintaining a job, paying bills on time, and upkeep on your household are excellent skills to have in adulthood and will be of tremendous value as you transition from school to a new career.
7. Great Study Location
Private apartments are great for studying because they are usually quieter and have fewer distractions. Fewer distractions allows you to focus on classwork and graduation from college.
Studying in your apartment can be a great option. You and your roommates can negotiate study hours and create spaces where you can work on your studies. Many private apartment complexes will have a study room or a business center with a white board, computers, plugs for electronics, Wi-fi, printers, and other school resources where tenants can study. The study room or business center has the flexibility for independent study or group study with classmates.
8. More Privacy
Is privacy one of your main priorities in your housing search? You can’t have the desired level of privacy while living on the campus premises. This is only achievable by renting a private apartment off campus and live your desired lifestyle.
You get a more profound sense of adulthood and independence without the supervision of resident assistants. Living off campus gives you a high level of privacy that you are probably looking for after the lack of it in dorm life.
9. You Don’t Have to Move Out Every Summer
When living off campus, no need to endure the anguish of moving out every summer. Students are required to vacate campus premises at the end of each year. This means moving out every summer and moving back in in the fall. Living on your own saves you the hassle of having to move your belongings all the time. It is as simple as renewing your lease for the next academic school year. Just speak to your on-site apartment manager.
10. You Start Building a Rental History
Living on your own after graduating from college can be challenging if you don’t have a rental history. Most property management companies do a thorough background check and submit a verification of rental history by reaching out to your recent property managers to see what kind of tenant you were while living on their property. Living off campus and building a rental history can make you a stronger candidate in future housing situations.
The Bottom Line
If you are considering living outside of the college campus, the reasons for doing so are simple. You’ll save money, have more room, be able to set your own rules, have access to cool amenities, and gain some valuable life experience. Staying on campus may be convenient, but it can’t really prepare you for adulthood and living in the “real world.” In the end, living off campus has so many benefits that it can enhance your college experience and improve your quality of life.
If you are ready to start looking for that perfect fit for your lifestyle, here is a 10-step road map to get you there. Find the perfect Davis student apartment complexes and reduce the hassles in your busy life.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us.