How to Decide Between Living in Dorm Rooms or Off Campus

university dorm
University of Houston

Staying on campus or off campus? This is the question going through your mind as a parent or as a freshman in college. Living on and off campus have their pros and cons that work differently for different people. Your decision will depend on how you weigh the merits and demerits of both housing options and how they best work for your academic and accommodation needs.

1. Accessibility

Living in dorms will make it easier for you to attend classes and access school facilities such as the library, computer lab and other resources on offer. The amount of time you use getting to these places is reduced. You also reduce your expenses, especially transport. However, living off campus limits your accessibility, especially if it is far from your school.

2. Expenses

The on campus housing option enables you to enjoy free amenities like Internet, electricity, water, game rooms, television, and telephone. You do not have to worry about bills for such utilities because they are cheaper than apartment monthly bills and are paid at the beginning of a semester. On the contrary, an outright disadvantage of living off campus is the increased costs. You will have to pay monthly utility bills and perhaps take care of transportation costs in case your campus is far.

3. Social Life

Do you love a vibrant social life? If yes, stay on campus. You get to meet more people and establish friendships because students hang around dorms almost all the time whether they are studying, relaxing or doing chores. Dorms are not isolated like off campus apartments. Additionally, living in dorms offers you the opportunity to attend campus events. When living off campus, you will miss out on several activities and events that go on in campus. There is some sense of isolation that comes with living in an apartment. It will deprive you of the opportunity of regularly socializing.

4. Privacy

If you value your privacy, you are better off staying off campus. There is plenty of room in an apartment off campus where you can sneak in and have some alone time. Even though you may have a roommate, you will still get the privacy of your bedroom. In contrast, there is little privacy staying on campus because of the closeness and social life that exists in dorms. People share amenities like bathrooms. In addition, there is little chance that you’ll have a quiet time.

5. Space

The dorm’s rooms have limited space, which becomes even tinier when shared. On campus housing limits what you bring with you to your room to avoid overcrowding. In comparison to a dorm room, an apartment off campus is more spacious. In an apartment, you’ll have your own kitchen, bedroom, and a living room.

6. Responsibility

Living away from campus will give you some sense of responsibility. Off campus housing will enable you to learn paying bills on time, doing chores, and managing your time. In many cases, there is little room for responsibility on campus where you depend on the school to do some chores like cleaning the dorms.

7. Security

You require not only personal safety but also the safety of your property. Security is a major concern while looking for an accommodation option. Staying on campus is more secure since the school takes care of the security. Staying off campus is sometimes tricky because if your neighborhood is insecure, you may bear the harsh consequences.

See also: How to Find the Perfect Off-Campus Apartment

Which option works for you? Still confused? Before making that important decision of choosing between living in dorms or off campus, consult with your school and other senior students who have lived off campus. Know your budget, check the living conditions for both options, and start your accommodation arrangements early. Remember to also consider your security. Pick an option that is convenient and guarantees your safety.