How to Decide Where to Live After Freshman Year
After your first year of living on campus, you’ll have plenty of options for new living spaces like Greek housing, fancy dorms and off-campus housing. Here are some things to consider when choosing your living arrangements.
Cost of Living
Living in an off-campus house or apartment can be significantly less expensive than a dorm, but keep in mind the benefits of dorm life. For example, campus dorms come with security, free utilities, lounge spaces and basic furnishings.
These are all costs that you’ll have to factor in when turning an off-campus living space into your home. So even if rent is cheap at an off-campus apartment, see if utilities (water, electricity, internet) are included, if you need to buy furniture or what transportation will cost.
Think with Your Stomach
Meal plans offer the convenience of eating near your room and not needing to prepare food, but they come at a steep price. Consider how much free time you would have to cook your own meals.
If you value your free time and the convenience of having food ready, then living near a dining hall is your best option. If you’re looking to save money and are willing to make your own meals, then live off-campus near a grocery store.
Stay Near Your Friends
One of the greatest benefits of living in a residence hall is the proximity to some of your best friends, so think about where your friends are planning to live before you make your decision. Living far from your friends could negatively affect your social life, whereas living close to them brings mental wellness and support.
Consider whether you’re more introverted or extroverted and how easily you want to access your friends on a daily basis. However, it could be easier to focus on your studies if you're not constantly distracted.
Ready for Independence
Living away from your campus comes with more than just the responsibility of cooking your own meals. You’ll have to pay rent and utilities on time, deal with a landlord, keep public areas clean and act responsible when hosting people.
It’s truly the next step towards independence, so don’t push yourself to live in a house or apartment if you aren’t ready. There’s nothing embarrassing about staying in campus housing, especially if you're a resident assistant (RA).