How to Decide Where to Live After Freshman Year
After your first year in college, 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 Off-Campus
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. College dorms come with security, free utilities, lounge spaces and basic furnishing. These are all costs that you’ll have to factor in when turning an off-campus living space into your home.
Think with Your Stomach
College 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 for you at dining halls, living on campus or off-campus but near a dining hall are your best options. If you’re looking to save money and are willing to make your own meals, 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 on living 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.
Ready for Independence
Living off-campus comes with more than the responsibility of cooking your own meals. You’ll have to pay rent on time, deal with a landlord, keep public areas clean and act responsible when hosting people. It’s truly the next step toward independence, so don’t push yourself to live off-campus if you aren’t ready. There’s nothing embarrassing in staying on-campus.