Most institutions offer support for finding off-campus housing. Check to see if your school has an Off-Campus Housing Office that provides assistance in searching for a place to live, getting acclimated to the area, and helping you to stay connected with the campus. Often, this office maintains a database of off-campus listings, sponsors off-campus housing fairs, and may even provide tips for dealing with tenant-landlord issues and tools like sample leases and subleases.
It is important to note that information about off-campus housing is provided solely as a courtesy. Institutions usually do not inspect, endorse, or assume any responsibility for any off-campus properties, accommodations, or other housing options and relinquish any responsibility for problems that may arise with off-campus housing situations. Students and their families are strongly advised to thoroughly investigate and inspect any properties, accommodations, or other housing options before making final arrangements.
Pros and Cons to Living Off Campus
As with most things, there are pros and cons to living off campus.
- More space. Some residence hall rooms are small. If you live off campus, you may get a larger bedroom (or even your own room). You’ll also get things like a kitchen or living room that you wouldn’t necessarily get on campus.
- More privacy. Can you say “own room”? Living off campus gives you more flexibility for having your own room. And you may not have 50+ people living near you like in a residence hall.
- Could be cheaper. In some parts of the country and for some colleges, it may be cheaper to rent off campus than to live on campus. Do some price comparisons of your area to see what is more affordable.
- No shared bathrooms. Or at least not having to share with as many people. Yes, please!
- Pick your roommate(s). When you live off campus, you get to pick who you live with. It could be anywhere from one person to 10+ people depending on the size of the place you rent.
- Could be more expensive. Depending on where you’re living, it could actually be more expensive to live off campus, especially when you consider all the bills you would have to pay (electricity, water, and more). Make a budget to compare the cost of living on campus versus off campus.
- Make your own meals. Not having easy access to a dining hall means you’re responsible for making your own meals.
- Further away from campus. You can decide how close or how far away from campus you want to live. By moving off campus, you might have to figure out how to get to your classes, as well as what parking looks like for students who don’t live on campus.
- Have to deal with things like leases and landlords. If your school has an off-campus housing office, they may be able to help with this, but it is your responsibility.
What are some other pros and cons that you see to living off campus?
Other Things to Consider
Before moving off campus, there are some things you’ll want to consider.
- Costs. How much will the rent be? Are utilities included in the rent? Create a budget to see what you can afford and what the estimated expenses will be.
- Apartment or house. Do you want to live in an apartment or a house? This may depend on how many people you want to live with, as well as the neighborhoods around your school. For example, some communities may have a mix of houses and apartments for students to choose from, where others may only have one or the other.
- Location. Do you want to live closer to the campus or farther away? If you don’t live within walking distance of your classes, how will you get to campus? What does parking look like for off-campus students?
- Bills. If you are living with roommates, how will you divide and pay bills? Will it be one person’s responsibility to make sure the bills are paid, or will you take turns?
- When to sign a lease. This will vary depending on the culture of your school and the surrounding community. Some students may have to sign a lease a year in advance (although this it not the norm). Ask students you know who live off campus when you should start looking.
- Who will you live with. You could live alone, with one person, or with multiple people. Ask around to your friends to see who might be interested in living together.