How to Decide if You Should Live on Campus or off Campus

Pros and Cons of Living on Campus vs. off Campus

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Let me just say - living on campus is completely different than living off campus. This is a very important decision when you go to college because it will affect your everyday life, at least for that school year. I lived in a dorm on campus my freshman year, and now as a sophomore, I live at home and commute. I know some people who live in apartments near campus, and all three situations have pros and cons. To help you decide, take a look at the pros and cons of each below.

Living on Campus

Pros:

  • You get the traditional “college experience.” #dormlife
  • You can walk pretty much everywhere. If most things aren’t far away, you can save money by not having a car.
  • You can sleep in later than if you had to drive to school for morning classes.
  • You can easily get involved with different clubs and organizations on campus.
  • You can hang out in your comfy dorm room when you have breaks between classes.
  • You can hang out with your other friends who live on campus like, all of the time!
  • You have more time to focus and do homework, since less time is spent getting to and from campus.

Cons:

  • It can be more expensive. Living on campus can add thousands of dollars to your expenses every semester at some schools.
  • You’ll probably be required to buy an expensive meal plan and eat the same dining hall food all the time.
  • Some dorm walls are very thin, and noise travels easily from your neighbors’ rooms. It’s annoying when you’re trying to study, and someone is blasting music in a room near you.
  • You might get stuck with a horrible roommate and hate sharing a room with them.

Living off Campus (Renting an Apartment)

Pros:

  • You get your own kitchen to cook whatever food you want (no dining hall food, yippee!)
  • You can choose who you live with.
  • You feel more independent. It’s your first real experience living on your own.
  • You can usually move in or out when you want, and don’t have to worry about leaving or staying for school breaks.
  • The rules aren’t as strict as college dorm rules.

Cons:

  • You might have to walk far or drive to campus - which means buying a parking pass and trying to find a good parking space every day.
  • You have more responsibilities - paying bills on time, buying food, doing dishes, etc.
  • You’re not on campus, so it could be harder to stay involved and connected to a lot of people.

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Living off Campus (at Home)

Pros:

  • Even if you have to pay rent or some bills, you’ll save more money.
  • You have your family close to support you during stressful times.
  • No dining hall meals!
  • You won’t be around crazy college kids all the time.
  • It might be easier for you to focus and get work done at your house.

Cons:

  • You have to drive to school. This takes gas money and valuable time in which you could be doing something else (like homework, hanging out with friends on campus, or sleeping in!).
  • It’s harder to be involved in clubs and organizations when you live farther away from campus.
  • You have to buy a parking pass, and try to find parking every day.

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