Living with Your College Roommate off Campus: To Do It or Not?
You’ve been in college for two years now, and living on campus with a roommate, but you’re considering moving into your own apartment or house. Your living situation so far has worked with your roommate, so you are wondering if you should take the plunge together into off campus living.
As you make this transition, it is important to evaluate:
- Is your roommate someone you trust?
- Do you have enough for rent, utilities, and internet?
- How will you manage the task of your new place’s upkeep?
- Are you going to live with just your roommate? Or will you need more people sharing in the household expenses to make it work?
- Will you and your roommate(s) all be equal payers?
- What happens if it doesn’t work out with a roommate?
I can personally say that I had a very successful roommate situations. Our personalities worked well together in our roommate relationship. If you are already living together on campus and things are going well, there is a very good chance living together off-campus could work. And if you decide to get a place together, take some time to make sure you are on the same page. Set some house rules about overnight guests, pets, and house cleaning. Even after making sure you’re ready, there are definitely both benefits and risks to moving off campus with your roommate, and even more considerations. Let’s discuss some of them.
Likely the top consideration is the money aspect! One nice thing about living on campus, you don’t have to deal with financial division. My school had us pay a set amount to the school. If you move off-campus, you must decide if you trust your roommate to hold up their side of the financial bargain.
Who will pay what, and how will bills be divided? What happens if one month your roommate is short on rent or wants to break the lease? Ask yourself these questions when considering your living options.
Being Friends and Roommates are Different
This was a benefit my first roommate and I shared. We did not always feel the need to entertain each other, and we could do our own things without feeling the necessity of bringing the other along. Then, when we did enjoy the same activity, it was also fun.
Although being friends is nice it’s not always necessary, but respecting each other is essential.
Your Comfort Level
Assess your level of comfort with your potential roommate(s). Living inside the dorms on campus is a lot more structured. If you run into an issue and no longer get along, you may be able to put in a request for a room change.
It’s different if you sign a lease together on an apartment, making this a risk. It’s much harder to just switch roommates when you live off-campus. Like I said before, you don’t need to be best friends, but you need to get along.
Is one person messier than the other? Are there things that you can’t tolerate, like dishes in the sink? The best way to handle this, talk about it! Set some boundaries, like, do what you want with your own space, but common spaces should stay tidy.
My experience with my first roommate, we both had the same standards so there was no issue. The odd thing though, this wasn’t enough to bound us friends, I was not always entirely comfortable to just relax around her.
Once these questions have been answered, and let me add, answered with complete honesty, then you must make your decision. Remember: no matter what, make this decision for you. You’re the one who has to, quite literally, live with it.