Each year, more than 19.9 million students go to college or universities in the United States. No matter what they’re studying or what year of college they’re in, they all have to find a place to stay during the school year.
For many of those students, living on-campus in dorms and college housing seems like the only option, but that doesn’t mean it is. In fact, living off-campus in an apartment or rental house is something every student should at least consider.
Here are a few reasons that living off-campus is the best option.
It’s Usually Cheaper
Room and board are expensive. In fact, it can cost as much as $12,210 per year depending on the type of college you go to. Sure, you don’t have to pay separate utilities and the team in the dining hall handles cooking your meals, but you’re paying a premium for those things.
Renting an apartment can save you hundreds of dollars every semester—money that you can better use toward textbooks, tuition, and other necessities.
Even better, you can lower the cost of your rent by taking on a roommate or two. When you live in a dorm room, you’re practically guaranteed to get a roommate, but sharing a room won’t make your costs any lower.
You’ll Have a Place to Call Your Own
When you live on-campus, you get a room full of well-used furniture and have to sign documents saying that you won’t damage or modify that furniture in any way. This makes it incredibly hard to decorate your space let alone make it feel like home.
If you live off-campus, you’re able to choose your own furniture and decorate the apartment however you see fit. Keep in mind that you’ll still have to pay attention to any rules in your lease agreement. For example, some landlords won’t let you use nails to hang pictures on the wall while others won’t let you repaint a room.
No matter where you live, take the time to find out more about the restrictions in your lease agreement before you start decorating. This will help you stay in good standing with your landlord in the future.
You’ll Build Up a Rental History
When you’re looking to move away from your college town, you’ll want to find a new place to rent. Sounds simple enough, but if you don’t have a proven track record of paying rent on time, you might find it harder than you’d think.
Landlords always prefer renting to tenants who have an established rental history. This history shows them that you’re responsible, pay your bills on time, and leave your rental in good condition when you move out.
Without that history, landlords have no way of knowing how responsible you are. If you’re able to qualify for one of their apartments, they may require you to use a co-signer or have someone else on the lease with an established history and good credit score.
By living off-campus while you attend school, you’re getting a jumpstart on the process. By the time you graduate, you’ll be better equipped to find a new apartment than your peers who lived on-campus the whole time.
No Need to Rely on Dining Hall Food
Let’s be honest…dining hall food can make fast-food chains look like Michelin star restaurants. It’s bland at best and downright inedible at worst. Unfortunately, most dorms won’t allow you to cook in your room or have a fridge large enough to hold enough frozen dinners to get you through the week.
When you rent, you won’t have to rely on the dining hall to keep yourself fueled up. Instead, you can cook your own meals and eat whatever food you’re craving when you’re craving it.
You’ll have access to a full kitchen and can make meals to bring with you to school if you’re going to be away from home for most of the day. As an added bonus, you’ll be able to eat healthier foods and will be in complete control over the ingredients you use each day.
Living Off-Campus Is Quieter
Dorms are loud. When you cram that many people into a small space, their voices and music will always carry throughout the building.
This makes it hard to focus and get work done for even the most dedicated students. Worse, it can seriously interrupt your sleep habits and keep you from getting the rest you need to function at your best.
When you live off-campus, you can expect the building to stay much quieter. Even better, you can always report excessive noise levels to the apartment manager who can get those loud tenants to quiet down.
The quieter the space is, the more studying you’ll be able to do at home and the better quality sleep you’ll get each night.
You Won’t Have to Leave Over Holiday Breaks
Most colleges and universities close down during holiday breaks. Even if they leave a few dorms open for the break, you have no way of guaranteeing that you’ll get placed in one of those dorms.
This makes it hard to find a place to stay if you can’t or don’t want to go home.
When you live off-campus, you’re free to stay in your apartment whenever you want. This means you don’t have to go home during break unless you want to and if you have to stay in town to work, you won’t have to crash at a coworker’s house.
Considering Making an Escape From Dorm Life?
Living off-campus is a wonderful way to start living your life on your own terms. Instead of being bound by the rules of your college or university, you’re free to set your own rules and take control of your space.
That said, living off-campus isn’t right for everyone. Think about these benefits and compare them against the cons like having to commute to school, paying separate utilities, and having to take time to make your own meals.
If you feel that the benefits outweigh the potential downsides, start looking for an apartment of your own.
Check out our latest posts for more helpful tips to make your college experience less stressful.