Living on college campus will offer pros, cons


By Ki Foster, Staff Writer

A question many high school seniors have to answer as they prepare to go to college is: should I live on-campus or off-campus? Both options have their pros and cons, so it’s important to evaluate the choices before you end up stuck in some place with someone for your freshman year. Here are some pros and cons of living on-campus and living off-campus.

Benefits of Living On-Campus

If you live on-campus, you can easily walk to classes, libraries, cafeterias, etc. You don’t have to waste time and money for transportation to school, or pay for parking tickets because you parked somewhere you weren’t supposed, or pay for those expensive permits.

Living on-campus can provide you with opportunities for your social life. It will allow you to meet more people and establish more friendships than if living off campus would allow. Living in a dorm means that there will always be someone around to hang out with. You will also be aware of any campus activities and how to be involved in them.

Living on-campus can also be the cheaper option, unless you plan on staying with mom and dad. If you live on-campus, you don’t have to worry about monthly rent payments, utility bills, and grocery shopping. Some students who live in a dorm get a meal plan.

Downsides of Living On-Campus

Living on-campus sounds great for all of these reasons, but you’d have to consider the little to none privacy you’d get living with your roommate(s) and others in the dorm building. It can be very hard to find privacy. You have to share bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. This  means that you may never have quiet time in your dorm because there will always be something going on. Especially if your roommate has a significant other or if there’s a party going on during finals.

A dorm will also limit the space you have to yourself. Some of the dorm rooms are tiny. You have to limit what you bring to college, or your space will be too crowded. You don’t to worry about a mattress and other essential furniture, as they’ll already come with the dorm, but you may have to condense your wardrobe to fit it in such limited storage.

Nevertheless, when it comes to being a social butterfly and living on-campus with your new buddies, your grades can sometimes suffer. You must make time to study at the library, especially since it is so close, if you want quiet time to keep up that GPA.

Benefits of Living Off-Campus

Living off-campus in an apartment or rental property comes with the greatest feeling you have heard so much about. Independence. After being promoted to a sophomore, most colleges will give you the option to live off-campus (if they haven’t already). This will give you all of the independence to do what you want in the privacy of your own space. Dorms have several rules that students must follow when living on-campus; most include the girls and guys in the same dorm/dorm room (depending on which college of course). Living off-campus will give you all the freedom you’ve craved when you lived with your parents or in these dorms.

Now that you can upgrade to a larger space, you’ll finally have some privacy. That means that you can have your own bedroom for some alone time. This also means you won’t have to go to the campus library for some peace and quiet for studying.

But with this opportunity comes great responsibility. You’ll be in charge of paying bills, grocery shopping, and cooking your own meals (this can be either a pro or a con depending if you know how to do any of this).

Downsides of Living-Off Campus

But these benefits cost. Off-campus housing is more expensive than on-campus dorms. This includes the monthly utility and cable bills and Internet access (though you could always go to a place with wifi like, Starbucks, McDonalds, etc.). Due to these expenses, you may have to get roommate to help pay the bills. So, unless your parents really love you and have that kind of cash, you’ll still be living with with another roommate until you can pay the bills by yourself.

It may not always be convenient for you to walk to campus, so you would have to find transportation. Whether you drive your car or take the bus or catch a ride with someone on-campus, it’ll still cost you money. Traffic can also be a issue if you live far away from campus, so you may have to leave your home well in advance of your class. If you were on campus you could just take a stroll to class.  

If you’re one of those social butterflies we talked about, living off-campus might not be the best option for you. When you’re not constantly on the scene, you miss out on the buzz of what’s happening; you never find out about the best parties and all the free food. This means you can become detached with your college and lose some of the friends that you had living on-campus.

When deciding whether to live on-campus or off-campus, think about what you think would be best for you and make your own decision. Every college will offer a different experience, so you may want to make a list of pros and cons for the college you’re going to. You should also remember that some colleges do not let first-year students live in an off-campus apartment or house; you would either have to live in the dorms or at home if you’re going to a local school.