College Living: On-Campus VS Off-Campus

You may have picked your next city, your next school, maybe even your next roommate, but what kind of dwelling will you call your humble abode?

Will you live on campus or off? In a traditional dorm, suite, or apartment? Now is a good time to start thinking about what you need from your living situation—those of us who need peace, quiet and time to study should choose a drastically different place than those who need to make friends and memories.

Should you choose to live on-campus or off-campus?

This choice depends largely on how long you’ve been at your college. As a freshman, choosing to live on campus can mean the difference between making 50 good friends or making 2. For a well-connected junior, on-campus living can be nightmarishly expensive and paternal.

Pros: You’ll meet a lot of people, it’s easier to access on-campus resources, you don’t have to cook and it’s hard to be late for class. Our friends at CSU Stanislaus have also taken a deeper look at the benefits of on-campus living.
Cons: It can be pricey and there are a lot of rules.
Bottom Line: If you don’t know anyone yet or are too busy to cook, this option will would be best for you.

Pros: It’s usually cheaper, you’ll have more freedom and you can (sometimes) bring a pet.
Cons: You’ll have to cook for yourself, deal with a landlord, it will be harder to meet people, some schools won’t give you financial aid, and people will want to have wild, throw-upy parties at your place of residence.
Bottom Line: If you can’t pay for on-campus living and you have a car, this is option will be most convenient.

Should you choose to live in a dorm, or suite/apartment/house?

Dorm living is cozy…very cozy…maybe even TOO cozy. The plus side? The best college stories happen in the dorms, not in apartments or suites. Why? Dorms lack boundaries between neighbors. In a suite, apartment or house, your common room will serve as a barrier to the outside world. After all, why seek out new people when you share a bathroom with your buddies?

Pros: You now have a floor full of friends, and by the end of the year, crazy stories.
Cons: Your floor full of friends will know everything about you—good OR bad. There is so much activity in a dorm that it’s sometimes hard to study.
Bottom Line: This is great for freshmen and transfer students, but most of us want out after a year.

Suites, apartments and houses
Pros: Better facilities ( like a kitchen, dish washer and bathtub), usually quieter, you’ll get to know your suitemates well.
Cons: Pricing depends on the living arrangement (number of suitemates, size of unit, etc), and it can be hard to get close to people you don’t live with. Also, there is a strong possibility that you’ll end up seeing more of your suitemates than you bargained for.
Bottom Line: Great for well connected people who AREN’T going to date one of their suitemates (because that’s gross).

Do you have any tips for choosing a college living situation? Do you know anyone who lived somewhere creative during college? Let us know in the comments.

written by
Eliza Miller
May 30, 2013

3 Responses to “College Living: On-Campus VS Off-Campus”

  1. Jordan Rodriguez
    June 5, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    This is all pretty true to the letter. There are a lot of problems that come with both types of housing and you need to know who you’re living with. During my first year of college, I lived in the dorms. For one semester, it was all the people I never wanted to see again from high school and the for half a semester I was living with a guy who had night terrors. Needless to say I soon moved into another dorm after some heated arguments.

    Living in an apartment was definitely better. In the later years, I really had an enjoyable time living with the people I did. But as noted, you need to make sure everyone is level-headed. You don’t need a roommate calling campus police while you’re having a nervous breakdown over a final because they’re too lazy (thick-headed) to knock on your door and make sure you’re okay.

  2. Fritz
    August 14, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    These apartments in New Haven CT wrote a pretty nice article also on tips when searching (or living) in an off-campus apartment.


  1. College Living: On-Campus VS Off-Campus | Chegg Blog - June 11, 2013

    [...] able to roll outta bed and make it to class in 5-minutes.  There are a ton of options out there so check our list of pros and cons of living off campus to get some ideas flowing around [...]

Leave a Reply

2013 Zinch Inc., a Chegg Service. All rights reserved.