living on campus

One of the most challenging decisions college freshmen face is the question of where to live: on campus or off. Once you settle in, you won’t want to bother moving throughout the school year so it’s important to make an educated choice.

In some cases, colleges require first-year students to live on campus or in specially designated housing. If your university doesn’t, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons of both situations to figure out what will suit you best.

Living On Campus: Pros and Cons

Living on campus makes it easier to access your classes and university activities, but it doesn’t come without its downsides either.

  • PRO: You save time. You won’t have to factor time for your commute or debate whether or not to leave campus on lengthy breaks. You won’t feel super frustrated when professors cancel classes at the last minute.
  • PRO: There’s never a dull moment. You’ll probably have a roommate so if you worry about getting lonely, you’ll never feel alone on campus.
  • CON: Privacy. If you’re an introvert, you may have a hard time finding places on campus to be alone.
  • CON: You have to follow the rules. Depending on the college, living on campus can feel like living with your parents. While the rules keep people safe, they can also feel restrictive.

Living Off Campus: Pros and Cons

If you’re prepared to take on the extra responsibility of adulthood, living off campus may be the right choice.

  • PRO: More freedom. You’ll never have to worry about getting locked out of your apartment after 11 PM.
  • PRO: You can get some peace and quiet. On-campus housing can get noisy – especially on the weekends. Your apartment can provide some solitude.
  • CON: The commute. You’ll need to factor in time for getting to and from campus every day.
  • CON: Added responsibility. You’re responsible for all the utility bills and managing your living space. No one will check in on you.

What’s Better Money-wise?

When it comes to funding, it’s really a toss-up. If you have a scholarship or grant, it may cover some or all of your on-campus housing costs. Plus, on-campus housing usually includes your utilities and meals in the price.

In other cases, off-campus housing is often far less per month even when you factor utilities and meals. However, rent is often high in certain towns and urban areas.

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