With almost 14.5 million students registered for undergraduate programs In 2013, both colleges and their surrounding towns are shifting to accommodate the growing number of students. One such accommodation is providing off-campus housing to students. Many colleges stipulate that only upperclassmen (juniors and seniors) are eligible to move off campus, but some colleges allow sophomores to live in off campus apartments as well. This can be great for a town’s business–student rentals or student apartments can be a great source of income.
Why Consider Off Campus Apartments?
Privacy is usually a huge factor in deciding to move out of the dorms. Even though dorms have evolved substantially from twenty years ago, students still give up a good deal of privacy. Although many people thrive with roommates, it’s often hard to adjust and many crave a single room to get work done, have people over, etc. Off campus apartments provide a nice mix of social and private, since they come in an array of sizes. You can have a common area to entertain in, but your own room for when you want to go in and shut the door for privacy. In some areas, especially rural campuses, student rentals may also be cheaper than paying room and board on campus. Instead of a meal plan, the student can budget groceries according to their needs. Additionally, off-campus apartments may even be closer to academic buildings than the dorms. It’s also a great way to ease into renting an apartment in preparation for graduation and moving out.
What Are Things to Take Note of When Moving Off-Campus?
Be sure to consider location when moving off-campus. Is the savings worth it if you have to drive to campus? How safe is the location? Do you travel on a well-lit, main path on your way to and from classes? Is it close to a bar or other active night spot? Make sure police are an active presence in the areas you live in. Definitely check a lease before signing-while most landlords are honest, some will try and take advantage of first time renters. Make an in-person visit for working appliances, parking spaces, and the condition (and smell) of rooms, specifically water damage and mold. Mold especially can lead to health problems and can create significant repairs. Be prepared to plan for a little extra–there’s always extra and unexpected costs that come with living off-campus. You want to give yourself a little wiggle room, so you’re not scrambling for pennies come mid-semester!
Off-campus living can be an exciting new chapter in your college career–a real first step into adulthood that’s still tempered by the college environment. One important thing to be aware of is that off campus apartments fall under the jurisdiction of the town, not just the college. Talk to other students who have lived off-campus; many times, applications for living off-campus may start in the beginning of the school year for the following year. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, so it’s good to get living plans in order in advance.