The Great Student Housing Dilemma
On-campus or off-campus housing: which is right for you?
You’ve picked your school and your program. Tough decisions are over, right? Maybe not. There’s one more big choice to make — where will you live?
For some college and university students, staying at home is an option. Others find it important to get out on their own or aren’t attending school in their hometown. If either of the latter categories apply to you, then the choice comes down to on-campus or off-campus living. There are benefits to both.
Choosing to live on-campus provides some definite perks:
- A sense of community and access to making new friends. Let’s face it — meeting new people can be hard. Most on-campus housing facilities, including College of the Rockies’, schedule fun activities and opportunities to connect with others to help make things less awkward. Plus, you’re all students — so you already have something in common.
- Convenience! Those 8 a.m. classes, though! Living on-campus means you can roll out of bed and be in class in minutes. At the College, for example, the main campus entrance is just over 250 steps away from student housing. This means amenities like the cafeteria, library, and the gym are also easy to get to quickly.
- Resources. Especially if this is your first time away from home, having on-site Residence Advisors (RAs) available to provide support, help resolve conflicts, or just to lend an ear can help you adjust to life as a student. They’re students too, so they understand where you’re coming from.
- Move-in ready. Most student housing facilities come furnished with a lot of your essentials: a bed, desk, etc. so you don’t have the expense of purchasing those items. You can just bring your personal things to help make it feel like home.
- Save money. If you add up the cost of off-campus housing, utilities, and commuting to-and-from campus, you are going to find that living on-campus is often less expensive. And since you typically pay for the entire semester up-front, you don’t have to worry about paying rent every month.
Living off-campus also has its own perks, however:
- Independence. You have more say over who you live with (though many on-campus housing facilities, including the College, will let you pick your roommates) and you are not bound by the rules of an on-campus facility (the general rules of life still apply, though).
- More personal space and privacy. Let’s face it, dorms can be small. And you usually have to share common spaces with others. Our newest housing facility provides each student with their very own bathroom — which is awesome! — but definitely not the norm.
- Balance. Off-campus housing may still be located close to campus, so you can get to class and other on-campus amenities easily without the restrictions that may come with dorm life.
- Continuity. Staying in town after the semester? Returning for school again the following fall? Many dorms require you to move out over the summer. This isn’t usually an issue with off-campus living.
- Fewer distractions. You can choose a social dorm or a more studious dorm, but the fact is, there will always be people around and things going on. This can be distracting when you’re trying to study. If you’re able to live alone, or with one or two like-minded roommates, you may find it easier to focus.
When considering whether on-campus or off-campus living is the right choice for you, reflect on the benefits of each option, but also give some thought to some of the potential issues. The bottom line is, you’ll want to be in an environment that will best support your goals — whether those are academic, social, or both.
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