The Classic Brunette: 12 Pros and Cons Of Living Off Campus

Thursday, July 28, 2016

12 Pros and Cons Of Living Off Campus

I'll be living off campus for my second year this upcoming Fall, and I know better than anyone that the decision to make the move from the dorms to a house or apartment away from campus is a big one. There are a lot of factors that go into making this move, the biggest being how your school functions. (ex: if everyone lives in the dorms at your school and moving off campus means living in the middle of nowhere, I think you already know what you're doing) I've been meaning to write this post for a while as I've been asked a few times if moving off campus was the right choice, or how it compares to being in the dorms. So today I'm sharing my 12 pros and cons for moving off campus!


PROS

Better, Healthier Food And You Can Cook For Yourself

Okay, so I realize this can be a con if you absolutely hate cooking or all you know how to make is a nice bowl of cereal. (No judgement, that was me until freshman year) However, I think this is definitely a pro considering you can make whatever meals you wish to, and it tends to be cheaper than getting a meal plan at school. You can also knock out that freshman fifteen by creating healthier meals with fruits and veggies instead of gorging on the dozens of cookies and chicken nuggets the dining hall has just sitting around. And you know what's even better? It kind of makes it feel like you're living in an actual home by having a few home cooked meals throughout the week. 

You Can (Possibly) Have Pets

This might not be a possibility everywhere, but many off campus houses and apartments are meant for just regular folk who like to own pets! My landlords are the nicest people, and even though our rental agreement for our house said no pets, we asked if we could get a small dog, and that's how we got Mowgli! P.S. It was Mowgli's 2nd birthday yesterday! Anyway, if you're the type of person who loves having a furry friend around to keep you company you might want to consider that when considering dorming or moving out.

Less Time Spent Moving and More Permanent Decoration

I say less moving time because I'm assuming that if you do move off campus you'll likely stay there for the remainder of your time at school. I feel like this is common, so you really would only have to move into your new place once instead of picking up and moving in and out every year. This also means that you can say goodbye to those ugly (yet very useful) command strips that the dorms urged you to use, and put up some real, lasting decorations. You can make your house or apartment look lived in and more comfortable knowing that you won't be leaving for a while. Need some inspiration? Check out my post on things to pack for college!

More Living Space

More likely than not your dorm was an itty bitty shoebox that could barely squeeze two twin xl beds and whatever else your school provides. After moving into my house now I wonder how I ever lived in that small of a space! I'm getting to live in a four bedroom home for a little more than half of what I paid to live in my dorm. I'd say that's a huge pro!

No Pesky Dorm Rules

I know I wasn't the only one who was bummed when I learned that candles and christmas lights weren't allowed in on campus housing. Obviously I didn't follow the rules with candles for the most part (don't tell my old RAs!), but it was still annoying to have to hide my contraband items when they would do their random dorm checks. Another thing I wasn't a huge fan of was quiet hours being at odd times during the week. Yes, I knew that there were people studying in the dorms, but sometimes you just can't contain those juicy gossip sessions or loud movie nights and don't want to worry about getting yelled at. You don't really have that issue living off campus, well, unless you have a crazy neighbor!

You Get To Pick Your Own Roommates

Freshman year dorming can be a little risky since most schools pair roommates randomly. I've said it time and time again that I was extremely lucky with my roommate situation, but there are many others who aren't! Some schools have the option to dorm with people you know after freshman year, but from my understanding it isn't that common. By choosing to live off campus you get to pick who you live with, letting you live (hopefully!) peacefully with your friends instead of the crazy girl who sleeps odd hours and steals your stuff! 

Better Health

We all know that the dorms are a huge pool of germs and colds being spread around. Last year my campus was hit was the norovirus, and before that we had mono, strep throat, and bronchitis going around. When you move off campus, you suddenly become a lot less susceptible to those diseases and flus! And even if you do get sick off campus, your campus health center is still open to you!

CONS

More Difficult To Be Social

When you live a short walk away from half the school, it's kind of difficult not to be social. There are always people headed out to parties, going to free events on campus, or going to a friend's room to just hang out in the dorms. People are literally everywhere, so you're more likely to spend time with other students. When you're off campus it does make it a little harder since your friends are no longer right outside your door. Depending on how far you are it could be a bit of a longer walk, but it could also be a fifteen minute drive like it is for me!

Lack Of Convenience

Similar to the lack of social activities that happen outside of campus, there's a lack of convenience for a few other things as well. When living in the dorms you are a short walk from main campus, which is probably not the case if you've moved out. You also give up the convenience of using your meal plan at the dining hall, but this could also be a good thing! (See Pros) Overall things that were once very close or easy to access will be farther from your home. 

More Maintenance

When you live in the dorms, practically everything is taken care of for you. If the internet goes out, someone is already working on fixing it. If your toilet is impossibly plugged, you can call campus maintenance and they'll deal with it for you. When you're living off campus, you have to deal with everything yourself (or at least get in touch with your landlord). The house/apartment is your home, and you have to deal with the cleaning, the plumbing, the internet, etc. If something goes wrong, no one is automatically working on it for you. 

NEUTRALS

Transportation Needed

Where I go to school, it's basically a given that you will be bringing a car by sophomore year. If not, you're kind of stuck on campus. So I'm putting this in the neutral category because for some people, they already have some mode of transportation they use to move around town, but for others this means figuring out how you will be getting to and from school everyday. Many schools are in neighborhoods that have some form of public transportation, however the quality of it can differ drastically depending on the area. 

Bills and Finances

Again, depending on where you are, you could be paying more or less by living off campus. In many cases you're going to be spending less, but you'll also be paying your own bills. Keeping track of the bills is a little bit of an inconvenience, but if it's keeping you from spending extra money, it's worth it.

So as you can tell I'm a little biased about living off campus, but that's because I've had such a positive experience with it! What are your thoughts on dorm vs. off campus housing?

38 comments:

  1. One of the worst thing about the dorms is not being able to use candles! Like ugh, I promise I'm not going to set my room on fire.

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    1. Haha, yes! I understand why they're banned, but come on! I need candles in my life always

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  2. There definitely are pros and cons! Its always best to make the most of it! Cooking for yourself would be a huge pro!

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    1. It definitely is! Although cooking isn't my favorite, I definitely feel like I'm eating better than when I was just going to the dining hall!

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  3. There are for sure pro and cons for dorm rooms, Eating better and possible having a pet and picking your owe room mate are big ones!
    http://xoxobella.com

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    1. Definitely! I think the choosing my own roommates was a huge one, even though I was picking my current roommate when I moved off campus, haha!

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing this- I'm a rising senior in high school so I'll be hanging on to this!

    xoxo,
    Katie
    chicincarolina.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you so much, have fun in senior year!

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  5. I'm living in an on-campus apartment this year because I didn't want to worry about sub-leasing when I go abroad in the spring. I need to look into living off-campus for senior year because it's so much cheaper! I'm definitely going to keep these pros & cons in mind when I do.

    Lauren // laurenpepperman.com

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    1. That makes total sense! Have so much fun studying abroad!! And thank you so much, hope these tips help you if you look off campus for housing!

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  6. I lived on campus for two years and off campus for two years. I definitely liked being able to decorate but living off campus made it much easier (and more compelling) to skip class. For me, living on campus gave me much more of a college experience and if I could go back I would live on campus all four years!

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    1. That's exactly what I'm doing. And I 100% agree on the skipping class thing, especially if you only have one class that day. Very tempting to just not go!

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  7. This is a great post, Sami! Very helpful for college students! I certainly love and prefer living off campus because of getting to have more space and cook my own meals :)

    X,
    Cristina / cristinawashere.com

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    1. Thanks so much Cristina! I love being able to cook my own meals and prefer off campus as well!

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  8. I've never lived on campus, but I've had friends on campus and have had to pick them up more than once so they could stay with me due to campus issues. I don't know if it was just the university or bad roommates but I'll take off campus living!!

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    1. Yeah I've had some friends who have had to stay the night (even in my dorm) because of bad roommates! Sometimes you just don't luck out.

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  9. These are super valid pros and cons, Sami! This will be my second year living off campus (I only lived on my freshman year), and the permanency that you brought up is huge for me. I love that I can just stay in one place, and I love having my own non-school space. It definitely is harder to be social this way, though, because it's so easy to turn into a hermit (A night of Netflix-bingeing and Oreos in a non-dorm? Uh, yes) when you only have to be at school for class!

    Alexa | theicingontheplaylist.blogspot.com

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    1. Permanency is a huge deal for me (and my parents, ha!) since I always have so much stuff to move and love to really decorate. I've always been a little more of a homebody, but yes living off campus makes it so much easier to cave in to those Netflix nights at home!

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  10. I think dorms are pretty different from Canada to the US! We actually have kitchens so I love being able to cook great meals for myself! Did you live in a Sorority House! We don't have them in Canada! I am really excited about living on Campus again next year

    http://styledbys.ca

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    1. Oh that's interesting! We have dorm-style apartments at our school that had kitchens, but you can't live in those until after freshman year. I wish I lived in a sorority house!! My campus doesn't have greek housing which is both a positive and a negative in itself.

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  11. Its been a while but I really like living on campus

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    1. On campus is definitely fun, and I have so many great memories in the dorms!

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  12. There are so many pros and cons, and each person is so different!

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    1. I agree! It's definitely up to the preferences of each person!

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  13. Great post, lovely lady! I agree with your point about permanence and being able to really decorate and make the place your own. Keep up the good work here and live unstoppable!

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    1. Thank you Rhonda! I think having more permanent decorations make your living place seem less like school and more like home. :)

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  14. What a great list of pros and cons! I opted to live on campus all four years. However, I was extremely lucky because my last two years I was able to live in an apartment complex that my school just built, which was absolutely beautiful and spacious. If it weren't for the new apartment building, I probably would have opted to live off campus.

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    1. Oh that sounds awesome! I lived in an on campus dorm-style apartment my sophomore year that was pretty nice, but it still felt too much like a dorm, and I wanted something more home-like!

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  15. I lived off campus all throughout college--actually, I lived with my grandparents for the first two years and with my husband for the second two years. Being off campus definitely impacts your social life, though there are non-dorm-related ways to make friends, too. For me, the biggest benefit was the money savings, since my grandparents let me live with them for free. I had a car, so transportation wasn't a problem.

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    1. Yes, money was a huge factor in my decision to move off campus! That's so fun that you got to live with your grandparents and husband! I have a car too since my college town doesn't have the best public transportation, so it was a pretty easy decision!

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  16. This is a great list! I lived on campus all through college, but most of my friends chose to live off campus senior year!

    Kristin
    The Blush Blonde

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    1. Thanks Kristin! I don't think I only know of one or two people who have lived on campus all 4 years, but that may be unique to my school!

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  17. I agree that I found good and bad in living off campus, it is easy to get to class on time haha.

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    1. Yes, I've almost been late to class a few times since moving off campus because I've had to find parking! Something I didn't have to worry about with on campus housing.

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  18. I totally agree that there are pros and cons. I think it is important for freshmen to live on campus so that they can meet people and learn the campus. I got really lucky in that my university had on campus apartments that were kind of isolated from the rest of campus so it felt off campus. I enjoyed many of the pros you mentioned and none of the cons!

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    1. Yes I think everyone should live on campus freshman year just for the experience! I lived in an on campus apartment sophomore year, but it was just the central tower between two freshman dorms, so it felt very dormy! Haha

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  19. I lived off campus and definitely enjoyed it, but OU was a lot closer than most campuses!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  20. SO funny. I've never lived on campus, so I have no idea about all the pesky dorm rules. But I can totally relate to the non-convent life of off campus living! The struggle is real sometimes!

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