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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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?