Comparison Of On-Campus To Off-Campus Housing

When it’s time to decide on housing at college you’ll need to determine whether on-campus or off-campus housing will better suit your needs.

The on-campus housing includes dorm rooms, suites and regular apartments with full kitchens. These units are owned by the college or university. Off-campus housing means privately-owned living quarters. Usually these units are apartments with full kitchens.

There are advantages and disadvantages to living in either the on-campus or the off-campus facilities.

A big advantage to on-campus housing is the proximity to classes. It is easy to run home between classes to study, do laundry or just take a nap. When you are living on campus it is very convenient to attend school activities and to use the campus fitness center.

When you live off-campus you get a break from the school crowd. If you do not participate in many activities at school, you may appreciate driving away from campus at the end of the day.

There is a trend toward building more spacious dorms and adding some apartments. Traditionally dorm rooms are quite small so this may be a consideration if you plan to live on-campus.

Off-campus apartment complexes offer larger rooms with kitchens, especially in older constructions.

On most college campuses there is a shortage of convenient parking. The more historical (older) a campus is; the less parking will be available for students near classrooms. The larger colleges have a bus system to help students get around the campus. Usually there are bus stops near residence halls. In fact, you probably will not need to use your car during the week if you are staying on campus.

When you live off-campus you will need to consider the time it takes to reach the campus from your living quarters, including time for circling around to find a parking space at school. It is hard to live off-campus if you so not have your own transportation unless there is very good public transportation.

The requirements for meal plans vary from college to college. At one time the student needed to be on the food plan in order to get nutritional meals. Today, unless they attend a small rural college, students can find food in many places. Most students now have microwaves and refrigerators in their dorm rooms so they can fix something to eat. Dining plans are flexible and may include dining dollars which can be used at the campus bookstores, frozen yogurt outlets and other non-dining hall places.

Living on-campus may reassure the parents of the student. There is campus security and a resident assistant (RA) system to provide a level of security. Of course, when the student is not in the room, the RA cannot be of assistance in protecting them.

Some off-campus complexes have courtesy officers and may have gated entrances. Security will vary at the different apartment developments.

When you live in a dorm on-campus it is easy to make friends. Dorm buildings have lounges for studying and socializing.

If you are an upper-classman and living off-campus you probably already have your core group of friends. Often a group of friends will share off-campus living quarters.

If you compare square footage and quality, usually living on-campus is more expensive than living off-campus. The food service plans can be expensive. If you live off-campus you have the ability to shop and cook your own meals saving lots of money over the food plans.

You need to be aware that your parents’ homeowner’s policy will cover your on-campus belongings. The policy will not cover them if you live off-campus. You will need to factor in the cost of utility bill payments and you will need to pay deposits before moving into off-campus facilities. These expenses do not apply when you live on-campus.

Units on-campus come furnished with the basics. This makes it a lot easier and more convenient when you move in and again when you move out.

Some off-campus apartments come furnished. Others are not furnished and you will need to either buy or rent the essentials such as beds and tables and chairs. When you leave you will have to remove the furnishing from the unit.

Whether you choose living on-campus or off-campus is your decision. You will want to consider the pros and cons of both options and choose the option that is right for you.