Dorms vs. Off-Campus Living


How do you choose between living on campus in dorms or off-campus living? Many college students ask this very question, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. It is important that you weigh your options before making a final decision.


The Pros…

Easy Access to School – As part of your on campus living package, you have so much access right at your fingertips! Just think about it… You won’t have to deal with traffic because you are within walking distance to class, and rushing to find parking. You will have on site access to the computer lab and library when you need to study as well.

Better Social Life – If you are a social butterfly and enjoy meeting new people, dorm living is ideal for you. You will meet a diverse group of individuals that come from diverse cultures and backgrounds. And, most likely – you’ll meet a couple of lifelong friends!

Simplicity – If you live on campus, you don’t have to worry about paying a utility bill or insuring your place. Generally living in a dorm is about $3-5k less per year than renting an apartment.  You can also add a meal plan to your package for an additional $3-5k. The only limitation is that you’re restricted to specific times to eat at.  No late night snacking for the night owl types! 

The Cons… 

Little Privacy – When living in dorms, it can be difficult to get any sort of privacy. Which is especially tough during your bathroom moments where you just, well you know “need” it. If you’re lucky, you may live on a floor with private bathroom. Generally that’s not the case though. In time, you get used to it but the first month or so can be a tad daunting. Good luck with that… ;0) 

Limited Space – Most dorms are very tiny and just enough for the two twin beds, closet and a small desk area.  Be wise with what you bring with you to campus. You have to be creative and utilize your space. For tips on how to utilize your dorm space read our article:  Make The Most Of Your Space! 

Off Campus Living

The Pros…

Independence – When living off-campus you have no rules to follow. Many residence halls have lots of rules and Resident Assistants to help keep those rules in order. So living off campus you can have the peace of mind of knowing you don’t have anyone watching your every more in your living quarters.

Privacy – Living off-campus means that you will have the privacy of your room. You might even have your very own bathroom, depending on the size of your apartment.  Ultimately, this means you will have a place to step away from your roommates and quiet time to study.

Sense of responsibility — Living off campus will help you be more responsible.  You will be in charge of paying your bills, cleaning, cooking and even grocery shopping. You also don’t have to travel all the way to campus mail center to get your mail either. Everything now comes to your door!

The Cons…

More costly – When living off campus you now have to take into consideration that rent may be more expensive and not included with your tuition. A good rule of thumb to follow is to expect to pay any where from $500-$1200 per month depending on where you are located at in the country. Also, there are additional utility and cable costs to keep into consideration. 

Seclusion – Face it!  We enjoy the privacy, but nothing is worse than feeling isolated especially if you’re off campus apartment happens to be a good distance from campus. Which could result in you not participating in as many college activities you would like to.

Conclusion Time

When making the final decision to live on campus or off-campus be sure to weigh out your options. Make your list of pros and cons. Make sure you check with your campus about off-campus living. Especially, if you are an incoming freshman. Most colleges require first-year students to stay on campus unless they are living with family. Always remember to be involved if you decide to pledge in a sorority or fraternity you might have the option of moving into one of the houses!

Best of luck with your decision!


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