Is it Worth it to Live on Campus? Pros and Cons of College Housing vs. Living Off Campus

College Housing
college dorms vs private apartments

Figuring out your college housing arrangements can have a big impact on your college experience. Do you want to have the “traditional” experience and live in a college dorm, or stay in off-campus housing and either live at home or rent an apartment?

There are a lot of factors that go into making the decision, so we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each to help.

College Housing Pros:

  • You’re in the center of it all

One of the big reasons students choose a college dorm is that you’re in the middle of the action. You’re on campus, so you’re always close to your classes, friends, and events going on at school. You don’t have to worry about getting to and from classes on time, and grabbing a bite to eat is an easy walk to the dining hall. Living in a dorm is definitely the stereotypical vision of college life, but if convenience and being involved in college is important to you, choosing college housing might be the way to go.

  • You have more support

When you live on campus, you have people around who are dedicated to helping you. Resident assistants or advisors typically live in the same building to help with any issues that arise and keep things running smoothly in your dorm. Plus, schools usually throw events for residence halls to help you get involved and meet people around you.

College Housing Cons:

  • Roommates

Though you can sometimes get a single room in a residence hall of on-campus apartment, you’ll probably end up with at least one roommate (sometimes more). While you may be able to request a friend or someone you know, it’s possible to get stuck with a stranger. On a positive note, you may get along great and make a new friend, but roommate situations can be tricky. If you’re someone that prefers to have your own space, living in college housing may not be for you.

  • More rules

If going to college means having more freedom, you may not be as happy living on campus. Some colleges have required quiet hours in residence halls, as well as rules for things you’re allowed to have in your room, when you’re allowed to have guests, and more.

Off-Campus Housing Pros:

  • You have more freedom

While you may have to abide by rules your landlord sets, you will have more freedom living off-campus. For the most part, you can determine what you want in your apartment or room or when you want to have guests over. Living off campus gives you a lot more independence, so if that’s important to you, off-campus housing may be the right choice.

  • It’s (usually) cheaper

College housing isn’t cheap. Many students choose to rent a room or an apartment off campus to save money. And not only is rent commonly less expensive than college dorms, but you can also save money on meals by not having to buy a meal card and cooking at home.

Off-Campus Housing Cons:

  • You’re not as involved

If you live off-campus, you’re not at school 24/7, so it’s normal to miss things. You may miss events or spontaneous get-togethers with other students simply because you’re not there all the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t still go to these things. It just might take a little more effort to get there!

  • You’ll have to commute

Whether you’re right around the corner or a drive across town, there will be a commute involved to get to class. You’ll have to factor in not only the time it takes to get to school, but also how long it might take to find a parking spot and walk to class. If you choose to live off-campus, make sure you factor in enough time to make it to class on time!

So – should you live on or off-campus? Each has its pros and cons, but it comes down to what’s most important to you. Weigh these options carefully, and you’ll make the best decision for you!