When choosing where to attend college, degree programs, reputation, legacy, and location play a large role in where you might apply. With over 3.2 million high school graduates attending college each fall, competition is fierce.
What you may not think about until after you receive that acceptance letter is where you are going to live. Unless you have friends or relatives in the area, finding student housing should be high on your to-do list.
Locating prime housing close to campus, near the building you will have a majority of classes in, or even the cafeteria is almost as competitive as getting into school.
Before you start your search, read on for some advice on how to find the best student housing.
Where Can I Live?
As you begin looking through pamphlets or searching online to find student housing, you will need to see if your campus has any requirements for your grade level.
Many 4-year universities require freshmen, and sometimes even sophomores, to live on campus for their first year or two. If you fit in this category, it will narrow your search considerably.
On-Campus Student Housing
Most campuses sport residences or dorms for their on-campus housing. Some have a general application that you put in, where you list your top preferences for dorm. If you have specific requests, such as a roommate, or co-ed vs. gender-separate dorm, you would include that as well.
Dorms have shared bathrooms, laundry rooms, and common rooms. Some might have study areas available for reservation.
If you live in a dorm, it’s expected that you purchase a cafeteria food package. While you may have a small refrigerator in your room, rarely do dorms have kitchens and cooking spaces available.
One of the biggest perks of dorm life is the location on or near campus, negating the need for a vehicle, as well as the social aspect of getting to know a lot of people very quickly. You also have an RA available to help as you get your feet under you.
Off-Campus Student Housing
Off-campus housing for college students has different perks than dorms. Many are less expensive, and you don’t have to purchase a cafeteria plan. Eating healthier is a plus when you can cook your meals.
Off-campus housing comes in several forms. Some areas have apartment complexes designated only for college students. They come with 2-3 rooms and have kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces.
If the thought of dorm life overwhelms, finding a house with just a few roommates might appeal to you more. Finding a single room for rent is more likely than finding a single dorm room.
Families may also rent a room, a garage apartment, or a mother-in-law apartment behind their property. If this appeals to you, make sure you do your research and see if you can contact previous tenants.
Enjoy These Years
No matter your choice to live on or off-campus, or even a mixture of both during your college years, selecting the right student housing will be a small decision compared to thinking about your future. Take time to enjoy your experiences, whether living in a dorm or an apartment.
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