Like many young people, you may have started your college years by moving into the dorms to get the full experience of living on campus. However, many young people choose to live a quieter life as their university years pass, and look for off-campus housing that provides greater freedom and a more adult experience. Off campus housing can provide many benefits to students, but it is not for everyone. Here are a few points to consider when deciding whether off-campus living is right for you:
The Pros of Off Campus Living
The decision to move off campus should be carefully considered before making the move. Some of the pros are:
- Greater independence – Living off campus allows you to do, as you like, when you like.
- Learning life skills – The need to pay bills, go shopping, do housekeeping prepares students for life beyond the university.
- Lower costs – Even with utility and food costs, off campus living can be more economical than dorm expenses.
- Less chaos – Off campus housing is away from the constant noise and activity of the dormitories, allowing better study time.
The Cons of Off Campus Living
A number of disadvantages are also involved in off campus living:
- Fewer opportunities for help with studies – Stopping by a professor’s office or getting help from brainy dorm mates is more difficult.
- Connecting for social activities is more complicated – Meeting up with friends can take more time and energy.
- Distance away from campus – Students will have to leave more time for travelling to campus, bring more of their books and other materials with them and plan to use their on-campus time more efficiently.
- More housekeeping duties – Along with more space comes the responsibility to do more housekeeping, which can intrude on study and social time.
The Right Location
The right location, close to campus or near public transportation stops, can be the key to enjoying the advantages of off-campus living. Finding the right housing at the right price can be a challenge in many urban areas. Take the time to explore all the options available to you before deciding on an apartment. You can locate a number of suitable properties at online sites, such as Ashton Burkinshaw.
Make Your Landlord A Business Partner and Friend
Living off campus requires that the student learn to deal with the landlord. These interactions can sometimes be tense. However, students will learn to deal in a business-like way, with rental agreement requirements, written agreements and occasional resolution of problems. They will learn to get agreements in writing and fulfil negotiated requirements. Learning to stay on good terms with your landlord can pay off in a number of ways.
Treat Your Apartment Like A Home
Off campus housing allows students to gain experience treating the property as their own home. They are generally allowed to decorate it, within rental agreement limits, and they often must do required maintenance tasks. These responsibilities prepare young people for ownership of their own homes in the future and engender a spirit of cooperative effort with roommates.
Be Prepared For Housekeeping Duties
Many college students fail to prepare themselves for the normal maintenance and housekeeping needed for off campus housing. The larger spaces and common areas demand periodic cleaning and organizing. They will be required to purchase a variety of cleaning products and equipment to accomplish these tasks. In addition, young people learn to take their turns on assigned tasks with roommates.
Choose Roommates Carefully
Unlike the dorm system at the university that assigns you a roommate, living off campus requires that you make careful decisions regarding the people with whom you share living space. Beware people who seem immature and irresponsible. These individuals are likely to have difficulty coming up with the monthly rent and could bring unwholesome friends home for partying. Serious students who have a record of responsible behaviour and clear goals are most likely to be good roommates in your off-campus housing.
Keep Expenses Manageable
Living off campus can quickly become expensive. Experts recommend choosing housing that is affordable and avoiding relying on student loans to pay for it. Instead, they advise ensuring that the housing is within walking or biking distance of the campus. Try to avoid having to pay for the additional expenses involved in keeping a car. If public transportation is available, it is a definite plus. Get a part-time job to pay for housing, rather than relying on loan money that will have to be repaid well into your working years. Ask parents and grandparents to provide cash for birthday and Christmas gifts to help offset living costs. Monitor your spending carefully to ensure that your off campus housing doesn’t become a financial burden.
The off campus living experience can help prepare students for life outside of the university and can provide a better atmosphere for learning while still in school.