There are pros and cons to living off-campus during your time away at college. With everything else going on in your life during this time, it can be hard to figure out which choice is best for you. Of course, there are plenty of things to consider, so let’s walk through some of the biggest items on your list:
While a dorm room can offer some space, you’re typically sharing that space with at least one roommate. In an apartment, depending on your budget, you may be able to live alone or split rent with a roommate (or roommates). Regardless, you could enjoy your own bedroom and much more living space. This means you’d have more privacy, leading to less time spent at coffee shops and libraries, and more time focusing on homework in a more comfortable environment.
Life in a dorm comes with a long list of rules, codes of conduct, and resident advisors. While this is helpful at first—especially when you’re new to dorm living and college life—you may find that it’s not as welcome in your sophomore, junior, and/or senior year. When you’re living in a dorm, you may have a curfew. There’s no curfew when you live in an apartment. That can be helpful, especially if you’re working while going to school, and are coming home later in the evening. You may find that freedom to come and go as you please is enough of a reason to leave dorm life and start enjoying off-campus living.
If you’re a student at Iowa State University, you’re familiar with the saying, “Choose Your Adventure.” When you live off-campus in your own apartment, you can choose your own roommate. Again, dorm life is great when it comes to meeting new people and getting you used to college living. However, once you’ve established yourself at school and start making friends, it’s nice to be able to live with people you know and like.
Think of living in a dorm as your adult training wheels and an off-campus apartment as the moment you really start to grow up. Living off-campus can help you become more responsible by necessity. You’ll need to learn how to manage your budget in order to pay your rent, buy groceries, pay utilities, and everything else you need (and want). Learning how to manage expenses is a major part of adulthood and being able to learn it while still at school can be hugely beneficial.
By living off-campus, you could save money in parking permits. Because you won’t be taking up a parking spot on campus, you won’t have to pay for a campus parking permit. Any amount of money you can save (especially while in school) is welcome!
Usually, when you live in a dorm, you have to vacate during breaks. That’s fine if you have somewhere to go and don’t have to work in town. If you don’t want to have to go home during each break and/or you have a job that doesn’t allow for a bunch of trips home, that adds more stress than you need. When you live in your own apartment, you’re able to stay there year-round. This makes for fewer interruptions in your day-to-day life and can help reduce anxiety leading up to breaks. It’s also nice to be able to decorate your space a little more permanently and know that you don’t have to pack everything up every few months. Plus, if you decide to stay in town after graduation, you have the option of keeping your apartment while you begin your post-college life.
One of the biggest bonuses of dorm living is the proximity to campus. It’s nice to be able to roll out of bed and walk to class (especially with those early morning classes). If you still want to be able to do that, look for apartments within walking distance of your classes. You may actually find you’d like to be a bit more removed from campus, however, and that’s perfectly valid, too. If that’s the case and you have your own vehicle, this is always an option. No vehicle? An apartment close to CyRide may be your best bet.
There’s plenty to consider when thinking about moving off-campus. Talk to friends who have made the decision, take a look at available off-campus properties, and weigh your options. If you have any questions about how we can help make the transition from on-campus to off-campus living, feel free to contact us!