Another Baby Step Towards Adulthood Living Off Campus In College

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The transition from being a child to being an adult is tough. Luckily, there are many transition steps along the way. One of the most formative ones is the college experience. For many young adults, college will the be the first time they’ve been away from home for a long period of time and the first time they’ve been responsible for their schedule, habits, and lifestyle. It can be a scary time but also an exhilarating one. There’s the potential for even more freedom if a student opts to look at off campus student housing instead of campus housing. In many cases, colleges won’t let students leave campus housing until their junior or senior year, but for other students, that freedom may come much sooner. While there are certainly upsides to living in campus housing, many students prefer looking for an apartment that is off school grounds.
Why Should My Student Consider Off Campus Apartments Instead of Campus Housing?
In 2013, there were almost 7 million students enrolled in four year colleges across the United States and almost 14 1/2 million students doing undergraduate work. That’s a lot of students! For colleges whose programs are up and coming, they may experience an overcrowding of dorms and not know where to put the extra students. In this case, off campus apartments might allow a student more space and privacy than sharing a room with two or three other students. It’s good to always consider them as an option, in case the on campus housing does become full and your student is left without a living space for the year.
Indeed, many students have cited preferring to live off campus because of the increased privacy. There’s more space for students to spread out and enjoy and they can feel more at ease having friends over or entertaining. Additionally, if a student chooses off campus housing, they’re usually choosing a friend (or several friends) to live with, so it’ll automatically be a friendly environment.
Students also have more freedom outside of school grounds. For example, many campuses require that students purchase a meal plan if they live on campus, but with an off campus apartment, students can opt out of the meal plan and cook themselves, which is often cheaper. The noise restrictions are usually set by the town, but aren’t as prohibitive as those often set by colleges with strict quiet hours.
Room and board can be quite expensive on top of tuition and in many cases, living off campus may actually be far cheaper, especially without the meal plan or other fees. Some students have been able to cut their college costs in half by simply moving out of the dorm.
What Should My Student Be Aware Of When Living Off Campus?
Living off campus is another huge step of responsibility. Students should know that they’re subject to the town rules and can be charged by the town for rowdy behavior or illegal behavior. Any damages to property will also have to be paid by them. You and your student should research what exactly you’re responsible for and what damages you’d have to account for.
Don’t trust that the house or apartment your student receives is as clean or top notch as they should be. Check for damages or other problems with the apartment or house before signing a lease — and take pictures if there are issues. This keeps you from becoming liable for those damages. You should also make sure appliances are in working order and that water damage and mold aren’t present before signing a lease.
It’s also important for students to be financially ready to live off campus. They should account for extra costs other than just rent or utilities — what about a weekly grocery bill? Do they have to pay for Internet or TV? They should set aside a little extra for an emergency fund as well.
There are a number of reasons your student may want to move into an off campus apartment. You just want to make sure he or she is prepared before they take this next big step.