Last Updated on June 22, 2022 by David Shaw
It’s the time of the year when a new batch of college students comb the marketplace looking for space to rent! When it comes to accommodation for freshmen, especially in a new area away from home, you might be looking for tips on whether to live on or off campus.
To put it simply, choosing to live or off-campus can have a huge impact on your college or university experience, so it would be wise to do proper research on both choices which might differ for every campus due to its location and options. Regardless, if you’re leaning towards the idea of living on-campus, here are a few reasons we think can help you decide.
Making Quality Friends Is Much Easier
On-campus housing in most universities puts in the effort to create the most sense of community for students studying away from home. I remember my first instinct moving into my new university in California was to make new friends since I am totally new to the town. I settled with the option to live an on-campus and soon enough made lots of friends of similar and different backgrounds partly thanks to my resident advisor (RA) in my building.
Other than my friendly RA who helped the new batch of the community get closer, my new neighbors in the same building also came forward to introduce themselves with cookies and treats. Besides making many other friends through my classes throughout my university experience, my most pleasant experience of making friends were owed to the choice of living on-campus housing unit.
My on-campus housing also had weekly events organized by resident advisors who took turns, where everyone in the same apartment complex come together to have fun, eat, socialize and just get to know all our neighbors better.
Residents Are Entitled to Fixed Utility Rates (Wifi, Trash, Gas)
For off-campus housing, utility rates stay within reasonable range only if your housemates are considerate and rational. Though this might come as insignificant news to you, I personally have had bad experiences from living off-campus with less easy-going housemates. I really enjoyed the fact that on-campus housing has fixed utility rates which included wifi, electric, gas, water, and cleaning fees.
I genuinely think every student should take this point into consideration because we are practically dealing with utility fees monthly or weekly. I’ve had irresponsible housemates while living off-campus once asking us to split an unreasonable overcharged wifi bill which nobody ever owned up to.
If you’re one of them who experienced similar events and want nothing like this to do with you, then living on-campus could easily take care of such trouble for you.
Free Laundry and Cleaning Services
For the frugal and busy students out there, I’ve got good news for you! Sometimes, for a higher than average on-campus rent you pay compared to off-campus housing, some student residents who are reasonably large enough are usually provided with free access to laundry facilities as well as cleaning services that clean the common spaces of your unit.
If you’re worried about shared spaces with people less hygienic, in-unit cleaning services are usually included in the on-campus housing package which should take care of some nuisance for you. So no more headaches about lazy housemates not wanting to clean the floor or take out the trash.
Access to Free Amenities (Gym, Sports, Entertainment Rooms)
As college students, we sure do love free stuff! When it comes to getting active, socializing, or just spending leisure time in a comfortable space, we sure won’t complain. You can bet even the smallest on-campus dormitory or apartment gives students free access to their in-unit amenities like a small gym or entertainment room.
For instance, my $1,200 on-campus apartment had community centers where residents or students from the campus can use the TV room, pool table, basketball, badminton, kitchen, and many other entertainment spaces and equipment for free! Not too shabby for the price I pay I would say.
As mentioned earlier, these spaces are generally open to all students but are likely directly provided to students who have on-campus residence credentials in order to be accessed. So the next you wanna save a couple of bucks from a gym membership or a few games that might otherwise require you to pay, maybe hit up your local amenities in your on-campus housing spaces.
Less Crowded Study Spaces
I’m not sure about most people, but I prefer study spaces that are generally less crowded in order to maximize my revision sessions. If you think your campus library or most public study spaces is too crowded or not for you, try your luck with your on-campus spaces if they’re equipped with their own study or leisure spaces.
My campus housing’s community center had big study spaces with whiteboards where we can even have group discussions. Even my fondest memory of dead weeks is mostly spent in my on-campus study rooms where I get to have a room to myself without prior booking. What’s nice about them is that they were open 24 hours for on-campus residences to access, unlike other campus facilities which I truly owed to many good grades.
If you ever are looking for alternative study spots other than your campus libraries, try your luck at these on-campus housing study spaces, they might even be open for 24 hours for your convenience and safety!
Safer Late Night Commutes (Police Patrol and Campus Shuttles)
Depending on the size of your campus, universities or colleges typically have their own patrolling police units roaming the campus very consistently for the safety of the students. Especially on late nights, whenever you don’t feel safe walking or commuting back to your on-campus housing, you can usually contact the campus police for an escort back to your unit.
Some universities’ campus that is reasonably large enough also provides free all-day or evening shuttles to students around the campus which includes stations near on-campus housing too. So if you’re someone who stays on campus most of the time, these safety and commuting resources could definitely bring you huge peace of mind and save a large amount of commuting time back to your unit, especially after a long and tiring day.
With these resources in place, the probability of robbery or harassment events will be significantly lower and easily mitigated in the event of such bad circumstances.
Walking Distance Access to Dining Facilities
In on-campus housing units, you can often always expect to find in-unit or dining spots within 5 minutes of walking distance. Since the dining industry is always known to be a lucrative and high-demand business, I can be sure your university or food businesses will do everything they can to make dining easily and quickly accessible to places with a high volume of students. So if you feel hungry or a little lazy to fix a meal after a long day, be sure there is food very nearby if you live on-campus.
People Also Ask
Is On-Campus Housing Usually More Expensive Than Off-Campus?
– In most cases, universities tend to charge higher rates compared to nearby off-campus options. To say it is expensive is one thing, but often the convenience and privileges of its prime location within campus often make up for the higher costs of rent compared to off-campus options.
Are Room and Board the Same Thing?
– The term room and board have different meanings; the ‘room’ often means accommodation, while ‘board’ is actually referring to food. The choice of wording might be confusing to some, but essentially when universities refer to ‘room and board’ they often mean living accommodation and meal plans.
Must Freshmen Live On-Campus?
– Yes, it is often always the case freshmen are required to live on-campus. It has oddly become the standard norm where universities and colleges have strict policies in place which require freshmen out of other new admits (Transfer, Graduate students) to live on campus for the first year. Some universities even have policies where freshmen have to mandatorily live up to 2 years on-campus before they can choose to live off-campus.