Housing Advice, Student Life

How to decide between on or off campus housing

We know it’s a big decision to make whether or not to live off campus, and we hope to be able to guide you through the decision process.  There are a few major questions to ask yourself when you are looking at the two options and seeing which is right for you.

First you have to look at the costs associated with both.  If cost is important to your decision (which for a lot of people it is) you have to make a list of all the costs that both options would entail.  For on campus housing you would need to look at the cost of the actual housing, meal plans if you would need one, and any other board fees associated with being on campus.  For off campus housing, you need to consider the actual rent (this is going to involve some research, rents vary greatly between areas), the utilities (if they are not included) and other costs such as furniture, internet, cable, parking, groceries, and transportation costs to get to campus, etc.  Once you are able to estimate the costs of both options, you will have a better feel for which option will be more viable for you.

Other things to consider when looking at the two options are what you are getting for your money.  If you are getting a tiny room in a dorm and you have to share with a roommate, compared to a larger room to yourself in an apartment that can influence your decision.  Or if you are able to get a really nice on campus townhouse style suite then it might not be that bad of a deal to stay on campus.  Also, you should consider factors associated with meal plans, like if you feel you do not eat in the dining hall enough for a meal plan to be worth it, then maybe grocery shopping for yourself in an apartment would be a cheaper option.  But on the other side, if you typically eat your parent’s out of house and home, then maybe an all-you-can-eat dining hall would end up being cheaper in the long run.

Once you have weighed the costs of both options and how they compare with each other, there are other things to consider with both options.  Convenience is another big thing to look at.  For example, an article discussing Boston University’s off campus housing discusses how off campus housing is often way more convenient for students.  (Read the full article here). The article talked about how for some students it is easier to live off campus because of scheduling, study abroad, and other reasons.  For some, because of classes or other activities, it is more practical to live on campus. Like if you have all of your classes spread out throughout the day, and would have to drive back and forth to campus a couple of times a day it might not be worth it to live off.  For others, it is more convenient to live off campus, like if you would otherwise always miss dining hall hours because of a late activity that runs through dinner then maybe it is easier to live off campus and cook for yourself when you need to.

Either way you decide to go, as long as you make sure you plan ahead and do your research, you’re going to have a great school year with your friends and hopefully JumpOffCampus made the process a little bit easier for you all.


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