How To Inspect Your First Apartment

Now, it’s getting real!

You’ve found what looks to be a great apartment online. But, you have to see the place in person to understand if it’s the right place to live in for an entire year.

Unlike most dorm rooms, each apartment is unique and you need to know the right things to look for and questions to ask when the landlord or agent walks you through.

Here’s the easy way to get up to speed. Watch this video and you’ll transform into a well-seasoned apartment hunter in 4 short minutes.

How To Inspect Your First Apartment - Screengrab


Givin’ it the ol’ college try? Ahem…

Well, the folks over at CollegeAtHome recently posted this incredibly interesting infographic about how (un)prepared college freshman actually are…

As it turns out, an alarming amount simply aren’t! And it’s leading to some really jarring statistics, like the fact that the US ranks 12th internationally in college attainment (40%), or that only 1 in 4 college freshman actually finish their first year. WHAT?!?

On a lighter note, definitely check out CollegeAtHome.com, an awesome resource for those interested in going to college or finishing their education, but that can’t physically attend due to illness, kids, work, etc. They’ll hook you up with an online education program, suited for you!


10 Off-campus Living Essentials

Well, the Mayans were wrong. You’re still here, and it’s time for you to prepare for a successful 2013 off-campus living experience. To avoid an apartment apocalypse, you’re going to need some essentials. You might not know exactly what you will need for the new year in your new place, so we have compiled a list of must-haves, starting with the fundamentals, and finishing with a few exciting add-ons.

1. A Couch
Don’t even bother moving into a place if you don’t have a couch, yet. Seriously. It’s more important than a bed. Your couch doesn’t need to be fancy. It doesn’t even need to seat that many people. It just needs to be there. It is the heart of the college household. Without it, you will be lost, because no one wants to hang out in a living room on lawn chairs.

Tip: Don’t get a “love seat.” They’re a waste of time, unless you’re an old lady.

2. Coffee table
Your couch is nothing without a coffee table. How good can your couch hang session be without somewhere to rest your drink? Try to get one that has storage underneath, that way you can keep some blankets, pillows, or other pass-out supplies in there.

Tip: Get some nice coffee table books to put on display. They always make for good conversation.

3. Iron and Ironing Board
There are ways to iron clothes without these two items, but it makes the chore even more painful than it already is. You’ve just moved into an off-campus apartment. Take advantage of the extra space and get yourself a nice, full-sized ironing set-up. #makemomproud

4. Flashlight
Two things are guaranteed: 1. You’re not a possum, because then you wouldn’t be reading this; 2. Your power will go out at some point. Be prepared to see in the dark by keeping at least one heavy-duty flashlight in your kitchen.

5. Plunger
Having a plunger in your bathroom is the best way to avoid a disgusting restroom catastrophe. Plungers may look ugly, but they’re worth the eyesore. Anything is better than an overflowing toilet. If you are concerned about your plunger’s appearance, get a plunger cover (a standard, plastic cover is ideal, since it will probably get dirty).  Holla target.com

6. Fire/CO2 Alarm
Your off-campus castle will be useless if it turns to toast. Protect your health and belongings by installing these, wherever necessary. Also, it’s against the law to go without them.  Yo yo homedepot.com

7. Gas-Powered Blender
This thing will change your life. It’s the monster truck of blenders, and you can use it anywhere: the kitchen, the backyard, the quad, the library (not recommended)—anywhere! The best part about this blender is that your party will be remembered for having great drinks and badass appliances. Do it kegerator.com


8. Nerf Weaponry
Trust us. Build an arsenal of Nerf guns in your home. Nothing gets the blood flowing in the morning like a styrofoam skirmish among housemates. Also, Nerf guns are surprisingly effective for flirtation purposes. Shooting your crush with a Nerf dart is the real-life equivalent of the Facebook “poke,” and it will yield better results.

9. Inflatable Punching Bag
Mad at your professor? Take it out on the bag. They probably sell one that looks like him, too. Also, it’s cheaper than therapy, and way more fun.

10. Gorilla Mask
Any scary mask will do, really. Nothing beats scaring the hell out of your roommate, and there will be plenty of opportunities in 2013.

Live it up #offcampus

Student Life, Uncategorized

The Facts About Sleep: What a College Student Should Know

For most college students, endless nights of paper-writing and studying are not uncommon.  In fact, it’s not at all surprising that a recent poll showed that only 15% of students actually get the recommended amount of sleep (8 to 9 hours) per night.  However, while getting a regular 6 or 7 hours a night may not seem like a big deal, it can actually do more harm than just making you feel tired during class.

Studies have shown that there are many benefits to having healthy sleeping habits, including improving mood, improving cognitive abilities, preventing physical discomfort, decreasing the risk of depression, helping to manage stress, improving the immune system defense, and even increasing life-span.  However, when we don’t get enough sleep, we lower our own abilities to fight off illness and be able to function as needed.  In fact, studies have even shown that sleep deprivation is even linked to individuals experiencing pre-diabetic states and gaining weight.

Finding time for sleep doesn’t just have to be purely health-related, either.  In fact, according to a 2007 study, students who made time for sleep received higher GPAs than those who didn’t.  Current research reveals that it is actually during sleep when the brain produces hormones to repair and grow.  It is particularly during the Rapid Eye Movement Sleep (REM Sleep) in which we are able to consolidate what we’ve studied and learned that day, and potentially increase our abilities to learn and remember.

This means that, for students, sleep should be one of their top priorities.  According to researchers, the best way to ensure ideal sleeping patterns is to set up a bedtime ritual, meaning that you should be prepping your body and mind for sleep, which includes finishing up your homework, turning off the TV/computer, and keeping the lights low.

Getting a good night’s rest also includes possibly using your room only for sleeping and doing your homework/work elsewhere.  By doing this, you can compartmentalize the things you need to do, and let go of some of your stress before sleeping.

Other healthy sleeping habits include finishing eating 2 to 3 hours before bed, exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine 6 to 8 hours before bed, avoiding nicotine and alcohol, and turning off the television.  Some studies even suggest that taking 20-30 minute naps (between 10 and 11 am or 2 and 4 pm) are helpful in compensating for lack of sleep.  It is in these ways that you can ensure that you get the proper amount of rest and that you’re ready for whatever college has to throw at you.


“Sleepless in Durham:  The Importance of Getting a Good Night’s Sleep”

“The Importance of Getting Sleep in College” by Greg Voakes

“Don’t Skip Sleep to Score High on Finals” by Dr. Robert Oexman

“University Looks to Naps for Better Grades” by Allie Grasgreen


We need your help!

We’re still looking for participants for our survey!  Just clink the link below to take the survey!  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGJqMjBHZjIyRGluNDlkbllsUFVQRlE6MQ#gid=0

JumpOffCampus, Uncategorized

Sublets are blowin’ up!

We have some big news in the sublets department, and just in time for summer!  We know how stressful it can be to find summer housing, it’s always super competitive, and places that are willing to rent to students for just a couple of months are hard to come by.  Hopefully JumpOffCampus can help you with this and make your summer housing search faster, easier, and less stressful.  We have seen a lot of growth with our sublets and we have decided to make it even easier for students to find them.

For example, Brown University in Providence, RI has seen a huge amount of student response to sublets.  Over 160 sublet listings have been posted, and over 1000 messages have been sent through the site inquiring about them!  With this kind of growth, we wanted to make sure that any student could take advantage of our site, regardless of whether or not their school is affiliated with us.

We have now opened JumpOffCampus to allow any student to sign up to see sublets that are posted at any school.  This way you can look at any housing in an area you need.  What if you get a summer internship in Boston, but you are from Connecticut?  It can be really stressful to find housing in those types of situations, so we decided to make it better!  Now that you can see all sublets, you can simply find the perfect apartment in the area you are looking for!

Also, if you have an apartment that you are looking to sublet, we make it super easy to post and find the perfect students to fill your place!  What’s nice about JumpOffCampus is that the site is student centered, so if you have a place, you can easily find other students to fill it!  It’s easy, avoids wasting your time with the wrong types of people, and keeps your focus on things that are really important, oh yeah like finals!

If you have any comments, questions, suggestions, or feedback, let us know!  We are always looking to improve!  Good luck everyone on the end of the semester and let’s get those sublets rented!!

JumpOffCampus, Uncategorized

We Are Making Changes!

So a lot of new things have been happening here at JumpOffCampus to update everyone about!  First off, we received some awesome news last week that we won the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition!  We are really grateful to have been a part of the competition and were impressed by all the awesome business ideas, but we are excited about moving forward with all the new resources now available to us!  Check out this link to read more: http://www.golocalprov.com/business/new-winners-named-in-2012-ri-business-plan-competition/.

We also have been spending some time reworking our current marketing campaign.  We have a bunch of new plans to help spread the word about JumpOffCampus, and so make sure you stay tuned starting next week.  We have new contests, prizes and other campaigns to keep your eye out for so make sure you check up with us on Monday for the first contest!  Let us know what you think about the upcoming campaigns, we want your opinions!  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend and if you have finals this week, good luck and study hard!  (P.S. if you know people in need of summer sublets, be sure to point them in our direction!)


What a student wants

Everyone evaluates apartments differently, and it seems no one knows exactly what they’re looking for. There are just so many factors to consider. Brokers know this all too well. We’ve talked with a lot of them, and their worst nightmare is someone who can’t describe what they want, which makes showing around prospective tenants a lot more time-consuming.

Fortunately, the National Apartment Association has been making big strides in understanding tenants’ needs, especially students. Earlier this month, they came out with their new report which sampled over 10,000 students, and 3,500 parents: Apartment Features, Amenities And Programs That Sell To Students And Parents. Here at JumpOffcampus, we’ve started making it easier to include parents in the housing search, but it looks like parents and students don’t see eye-to-eye when it comes to apartment hunt.

So, what matters most? As you can guess, students and parents had different answers. For students, number one was price, and location was second. For parents, the most important factor was security, also followed by location, with price coming in third. And interestingly, although it may seem that students care a lot about proximity to friends, it ranked higher with parents than students.

So what defines a more secure apartment? According to parents, it’s location and controlled access, which can consist of key fobs or buzzers. If you manage properties with these add-ons, make sure it’s well known! There are a lot of other issues surrounding security, and one of the important ones was well-lit parking areas. This seems like a cheap fix for a lot of landlords, and may be as easy as installing a light on the side of the house. About 20% of both students and parents said it was the single most important security feature for an apartment to have!



Time’s a Tickin’ for Ed-Tech!

You would think that those in higher education would have a leg up on other industries in adopting new technologies, but sadly this isn’t often the case. In speaking with many administrators, I have found that many still use paper-intensive processes such as keeping off-campus listings in a 3-ring binder… That’s a lot of hole-punching! This means that someone in the housing office within the university is taking valuable time out of their day to field phone calls from local landlords, manually type up the information, then print (and hole-punch!) the listing, before systematically placing each one into an existing binder. 

Students, who are often first-time apartment hunters and often look to the administrators for help, are then forced to sift through said binder, manually taking down each landlord’s contact info for the properties they’re interested in. BUT! How do they even find good matches? This system doesn’t give them a way to filter for say, 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, or even for properties under $1000/month. AND this is all assuming the listings are kept up-to-date and that they are all still available for rent (requiring even more work from the administrators who are tasked with this arduous process). Then let’s say a student finally finds a suitable place to live in with their friends but needs one more roommate to fill the apartment… There should be ONE, centralized place to do this, too! 

JumpOffCampus solves this issue, empowering students to find safe and affordable housing easily, while also allowing administrators to oversee the process and provide real value to their students. While this may just be one example specific to off-campus housing, there are other companies (including some in @Betaspring) who are also tackling blatant technology issues. Shout out to RecoVend

Well, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education (March 23rd, 2012 Edition), we’re in “A Boom Time for Education Start-Ups“ and it’s about time higher education institutions caught up with technology. It may seem daunting to make the switch to a new technological process, but the time, energy, and money saved (even in the short-term) are well worth it. “Colleges have students’ best interests in mind, but ‘in a world of good intentions, [the] biggest competition is indecision… Universities are actually shooting themselves in the foot within this market transformation by being slow in their procurement decisions.’” (Michael Staton, The Chronicle of Higher Education, p. 16) 

So, bite the bullet! Get started on that overdue transition into the world of technology. Your tired old hole puncher will thank you. 🙂

– Mark


Nightmare on College Ave, Part II: Psycho (Roommates)

Hello again! Since our last post, we’ve received quite a few (horror) stories about roommates. In case you missed it, we’ve already established what makes a bad roommate in Part I of this series, so now it’s time to dive in to some real stories. 

Often times, you can’t choose your freshman year roommate, so a lot of these horror stories stem from awkward situations arise when communication between you two breaks down and you’re both hurtling towards mutually assured destruction. 

One submission, in particular, caught my eye. I’ve altered it somewhat to anonymize names and places for obvious reasons. Enjoy! 

“Would you believe me if I told you that my freshman year roommate morphed from a quiet, nice, studious kid into a passive-aggressive, army-trained killing machine? 

Starting from the beginning, I first met JOE during a pre-orientation program we were both a part of. He seemed respectful and nice, and I was looking forward to making my first friend at school! Well, JOE didn’t seem to have the same thing in mind – he would hang out with people I brought over to our room, but never came out with us or engaged in conversation beyond any standard pleasantries. In fact, he never left our room. This included not going to class, either. He would simply sit at his desk, playing computer games all… day (and night)… long… Even with a freshman meal-plan, he would still order food to our dorm 3 times a day. 

As long as we kept to ourselves, we could coexist. And we did. For a little bit. But it wasn’t long before he turned into a raging psycopath! One night after a long day of classes I decided to listen to some music, forgoing using headphones because I wanted to lay down. Not even a minute later, I could sense strongly negative energy in the room, coming from his side of the room. I looked over, intending to ask whether he minded me playing my music, but it was too late…. An object was already hurtling its way through the air, directly at my head. I only narrowly avoided it and watched it smash into the window behind me, cracking the pane. WTF. 

As you can obviously imagine, this was the beginning of the end of our roommate relationship. I decided after a few more episodes of passive-aggressive behavior like this that it was time to move out. This would have been fine and dandy but the kicker is that before I was able to do so, my roommate was drafted by his respective country’s army and was sent “home” for bootcamp. I’m sure he’s back on campus now but I’m scared to bump into him around campus. Good thing he’s probably tucked away in his room playing  games and eating delivery.” 

While you normally can’t pick your freshman-year roommate, you can definitely avoid situations like these in the future! Check out the Roommate Finder on JumpOffCampus

I hope you enjoyed this story and that you’re looking forward to Part III of this series. 

Once again, send in your own roommate horror stories! I’m looking forward to (maybe sharing) them. We can be reached at admin@jumpoffcampus.com.