Dorm vs. Off-Campus Apartment: 4 Things You Need to Consider

Should you stay in an on-campus dormitory or find your own space in an off-campus apartment? Here are four things to consider as you make this decision.

IMG_2308Monthly Rent Payments vs. Semester Dorm Fees

Renting an off-campus small apartment or roommate share is often cheaper than the price of a dorm room. Also, colleges typically require you to pay for the dorm room for the entire semester at once.   While off-campus living may be more inconvenient and may lead to less direct campus involvement with other students and activities, lower rent and monthly vs. up-front payment schedule is often the deciding factor.  However, when you balance the cost equation, do not forget that dorm price is all inclusive.  If you love to crank your air conditioning really cold, and take long hot showers, the dorm is great because you don’t have to worry about running up your utility costs. For a full dorm vs. rental cost comparison talk to friends who have apartments and ask what their monthly utilities are. Luckily, you’ll probably split the bills with your roommates, so the costs may not be that high.

Campus Security vs. Apartment Security

With campus security, residential advisors, and passcodes or keys required to enter, dorm life is often viewed as more secure than apartment living. If you have overly concerned parents constantly worrying about your safety, then they might sleep better knowing you have your college campus looking out for you. However, there are some home security products that could be installed in your new apartment to make it more secure, and some college towns have apartments in  gated communities with secured parking and passcodes to enter the buildings. So depending on the apartment you choose, you could have equal or even better security than a dorm could offer you.

Dorm Furniture vs. Apartment FurnitureJessica dorm vs apt

The less said about dorm furniture, the better! An apartment gives you a chance to create a space that feels truly unique to you and you’ll get a chance to decorate and furnish with your own style. And buying furniture does not have to be expensive, you can find great deals at thrift stores, yard sales, estate sales and from friends and family looking to get rid of their stuff. Remember, your apartment doesn’t have to look like a page out of a catalog. If you enjoy decorating, then an apartment gives you the freedom to experiment with color (ask your landlord first), string-up custom blinds, hang paintings, build shelves, and much more. Get your essentials, mix and match, and have fun experimenting with your eclectic style!

Image via Flickr crschmidt

Restrictions vs. Freedom

The security elements of dorm life are also there to regulate campus rules. They require you to follow quiet hours, restrict the number of people you have in your room, limit overnight guests and tone down partying.

In an apartment, the freedom is yours. You can have as many people, of any gender, in your home and have the freedom to do as you please. However, with freedom comes responsibility. Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you are free from being respectful. Noise complaints from neighbors could involve reprimands from your landlord or even the police. You are also responsible for any damage in your apartment.

For many, a key advantage of an apartments is that it allows you the freedom to choose your roommates, rather than being assigned one. Some people have made lasting friendships with their dorm mates, but surely you have heard some horror stories. Living with a friend can be great fun, and much more comfortable than an assigned match. Just keep in mind that finding a roommate that is right for you is as important as finding an apartment that is right for you.

Our guest blogger, Jessica Snow, is a young writer from sunny Florida who enjoys learning and writing about a myriad of topics. When she’s not glued to her laptop you can find her running the trails with her Great Dane, Charlie.

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