Onward and upward

Midterms of the Spring semester have begun or will begin soon.  This is a clear indication that the school year is coming to a close.  Now is the perfect time to start considering your living arrangements for next year. There are a number of things to consider.

  1. What is your current living arrangement?
  2. Are you living on campus, do you have a roommate? Are you and your roommate aware of your plans for next year?
  3. What are the terms of your lease?
  4. What are your expenses?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself as you prepare for next year. The earlier you start the smoother your transition into your new space will be. Be sure to discuss plans with your roommate and your parents.  Keep everyone in the loop to avoid hurt feelings and disappointment.

If you are currently living on campus chances are you will need to prepare to move out of your current space. Most campuses do not allow you to occupy your current room even if that will be your room next year.  If this is the case you will need to determine what you will do with your belongings over the summer (if you do return) or how you will transport belongings to your new space (if moving into a different room or off campus).  Things to consider include looking into a local storage facility, looking for boxes, and who will actually help you move the items. Consider the following as on campus housing options:

  1. If possible stay in your current hall and room space.  Serve as source of information for new residents.
  2. Look into special sophomore housing options, that will offer a special focus, programming, and opportunities specifically tailored towards the sophomore student.
  3. Upper-class housing will allow you to still enjoy on campus amenities without the typical freshman issues and incidents that occur.
  4. Themed living allows you to live, eat and breathe your major or special interest. Schools now offer housing options that are tailored towards student’s lifestyles and majors.  There are concentrations on healthy lifestyles, biology majors, social justice, and much, much more. See if and what your school has to offer.
  5. Suite-style living.  Perhaps you are over the community bathroom scene, try a suite where you still enjoy the benefits of living on campus, but you have your own bathroom.
  6. Consider being a staff member or student leaders. Becoming a Resident Advisor or being elected to the Residence Hall Association may offer housing perks. Explore other leadership options on your campus.
  7. What will the fees be for your space? Some universities offer discounted rates or will freeze your current rate if you return the next year. Ask about early housing registration discounts.
  8. Explore off-campus, but campus affiliated housing as an option where you get a little more independence, but still have the security of knowing the university is there if needed. Consider campus owned/affiliated apartments, Greek Life housing, etc.

If you are looking to move into an apartment, consider the following:

  1. Can you afford to live alone or will you need a roommate? What will your expenses be (consider food, electric, gas, cable, internet, water/sewage, and any other expenses) and what will source of income be (parents, job, financial aid, or other sources)?
  2. Are you responsible for paying rent for the entire apartment or will you have an individual lease?  This is helpful to know if your roommate does not pay their share of the rent, you will not be held responsible and face possible eviction.  Communities that cater to student housing will have individual leases available.
  3. Do you need a cosigner? Who would be willing to serve in that capacity?
  4. What is the length of your lease? Is it a full year or long enough to cover the academic year?
  5. Is the apartment furnished? What items will you need in your new home?
  6. Do you have to pay for parking at the apartment complex?
  7. How much is a commuter parking pass on campus?
  8. How far is the complex from the university?
  9. How is the neighborhood in the daytime and at night?
  10. What time of community support does the property offer (are there community events, staff availability, security, etc.)

No matter which option you choose, now is the time to start looking at your housing options for next year. You want to start early so you get the best deals and the best selection.  Choosing a place to live is not an easy task and should not be taken lightly.  Mistakes in this area could cost you a year of misery or unwanted fees for breaking your lease.  Looking for housing can be exciting, so sit back explore all of your options and have fun.

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