When you are trying to figure out where to live for your upcoming year, you may not realize it, but you are making one of the biggest and most important decisions of your upcoming year. As you approach the end of your freshman year, you have started out on a new path of independence that requires you to be mature and responsible. Choosing where to live this upcoming school year is no different.
Some schools and universities require that sophomores still live in the dorms, in which case, you must follow suit. However, numerous schools give sophomores the freedom to choose. This decision usually comes down into three main categories: Dorms, Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing, and Off-Campus.
Luckily, for you, I have lived in all three styles throughout my college career, so I have tips, pros, and cons involved for each major aspect of college living.
Proximity to Campus
- Dorms: Dorms are almost always the closest option to campus and your classes, because most schools put dorms on the edge of campus somewhere, so everything is within walking distance. How nice is it to wake up for that 8am class at 7:45 and still not be late?
- Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing: Generally, this option is still close enough to campus so that it won’t take you long to drive or walk to campus, but still far enough away to not be suffocated by the school and to live “in the real world” a bit. Most off-campus housing options I know of are within a few miles of the school campus.
- Off-Campus: Obviously, you can apply for an apartment anywhere you want. So, depending on your choice, you can be pretty close to campus, or have a long morning commute ahead of you every morning.
- Dorms: Most colleges make you pay for your dorm when you pay for tuition, so you never have that looming over your head every month.
- Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing: These usually act the same as dorms, from my experience, but some schools may offer different payment options.
- Off-Campus: The responsibility is all on you every month to remember and pay for your rent. Make sure to set reminders so you don’t incur late fees or, at worse, eviction.
- Dorms: Almost all amenities (laundry facilities, dining hall, recreational fields, gym, etc.) are in a very close proximity to where the dorms are, so take full advantage of that!
- Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing: While most don’t offer as much amenities as dorms, these still usually have basketball courts, laundry facilities, gym, and a park with playing fields in a close proximity.
- Off-Campus: It all depends on where you live, what the apartment complex offers, what is in the neighborhood, etc. Also, remember that you also have to begin paying for apartment amenities on your own (electricity, water, trash, TV, internet, etc.)
- Dorms: With a roommate application form you fill out, chances are you will get a roommate similar to whatever you fill out in your application. That, and since dorms are smaller, you will have a small number of roommates, generally only 1.
- Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing: I have seen off-campus school sponsored housing programs both do and not do roommate application forms. That, and these generally are “apartment-style” housing arrangements, so you will have 2+ bedrooms, a living and kitchen area, so you will be rooming with 3 or more people per apartment. The most I have seen on a college housing program is 8 students per apartment.
- Off-Campus: You are responsible for determining your own apartment style, bedroom, size, as well as finding your own roommate. If you are seeking a roommate, I highly suggest interview roommates before moving anybody in on blind faith.
- Dorms: These are all about networking and socializing with people. Since you are living in such close proximity to every other student in the dorms, it is hard not to make friends, socialize, and make friends.
- Off-Campus School Sponsored Housing: The style of this housing puts students more apart from one another, so some networking and socializing is lost, however it isn’t hard to still get to know others, especially if you attend the events.
- Off-Campus: You will be renting out an apartment next to everyone, other college kids, businessmen and women, families, children, etc.