Where you live on campus matters. A lot of the time it will determine the people you meet and hangout with, the activities you get involved in, and ultimately, your success in school. If you live in the dorms, for example, you will be on campus and within walking distance of your classes, cafeteria, and computer labs. Depending on what is important for you when considering campus housing, colleges will tend to offer multiple options for you to choose from.
Dorms – On campus and convenient, but a lot to keep in mind
Dorms are a great option for first-time students who are starting out college in a town they have never lived in before. You’ll be close to everything you need, typically have all of your bills paid for through your semesterly room and board fees, including internet, water, and electricity, and you’ll be able to meet other like-minded students. Some campus will also offer specific student populations to live in the same building, for example those in ROTC and the armed services, LGBTQ, and sports. It is always a good idea to be close to people who are engaged in the same situation as you.
Even for sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the dorms are a great way to remain a part of the university throughout the entire length of your schooling. Most dorms are set up so that college students of the same year, and sometimes even the same degree path, are lumped in the same dormitory, which is great for keeping on track with your studies and creating a close-knitted cohort.
Fraternities and sororities sometimes offer housing options
If you are interested in the Greek life, fraternities and sororities will often offer housing options for their members. This may come with a cost, either monetary or in exchange for leadership roles and volunteer work, but it is a great way to become even closer to your brothers and sisters. When signing up to be in a frat or sorority, just make sure it is a commitment you want to undergo. While greek life does connect you with a lot of people and can even lead to job and other opportunities later in life, it comes with a life-long commitment to the organization’s cause. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact most greek organizations do a lot of community outreach and volunteer work, just something to keep in mind.
On-campus apartments – An alternative to the dorms
Some campus will also offer on-campus apartments that let students have a bit more responsibility while keeping them close to campus. On-campus apartments won’t always be located right on-campus, but will tend to be close enough to walk or bike to classes and on-campus employment. Unlike the dorms, you will likely be required to pay for living expenses and need roommates, but you will also be able to have your own room and freedom to do what you want.
Family housing on campus – A good options for nontraditional students
Family housing is the perfect option for students with families. These are usually townhouses or apartments that are on or very close to campus and reserved for students who are married and have children. You will have to go through an application process of some sort, just like you would any other house, but rent will usually be much cheaper than living in a house off campus. The other nice thing about family housing is that you will be living in a community of other families, which makes it easier to find childcare and friends for your children.
Off campus housing – More freedom, but also more responsibility
If you don’t want to live on-campus, living off campus is your only options. You’ll have to search online and offline for an apartment or house, roommates if you can’t afford the rent, and transportation to and from classes, but you’ll have all of the freedom and responsibility of living on your own. This is a great option for some, but generally it isn’t recommended for younger students and especially not freshman right out of high school. Everyone wants to live on their own, but it comes with a lot more responsibility than most people thing, like having to pay all the bills, cook and clean for yourself, and enough self-control and motivation to make it to class.
No matter what housing option you choose, make sure that you are prepared for everything it comes with. There are both good opportunities for students living on-campus and off, and ultimately your success in college will be determined by where you live and how much responsibility you can handle in college.