November 19, 2020

On vs. Off: Campus Housing Redefined

College or university life is one of the milestones in a person’s life. Social interactions and networks are established in a more profound sense. Most students move out of their homes to experience college life in residence halls or dormitories.

What do students look for in a housing unit?

Generally speaking, students look for units that replicate their own homes. They look for something homey but have freedom-of space and movement. Since the said unit will be their home for the semester until they graduate, they must choose something they will be comfortable with and conducive to learning.

What to expect in an On-Campus housing facility?

Campus Housing

Basically, you have a witness to everything you do. If the room you have chosen doesn’t come with a private bathroom, you have to share the toilet and bath with other dorm residents. As per the privacy, it has very little to none. Since you have a roommate, that alone is leaving you with no privacy at all. The school chooses your roommate, but you also have a say in it. Upon application, you may want to confer with the one in-charge if you have preferences on roommate potentials.

Speaking of spaces, most on-campus dormitories lack that specific area. It could and maybe a drawback, especially if that tops your list. Add to it that you have to share that very cramped space with a roommate.

 If you are not keen on having a company 24/7, then dorm life might present a very challenging experience for you. Dorms also have restrictions, especially about safety and security, which is actually good but could be a disadvantage later on. However, since you are in your fellow students’ company, it might be a very engaging experience for you, seeing that you will be sharing communal spaces like study areas, dining, and recreation halls. College, after all, is about harnessing your socialization skills.

 During school breaks, vacations, and holidays, expect your dorm building to be closed.  So if you have other itineraries, you might have to move elsewhere or make prior arrangements with the residence manager. Dormitories also have a uniform layout, and even pieces of furniture are custom-fitted to maximize space, so if you have tons of stuff, you might want to assess what to bring and leave behind.

The good thing about most dormitories is that they have advanced internet connection, and the amenities are exceptional. The units being on campus are accessible to the classrooms and laboratories, which is ideal, especially for newcomers who need to adjust to the new environment. Though transportation is vast, anyway, ranging from bikes, hybrid cars, buses, and the like. Talking about affordability, on-campus housing rentals are consolidated with your other university bills and may be covered by the scholarship, if you have any.

Greek row or the fraternity and sorority houses are either on-campus and off-campus. It is dependent on the campus’ policy, whether they are allowed to be on-campus.

Here’s a glimpse of what to expect in off-campus housing:

Campus Housing

Given those pros, now it’s best to look at the cons to weigh in if off-campus living is an ideal living set up for you.

As the name suggests, most off-campus housing is outside the campus’s proximity, so the daily commute is included in the equation. Depending on one’s spending habits, off-campus living can be cheaper or expensive than on-campus living.  However, it could be a good “training ground” for young adults as it teaches them how to budget and make both ends meet could also be a good start to establish a rental history that may be useful in the future. Speaking of expenses, rent may also be covered by financial aids and even the 529 plan, or whichever applies.

You may opt to rent or start early in your real estate investing journey. There are plenty of advantages to name when you buy a house. You can do whatever pleases you-from the paint to the fixtures and furniture and of course the decor.  You also have the autonomy to let and potentially earn, giving you additional income or sources to pay off the house. College could, after all, be a perfect time to start in real estate investing.

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Regardless of the housing option you choose, what matters is how you conduct yourself for the next four or five years of your college life. If you think that your full potential will be realized in an on-campus facility, go for it. If you believe otherwise, then be it. The only considerations at hand are the cost, comfortability, and security.

But hands down, no doubt that living in an apartment unit off-campus presents a degree of independence and freedom.  You get to experience freedom– of time, space, movement. All of which are vital for growth.

Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his weight, this is a frightening prospect.”
Eleanor Roosevelt

Freedom and responsibility are the same; they are not interconnected. You cannot fully enjoy freedom, knowing you have compromised your values. College is the last stage before you embark on the big world. One wrong use of freedom could lead you to crumbles. Therefore, it is best to keep in mind that living independently means greater responsibility is expected and assumed.

In dormitories, you only have to worry about your little nook. Ensure that that small space you have is clean and in perfect order is your only responsibility, apart from maintaining a warm relationship with your roommates and dorm mates. However, that is not the case with apartments or house rentals. You can’t be lax as you’ll have to take care of everything, from the utilities down to grocery shopping, even the chores, and preparation of meals.  Those activities that you do not even perform in your own homes are included in your weekly, if not daily, to-do list. You’ll have to learn how to manage your time, considering that you are not in proximity to the school grounds. You’ll have to give yourself an allowance for commute and other factors that could potentially cause you to be late. As mentioned, you’ll have to top up your budgeting 101 skills because you’ll definitely need more than just calculating. You need to be disciplined in a superlative way to ensure you have something for your next meal or that you won’t be charged for late payments, which varies depending on the property.  It is wise to look into the terms and conditions before signing a contract to avoid headaches in the future. Make sure you understand the clauses, especially if your chosen option is real estate investing.

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Disclaimer: The blog articles are intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing in the content is intended as legal or financial advice.