Live in a dorm, live alone or rent with roomies? These are some of the toughest questions a new college student must ask herself but it is a decision that can have an enormous impact on a college career. Consider these three options for student housing to determine what is right for you.
They’re noisy, they’re small and they’re the epitome of the college experience. You are usually paired up with a stranger as a roommate, which presents a whole new set of challenges. Most students who chose the dorm option do so only for their first year. Once you’ve met friends and know your new town a bit better, it often makes sense to find off-campus housing. Dorms are a great option for first-year students who aren’t too particular about their personal space. They’re cheap and close to class and normally come with a ready-made set of friends.
Alone, off campus
If you are a mature student and aren’t going to be all that impressed with dorm room antics, you might be better off finding your own place off campus. While not a very social option, this is the best arrangement for a student who wants to focus on studying. It’s also a great option for grad students who have had their college fun and just want to focus on their work. The major drawback to living alone is that it can get lonely and it is a very expensive situation.
Off campus, with roommates
If you’ve found a good group of chums and want to have some space to hang out, finding a house or large apartment near the university is a great choice. You can have fun and save money by sharing space. Keep in mind however, that some of your roomies may not be ready to give up the hard-partying ways of dorm life. This can be challenging if you’re moving on to more challenging courses and want to keep your grade point average up. If you decide to get a place with friends, make sure you all have the same academic goals in mind and present some ground rules up front. Conflicts are almost inevitable in this situation but if you can find the right people, the benefits will outweigh the risks.
In reality, you will probably find yourself in a different housing situation for each year you are in college. For typical students entering college right after high school, the dorm life is an experience you may not want to miss. Second and third year students usually have found a good network of people to share a home with and will appreciate the lower rent. Mature or grad students will take delights in the peace and quiet of their own home and are normally happy to pay the extra costs for the privilege.