Pros and Cons of Living Off-Campus Your First Semester

Pros and Cons of Living Off-Campus Your First Semester
  • Opening Intro -

    So you're going off to college.

    It's a big step, and there are likely more than a few subjects on your mind as you set about preparing.


One of those might be whether it’s better to seek housing accommodations on-campus or off. Below are a few pros and cons to each option. Be sure you consider your own lifestyle and preferences as you make this decision.



Living off-campus means you won’t necessarily have a roommate, which is great for people who don’t like the idea of sharing such a small space with someone else. Being away from campus also affords you a measure of privacy and quiet not often found in college housing accommodations for studying or having friends over.

More Space and Nicer Accommodations

An apartment, even a studio apartment, can still be nicer and more spacious than a dorm room. Of course, how nice your off-campus dwelling is, depends on how much rent you’re willing to spend on it. Apartment complexes, particularly in more upscale areas, might even have advanced safety features like home security cameras to help make you feel secure.


Living off-campus might turn out to be cheaper than staying in school housing. You won’t have to pay for the additions that might be included in dorm rent like meal plans, and a membership to the school gym. Keep in mind that living further away from school might mean that money goes toward transportation instead.


You Don’t Get the Same Social Interaction

This is particularly a problem your first semester, as this is a time when you typically get adjusted to college life and meet new people. Living off-campus puts you farther away from the social interaction with your fellow students that takes place on-campus and inside residence halls, which could leave you feeling left out and impede your ability to make friends.

You Will Likely Be Farther Away from Campus

Choosing to live off-campus comes with the side effect of having to travel farther to get to campus. When you live in a dorm, you are typically in the center of the action and classrooms and dining facilities are just a short walk away. This may not be true for private rentals. This makes travel to and from campus more inconvenient than if you lived on-campus, and you’ll have to both stay on campus in between classes and bring all the books you’ll need for the day’s classes.

You Have Additional Responsibilities

Living off-campus means you will have additional responsibilities such as paying more bills and buying groceries. This can be overwhelming for students who aren’t ready to be on their own. If you’ve already had experience being independent, this may not be as much of an issue the first year away.

Like with every choice available to you in college, choosing where to live your first semester has both its pluses and minuses. Consider your situation carefully, weigh your options, and choose the arrangement that will work best for you.

College Financing reference:

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