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The Pros and Cons of Living Off Campus

By Amy Brantley

One of the biggest decisions when going to college is choosing where to live. Many students debate whether to ditch dorm life and head off campus to find a place to live. There can be some perks to off-campus housing. However, don't overlook some of the pitfalls. Before you make your final decision, you may want to consider the following advantages and disadvantages.

The Advantages to Off-Campus Housing

As you can well imagine, there are a number of great reasons to live in off-campus housing.

Freedom

Off-campus housing gives the student freedom from most rules and restrictions the college enforces. When living on campus, you don't have the option to decorate, have your partner over, or even have proper appliances for cooking a good meal.

A Break from Campus

You're always on campus for class, for extracurriculars, maybe even for most of your meals. Face it; there will come a time when you want to get away from college. If you're living on campus, that might be hard to do.

Choice

Another advantage to off-campus housing is choosing the type of living space you want. You can choose from a studio apartment, full-sized apartment, or even a house. It all depends on the amount of money you have. If you're strapped for cash, though, you can always go in with a few friends and rent a place large enough for everyone.

Learning to Live on Your Own

Last, but not least, off-campus housing is a great first step to learning about being out on your own. You'll learn about what it takes to run a house and pay all the bills.

The Disadvantages of Off-Campus Housing

Of course, off-campus housing isn't all roses. It does have some disadvantages.

Financial Aid Packages

Off-campus housing usually isn't covered by college grants and scholarships, unless the college owns the housing. Unless you have to pay for college out of your own pocket anyway, this could be a problem.

Security

Another disadvantage is the lack of security. If you're living on campus, you're protected by the college security guards that patrol the campus.

Transportation

You also have to remember that unless you find off-campus housing really close, you may need a car. A car means you'll have to pay for gas to get to and from the college. Not to mention that after a long night in the library, you'll have to drive a few miles to get home. You also won't have the option of waking up five minutes before class starts.

Extra Expenses

Last, but not least, you'll probably have a lot of extra expenses when living away from college. You'll have to pay an electricity bill, water bill, possibly a heating bill and even an Internet bill. All of these expenses are covered under the cost of your dorm room when living on campus. You will also probably need to sign a 12-month lease. College dorms usually only ask you to commit for the school year, meaning no rent for those summer months when you may not be on campus.

As you can see, there are many advantages and disadvantages to living in off-campus housing. Much of the decision depends on what you want from a living space and your financial situation. Either way, it's a decision you shouldn't take lightly.


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