The Benefits and Downsides of Living on or Off Campus

Are you trying to decide whether to live on or off-campus? We discuss all benefits and downsides of living in either off or on-campus.




Last Updated: January 8th, 2021

The Benefits and Downsides of Living on or Off Campus
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The question that you are most likely asking yourself is Should I live on or off campus? Living either on or off campus can drastically change your university experience.

This article will list for you all the pros and cons of living on or off campus. Before you decide where to live, take some time to figure out your needs and think the factors that matter for you the most for your academic success.

Pros and Cons of Living On-Campus and Off-Campus

Living Off-Campus

What is living off-campus

Living off campus is where you find a place to live outside of a university's or college's campus.

Living off campus can be liberating. When you find an apartment off campus it gives you a break from college life, but it also comes with more responsibilities and possibly extra cost. Before renting an apartment off-campus it is important to consider all the costs and benefits. An off campus building for coll students

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The Benefits of Living Off-Campus

  1. You will have more space. A one room apartment is more efficient and has more space than the average dorm which is a nice advantage.
  2. You are not required to have a roommate. However, most students like to share expenses by inviting their closest/trusted friend to be their roommate. This helps in cutting costs and probably get you a nicer and conveniently-located apartment.
  3. Your apartment will support life and work outside of school. If you have an off-campus job or even a job, an off-campus will make it way easier for you to juggle this two.
  4. When colleges close, you will not have to worry about your apartment being closed. As long as you pay the rent, you will be able to hold onto your apartment during that summer break, even if you go home. When other students are moving at the end of the year, you won't need to move.
  5. There will be no strict rules to follow. When you are living alone you will have more independence. Most dorms in colleges have RAs who oversees students to follow the rules set.
  6. You can pick someone else to be you roommate other than another college student. You can stay with one of your siblings or other friends. This definitely increases your chances of finding a good roommate. You will have independent control of your living situation.
  7. You will be closer to a lot more amenities than in dorm rooms. When you rent an apartment, you might have a full sized fridge rather than those smaller ones in dorms which can't fit a gallon of milk. You will have more space, cabinets, private bathroom faster WiFi and more.
    Gym in an off-campus apartment
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    Your apartment may also have other features such as a gym, clubhouse, study labs, pools, BBQ area and more.
  8. Available car parking in off campus is easy. Parking in campus can be stressful because there aren't enough parking spaces which tend to be full most of the time. Many college campuses do not provide parking for students who are living in the dorms. Renting an apartment can give you access to free car parking.
  9. More responsibility and privacy. Renting an apartment will most likely be your first adult milestone where you will have to keep up with studies, maintain a job, pay bills on time and upkeep your house.
    After renting your apartment you will have privacy and your desired lifestyle which you will probably be lacking it in dorm life. You will get a more profound sense of adulthood and independence.

The Downsides of Living Off-Campus

  1. You will be taking longer to commute in and out of campus unless your apartment is adjacent to campus. Most apartments dedicated to students are found in close proximity, though these are a bit pricier due to the convenience.
    Transportation cost will also count depending on the means of transport you are using. Whether you decide to drive, use rideshare services, public transit transportation could easily cost you $5 upwards which might not be a lot at first but when the month ends it might be $100.
    However, there are some alternatives where some universities offer free shuttle services for students living off-campus. Check whether your university offer these services and if they do check the time they run and at what time they pass near your apartment. Methods of transportation to school

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  2. Using you car to travel to campus can be costly. Finding a parking spot in campus may be an issue and the fuel cost for your car might be costly. To reduce commuting costs use public transport.

  3. Costs may be higher. When figuring your budget for off-campus housing remember to consider food, utilities, rent and other costs. This might be expensive than on-campus.
    These utility bills often fluctuate month by month and can become very expensive. Living on-campus the utility bills are often overlooked as they are included in the housing fees.
    Some landlords often cover water and trash utility bills while others don't, so make sure you check what your landlord covers. Remember when living off-campus you will also be required to pay for electricity gas and even internet.

  4. If you are paying rent using a loan check and is a bit late, will they give you an extra time to pay the rent? In case of this you should have an emergency fund available or pay rent by some few months ahead.
    Know the most efficient payment process on how to pay your bills.Most landlords utilize online payment systems where these online systems charge a 3-5% fee to process the payment. This means by the end of the year you could end up paying several hundreds of dollars for all your bills. To avoid these costs know the most efficient method.

  5. You may feel detached from campus life. Attend games, events and other campus activities so you don't feel disconnected from campus life.

  6. Summertime rent costs. College isn't all year long but leases are. Students often overlook this when finding an apartment off-campus. When summer comes and you haven't secured a summer internship or job that will make you stay at your apartment you might have to let your apartment go if you do not pay the rent.
  7. Roommate mishaps often come when your roommate fails to pay their bills and utilities at time. When living on-campus this will be catered by the housing fee for the university.
    If the utility bill is written under your name and your roommate forgets to pay, you will be at fault. This will often lead to problems in the financial distribution of costs in the apartment. To avoid this troublesome roommates, be picky. Choose a roommate that is responsible and trustworthy or stay alone.

Living On-Campus

Living On-Campuse


Living on-campus may be the perfect living situation for many students but it may not be right for you. Living on-campus has its benefits such as you get to live among your fellow students and downsides.

Students who live on-campus tend to become more involved with the campus community, complete their degrees at the initial institution as shown in this research by the University of Iowa , persist and graduate with greater frequency and easily enjoy access to campus resources such as labs, library and other facilities.

The study above concluded that students who live on campus were more engaged with the university staff , faculty and advisors than their counterparts who stayed off-campus.

The Benefits of Living On-Campus

  1. A stronger sense of community. All around you and your environment is other students. Faculty and support staff are also readily available should you need them.
  2. Easier to make connections. All of you in your housing environment and most of the campus are students. You will easily make connections as you have one thing in common which is being students.
  3. Shorter commute time. All you have to do to attend a lecture is to walk in between campus. You don't need a car as most students who live off-campus to attend lectures. For you there will be no traffic jams, parking tickets and the hassles of public transportation.
  4. You will less get bored. Campuses are lively 24 hours a day, so you will have something to be doing each time in campus.
  5. Doing laundry is easy as the laundry facilities are located within the complex for residents only.
  6. Much Secure. Living on-campus you are guaranteed that even late at night there will be someone to help you in case of an emergency will make you feel much more safer. Campus security safety consider your security as their best interest.

The Downsides of Living On-Campus

Small dorm room in campus

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  1. Costs may be higher. Meal plans, dorm expenses, room and board costs and other costs can quickly add up than living off-campus.
  2. To enjoy the broader community of people, you will have to go off-campus. Living on-campus you are completely surrounded by students.
  3. Living and studying in one place, can increase your boredom and start feeling like you will never "get away".
  4. You have to share your space, amenities and even the bathroom with many, many people. Most people like privacy but living on-campus that can become an issue as privacy is limited.
  5. You are more likely to be required to have a roommate. You will need to get along with people as in living on-campus you will have to share a room.
  6. House inspections are common in dorms where a member of the management will come to your dorm once in a semester and inspect the cleanliness of your accommodation.
  7. Constant distractions is common in on-campus. Neighbors, friends and visitors will come visit throughout the day. This is good as you will not feel lonely but also you focus span will be cut off when you're trying to concentrate.
  8. Small space. On-Campus rooms are not known to be more than one room where you stack up your study desk, closet and bed for the rest of the year. You will not be able to bring in a lot of your belongings because there simply won't be a lot of space like living off-campus.
  9. Less control because the college will mainly be regulating what you can bring in and out of the dorms including candles, cooking appliances, electric heaters and more. The resident assistant enforces this and you will have no control over that.


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