When you pictured your college years as you were growing up, you probably imagined staying in a dorm. Because so many movies show dorm-living as the typical college experience, this is a normal expectation.
But dorm life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, there are lots of benefits to living on-campus. It’s not the only option you have, though.
Off-campus living has plenty of advantages, too. If you haven’t started college yet and you’re debating on where to live, or you’re ready for a change from your dorm room, consider these reasons why you should move off-campus.
1. It Might Be Cheaper
Many students assume dorm living is the cheapest way to get through their college years. Depending on the housing options off-campus, this might not be true.
If money is your concern, a shared house or apartment near your campus could be the most cost-effective solution.
Check the classifieds on sites like roomsurf.com for people who already have a place and are looking for someone to share the expenses. Or post an ad once you have your own lease and want to be the one choosing your roommates.
2. You’re More Independent
You left your childhood behind and you’re now starting your years as an independent adult. In a dorm, it can seem like you’re still that child who needs a curfew and supervision.
It’s understandable that every college has rules, especially in dorms. Safety is first, and if someone is injured on the college’s watch, the school can get in serious trouble.
However, if you’re a responsible adult who can juggle a work/social/school life well, that extra supervision can seem overboard. Living off-campus gives you the freedom you crave and teaches you how to “adult” properly.
3. You Learn More Life Skills
Dorm living may be more structured, but it’s also a lot easier for the students who live there. Everything is taken care of in your dorm rent.
Living on your own, however, means you have to develop life skills. You’ll be interacting with your landlord, paying security deposits, and building your credit score. You’ll have utility, internet, and cable bills. If something goes wrong, you’ll need to fix it or call in a professional.
All of this may sound like a lot of responsibility, but it’s a great way to prepare for the “real world” after graduation. With your independence comes responsibility, and off-campus living is the scaffold that gets you ready for it.
4. You Learn Housekeeping
Even if you’re sharing a house or apartment with others, you’re still going to have more space than a dorm room. But whereas in a dorm, you only have to keep up with your stuff, in an off-campus home, you learn housekeeping skills.
A lot of people hate to clean. However, it’s one of those things as responsible adults that just has to be done. Living off-campus teaches you how to do the simple things, like sweeping, mopping, and cleaning toilets.
If you work well with your roommates, you can all come up with a system to share the household chores. This, too, is an important life skill.
You’ll find it’s easier to handle your stuff if you keep your things neat and tidy. To build your organizational skills and learn how to maximize the small space you have, check out this article by Quarry Trail.
5. There Are More Amenities
Apartment complexes, especially in a college town, usually offer amenities to attract tenants. For students, things like a nearby laundry facility, gym, and pool, are worth the extra monthly price tag.
Having maintenance services to fix anything that goes wrong is a priceless addition to renting off-campus. You get the freedom of your own place without the stress of taking care of it yourself.
It’s also helpful to have normal daily living amenities, such as a gas station and grocery store close by. You’ll feel like an adult when you live on your own or with roommates, and you can enjoy those extra perks any time, without a dorm curfew.
Dorm living may be the expected path to take when you head off to college, but it’s not the only choice you have. If you’re looking for a more independent route, consider moving off-campus rather than staying in a dorm.