Living on Campus vs. Living Off Campus

1 January 2017

You just graduated high school and now you are getting ready to head to college. Going away to college is the most exciting time for a newly graduated student. You are finally able to get away from home and be on your own. But in the process of applying for a college, you must decide whether to live on or off campus. Are you ready to really live on your own or do you want to experience the traditional college life? This decision is often very hard to make when considering the pros and cons of each.

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When living on campus or living off campus one must recognize the difference in the rules, the roommates, and the opportunities. Rules for living on campus may knock the campus life living cool points down a little bit. Campus living provided by the school always comes with what they call a “code of conduct”. It is probably a very small book with rules and regulations that students living on campus must follow. For example, there might be a curfew which insists students to be in their bedroom by a certain time. Another example is the amount of guests you can have and if they are even allowed to stay overnight.

Campus life has many more regulations on alcohol and drug abuse, the noise level after late hours and even monthly or weekly room expectations. It can sometimes feel like you still living at home. Campus life also has what they call a Resident Assistant or RA. This is a person or a few people who also live on campus and who are responsible for the building they are assigned to. They are the people you go to if there is conflict between you and someone else or any technical problems with the room you are in. They also assist in anything else that is concerning with their assigned building.

The rules of living an off campus life might be a little more lenient. There are no RAs and the landlord may only ask you to follow a few rules but other than that you are on your own. For example, you can probably bet that you can bring whoever you want over and have them stay overnight. Another example is there are no room expectations and whatever you break you must get fixed. Living off campus can kind of be a little bit of a shock when you are just coming out of your parent’s house. You can see how the rules play a big part in your living situation.

Roommates are usually the first main concern when living on or off campus. When you decide to live on campus you can expect living with people you may not know depending on how many room options they have. In my experience in living on campus, I was put into a four bedroom dorm with three other girls I did not know. In some occasions you can request someone you want to live with but the college informs you that it might not always be a guarantee that you are put with that person. So be prepared to accommodate to other people’s living styles.

In living off campus, you can get an apartment with whoever you choose or by yourself. If you already have someone or some people in mind you can live with them or find someone or a group of people who are also looking to rent. The good thing about this is you can meet who you are living with beforehand to make moving in more comfortable. One similarity that roommates have both living off and on campus is that you still have to sit down with them and talk about how you are going to handle the common areas like the kitchen and living room.

Are you going to allow everyone to clean their own mess in the kitchen and living room or take turns? Is the food being bought for everyone or just for the person who bought it? What are you going to do for the guests sleeping arrangements? These are questions that are very important to go over with your roommates whether living on or off campus. One of the reasons why living on campus is called campus life is because it is usually on campus or adjacent to campus and includes opportunities and activities you can get yourself into. You can also meet a lot of new people.

Living on campus is being able to get involved in things that may just be for people who live on the campus. In my experience with living on campus, the college had many activities that only the people who lived on campus were allowed to be a part of. For example, campus life government was like student government but only concerning the campus life. The government set up activities and social events that were not open to the people living off campus. The disadvantage of off campus living is the travel you might have to make to campus all the time. Another disadvantage is not being where the “action” is.

Since you do not live on campus you do not have as many chances to get involved in things. Living off campus sometimes can feel a little isolated from things that are going on campus. Personally, I believe living on campus is the best option for someone just starting college. It does not hurt to try a real college experience and get a feel for it. If you then do not like the circumstances you can always live off campus the next year. It is really important to make a wise decision on where you are going to be living and if it is the best fir for you.

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