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On-campus vs. Off-campus Living
Helping Your Student Make a Good Choice
By Angela Storck, Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life
It's the question that every college student must answer: should they live on-campus or off-campus? Both options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is crucial for you and your student to weigh the choices before making a final decision. With Armstrong’s housing renewal process fast approaching, it is important that you both begin to discuss the options available to you. Here are some pros and cons of living on-campus and off-campus for you and your student to consider.
- Accessibility to the school. If you live on-campus, you can easily walk to classes, libraries, computer labs, cafeterias, etc. You don't have to waste time and money on driving to school, finding a parking space, and so forth. Also, there is plenty of parking available for every residential student in their own assigned residential lots. No more fighting for those coveted commuter spaces.
- Increased social life. Living on-campus will allow you to meet more people and establish more friendships than if you live off-campus. Living in a residence hall means that there will always be someone around to hang out with. You will also be more aware of any campus activities and how to be involved in them.
- Simplicity. If you live on-campus, you don't have to worry about monthly rent payments, utility bills, and grocery shopping. Students who live in the residence halls have a minimum required board plan for those days you just don’t have the time or patience to cook your own dinner. Take advantage of the buffet style dining hall or use your flex funds at the food court to help make your life easier.
- Convenience. Everything you need is located either on campus or very nearby. As we all know, traffic in Savannah, depending on the time of day, can be quite hectic. Why spend precious moments you could be using to study sitting in a traffic jam?
- Less privacy. When living in a residence hall, it can be more challenging to maximize privacy. While you will most likely have your own bedroom (particularly in the upper-class accommodations), you may still have to share a bathroom and common space. If you are someone who values complete privacy or you need absolute quiet to study, this may be more challenging for you.
- Limited space. At most colleges, the residence hall rooms are on the smaller size and there is little storage space at your disposal. You have to limit what you bring to school, or your space will be too crowded. That means you have to economize and you may have to change out your wardrobes between seasons. ☺
- There may be too much going on. Because dorm life is very social, your grades may be negatively impacted if you prioritize your social life over your studying. If you constantly choose hanging out with your buddies over studying, then your GPA will suffer.
- Independence. You will not have to follow as many rules if you live off-campus. Residence halls have several rules that students must abide by when living on-campus. (These rules are usually designed for the overall protection and safety of the residents). Living off-campus will give you freedom from those rules and allow you to set your own.
- Space. Living off-campus means that you will be more likely to have a larger bedroom and more storage space. This can make your personal space more attractive, and can make staying in your room to study a little less claustrophobic. If you can afford to do so, you may even have the option of getting an apartment to yourself. This will give you ultimate privacy and seclusion.
- Sense of responsibility. Living off-campus will help you be more responsible. If you live off-campus, you will be in charge of paying bills, cleaning house, grocery shopping, and cooking. Being responsible is a good quality to possess (in case you consider this one a con).
- More expensive. Often times, off-campus housing is more expensive than on-campus housing. Utilities and cable can be an added monthly expense, and you may have to pay for your own Internet access. You will also need to buy furniture, kitchen essentials, bath necessities, cleaning supplies, etc., which can be a hefty start-up cost.
- More responsibility. If you don’t already have a good job that will supplement your off campus living, you will be responsible for budgeting your financial aid for the entire academic year. If you are a compulsive spender or you have difficulty saving and/or setting a budget, this could prove problematic.
- Lease limitations. You will typically be required to commit to a full 12-month lease in most apartment communities. If you value going home to live with your family to save money in the summer, this can be problematic. Many apartments won’t give you the ability to sublease.
- Transportation. When living off-campus, it may not be convenient for you to walk to campus so you would have to find transportation. Whether you drive your car or use a form of public transportation, it is still going to cost you money. Traffic can also be an issue if you live in a crowded area.
- Isolation. If you live off-campus, you may not be as involved with campus activities as you would if you lived on-campus. This could cause you to feel a sense of detachment with your college and cause you to not make as many friends.
When deciding whether to live on-campus or off-campus, think about what is important to you. You may even want to put together a list of your own pros and cons. In the end, you need to make the decision that is best for you, your budget, and your own living style.
As a member of the Armstrong housing team, I am a strong proponent of the benefits of living in campus housing. If I can answer any questions you have about Armstrong housing, please do not hesitate to give me a call on my personal office line (912.344.3384) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org