Deciding where to live is a huge factor when you’re transitioning into your first year of college. The options available to college students will be mainly between on-campus or off-campus residences. Many schools require students to stay on-campus their freshman year, while others may allow their students the freedom to choose from their first year onward. If you’re a recent high school grad about to decide where to live in college, here are five things you may not know about student housing.
1. There Are Different Styles of Housing
When most people imagine a college dorm room, they will picture the stereotypical, square-shaped room with two roommates and bare-bones furnishings. However, modern student housing can range from the classic dormitory style to luxury apartments. The type of housing you choose will depend on a variety of factors, such as your personal study habits, budget, and need for privacy.
2. Better Access to Student Activities
Having a place on campus where you can sleep and study isn’t the only function of student housing. It also plays a role in helping students develop a well-rounded social life by providing communal activities for residents. Examples include social mixers, volunteer opportunities, student leadership opportunities, and more. While commuters must leave campus after their last class, students living on campus have opportunities to socialize and bond with their peers from the moment they step out of their dorm room.
3. Commuting Won’t be a Problem
The obvious advantage of on-campus housing is the proximity to your college classes. These days, many campuses offer a free campus-wide shuttle, funded by a portion of your tuition, to ferry students to and from class. Living on campus also cuts down on the hassle of commuting for groceries or meals. Most schools will offer an optional meal plan that includes purchases made at the dining hall or any other on-campus eateries.
4. May Help Keep Your Grades Up
Research shows that college students living on campus have higher GPAs compared to students living off campus. The phenomenon can be attributed to a wide range of factors, such as better opportunities for connecting with professors, increased exposure to a supportive academic environment, and enhanced focus. This suggests that choosing on-campus housing can have a significant impact on your college experience, both academically and socially.
5. Safety is a Priority
Security is a growing concern in today’s world. Fortunately, on-campus housing tends to be much safer than on-campus options. Most residence halls have a front desk where the comings and goings of students are monitored and accounted for. Most campuses also have on-duty security or even a campus police force to oversee the safety of on-campus residents.
6. Communication with Roommates
Whether you opt to live on-campus or off, there is a high likelihood that you will be living with roommates for the majority of your college years. Many students go from living in relative freedom under their parents’ rules, which they have followed for their entire lifetime, to living with an entirely different set of conditions and compromises. Some colleges will require on-campus roommates to sign a roommate agreement at the start of the term, but it’s still important to have open, honest communication throughout the duration of the school year. Some important conversations to have with your college roommate include figuring out who pays for what, when visitors are allowed, and designating shared household items.
Student Housing Must-Haves
You will probably have bedding and laundry supplies at the top of your dorm room shopping list. Aside from the obvious, student life requires many unexpected essentials to recreate the comforts of home. You may need to furnish your own appliances, such as a television, coffeepot, mini-fridge, and microwave. Cleaning supplies, extension cords, and household items like scissors and tape are also easy to forget until you actually need them. If you have opted for on-campus housing, the school will probably send you a dorm room checklist to make sure you are fully prepared for college life.
A Universal Rite of Passage
For a privileged few, going to college is an important step in the journey to adulthood. To ensure you are creating a supportive environment for yourself, choose your student housing option carefully, keeping the above tips in mind.