Freshmen college students frequently spend their first year living on campus in search of the “college experience” without really understanding what that means. Here are just a few reasons why life is better in an off-campus apartment:
Think you’re getting all of your food and utilities paid for you? Think again. Most dorms grossly overcharge to cover those expenses, so you’re paying for it whether you realize it or not. And what are you really paying for? Cafeteria food and enough light to illuminate 100 square feet of disappointment. Yeah, no thanks.
Unfortunately, 100 square feet is about the average for dorms, and that’s usually divided into shared occupancy rooms. If the college experience is not having alone time and never feeling comfortable inviting your friends over or staying up late, then count me out.
You should be responsible for paying utility bills and learning how to cook for yourself. The off-campus lifestyle more effectively fosters independence for real world living. It also exposes students to more of a city’s culture, restaurants, and localities that they might not otherwise experience in the on-campus bubble.
On the subject of independence, how about those dang rules? Dorms have limitations for guests, pets, appliances, alcohol, and basically anything and everything else fun. Wanna get to know that girl you like or connect with some friends you met at intramural soccer practice? Let’s hope your roommate says it’s okay, and forget about privacy! Apartments don’t have RAs – a fact former dorm-ers really appreciate.
Pretty much the only pro I can come up with as to why anyone would choose to live on campus as opposed to off would be convenience. But that’s still not a good enough reason, especially when you consider that several “off-campus” apartments are within walking distance to class. No car? No problem. Really.
So what exactly is the college experience? For many young adults, it is a developmental phase marked by a collection of newfound freedoms and self-discovery. This independence includes bill-paying, learning how to make better financial decisions, self-governance, privacy, having your own space, and keeping your own company without restriction. That sounds a lot like off-campus housing to me…