The decision to live on campus or off campus is one of the biggest choices new students make. Some colleges require freshmen enrolled in a four-year degree program to spend their first year on campus, but there are some exceptions when schools have this rule. There is no choice that is better or worse for all people. The choice depends on several individual factors.

Transportation

Unless students who live on campus work away from the school, there is little need for transportation. Students who do not own vehicles may find it easier to live on campus, especially in bigger cities where public transportation can be slow and a major hassle to use.

Privacy

A blog by SUNY points out that a major benefit of living off campus is privacy. Most students have to share a room with at least one other person and are also supervised by RAs. Privacy may still be limited when living with roommates off campus in an apartment, but there is no curfew, dorm rules or communal bathrooms.

Food

Another advantage of living off campus is more food options. Students in dorms usually have access to microwaves or hot plates, but they do not typically have full kitchens in dorms. There may be a cafeteria and restaurants on campus. However, they are not always open, and students do not have the advantage of buying their own groceries and cooking their own healthy meals.

Work And Social Commitments

Students who work odd hours may find it easier to live off campus. Some students prefer to live alone and work more, and this gives them the benefit of coming home to relax without having the usual dorm noise.

Finances

As a rule, it is cheaper to live on campus. However, it may cost about the same to live off campus with several roommates in an affordable home. There is a common rumor that student loan and grant funds can only be used for dorm living, but the remaining funds after tuition is paid can be used for living expenses on campus or off campus.

Roommates

For most college students, roommates are an issue both on and off campus. By living on campus, students rarely have a say in who their roommates will be. However, students who live off campus may be able to choose their roommates or at least have some more options. Students who have legitimate or medical reasons they cannot live with roommates may qualify for private rooms on campus.

Living Expenses

Rutgers Department of Student Affairs points out that one of the biggest benefits of living on campus is most expenses are covered. There is no need to pay for cable, Internet access and utilities. Campuses provide these for students, but they are not typically included with rental homes or apartments off campus. There may be some exceptions, but it is best to factor these expenses in when planning to live off campus.

Security And Medical Care

Most students are not able to afford private apartments that come with 24-hour security. Most campuses have security guards on duty at all hours of the day and night, and they are available with a quick call. Students also have access to nurse services and some medical services on campus, but a drive to a medical facility is necessary for students living off campus.

To determine which option is best, make a list of individual preferences. Plan out a budget, and determine which choice best fits both budget needs and personal preferences.

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